Yesterday, we honored Veterans Day. Our troops have fought in all parts of the world where monuments stand to acknowledge their service and sacrifice. In Manila this summer, we found one interesting and lasting legacy, that is still in service.
Towards the end of WW2, the battle of Manila in the Philippines was a savage, month-long fight to drive out the Japanese. It was the bloodiest urban battle of the Pacific campaign. And left a city once known as the Pearl of the Orient in ruins.
Ultimately, the U.S. Army was victorious and left in Manila were hundreds of American Jeeps. Rebuilding Manila would take years and the Jeep, just like the city, was transformed into something totally new.
The jeepney, an extended body Jeep that acts as a passenger bus. Necessity and creativity, along with spare parts from wherever, form an urban commuter service that has survived decades. As colorful as the individual owner and as unique and chaotic as the city itself.
For an outsider, a Jeepney ride is daunting. The routes and rates almost incomprehensible. But we tried it out a hot summer afternoon.
Sharyl Attkisson: We want to get off at Alphaland.
Filipino Man: Alphaland.
We climbed into the dark, tight, tiny interior.
Sharyl Attkisson: Everybody say hi.
Jeepneys move through the Manila traffic congestion on routes memorized by the drivers, and those standing at pickup spots along the road. Climbing in or clinging on.
Sharyl Attkisson: Are people allowed to hang on back?
This isn't a tourist tour. Jeepney riders are the Philippine working class. When you're aboard, it's hard to get a glimpse outside, the only view is face to face, knee to knee, of the person sitting under the dim inside lights.
Sharyl Attkisson: Hot.
Through slick and modern Manila, we cut a colorful path through the evening commute. Our jeepney arrives at what we think is our stop without announcement, and we exit into the less stifling evening air.
Sharyl Attkisson: Bye, thank you.
A uniquely Manila experience.