In Ilocos, especially in Vigan and Laoag, the “kalesa,” a horse-driven carriage, is a usual sight plying the busy streets of these cities. For motorists, the “kalesa” may sometimes test their “patience meter” during market days because they move slow and occupy space in the streets.
If I was informed right, Laoag City has an ordinance granting these “kalesas” a right to occupy a space near the city public market as their waiting area in recognition of their importance in preserving the heritage of the city. In fact, they take part in the yearly “kalesa festival” in the annual “fiesta” of Laoag City every February. The official website of Laoag City states: “The Calesa which is known as the “Queen of the Street” has its day on February 8. This festival features most authentic, most colorful and most artistic calesa. The search fot the Kutsero of the Year and the Most Healthy Horse is also an attraction. Cash prizes are awarded to all the title holders.”
Obviously, the “kalesa” was made for riding, however, in Laoag, consistent with preserving it as part of its heritage, it has evolved into a “sari-sari” store! Ayuzz!!!
One of several “kalesa sari-sari stores” at the public park in Laoag City in front of the Provincial Capitol.