A legendary Philippine vehicle crossing an iconic US landmark is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
A humble Philippine tricycle, dubbed TNT Traysikel, recently became the first such trike to cross the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
The historic trek was made possible by two Filipino-Americans, Michael Arcega and Paolo Asuncion, joined by 60 other Fil-Am riders in the parade.
TNT Traysikel described by the Fil-Ams as a “mobile public artwork that operates as a cultural marker for the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District” in San Francisco, California. It resembles the motorized sidecar made in the Philippines.
The motor vehicle includes several features that shout out to the Filipino culture.
“Hoy” can be seen on the windshield and it is used by Filipinos to call someone’s attention.
The “TNT” on the front and back of the sidecar means “Tago ng Tago”, and is a colloquial word for undocumented Filipinos in the United States.
On the front of the tricycle sitting above “TNT” is “Por Wan Pibe” or Four One Five, a nod to California Penal Code 415 – Disturbing the Peace. Tricycles in the Philippines are typically boisterous contraptions like their big cousin, the Filipino jeepney!
At the back are the big bold “UFO” letters that supposedly means “Unidentified Filipino Object”. But one can never take its meaning at face value, so it could also mean “Unapologetic Filipino Object”. Again, a nod to the tricycle’s tough reputation on the streets of the Philippines.
Inside the sidecar are two clever signages usually seen on jeepneys – “God Knows Hudas Not Pay” and “Basta Driver Sweet Lover”. The former is a call back of familiar scene in the Philippines where some commuters jumps out of a jeepney without paying their fare. Such people are likened to Hudas (Jesus Christ’s betrayer). The latter is a common perception that Filipino (jeepney) drivers have a soft, sweet side, specially for their partners, in spite of their tough work environment.