'More fun in PH' jeepneys soon to hit Manila streets

By Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Sep 13 2012 05:19 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2012 11:51 PM

'More fun in PH' jeepneys soon to hit Manila streets 1
The highlight of the Jeepney Arts Festival is an on-the-spot jeepney painting contest with the theme "It's more fun in the Philippines." Photo: Handout

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Expect the iconic Philippine jeepney to be turned into a giant moving advertisement for the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign as the Jeepney Arts Festival kicks off next week.

The highlight of the festival, which will run from September 20 to October 20, is an on-the-spot jeepney painting contest with the theme “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” Organizers are encouraging the public to submit an artistic rendition of the country’s tourism slogan via e-mail (bayanihan@jeepneyartsfestival.com) on or before Saturday, September 15.

Those with approved entries may form a group of five and join the on-the-spot painting sessions from September 20 to 23 at the SM Mall of Asia open grounds. They will be provided with jeepneys and basic materials such as paint and spray guns, but are also given the option of bringing their own vehicles.

Domingo Ramon Enerio III, DOT’s Assistant Secretary for Planning and Promotions, believes that the jeepney is a “cultural icon that we can share with the world.”

“We want to show the world that such a vehicle exists, and that we’re proud of this vehicle,” Enerio said in a press conference held Thursday.

The jeepneys in the competition will be featured in a parade on September 24, and will be used by foreign visitors in the upcoming travel mart of the 2,000-member Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) this year.

“So foreigners can experience the local lifestyle here, like what they do in other countries,” said Enerio.

Aside from the jeepneys, the festival will also showcase jewelry, painting, photos, sculptures and other art pieces inspired by the country’s most popular mode of transportation.

The “It’s more fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign has gone a long way from its social media success, where different versions of the slogan were posted by Internet users here and abroad.

Over the past months, the DOT spent millions of pesos promoting the slogan through travel expos and advertisements.

Citing a “substantial increase” in the DOT’s budget for marketing and promotions next year, Enerio said: “We appreciate the support from government and other groups and Filipinos in improving our image, in showing that it’s more fun in the Philippines.”

'More fun in PH' jeepneys soon to hit Manila streets 2
Organizers pose for a photo inside the tourism slogan-inspired jeepney. Photo: Handout

Source of pollution

While organizers proudly consider the jeepney as a symbol of Philippine culture, they admitted that the vehicle has caused a number of traffic and environmental problems in the country.

Corazon Jimenez, general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), admitted that jeepneys are the biggest source of air pollution in Metro Manila.

“Jeepneys have increased in number over time,” said Jimenez, who noted that Metro Manila is currently home to about half a million jeepneys. “Especially with MMDA’s campaign for clean air, jeepneys are one of our biggest challenges.”

With little tweaks here and there, she believes that Filipinos can continue to use jeepneys without harming the environment. “We hope that today’s jeepneys will use clean natural gas. And there are also the e-jeepneys,” she said.

A number of environmental groups have been complaining about the use of jeepneys, which they called “diesel-fed,” “inefficient” and “producing a lot of pollution.”

Foreseeing this, organizers have required participants in the Jeepney Arts Festival to have their vehicles pass MMDA’s emission test.

Drivers will also be required to attend a training program, which will cover values formation, passenger handling and becoming an “eco-warrior,” among others.

“We want to make them proud of their work,” Enerio said. “We will equip them with the right information so we can effectively make the jeepney a cultural icon.”

Meanwhile, Jimenez hopes that the Jeepney Arts Festival will “be part of our culture in Metro Manila.”

For more information about the Jeepney Arts Festival, visit https://jeepneyartsfestival.com.