Pasagad | Museo ng kaalamang Katutubo (@muskkat)

Pasagad (Paragos, Garusa, Tangkla)

Coming and going

Road woes in the Philippines are not of today or the recent past only but are centuries-old. Infrastructure during the Spanish colonial period was wanting. Some roads were of cobblestone or wooden brick, but ordinary throughways were simply tamped-down dirt. Though some provinces benefited from arched stone spans, populations in other provinces had to make do with bamboo and wooden bridges. Wars waged since 1896 in the country destroyed whatever travel-worthy roads and bridges there were.

During the early decade of the American period, the civil authorities attributed fretful travel and transport to the effects of the annual rainfall, the temporary character of roads and bridges, and inadequate financing for new construction and repairs, though they did start to install new road surfaces. People and produce had to go and be conveyed from place to place by and through existing trails, roads, and bridges, using any (or a combination) of the following: the heavy bull cart; the quilez, a two-wheeled cart; the carromata, a horse-drawn two-wheeled gig; the canga, a native cart; the tartanilla, a horse-drawn two-wheeled carriage; the carretón or karitón, a wagon; pasagád, a.k.a. paragos, garusa or tangkla, a mud sled or mud boat.

Pack animals were commissioned for produce and other goods when simple conveyances were ineffective. In some places, however, especially during the wet season, horses, ponies, carabaos, and oxen were unable to negotiate the travel routes. Human brawn had to take over. In Luzon’s north, in Lepanto-Bontoc and Benguet, for example, nine-tenths of the work was done by Bontoc and Ibaloy cargadores. Not infrequently, folks in Nueva Ecija, and in Surigao and Iligan in Mindanao resorted to carrying their own load themselves.
People and goods on a carabao-drawn mud sled/mud boat.
From The Philippines Past and Present
(Two volumes)
Dean C. Worcester
Macmillan Company, NY. 1921
Private Collection

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