Fort Santiago Gate Carruaje

Philippine Cities Where You Can Still Ride A Calesa

At present, there are only a few cities in PH that still have kalesa’s or better known as horse-drawn carriages. Because of its rarity, finding a calesa on the road has become special to onlookers. While some prefer modern vehicles, many still appreciate this old ride, as it is a part of heritage. Plus it adds to the charm of the place by bringing that quaint feel and nostalgia.

Due to the invention of cars, the kalesa ride is now a dying industry. In yesteryears, people’s ultimate choice for transportation were these wooden rides, however, in the passing of time, the number of calesas on the road has greatly declined due to lesser demand. There are still few who ride it but not enough to sustain the income of the number of coachmen. Hence some coachmen switched jobs. The younger ones opted to venture other careers, while the older ones who have spent almost their entire life bringing people to their homes through their kalesa have stayed.

Riding a kalesa would be a great help to these coachmen. Somehow it boosts their confidence that their vehicle and service are still needed.

Whenever you have a chance to ride a calesa, do ride it. It’s one way of supporting the locals and somehow helps in raising awareness that these carriages still have a place on the road. Plus, it’s also a good way to tour around the town while enjoying the bumpy ride.

Places in the Philippines where you can still find a calesa

If you want to ride a calesa, here are the places where you can still find them

1. Intramuros

If you want to see different kinds of beautiful horse-drawn buggies, then you can find some that are parked in front of Fort Santiago’s gate.

Fort Santiago Gate Caritela
Caritela parked in front of Fort Santiago gate
Fort Santiago Calesas
Calesas in front of Fort Santiago

2. Vigan, Ilocos Sur

In Calle Crisologo, the king of the road are not cars, but calesas and walking people. It’s normal to see calesas passing through the streets. Both the tourists and locals still do ride it. Tourists ride it to tour around while locals ride it to go to their homes.

Crisologo Museum Vigan Ilocos Sur Philippines Carruaje
Carruaje exhibited in Vigan’s Crisologo Museum
Calle Crisologo Vigan Calesa
Calesa in Calle Crisologo Vigan

3. Downtown San Fernando Pampanga

You can see calesas passing around Consunji and Tiomico streets in dowtown San Fernando Pampanga. These calesas are lined up at a station located at the back of the public market. Locals still ride the calesas to go to the market to shop and when going home after doing their business in the downtown. During the national heritage month in May, the calesas are being used as the official service of tourist that would take them to different heritage houses nestled in the downtown.

San Fernando Pampanga Downtown Calesa
Calesa in Downtown San Fernando Pampanga

Modern vehicles may have been the preferred means of transportation nowadays. However, giving way to calesas and supporting it is a good way to preserve this traditional transportation. Seeing this rare vehicle nowadays reminds us a part of our history and culture. Ergo, ride a calesa when you can.

Happy Travels! 💛

Any place you would like add on the list? Share it with us. We would love to know.

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