Fort Santiago Calesas

Kwentong Kutchero In The Philippines

Touring around a heritage district though a horse drawn carriage makes the place even more historic. It has a way of making you relive those days when it still has a “small town with a slow life”  feel. All the more you could enjoy it if a coachman tells you the story of the places you pass by. Since he is a local that glides through the same streets every day, you have this notion that he knows his hometown very well. It makes you interested as it seems like you’re getting an insider tip and stories.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

A Tale about ‘Kwentong kutchero’

In PH, a term “kwentong Kutchero” or coachman tales allegedly has been popularly known when the tourism industry in the country was just beginning to proliferate. “Kutcheros” or the coachman were advised to entertain tourists by telling them stories, However coachmen really didn’t know deeper about history then. Hence this has resulted in associating the “Kwentong Kutchero” term with over exaggeration.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

A Real Kwentong Kuchero

In one of my kalesa ride experiences in San Fernando, a coachman explained to me that the local tourism department, wants to help the dying industry by partnering with them. They will ferry the tourists to heritage sites as well as share some information when needed. The tourism department offers them some training to know more about their hometown and its heritage sites. Some of the coachmen have joined while others have opted not to. When I asked them why not, I learned that since some of them did not go to school and some are already old, it may be hard for them to join the training and absorb the details. Ergo, some were able to ferry the guests during tours while others remained to just wait for passengers to be escorted to their homes after shopping from the wet market.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

After hearing and learning this from a coachman, I realized I just had a “kwentong kuchero.” It’s an authentic coachmen story that made me understand what coachmen face in reality. I realized that “kwentong kuchero” after all is not just about exaggeration. You also learn from it.


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