‘Astig’: How a 74-year-old female jeepney driver wowed netizens

June 15, 2023 - 6:05 PM
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Lola Mimi
A Facebook photo of Kyle Gomez Bautista as reposted by Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital on Facebook on May 21, 2023 (psngayondigital/Facebook via Kyle Gomez Bautista)

“Astig.”

This was how social media users described a 74-year-old female jeepney driver who went viral after student commuters shared a picture of her driving them after their classes.

GMA Public Affairs on Wednesday, June 14 uploaded a video report about Normina Macatiag or “Lola Mimi,” a Valenzuela City resident who still drives a jeep despite being of old age and especially in a male-dominated livelihood.

Her route is from Monumento to Karuhatan, which reportedly takes two hours for a round trip.

Lola Mimi initially went viral last May, when a student shared a groufie (group selfie) of him and his classmates being driven by the “extremely calm” senior jeepney driver.

“Tamang flex lang kay Nanay, solid mag-drive, chill lang eh, nagdi-drift,” Facebook user Kyle Gomez Bautista wrote before.

His post is no longer publicly available but Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital (PSND) was able to repost it on the social networking platform.

It featured Bautista and his classmates posing while Lola Mimi was looking on as she drove the jeepney with a neutral expression.

According to the student, they looked like her grandchildren who she had just picked up from their school.

“Everytime kasi na uuwi kami, halos sabay-sabay kami ng mga kaklase ko na may biyaheng pa-Monumento,” Bautista said to PSND.

“Sumakto namang may jeep na maluwag, which is ‘yung jeep ni nanay, pero hindi naman namin alam na si nanay pala ‘yung magiging driver namin,” he added.

“Napansin na lang namin nung magbabayad na kami. Super na-amaze nga po kami that time po, siyempre, at her age po, na really want to enjoy the life po,” Bautista further said.

He also shared that they interacted with Lola Mimi during the ride.

“Habang nasa biyahe na kami, binibiro namin si nanay hanggang sa nagsabi kaklase ko na mag-point five raw kami nina nanay,” the student said, referring to a selfie trend called 0.5.

The trend involves clicking the 0.5x option on the iPhone Camera app which enables the ultra-wide lens angle. This effect widens the photographic frame and creates an almost fish-eye effect on photos.

“Tapos si nanay naman, go with the flow lang siya, kalmadong-kalmado lang sa pagmamaneho. Parang mga apo lang kami ni nanay na sinundo sa eskwelahan,” Bautista said to PSND.

The following month, GMA Public Affairs uploaded a video report about the extraordinary elder on its Facebook page.

This renewed interest in Lola Mimi, who was recently admired by Filipinos in the comments section.

“Galing mo, Lola Mimi. Pagpalain ka po ng [Diyos] lagi. Astig mo, ‘la,” a Facebook user wrote in response to GMA’s video report about her.

“Keep up the good work! God bless po always to all,” another Pinoy commented.

“SALUTE, NANAY,” wrote a different Filipino with a saluting face emoji.

“Good job,” another Facebook user said with a thumbs up emoji.

Lola Mimi previously said that she inherited her job from her father. Among her siblings, she was the only one interested in driving.

The jeepney driver also said she has two children but does not want to rely entirely on them.

“Mahirap kasi umasa, may pamilya sila, may mga bata. Makiki-bahagi pa ba ako doon? Eh kung kaya ko pa naman, sige, banat,” Lola Mimi said to “24 Oras” before.

The driver also said that she continues to work as she is supporting the grandchildren of one of her siblings.

“‘Yun siguro ang misyon ko sa buhay, tumulong. Tinulungan ko noon ang mga kapatid ko, ngayon naman, mga apo ko naman, kung sino ang nangangailangan,” the elderly said.

“Sila nga nagbibigay lakas sa’kin eh, ng sigla, ng inspirasyon, para mag-survive pa,” Lola Mimi added.

Reports said Lola Mimi earns around P500 for one round trip.

In the Philippines, retirement is compulsory when one reaches 65 years old.