Transportation: Trisikad in Cebu

Trisikad is a Cebuano term for a cycle rickshaw. It is a known mode of transportation in the Philippines. It comes in many names in different parts of the countries. Some call them tadyak, pedicab, and potpot, among others. There isn’t really a clear history on how this mode of transportation began. However, it is said that the first one was built in Tondo, Metro Manila -- somewhere in the northern part of the Philippines. This came out because of the poverty that was prevalent in the National Capital Region then which did the maintenance of motorized tricycles.

The trisikad is a modification of the common bicycle. This is a proof of the ingenuity of the Filipinos by making something better out of an ordinary bike.  By adding another wheel, a bench for two or three persons and a little roof just over the heads of the passengers, the bicycle can already be used as a means for earning money. Instead of only carrying one person, the trisikad can carry three passengers.

You can find trisikads almost everywhere in Cebu, be it in the busy city or in the far provinces. In Metro Cebu, however, trisikads are kept in the small streets and residential areas that don’t cause too much traffic or motorists. This is to ensure the safety of the drivers and of the passengers. They are also used to ferry passengers with cargoes that are too heavy to hand carry.

It’s also dubbed as a poor man’s taxi. Since the fare is cheap, those people who cannot afford riding a taxi but wants to get to their destination the easy way can opt for the trisikads. In Cebu, the fare is usually from P5 to P15 per person depending on the distance. You can also get the trisikad for yourself, without waiting for another passenger to fill in. They call this pakyaw. You’ll have to pay a bigger amount though. But this is definitely quicker. It is best to be extra careful about the fare, as some drivers may trick you. So, make sure that you ask for the fare before you ride.

What’s interesting with trisikads is that drivers try to dress them up and customize them. Some drivers express their creativity with their own ride that they use colorful paints on them to make them even more pleasing. They also try to maintain their trisikads, despite their financial problems. There are even those who put stereos to keep the passengers entertained and colorful umbrellas to make them comfortable.