BAGUIO CITY – The world’s smallest Philippine jeepney, the “Jeepito”, is ready to give fun to tourists, who will visit the Summer Capital when it re-opens on September 22.
Baguio-native Ronald “Tonton” Tan, also known as “Papa Tsuper,” is a former television host, who later became successful in the realty business, created Jeepito, which measures 92 inches in length and 42 inches in width, with a height of 55 inches. It is powered by three-cylinder Susuki multicab engine, and was customized using scrap materials.
Tan said that the economy was greatly affected by the pandemic, which was the reason he thought of resurrecting his Jeepito for deployment in the different tourist spots of the city as an added attraction.
“In support to the city when it opens tourism, the public and the tourists will see the Jeepito in our parks so that they have additional fun going to the tourist destinations,” said Tan.
A photo inside the jeep or with it will be free of charge, just like when it was launched until prior to the pandemic.
He said Jeepito was designed to become the world’s smallest Philippine jeepney, and can accommodate four people, including the driver. It is now legally a land transportation vehicle with registration categorized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as a jeepney.
It has been a patented, copyrighted and has obtained a trade mark with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
“As owner of Philippine Property Central Realty and Development Inc. I decided to give back to the community and to share my blessings because my company has been blessed and is really earning well. I thought of the idea of making a special jeepney, that’s when the Jeepito came to be” Tan explained.
He thought of using the Jeepito in delivering goods which his company donates to charities like orphanages and the homeless. The Jeepito came as an attraction that would add to the excitement of the people and make them smile.
“Delivering charity using Jeepito would surely make people happier and more conscious about social responsibility. I also figured that while giving to charity, I could also promote our region’s tourism since I am a proud Baguio boy and a proud Filipino,” he said.
Tan said he designed the Jeepito in his private garage here. Afterwards, he commissioned another private garage in Mabalacat, Pampanga to make others.
Co-builder Arnel Pacia was able to complete one in a month. “What took long was finding a vintage stainless horse for the hood of the jeep since the stainless horse is already obsolete. I spent a total of P165,000 for the whole jeepney and another P50,000 for the registration for it to legally ply the street, which took about a month,” Tan said.
Jeepito has a Philippine flag theme because Tan wanted it to be a symbol of nationalism and a symbol of the country itself. “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,” he underscored.
The interest generated by Jeepito has created a life of its own. The charity and tourism campaign now evolves around the “Trip ni Jeepito” Lifestyle and Travel Campaign or #TRIPniJeepito.
This campaign does not only encourage the promotion of social responsibility and tourism in the city, but also promotes everything that is good for the country, including business that would elevate the lifestyle of common Filipino citizen.
Jeepito was launched in Baguio City on December 25, 2015 and first introduced to the world on The Manila Bulletin.