It’s getting harder and harder to find folks who can actually operate a manual transmission in the U.S., but in other parts of the world, sticks are still the norm. And in the Philippines, one man in particular makes self-shifting look incredibly easy. By using his foot.
Giancarlo Dones, a man who—according to his Facebook profile—lives in Indang (a region in the Philippines), shared to Facebook this video of a Jeepney driver shifting his transmission with only his right foot:
Per the sticker on the dash, it appears that this driver is showing off his skills in Balibago, a region roughly 50 miles northwest of Manila. There’s not a whole lot of information on why the driver is doing this, but Paulo Acoba—who sent Jalopnik the tip—shares a few theories on his blog, Tire Meets Road. He writes:
I have two theories about why he shifts this way. The simplest and most likely reason is that he never got around to getting a longer gear shift. With such a long shifter and not getting the geometry right, his shifts would be even longer making it a chore to shift at all. So, to make it easier and presumably as a stop-gap, he uses his feet.
My other theory is that perhaps he’s found a competitive edge by using his feet. In the unregulated world of Jeepney transport, it’s a game of MPHs and inches in getting passengers. If he can keep his hands for steering at all times maybe he’s more competitive than the other Jeepney drivers.
I agree that the shifter looks tiny, though I’m not sure about that competitive edge theory, mostly because it seems to take quite some time for that right foot to shift and then return to the gas pedal, and this—you would think—would slow the vehicle down considerably.
But regardless of the reason is for this gentleman shifting with his right foot, consider me thoroughly impressed. Especially since most folks where I live can’t even shift with their hand.