The Classy Kalesa

Author Name:    Posted: 08/04/2018 10:00:00 AM

Kalesa is a carriage that is drawn by a horse which was introduced in the 18th Century by the Spanish to the Philippines.  It has two big wheels on each side and two rows of seats that can easily accommodate four people with the driver sitting on a block of wood located just right at the front of the cart behind the horse.  Bright colored decorations surround the carriage which make it look like a lot of care has been put into it.

Believe it or not, this mode of transportation was expensive and only used by the upper class, nobles and officials.  The rich and educated Filipinos used it for personal travel and transporting goods.  Manila was filled with Kalesas during the American Occupation but declined in popularity after the Second World War.

Though kalesas have decreased in numbers and popularity over the years, several small towns preserved its classic tradition still.  They can be seen in places such as Vigan, Laoag, Intramuros, Binondo, Iligan, Tuguegarao, Cagayan and Cebu, where decorated kalesas can still be taken for a ride along specific streets.

The next time you visit the Philippines, get a taste of this old classic ride.

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