Past and Cu­ri­ous

Reach­ing all parts of the PH with car­a­vans

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Car Cultutre - RICHARD wIl­Helm b. RAGODON

An­i­mal-drawn ve­hi­cles like sledges, carts, and wag­ons were the com­mon means of trans­port­ing goods and ser­vices in the Philip­pines un­til the end of the Span­ish pe­riod. Traders from dif­fer­ent re­gions came to Manila in cat­tle car­a­vans and the like. While sim­i­lar car­a­vans from Pan­gasi­nan were still seen around Que­zon City in the ’90s, they are now gone, save for some horse car­a­vans sell­ing hand­i­crafts from Pan­gasi­nan to Bu­la­can.

The in­su­lar gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced mo­tor­driven car­a­vans dur­ing the Manila Car­ni­val, held from 1908 un­til the ’30s. Car­a­vans were po­si­tioned along Wal­lace Field in the Luneta. Th­ese sold re­gional hand­i­crafts and goods.

Dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions used car­a­vans and even floats for event pre­sen­ta­tions from 1917 to 1918. By then, Amer­ica was at war with Ger­many. Bureau of Com­merce ve­hi­cles trav­eled around to cam­paign for funds for the con­struc­tion of a Wickes-class de­stroyer in the US Navy. The ship was even­tu­ally built and named USS Rizal. Mean­while, the Red Cross cam­paigned for vol­un­teer doc­tors, nurses, and blood do­na­tions badly needed then.

The Philip­pine Health Ser­vice ini­ti­ated the dis­sem­i­na­tion of vi­tal health in­for­ma­tion in the ’20s. Via the ‘Cine Clin­ics’ pro­gram, ‘Health­mo­bile’ trucks with cin­e­matographs were de­ployed to ru­ral ar­eas to ed­u­cate provin­cial folk about trop­i­cal dis­eases. Ad­vanced mo­bile clin­ics in the ’50s made pos­si­ble the de­ploy­ment of health and X-ray mo­bile vans to re­mote ar­eas.

Not to be left be­hind, the Philip­pine Li­brary Ser­vice sent out ‘Book­mo­bile’ vans to pro­mote the im­por­tance of be­ing able to read in one’s di­alect, in Filipino, or in English. Books do­nated by the US gov­ern­ment and pri­vate en­ti­ties com­ple­mented the lo­cal books in the in­ven­to­ries. Re­cently, Ayala Mu­seum and other groups have in­stalled rolling book booths at strate­gic ar­eas to pro­mote read­ing among the younger gen­er­a­tion.

The Philip­pine Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany be­gan anew with bill post­ing as the ba­sic type of field ad­ver­tis­ing in 1949. This led to the cre­ation of field ad­ver­tis­ing units that pro­mote and/or sell­ing mer­chan­dise. The ad­ver­tis­ing units were mo­bile movie units that vis­ited mu­nic­i­pal and ru­ral ar­eas. Ac­tion-packed movies were shown to cap­ture view­ers’ at­ten­tion, and dur­ing in­ter­mis­sions, prod­uct com­mer­cials and promotions were pre­sented. Even­tu­ally, th­ese movie vans were re­placed with trav­el­ing bill­boards and pro­mo­tional trucks.

In­ter­na­tional Har­vester Com­pany (IH), an agri­cul­ture and au­to­mo­tive prod­ucts man­u­fac­turer, in­tro­duced ‘Publicity Car­a­van’ pro­grams in 1954. IH trav­eled around North­ern Lu­zon to present the lat­est IH prod­ucts. They also showed films on the proper ways to op­er­ate a ve­hi­cle, and held driv­ing skills con­tests.

In im­ple­ment­ing out­reach pro­grams, many mu­se­ums have in­tro­duced trav­el­ing ex­hibits at malls and parks. The Philip­pine Army’s Civil Re­la­tions Group, for ex­am­ple, has pe­ri­od­i­cally in­stalled ex­hibits with pho­to­graphs, equip­ment, and ve­hi­cles. The ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, light tanks, and emer­gency re­sponse ve­hi­cles are even dis­played at open park­ing ar­eas. As re­sults, the public gets the op­por­tu­nity to sit in or pose be­side th­ese ve­hi­cles. To the av­er­age per­son, do­ing a selfie or a group shot near a mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle is a rare ex­pe­ri­ence.

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