I took this picture of a kalesa while on my Binondo trip last weekend. It seemed like such a novelty beside the gleaming Toyota sedans and Pajeros that were parked in Chinatown. Considering that these horse-driven carriages were introduced by our Spanish conquerors in the 18th century, it’s hard to imagine that these means of transport are now over 200 years old!
I read in a report in our newspaper that these kalesas are now facing extinction due to slow business. Too bad. This just means that our tourism is not doing good as well. Most of the people who ride these carriages are tourists since the price one has to pay (at P25o to 300 a pop) is quite expensive for the average Filipino. But surely I’d take a leisurely ride in a kalesa if I’d like to turn back time, especially if the route is through the cobblestoned streets of Intramuros with a view of those old Spanish-style houses. I heard there are a number of kalesas in Vigan and Cebu as well.
Long live, the kalesa man:)