51-year-old mom finds her spot as passenger jeepney driver in Lapu-Lapu

By Immae Lachica |March 25,2019 - 10:08 AM

Zena Gian is a female passenger jeepney driver in Lapu-Lapu City. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — It’s a man’s world they say when it comes to the profession of passenger jeepney driving, but a female driver from Basak Lapu-Lapu City begs to differ. 

Zena Gian, a 51-year-old mother of four, makes a living for her family by driving a passenger jeepney. 

Like other women, who made inroads and excelling in their own respective professions like Senior Superintendent Royina Garma as first female Cebu City Police Office chief, and Lawyer Ria Lidia Espina as the second female president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu Chapter, Gian also in her own way made inroads in the PUJ driving profession as one of the female drivers to do well in a male-dominated profession.

Read more: Female CCPO Chief Garma shows women how to succeed in the police service

Gian said she got interested in driving when she was then the  jeepney conductor of her common law husband — a jeepney driver.

During those days, she would observe how her partner drove the passenger jeepney, and became interested in driving and back then at the back of her mind, she would want to earn by driving a passenger jeepney.

Noticing her interest in driving, her live-in partner agreed to teach her how to drive and eventually she started driving her own passenger jeepney unit about four years ago.

“Gi-tanaw ra nako unsa-on pag drive, nangutana gamay aron makat-on, ganahan gyud sad ko gud nga naa koy akong kita, lahi ra gyud nang naa kay imoha” told Gian to Cebu Daily News Digital.  

(I just observed, asked questions about driving so that I could learn to drive, and one thing I was really interested to learn to drive and eventually drive a passenger jeepney and have my own income. It is really different when you earn money through your own efforts.) 

For four years, Gian has been driving her own unit with the route of a 23C jeepney (Maribago-Hi-way-Parkmall-J-Mall and vice versa.

But it was not a bed of roses for the newbie female driver like Gian as she got a fair share of unwanted comments from her passengers and fellow drivers, who did not believe that she could handle the pressure of driving a passenger jeepney and questioned her driving skills.

Read more: Espina, 2nd female IBP Cebu prexy: Three tenets to anchor her plans for lawyers’ group

“Permiro gani, di sila mosakay nako kay babae daw ko. Di daw kamao, pero ako ra man sad silang ingnan nga pareho ra man tawn na, mababae o malalaki maka drive man,” she told Cebu Daily News Digital. 

(At first, commuters would have second thoughts of riding in my vehicle because I am a female driver, whom they thought could not drive well. But I convinced them that being a woman or a man had nothing to do with my driving skills — and that she could drive.)

She recalled those years when she started driving and experienced first-hand how cruel society could be to female drivers like her especially in a profession dominated by men, but she persevered and proved her detractors wrong.

“Naanad na sila nga naa ko, nga sama sa mga laki mahatod nako sila sa ilang destinasyon.” added Gian. 

(They got used to seeing me driving like a male driver would drive and they saw that I was capable of transporting them to their destination safely.)

Gian has this to say about women trying to make it in a profession dominated by men: Persevere and prove your detractors wrong; show them that you can do what men can do.

“Kung kursonada gyud ka manginabuhi, dili nana nimo huna-huna-on ang kalisod  o ang ika ingon sa uban basta alang sa pamilya.” said Gian.

(If you really wanted to have a work to earn, you would not care what others would say about you. What matters most is that you are doing this for the family.)/dbs

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