I’ve always been fascinated with these three wheeled vehicles plying the roads of cities and towns in the Philippines. Either motorized or manually driven, it comes in different forms and designs and are unique to the places they ply. It’s wiry frame, thin pieces of metal assembled together with wheels whizzed passed me as its driver pedaled, carrying his passengers to their destination. I smiled, happy to see these contraptions, attesting to the Filipino’s ingenuity, feeling the familiarity of being in a small sleepy town.
I’ve visited Biliran the first time for the heck of it but also to strike it off my list of provinces to visit and the vistas I’m seeing while going to Naval from Ormoc just bowled me over. But that is another story worthy to be told.
For now, I was in the provincial capital of Naval for the night and the first thing that captured my attention were the sikads, pedicabs, that are a familiar sight around the country.
These type of sikads are common in Leyte, Samar and even in Mindanao. But depending on the location, there are slight variations of the same vehicles. Its wiry and light. The bicycle is high with large wheels. It has a rough edge to it that says it’s custom made. It’s roofing is just enough to cover the passenger’s thighs. When it rains, a sheet of clear plastic rolls down to the front. In some, the driver is shaded but most are open.
One thing that caught my attention is the foot brake. Unlike those that I’ve seen in Samar where the brake is controlled by hand, here, its a simple lever with a piece of rubber at its end that is put into contact with the wheel by the left foot. Just smooth!
What’s great? It doesn’t consume gas, no pollution and a perfect exercise for the driver. In towns like Naval, as much as possible, I go with the sikads or in some places, called padyaks. Riding these is not only green but also a good way to help support these people earn a living.
Besides, I like the slow tedium of riding in one.
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