Meet the lady PUJ driver from Lapu-Lapu City

By: Immae Lachica - General Assignments Reporter/CDN Digital | March 21,2020 - 10:46 AM


Zeny Gian shares jokes with other PUJ drivers while they wait for passengers at the terminal in Tamiya in Lapu-Lapu City. | Photo by Raul Constantine Tabanao

CEBU CITY, Philippines—At age 52, most women would prefer to spend time with their families or do household chores.

But for Zeny Gian of Barangay Basak in Lapu-Lapu City, her life is on the streets.

Gian is one of the very few female drivers that we now have in Cebu.

She drives a public utility jeepney with route no. MI-02A that plies the streets of the neighboring cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.

And she does not mind staying out for as long as she earns her daily keep.

Gian said she normally earns at least P500 per day.

“Kugi raman gyud na ba. Kung ganahan mo mo drive, sige.  Ang trabaho kugi ra gyud na, ayaw ka hadlok,” she said.

(All that is needed is hard work. If you want to continue driving, then go on. You just have to work hard and not fear anything,” she said.

Gian is a mother of four – Rona, 32; Mark Anthony, 29; Jegger, 27; and Christian Jay, 23 – and now has four grandchildren.

Her common-law partner, Boy, also works as a PUJ driver.

Gian started working as a PUJ driver five years ago.  But she also plans to venture into the buy and sell business soon while she continues to drive her leased unit.

“Ganahan ko mag negosyso og unsay mabaligya, kay pwde man mo mamaligya unya mag drive gihapon,” she said.

(I wanted to venture into the buy and sell business because I can sell while I continue to drive my unit.)

From utility worker to driver

Gian said she did not have any interest in driving when she was younger.

She worked as a conductor and a utility worker at the terminal in Tamiya for 10 years.

It was in 2015 when she started to take interest in driving.

“Wa naman koy lain trabaho ato, so, ako gi sigeg tanaw unsaon pag drive, unya mao to nakat-on rasad kog akoa ra,” said Gian.

(I just observed how other drivers drive their units and I learned on my own.)

After she got her license in 2015, Gian said she started to look for a unit that she could lease.

Now, she drives a multicab that plies the Marigondon, Highway Mandaue to Parkmall route and visa versa.

Her day starts at 5 a.m. and would normally end at 10 p.m. and sometimes even 12 midnight.  She is able to make four to six roundtrips in a day.  A roundtrip would normally last two hours considering Metro Cebu’s congestion problems. The rest of her time is spent waiting for passengers.

Gian said she earns P1, 500 to P2, 000 for her 19-hours of work.  Vehicle rental of P650 and gasoline of P500 are deducted from her earnings leaving her with at least P500 that she would bring home to her family.

Working in a man’s world

Gian admitted that driving a PUJ was very hard at first,  but she learned to get along with the other drivers whom she would normally meet at the terminal.

She would chat and exchange jokes with them while they wait for passengers.

Other drivers would even joke that they wanted to make her their muse since she is the only female driver in their group, Gian shared.

Aside from ensuring that she survives in this male-dominated world, Gian said that her other challenges include the need to observe traffic rules and regulations and the need to deal with unruly passengers.

“Kining driver baya hadlok baya kaayo gyud. Ang tanan obligasyon driver baya, wa gyuy obligasyon ang pasahero, driver gyud tanan,” said Gian.

(The work of a driver is very challenging.  Drivers are solely responsible for the safety of their passengers.)

She admits to having been harassed by unruly passengers. But she never compromises their safety.

CDN Digital joined Gian in a roundtrip on March 3 to have a glimpse of what her life is like.

Gian is a very strict driver who is very keen in observing road signs and traffic rules and regulations. She only picks up passengers and allows them to disembark in designated PUJ stops.

Good work Gian!

You showed as Girl Power at its finest. / dcb


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TAGS: jeepney, Lady driver, Lapu-Lapu City, PUJ driver, women's month

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