21 May 2010

Speeding Goats on the Roads of Batangas and Other Crazy Horns Jeepney Drivers Used to Love


I was getting ready to cross the street early this morning when I thought I heard the feint sound of a goat bleating somewhere. It seemed to come from behind me, so I suspiciously looked back to see if there was a goat there.

If there was, it was using Wonder Woman’s invisible shield… I turned my attention back to the road and there were three vehicles fast approaching. First there was a car; then a jeepney; and then another car…

I checked myself, thinking that the sensible thing to do under the circumstances was to let all three vehicles pass before attempting to cross the road.


When the jeepney was just twenty meters away, there it was again – the bleating sound! And it was coming from the road…

It was as the jeepney passed me and the bleating sound came again that I realized it was – indeed – coming from the none other than the jeepney itself. I looked inside it but there was nothing but people.


Sometimes, the brain just does not instantly make the connection between two things; and here was one glaring example. It took me awhile to realize that the bleating sound – so natural it was deceiving – was, in fact, the jeepney’s horn.


The non-conventional horn is nothing new, of course. I think it was back in the eighties when some enterprising mechanic thought up this crackpot idea of replacing the traditional horn with the babaeng-luka sound. I cannot think of any other name to call it. It sounded exactly like that… Babaeng luka

I’m not sure if the idea caught on elsewhere; but here in Batangas, not just a few jeepney drivers helped themselves to this funny yet annoying horn that was a cross between the wailing sound of a woman giving birth to a troll and the laughter of another totally deranged woman.


People who heard that horn for the first time did not quite know what to make of it! It was funny and yet positively annoying. The laughter was derisive, even; and crazy as this may sound, it made you feel that you were the one being laughed at!

Mind, the babaeng-luka was not the only non-conventional horn. There was one that blared la-cu-curacha-la-cu-curacha… Or this busina interpretation of that classic hit La Bamba

It was not just for when the jeepney was going forward. When the gear was in reverse, there were some jeepneys that gave out this sisiw na sisiyap-siyap sound. I must confess, the first time I heard the sound, although I knew that it was mechanical, I discreetly pretended to tie my laces so I could just as discreetly look under the seat.


Nagsisigurado lang at baka maiputan pa…

Now back to the bleating goat… Unlike the other non-conventional horns – which tend to be loud – this one was so natural sounding and, thus, deceiving! Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of the horn to alert others – whether pedestrians or other drivers – to your presence on the road?

I cannot even begin to imagine what a speeding driver’s reflex move will be if he suddenly hears a goat fast bearing down on him! A speeding goat on the road; that’s a new one!

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