5 Unique Filipino Transport Vehicles That Will Amaze You

Talk about travel. Everyone will question about the place, the attitude of the people and the source of transportation. In the Philippines, trains are not commonly used in all regions. Trains are only present in Metro Manila and other big cities or provinces to fit thousands of people commuting to school and work. If you’re from a country wherein trains are well developed that will result to relaxing and hassle-free commutes, then don’t expect the same situation here. I’m not giving you a bad picture, just a heads up to rule out your expectations of well-organized trains and their systems.

Well aside from trains, Philippines have jeepneys, tricycles, taxi of course, and other more unique means of transportation by land. The question is how do these means of transportation evolve? Where did they start? You will be amazed at these 5 unique Filipino means of transportation by land.

1. Calesa

This way of transporting people from one destination to the other is famous and well-known to have contributed much to the Filipino people many years ago. Horses are well taken care of by their owners for this important reason. They serve as “rides” with a seat good for 3 people at the back. Horses lead the way to the road and believe me, they really know where to go next!

It is believed that Filipinos who owned “Kalesa” before were rich families and can afford since these are expensive even until now. Horses alone are expensive, how much more putting an extra to it for people to use. For those who don’t have them, other ways are used in the next item.

2. Bicycles with extensions

Credits to: Flickr/SweetSexything

Credits to: Flickr/SweetSexything

These are 3-wheeled transpo to take people for a short ride. These are good for locations that are not so far that need to take people from places that neither too long or too short for a walk. Well, some could walk but some are lazy to walk so they take these. It consists of a bicycle and an extension to the side for sitting. Manned by mostly male who drives the bicycle including the weight of it and the passengers. The most is 2.

3. Habal-Habal

“Habal-Habal” is a Cebuano word. It is common from people in the far flung places in the Philippines. Not really in the cities but those in rural areas. People from the mountains got the idea of buying a motorcycle and putting a strong wooden extension at the back of the motorcycle to fill in people who needs ride.

This is because of the long distance from a specific crossing from the street going to the high mountains or to the top. This is also made for root crops, fruits, and vegetables to be carried in this means of transportation from the uphill to the rural and near urban areas to gain profit from primary farmers. This is present now and if you want to try this, you might want to be careful since those who take this as a ride have been riding for a long time so they know how to hold to avoid falling.

4. Carabao

No one will deny that Philippines is blessed for agricultural lands. Carabao transportation has been a big help to the farmers in their harvesting activities and other land works. It is considered as the National Animal in the Philippines for its heavy and very helpful work.

This serves as same as horses in the Calesa listed above. In this, it can pull a karatela with more people than Calesa but this was only before. The only difference is, these aren’t used in the streets. I could not imagine it roaming around the street.

5. Tricycles

Another popular means of transportation in the Philippines. Tricycles are commonly used even nowadays for public transportation. This is a cheap mode of transportation that can keep until 7-8 passengers inside depending on the size of the tricycle. Some are big to accommodate more, some are smaller that can only have 4 people inside. This consists of a motorcycle and an extension seat to the right side of the motorcycle.


These are 5 unique transportations in the Philippines. A lot have been saying some resembles the mode of transportation in India or Indonesia but there are some extensions that won’t get nearer to these modes. Try it out! Be careful to always keep out of danger especially when you don’t know how it works.


Shenna is a registered nurse in the Philippines. She's on her early 20's and have been travelling. She writes articles about travel to share her opinions, experiences, and likes and dislikes about the places that she has been to. She has been working as a freelancer writing articles from USA employers and in other countries. She has been to different places in the Philippines. Her Goal is to travel outside especially in Europe and in USA.