Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pleasures with Kalesas, Gasan's 'Kalesayahan'

A mode of transportation in the Philippines during the Spanish period is the kalesa, a horse-drawn cart with two wheels that could take in up to four passengers, plus the kotsero, driver. It became a status symbol for the wealthy to own a kalesa back then.

Kalesas have become a rarity today and could be found in places elsewhere, visited by tourists such as Intramuros and Vigan. In the old Binondo district of Manila, few kalesa units are still in use and people make use of them for short trips to transport goods that could not be loaded by other vehicles.

'Kalesayahan' was coined from the word 'kalesa' and 'kasiyahan', pleasure, and is the name of a festival in Gasan that was introduced during the last decade. It was intended to generate interest on the existing kalesas, preserve them and use them as a vehicle to attract visitors. Fact is, there is at least one kalesa in every barangay here.

During the town's celebration of its "Araw ng Gasan", founding anniversary (August 20), gaily-decorated kalesas are paraded carrying young couples dressed in Filipiniana attire. Decorating the kalesas for this competition is taken very seriously by barangay residents as prizes, in the form of cash or livelihood projects for the community, are given.
Elsewhere in Marinduque, such as in Buenavista, kalesa wheels are made use of as bar and restaurant decor. This photo was taken at CURVA GRILL in Buenavista. (Photo with DAVE KATAGUE, owner of CHATEAU DU MER in Amoingon, Boac).

Kalesa paraded. The prestige of winning and the recognition for their ingenuity and creativity are inebriating enough for the barangay folks.

Kalesayahan photo credits: Boyet Villamin of Gasan





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