PH's ‘smallest’ jeepney brings smiles to Baguio crowd

By Liza Agoot

September 21, 2020, 1:51 pm

<p>Ronald Tan and his "Jeepito"<em> (Photo courtesy of Ronald Tan)</em></p>

Ronald Tan and his "Jeepito" (Photo courtesy of Ronald Tan)

BAGUIO CITY – A mini jeepney, probably the smallest in the country, beeping its way through the city's streets brings smiles to locals for its novelty.

Ronald "Tonton" Tan, who made the jeepney in 2015, said over the weekend that he wanted to revive the "Trip ni Jeepito" campaign to help boost the local government's efforts to breathe life back to the city's tourism sector which was greatly affected by the pandemic.

On weekends, Tan brings his jeepney fondly called "Jeepito" at the city parks for a few hours, allowing spectators to take a photo with it for free.

The iconic Filipino jeepney, painted with the country's flag colors of red, white, yellow and blue, can carry four people which include the driver and three passengers.

“Jeepito is the perfect symbolism of the Philippines because the jeepney is not just a Philippine iconic symbol but just like the Philippines, Jeepito is small but amazing," Tan said.

Tan designed Jeepito to become the smallest Philippine jeepney which measures 92 inches in length, 42 inches in width and 55 inches in height. It is powered by a 3-cylinder Suzuki multicab engine and was customized using scrap materials.

The jeepney was registered with the Land Transportation Office prior to its public launching in 2015. It is also patented, copyrighted and obtained a trademark in the Philippines.

Tan said he designed the jeepney in his private garage and spent a total of PHP165,000 for its production and another PHP50,000 for its registration.

Before the pandemic, Jeepito served a dual purpose -- delivering his company's donations to orphanages and the homeless, and at the same time a source of smile to people who see it when it moves around the city.

"I want to help encourage us all to believe that there is life after the pandemic and that the people need to see the brighter side of life which is reason to still be thankful everyday and to wear a smile," he said. (PNA)