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Photographer's Note

The tartanilla (or Calesa or Karatela) used to ply the busier arteries of Sancianko, Leon Kilat, Tres de Abril, that long stretch of N. Bacalso avenue and V. Rama. While there were those who were constantly irked by their presence, none could have thought there would be time they'd be swept out of the city's more conspicuous landscape. The kutseros (coachmen) were not too keen back then on how to go about the unhygenic ways of how their horses dispose of their wastes. Not even considering the stink.

This however gave birth to the recognition to the making of tartanillas, a full-blown industry by the "Companias de los Tranyias de Filipinas", a joint corporation of Spaniards and Filipinos, was aimed at mass producing as a means of transportation.

The Tartanilla made of light construction material, having a capacity of ten passengers and drawn by four horses and was then considered for the growing population in urban Manila. What was then considered was the archaic "carromata", a cart drawn by carabao (water buffalo), could no longer catch up with the fast-paced lifestyle of the Manileņos.

The Tratanilla was however exclusive to the elite. But upon the creation of the Companias, 8,000 tartanillas were released to the major road of Calle Nueva on that fateful day of December 26, 1885. Thus a progressive company that shared ownership of the prominent Filipino and Spanish businessmen.

The scarcity of horses led the way to the creation of a new form, a 4-seater tartanilla driven by a single horse.

The tartanilla owners adorned it. The embellished tartanilla was also symbolic of the social status of the owners.

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