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Book Review: Jeep ni Juan

Invest in history through the headlights of a jeepney

by Mikey Agulto | Jun 9, 2011
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Jeep ni Juan: A History of the Jeep in the Philippines details exactly what the title reveals: A rich collection of jeepney archives ranging from the arrival of the military jeep back in the World War II era up to the pampasaherong jeepney we see on the streets today.
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And the book’s title, mind you, is by no means an eager attempt to a clever pun. Jeep ni Juan is actually a tribute to the late Dr. Maximino Dioniso Juan, head of the Juan family known for their auto parts and coffee shop businesses.

Doc Juan, according to the book, was one of the first Filipinos to ever invest in the jeepney business.

He ran the Champion Auto Supply in 1946 during a time where everyone was high with the American culture. The man replaced vehicle bodies and sold spare parts to American car owners.

His own history is incorporated in all of its pages, while awesome particulars about the industry will surprise you every once in a while. Turns out the word “jeep,” was actually derived from the term “GP,” and dubbed as “General Purpose or Government Purpose” vehicles during the war. See, a splendid discovery.

Also in the book are a series of entrepreneurship tips, detailing how the Juan family evolved from a small-time shop to a very successful MD Juan Enterprises. You can even see a few motivational scribbles from the elder Juan on some of the pages.

The main attraction of the book of course remains to be the development of all jeepney models – the vintage ones, the duly restored, and the e-Jeepneys we now see in urban areas. Even the most committed jeepney restorers found some space in this book, detailing their collections and their brush with Doc Juan da man.

Jeep ni Juan comes off as a delicate memorabilia of an otherwise very triumphant enterprise; an easy to read story of the arrival, progression, and advancement of the Filipino vehicle we take so much pride of today.

WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO

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