Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I treated myself to another calesa ride the other day, though this one was rather short — only from Escolta near Sta. Cruz Church to Juan Luna and Ongpin Streets in Binondo.

For the benefit of those who haven't been to Manila for quite some time, I had taken pictures along the way with my point & shoot camera to show how some of the city’s streets look like nowadays, which are not really strewn with disgusting litter. Yes, there’s some here and there, which cannot be helped, but not as bad as one might perceive. Manila’s street sweepers do a good job considering how crowded some streets get, especially during the rush.

Come to think of it, the streets of Manila are even better cared for than those in some parts of Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. So for an old city, Manila isn’t all that bad.

The second to the last photograph, incidentally, shows the latest mode of transportation for hire that plies the the streets of Manila. It's a home garage concoction made up of steel pipes, bicycle tires and an engine similar to those used in small boats. It's called a "kuliglig."

posted by Señor Enrique at 4:54 AM


Anonymous rhoda said...

"Kuliglig"? Bago nga 'yan, a.

I believe these photos were taken early in the morning? There seem to be few cars and pedestrians.

January 16, 2007 6:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Believe it or not Rhoda, this was about one o'clock in the afternoon. Maybe a lot of folks were enjoying their siesta ... hehehe.

BTW, the Studio 23 show was 6am, not 5am. :)

January 16, 2007 7:00 AM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Hi Eric,

I really enjoy the way you present these slices of life from the city. My favorite in this batch is the buko vendor - one simple guy's mission to make life a bit bearable, one plastic cup at a time.

God bless! =)


January 16, 2007 7:36 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

And where else can you have a Calesa ride and don't feel like a tourist?

I agree with you. The street sweepers do a good job. Next step, learn the kids/adults not to throw their garbage on the street.

January 16, 2007 9:21 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

I rode the Calesa twice when I was in Pinas and I totally missed it!

And the amazing this is that being a Pedicab, it sometimes is faster than taking a cab ... Heehee.


January 16, 2007 9:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Quite a lot of similar scene in Manila, Hb00 -- contentment through simple living.

Btw, not sure if you guys had already done it, but hunch tells me D would enjoy a calesa ride :)

January 16, 2007 10:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, Sidney ... people should learn to use the waste receptacles which are amply distrbuted around the city. And no spitting!

January 16, 2007 10:31 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Haven't tried the kuliglig, yet, Kyels, but I'd like to suggest it to you. The pedicab are much to low for me, but I take one anyway if no other choice.

Glad you enjoyed riding on calesas :)

January 16, 2007 10:32 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

That kulilig is quite interesting. The pipe frame is very economical to construct and the only covered part is the floor. The only disadvantage would be rain and wind I guess but for the most part, it does the job of taking people from point a. to point b.
Heck in RP the govt doesn't look into the safety aspect of these utility vehicles anyways :)

January 16, 2007 10:39 AM  

Anonymous tutubi said...

have you seen my own pics from a calesa in Manila in my blog?
ranting again about the indiscriminate changing of street names by Manila powers-that-be that have no genuine concern on the vanishing heritage of manila

they changed Nueva street to Yuchengco :(
I wonder what's next

January 16, 2007 10:41 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

They do get confiscated sometimes, BW, only if the guy doesn't have a "padrino" from the local precinct(ou know how it goes).

But you'd be surprised how much load these kuliglig can hold -- more capacity than my jalopy of a car :)

January 16, 2007 10:59 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

No, didn't see it, Tito (pls give us URL next time so we can all just hop on over there in a jiffy).

Nueva should have never been changed at all because it was a significant street and worth keeping its old name. Thank God they didn't rename Taft Avenue.

January 16, 2007 11:03 AM  

Blogger Toe said...

Oh, so that's the Kuliglig. :) Is that really in Manila? It's so clean.

We should have put our photos side by side to show the parallels between Cambodia and the Philippines. There are also horse-drawn carts here but in the province. I don't have a picture.

January 16, 2007 5:39 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I chuckled to myself last night while I was enjoying your post, Toe, because I was planning to post my new calesa ride entry, this one, the next morning :)

When you get a chance, please take a pic of a Cambodia-style horse-drawn cart so we could all see what it looks like.

January 16, 2007 5:50 PM  

Anonymous bingskee said...

wow.. tagal ko na di nakasakay sa calesa. and you took nice pics. i like the tricycle with the lady in it.

January 16, 2007 10:47 PM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

It's nice to hear (and see) that the streets of Manila are being kept clean. It can be done naman pala. It just takes discipline, I guess.

January 16, 2007 11:04 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

So some itenerant vendor has co-opted the intersection of Dasmarinas and Nueva.

A very common scene in cities in Mindanao, like my old hometown, Cagayan de Oro. And worse, in many parts the streets get really narrower because these vendors stake their places on them.

Based on your pics, this practice does not appear to be common in that area.

Kaunting civic discipline lang.

January 17, 2007 5:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I have a nephew, Bing, who wouldn't accompany me to Binondo if I didn't promise that we'd go on a calesa ride. He loves it. Another friend suggested that we hire one for an hour or so just to roam around the city while we take some photos. Only problem is, calesas that ply the city streets nowadays sit only two.

January 17, 2007 7:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, Irene, the city sweepers do a good job, but you always have those who'd just throw their candy or fast food wrappers wherever they feel like it. But for the most part, people tend to appreciate a well-maintaned street and pedestrian lane.

January 17, 2007 7:16 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The pedestrian lanes on both sides of Quezon Boulevard from Recto to Plaza Miranda, Amadeo, are virtually prohibitive to pedestrians due to street vendors, including Raon (now G. Puyat) from Quezon Blvd. to Avenida Rizal.

However, for most of Manila, MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Administration) officers do a good job of keeping the sidewalks and streets clear of vendors.

January 17, 2007 7:25 AM  

Anonymous carlotta said...

"Come to think of it, the streets of Manila are even better cared for than those in some parts of Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. So for an old city, Manila isn’t all that bad." ---> i believe you. ^^ maybe that's why i feel at home in manhattan hehehe =)

how much is it for an hour's calesa ride? is it possible to rent one for about half a day? is P500 enough...? or maybe just a little bit more?

January 17, 2007 9:09 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Actually, Carla, a fellow photography enthusiast suggested last night that we get on a calesa and shoot around in Manila. So now I'll start asking around for their rates in such circumstances -- tour of some parts of the city for a couple of hours or half a day. Will share with you whatever I find out.

January 17, 2007 11:56 AM  

Anonymous sexy mom said...

oh, if only the cleanliness depicted in the pictures can be replicated in other parts of metro manila! it goes back to leadership, perhaps, and discipline! nice shots you have there.

January 18, 2007 5:15 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I hope, Sexy Mom, that whoever takes over the mayor's office in Manila will continue what Mayor Atienza has been doing.

January 18, 2007 8:30 PM  

Anonymous Ferdz said...

AMusing set. I still haven't tried that calesa ride. Magkano na ba ngayon? Kung wala akong magawa I might try it some time ;)

January 18, 2007 10:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Ferdz -- from Binondo Church to Manila City Hall is usually P40/person. From Escolta to Binondo Church is P15. From Binondo Church to Divisoria is P40. It all depends on the kuchero, but it can be negotiated. I usually don't haggle whenever I see the horse is well taken care of. I also give a little extra for tip if the kuchero doesn't use the whip on his horse :)

January 19, 2007 7:06 AM  

Blogger Francesca said...

i would try that when next visit to phils. This is good post, manila in calesa ride.
Lolo Michel was fascinated and said: we try that and its not expensive trip!

and, malinis na nga nag manila, or they try to.

CORRECT ka, i would give more to the cuchero is he wont whip the poor horse.
Mind you horses would love to run and run like mad, di nga lang magawa dyan, lol.

Babalikan ko other posts mo. A bien tot
(see you soon)

January 19, 2007 4:01 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ah, Francesca ... wish I can speak French :)

Yes, once I reprimanded a young kuchero for using his whip on his poor horse. Told him to let me off if he didn't stop. He did stop :)

You must try riding one when you come back. It is really fun!

January 20, 2007 8:38 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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