Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Philippine pedicab - workhorse of the provinces

This evening as I sit at my laptop, I thought I'd take a little break from my theme of our trip to New York (to be continued!!), and in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, take a quick glimpse of a snapshot of life in the Philippine provinces.   The rural provinces are one of my favorite parts of the Philippines.   While I love the hustle and bustle of the big city and hanging out at the big malls in Cebu with my family,  I was born and raised in a small town surrounded by rural areas, so I really love seeing and experiencing the rural, agricultural lifestyle in the provinces and small towns.  

These are some shots of my 2nd-favorite means of transportation in the Philippines -- the pedicab (my 1st favorite means of transportation is a bangka [outrigger canoe]).  These were taken by my wife the last time we went to Philippines in August 2011.   The pedicab is basically a covered sidecar welded to a motorcycle, which is used as a taxi in the rural areas and smaller towns and cities.  It is a much more common sight in rural areas than in the large urban metropolitan areas (such as Manila, Cebu, etc.), which use jeepneys and multicabs (small trucks) and taxis. This is largely because the pedicab is not safe for use on freeways as it can't get up to speed quickly in heavy traffic, especially if it is carrying a lot of weight.  The pedicab can carry quite an extraordinary number of passengers, and I am always amazed at the capability of the small horsepower motorcycle engine to carry a load of the driver and oftentimes greater than 4 passengers, with several in the sidecar, maybe 2 or three behind the driver on the motorcycle, and perhaps one or two hanging on the sides.

It's actually really fun to ride in rural areas, and I'd like to take a try driving one sometime too.  It gives a unique perspective that is much different than traveling in a car.   Our daughter really enjoyed it and had fun, as we have no such thing in the U.S. (we of course have motorcycles, but no pedicabs).  When we returned to the U.S., she took a toy pedicab that we had bought in Philippines to school for show and tell, and presented a little talk about her experience on a pedicab.  She told the teacher and her class that "it has no seatbelts, and no doors".  The boys in her class (who of course like to play with cars and and trucks at that age) in particular were amazed, and they passed the toy pedicab around the room from desk to desk, some of them making "vroooom-vroom" noises as they played with the pedicab!



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