(Photo YAHOO! (c) )
"Filipinos should pay homage to the King of the Road, a group said, as it launched a campaign to revive the famous Philippine jeepney.
At least 50 jeepneys were recently parked at the SM Mall of Asia for the Jeepney Tours' Jeepney Arts Festival, which engaged over 150 volunteer artists to repaint the iconic vehicle.
"This is our way of honoring the 'King of the Road'," Jeepney Arts Festival managing director Clang Garcia said.
Noting that jeepneys originally started as refurbished World War II vehicles, Garcia called the popular public utility vehicle "a symbol of Filipino ingenuity."
The festival meanwhile urged artists to use local tourist destinations as their design theme.
Riding on the government's tourism campaign theme "It's More Fun in the Philippines," Garcia said the newly painted jeepneys will hopefully be "roving tourist destinations."
"Some of the artists from Angono, Rizal said they will paint the Higantes Festival. Others said they will paint Bohol's famous tarsier, Quiapo or Divisoria," Garcia said.
Aside from aesthetically overhauling jeepneys, the campaign also aims to "improve the jeepney culture," Garcia said.
This, as she noted that the jeepney's image has recently been marred by unethical practices among drivers and operators.
"The Jeepney Arts Festival is a complete rehabilitation, culturally and artistically," Garcia said.
Jeepneys chosen for the campaign had to be in good working condition and pass smoke emission tests.
Drivers of jeepneys being overhauled also have to undergo a training program including sessions on Filipino history and values, ethical driving and passenger handling."