Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. / Love your enemies. / The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? / Faith can move mountainous hearts. / Jesus still the answer.
|Tricycle pic grabbed from ajpoliquit.wordpress.om|
These are only examples of what you can read from Bohol's famous tricycles. The religious tones have been praised by some sectors and being replicated by other towns and municipalities.
But despite the deep religiosity, Bohol's drivers were not actually practicing what they "preached," and I believe, this is a good case of false religiosity among Filipinos.
By the time you arrived at Tagbilaran's port or airport, tricycle drivers shamelessly milk you to the bone. The regular fare of tricycles around the city limits is actually 8 pesos (as of this writing) but drivers will not accept your 8 pesos even if you just wanted to be dropped at the Agora, the city's center. Drivers would ask from you ranging from 10 to 15 pesos, even more if you are a tourist. A lot more if you are foreigner-looking. One time I offered 30 pesos so the driver will bring me home to Mansasa (regular fare 10 pesos) but instead the driver asked for 5 pesos more. I walked to Pook Pantalan (the gate of Tagbilaran Port) and paid the next driver 35 for home. It is a fact, upon arriving at the port or airport, locals are usually turned down in preference for the more touristy looking visitors. Drivers on that part of the Philippines will only call on you if all the other visitors have snubbed them for hired vans or taxis.
Tagbilaran is just a small city, so that calling a tricycle is a standard practice. The tricycle is actually the only means of transport since taxis are always on call and you can rarely see them around town. So their prevalence cannot be left unnoticed.
NEVER MIND THE TARIFF
I happened to talk to a tricycle driver who was once a president of the tricycle drivers union who claimed he was one of those who formulated the tariff of tricycles around the city of Tagbilaran. They made the tariff into law since many locals have been nagging them on the unrestrained fares asked by tricycle drivers.
Surely, like any other law, the tariff posted on every public utility vehicles have been regarded obsolete by drivers especially in the port and airport of Tagbilaran.
Mong Palatino's House Bill 6330 or An Act Empowering Heads of Offices and Departments to Strictly Implement the Constitutional Provisions on Religious Freedom in Government Offices could have been a good start to make people be aware that being religious is not just found in symbols and signages but deeply rooted in every person. The use of religious/biblical quotes to add a flowery touch to make the city "livable" is actually a pain in the ass of commuters in Tagbilaran. Like a beautiful wall to hide garbage within its confines.
I have yet to see a positive move by concerned agencies on this rampant stealing of commuters by drivers of Tagbilaran. Many years ago, the drivers were required to undergo a seminar-training on basic courtesies by the provincial tourism office of Bohol. I believe drivers were made aware of rightful and duly approved rates during that seminar. I never heard any updating ever since.
I heard many tourists coming in to Tagbilaran making fuss about this but being on vacation and not knowing where to address their concerns, they just mumble and go on to their destinations.
COMPARING CEBU DRIVERS
Although comparing Tagbilaran and Cebu is not necessary, but Cebu drivers who were often considered by biased Boholanos as dishonest and mostly con artists, are actually the most honest between the two provinces. When the LTO declared that the jeepney fare would cost 7.50, most Cebu drivers would return your change of 50 centavos and would nicely tell commuters if they were not able to give 50 centavos back. And you cannot see biblical quotes in taxis and jeepneys around the city.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
I may be dreaming but I am hoping this practice by Tagbilaran drivers should be corrected and be given priority by concerned agencies (LTO, Police, Tourism Agencies) since Bohol has been claiming as the top tourist destination in the Philippines. The service sector, including these tricycle drivers, should be given priority revamp, revision, restructuring, whatever the sectors call them but this should be corrected fast. This has been a long time sore but has never been solved.
It is high time for Tagbilaran to live by the quotes posted in their tricycles and not just require them as adornments.
Trouble Tricycle Drivers in Tagbilaran City by Melgrace Abandula
Ocho-ocho fares starts today by Bohol Republic
Statement of Kabataan Partylist on Rep. Mong Palatino's HB 6330
Are Those Tricycle Drivers Holy? by myLot.com
Bohol is not ready for tourism after all, my blog also about Tagbilaran tricycles in August 2010