By: Ely Lagajino
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each other. Colossians 4:6 (ESV)
A few years ago, we visited Adventist academies in Luzon as well as in the Visayas, distributing a questionnaire for my wife’s research studies.
In Cebu, we learned two expressions commonly used when riding a mode of public transport. One is “plete palihug”, which means “fare please” to be passed on to the jeepney conductor. The second one is “lugar lang” meaning “at the place only” a polite expression to stop the vehicle.
We rode on a passenger jeep going around the city. It stopped at a red-light crossing. The conductor went down calling for some more passengers. Suddenly the vehicle filled with a crowd hanging at the back.
The jeepney continued its trip when the light turned green. I got my fare and said “plete palihug”. The passenger beside me passed it on until it reached the back where conductors skillfully hang on. After a while we heard “palihug” and to my surprise, my money returned to me. Perhaps the conductor had no change. I thought of giving it later before I would say “lugar lang” since the jeepney was quite long and noisy.
We heard some more “palihug”, but again the coins returned to the owner. Some passengers jokingly said, “it’s Christmas day in February”. Then a passenger said, “lugar lang”. Before going down he thanked the driver for the free ride and asked him what the occasion was?
The driver called the conductor but there was no answer from the people hanging at the back of the vehicle, so he went down to check. Then the driver returned, shaking his head saying, “Next month would be my birthday so its free ride today”. Later we heard him say that the conductor must have been left behind while calling for passengers at the crossing which was already miles away. All the passengers laughed, as we enjoyed our city tour.
Even if he didn’t ask for it, we all gave our fare to the driver; he needed it for gasoline to look for his lost conductor.