Thursday, March 29, 2007


Calesa or karitela is that horse-driven carriage which I enjoyed riding whenever I find myself in Binondo.

According to Wikipedia, the word calesa predates the Spanish rule of the Philippine archipelago; that it was derived from an Old Church Slavonic word meaning "wheels." However, the calesa itself was only introduced in the country during the 18th-Century.

Currently, there are two basic models that ply Manila's streets: a two-passenger seater and the other with two rows of seats that can accommodate four persons. In both models, the driver or kuchero sits in a wooden seat hosted over the tip of the cart near the horse.

I love riding a calesa. So much so that this must've have been the third or fourth entry I've posted about it. However, this particular entry takes an even more special meaning. You see the above photo, out of a thousand or so entries, was selected as one of the four winning photographs by the judges of Manila Bulletin's first Picture Perfect Photo Challenge 2007. This photo capped a consolation prize, which I'm afraid might consequently earn me the moniker Photography's King of Runner Up Prizes.

But all kidding aside, though merely a consolation spot, it's still a prestigious win, for thousands of entries are usually submitted for each of their quarterly photo contest. It was also amusing that right after the publication of the winning entries in last Tuesday's edition of Manila Bulletin, I've received invitations from a couple of local camera clubs to join their groups. However, I plan to remain with the club recently established by fellow batchmates from FPPF's Basic and Advance Photography workshops, Infinity Camera Club.

One of the prizes I will be receiving is a voucher for a free photo seminar at FPPF, which I plan to use when signing up for Allan Razzo's lighting seminar come May.


Labels: , ,

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:10 PM


Anonymous rhodora said...

So festive! Where are the 'kucheros'?

March 29, 2007 8:16 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Rhoda!

They were somewhere by the start of the line trading barbs among one another.

I was actually surprised to have found so many calesas in a row on this street near the foot of Jones Bridge.

March 29, 2007 8:30 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Kool colors! Love the rear angle shot.

My maternal Lolo was a skilled carriage craftsman/builder. I only saw tattered photos of the carriages he built, never got to ride them not like my older siblings.

There was a man by the name of "Racuyal" who was an oddball in Pinoy politics in the late 50's and early 60's..very smart and way ahead of his time. Unfortunately, he was perceived to be a loonie when his election platform included a design for "Kalesa exclisive byways on the streets of Manila. He knew back then that today's energy crisis will happen and was very concerned about pollution in Manila! Another eccentric was the late Raphael Yabut, the feisty radio commentator(or what we call now as shock jocks!) He fought the Manila City Hall for the rights to ply his 12 passenger horse drawn open caboose between Santa Mesa and Tayuman via the old Governor Forbes Avenue. One of his major argument was the affordable student fare and the rest were also a concern about the growing problems of pollution...and this was all in the early 60's! As in the Peter,Paul and Mary song goes, "where have all the good men gone?".

March 29, 2007 10:57 PM  

Blogger carlotta said...

wow, congratulations! first, second place or a runner up, what matters is that you won an award. =) who knows, you'd bag the first prize soon. =)

it would be nice if those calesas were used in other districts and not just around manila. can you imagine calesas plying ayala avenue with top executives rushing to work? hehehe

March 30, 2007 5:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I remember Raphael Yabut quite well, Noypetes. His news show on Channel 7 came after our favorite shows, Dick Tracy Club and Lassie. He had a bombastic voice. However, I had no idea that he was active in environmental issues.

Racuyal I never heard of, but his foresight was admirable. I guess, it was rather hard for anyone at that time to envision the looming pollution problem. Manila had less traffic compared to now, and most of Quezon Boulevard north of Sto. Domingo Church were mostly open fields. Believe me, I hardly recognized that area upon my return to Manila.

About a week ago, in Binondo, I saw this awesome calesa (must be for private use only). It was of the same design as in the above phot but painted black; its horse white. Incredible sight. I took a pic and will post soon. Made me want to have one, but I know nothing about caring for a horse. I know I can learn how to be my own kuchero if I wanted to.

March 30, 2007 6:45 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Carla!

A friend emailed me and said she had a good laugh after reading about my becoming the king of runner ups ... hehehe!

My nephews detested the idea of getting on a calesa now that they're grown up, but once experiencing it again with my prodding (either they get on it with me or they walk behind it as I ride one), nowadays prefer riding it than the tricycle or jeepney.

So those executives along Ayala my eventually get to enjoy the calesa over a cab. I don't doubt that at all :)

March 30, 2007 6:50 AM  

Blogger BW said...

Nice colors.. hope the govt doesn't ban the calesa for persterity's sake. With the environmental concern about emission these days, the calesa is a great alternative :) No emissions to worry about except for the smell of you know what that pervades the sidewalks :)

March 30, 2007 6:59 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, BW!

In Intramuros, the kucheros are required to outfit their calesas with sacks to catch the horses' droppings. They are also required to douse water on the urine so it doesn't create any stench. If duly enforced, calesas make a wonderful mode of transportation all over the Metro area!

March 30, 2007 7:09 AM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

I like that photo, Eric. Nice shot and I love the colours too. No wonder it was chosen. Hindi na baleng consolacion prize. It's still a winner. :)

March 30, 2007 11:29 AM  

Anonymous Ferdz said...

Congratulations again! I think I'll be saying a lot of that in the future. You're getting close to the top prize! Hehe

By the way! Will you be going there tomorrow? Good luck to you guys. I personally know both "iskoo" and "sleepy traveler" there but you are all winners in my book. :)

March 30, 2007 1:31 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

LOL! Eric, whatever place, it's still a winning picture :D

anyways, you've just started on photography, yet garnering lots of prizes already! galing!

no matter how many times i have already ridden the kalesa, it still seems to be an exotic mode of transportation for me. LOL! maybe because i'm just not used to it.

March 30, 2007 5:12 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Irene. Yes, I truly appreciate the win; merely making a joke about it, too, at the same time ... hehehe!

I must admit it was a wonderful feeling to see it that morning as I was having my breakfast :)

March 30, 2007 6:21 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Ferdz ... lol!

I have a couple of elderly aunts visiting from the States who wanted to spend this weekend my similarly ageing aunts in Subic -- they haven't seen each other since Imelda became the governor of Metro Manila, I think.

Anyway, you know how elderly folks are. Baka magtampo sila kung hindi ko samahan sa Subic. That's why I don't want to make any plans for Saturday.

But I'm sure Iskoo and others will have a great time. Aren't you going yourself? You're listed as a finalist twice, no?

March 30, 2007 6:26 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, you're right, Sheilamarie :)

Riding a calesa is not for the faint-hearted ... lol. But Luis enjoyed the ride, right?

March 30, 2007 6:27 PM  

Anonymous lino said...

woohoo! congrats eric! malapit na yan, baka next contest na salihan mo first na... :)

March 30, 2007 7:34 PM  

Blogger L.A said...

Hi. We sent you the e-Ticket for the Philippine Blog Awards 2007. Please show this at the registration table. You will then be given two entrance tickets: one for you and another for your guest. If you have not received your e-Ticket or have any questions please email philippineblogawards [at] gmail [dot] com. Best of luck to you and your blog. See you there!

Here's how to get to the venue

March 30, 2007 10:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks much Lino! I was only kidding. I acually appreciate this win very much ... hehehe.

March 31, 2007 5:52 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi L.A!

Yes I did receive it. Thanks much. I hope I'd be able to make a quick getaway from a family affair to attend the event :)

March 31, 2007 5:53 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Wow! You are really collecting those awards and prizes. You deserve it since you are one of the most dedicated photographers I know!

I would go to this awards night. I have the feeling you will win.
Start writing your acceptance speech. :-)

March 31, 2007 1:58 PM  

Anonymous Corsarius said...

senor, why weren't you there in the awards night? CONGRATS ON BEING THE BEST PHOTOBLOG OF THE COUNTRY!!! sorry for shouting, me and ia we're just ecstatic for you earlier :D

now you owe us lunch ;)

March 31, 2007 11:58 PM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Congrats, Eric!!! =)

April 01, 2007 12:24 AM  

Anonymous noemi said...

congrats! I nominated you and YOU WON! You deserve it.

April 01, 2007 12:46 AM  

Anonymous kathy said...

Woohoo! Congrats Eric for winning the Photoblog of the Year award! You certainly deserve it.

I'm so happy for you. Runner-up, no more. :)

April 01, 2007 1:12 AM  

Blogger minotte's notes said...

nice pics! the colors are so vivid! how did you do this?


April 01, 2007 1:30 AM  

Blogger minotte's notes said...

eric, it's me again. i tried to go to vic sison's paintography website but google warned me that it can let malicious software and virus into my system.

please point me out to where i can read about him and his techniques.

many thanks!


April 01, 2007 1:51 AM  

Blogger Rick M. said...

Congratulations senyor! you deserve it.

sayang you weren't here to get your plaque.

i hope to meet you in the flesh!

April 01, 2007 2:14 AM  

Blogger ivanhenares said...

Hey Eric! Congratulations! So when's our next trip? :)

April 01, 2007 5:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

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.


About Me

Name: Señor Enrique
Location: Manila, Philippines

View my complete profile

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Flickr Badge. Make your own badge here.
Señor Enrique Home
Designed by The Dubai Chronicles.
All rights and lefts reserved.