Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sarao Jeepney

From a post in Tsikot by Autohistorian (post no. 36) -

Leonardo Sarao was an enterprising cochero (calesa driver) who found work in an automotive bodybuilding and repair shop. The first Sarao Motors jeepney rolled out in 1953. Anastacio Francisco was a calesa painter who was later employed by Sarao, and who struck out on his own to found Francisco Motors. The earliest passenger jeepney is said to have been conceived, built, and driven in 1945 by Clodualdo Delfino, a musician-entertainer who needed to make a living immediately after liberation.

"Last October [2000], when Leonardo Sarao broke the news to his staff of almost 300 that Sarao Motors – once the biggest jeepney-makers in the Philippines – was ceasing production, most broke down in tears.

"It is probably the hardest speech 78-year-old Sarao has ever had to make. But he had no other viable choice as the 47-year-old transportation company had been bleeding since 1995, mainly, he says, due to changed government regulations. "Our sales of jeepney units plunged because the Land Transportation Office (LTO) cancelled the issuance of franchises to jeepney lines, but let other public transportation vehicles such as taxicabs continue to get theirs," says the hoarse-voiced founder of Sarao Motors."

Sarao Motors

This business is one of a kind so far. Sarao has made history together with the progress of Las Piñas being a producer of the primary form of transportation, jeepneys. This company is one of the large contributors to the high economy that we are experiencing. They contributed so much because of the unique and eye catcher designs that draws everyone's attention. If a Las Piñero is asked about jeepneys he would probably mention Sarao: major producer of jeepneys in Las Piñas.

The business is known in the whole world for its competency rate and their progress rate. It also has a big role to the introduction of urbanization, specially in transportation, to our city. It also served as a start of the business in Las Piñas and inspired the uprising shops to excel in their shops and stores.

The company also uses top certified, quality Filipino products and materials having a 100% pinoy product and by doing this it supports the other businesses together in improving his vehicles. In this we can see the give and take relationship between the competing businesses in Las Piñas. Certainly, Sarao motors identified Las Piñas as a industrialized and progressive city.


Sand, Wind & Stars said...

I believe the owners saw the writing on the wall, and had predicted the demise of the company.

It is a 100% Filipino owned, developed but as a product, it is made from converted foreign made vehicle (US army surplus). And yes, it has a place in pop culture, but it isn't THE one.

The one thing that the owners could have done is reinvent the company to produce a vehicle for today's mass market transit. The other thing that did it in popularity with the riders unless out of necessity, are the jeepney drivers, who really acted as terror king of the road. The "open" air construction didn't help either. One needs a mask to filter out the dust and soot while riding almost al fresco.

They should have at least a room in the National Museum to house one of Sarao Motor jeepneys as a memorial to Mr. Sarao, Filipino ingenuity and ability to survive.

Emma Tanner said...

Jeepneys are really artistically designed.