The mighty ‘tartanillas’-A A +A
Sunday, August 18, 2013
BEFORE jeepneys and taxis were born, tartanillas were already present. The horse-drawn carriage called tartanilla or parada was the means of transportation in urban areas, including Cebu City during, the Spanish Period.
The tartanillas were the most utilized vehicle in the Philippines during the early 1900s, despite the accessibility of trains and buses.
Cebu’s parada has five seating capacity, excluding the cuchero, compared to the two passenger capacity in the early 1900s. The door is located at the back instead of on the side. Another feature is the receptacle, a pouch near the foot of the cuchero that catches the horse’s droppings.
“The tartanillas of Cebu nowadays are an innovation of the old tartanillas in the 1930s,” Richie Dasmariñas, a tartanilla operator from Pardo, said.
Cebu’s parada still holds the touch of the past, as its art deco remains evident. Dasmariñas said that the barandillas and carvings on its kaha are proof of the artistic touches since 1930s.
The tartanillas that continue to run in Cebu City now holds metal parts of the old tartanillas. According to Dasmariñas, makers recycle parts of shabby tartanillas because they are still of good quality.
Aside from being the means of transportation, tartanillas were also used for racing during fiestas. The cuchero, the coach and the huwis, who decided whether the tartanillas deserved to win or not, rode on the tartanilla during the race.
Truly, the tartanilla is one of those that make our cultural heritage rich and unique. (Carla Maniwang)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2013.