Is Habal-Habal A Safe And Hassle-free Way Of Commuting?

If riding jeepney is annoying and taxi is too expensive, then habal-habal is meant for you.
posted on: Sunday, June 8, 2014
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Digital Agitator

Habal-habal is a motorcycle used for public transportation. It’s meant to carry not one but two or more passengers. It’s faster than jeepney, can squeeze it’s way through traffic, yet cheaper than taxi.

Habal-habal is a common way of commuting, especially if you don’t want to be part of the sardines inside the much dreaded jeepney.

Why is it called habal-habal anyway?

The word habal means you know… to make love. It’s funny that the name comes from the way people position themselves when riding.

You should feel close and create a bond with the driver, you can smell his unbathed body and the strong wind when he’s driving 10 kilometers per hour too fast.

In Mindanao, habal-habal is also called ‘Skylab’, short for “sakay na, lab”. We passengers must really love the driver.

Dubbed as the poor man’s taxi, habal-habal is a popular and necessary way of transportation to commuters who are often late at school or work, or for those who are living in traffic-congested areas. For first time riders, they might feel like their lives are at risk and that putting their safety to a stranger (the driver) might not be a good idea.

Is habal-habal safe? You may ask yourself.


It doesn’t take someone to be hardcore just to ride habal-habal. It’s not risky, it’s safe. Period.

You may have noticed that only the driver wears a helmet and you don’t wear a seatbelt. It’s a testament that you are safe, and that no helmet is required when you ride. Only the driver is certain to be injured should an accident happen so you don’t need to worry.


Joking aside, should habal-habal be legalized?

Should it become part of the basic modes of transportation?

It has always been on the streets since I was born anyway.

One  says yes. If it is legalized, then habal-habal drivers are required to provide helmets for the passengers. It’s just right.

The safety of the passenger should come first since habal-habal drivers don’t have insurance when an accident occurs. If a car and a motorcycle collide, it’s always the smaller one that meets the fatal fate.

On the other side of the coin, some people think habal-habal should be prohibited. They not only worsen the traffic, some habal-habal drivers don’t have a license and can sometimes become indiscriminate, one miscalculation and someone dies and another goes to jail.

Motorcycles should only be limited to one passenger – it’s only for the driver and the driver alone. Should habal-habal be phased out, it can certainly reduce accidents but on the other hand it could make jeepneys more overloaded.

In the end, Filipinos don’t mind how safe their way of transportation is, it’s just about going to their destination on time (the Filipino time).

Do you ride habal-habal often?

How’s your experience?