I’d heard of the tri-annual wooden scooter race as part of the Imbayah (Merrymaking) Festival at Banaue, but while the very idea of a race down the mountains on scooters made entirely of wood (even the wheels) was certainly fascinating in and of itself, most pictures showed the scooters to be simple affairs, built for speed and not aesthetic value.
Then as I trawled the web, I saw this beauty – and my jaw dropped. Ladies and gentlemen, meet “Bangkiki”:
(click for a larger image. Trust me, you want to see the larger image.)
Bangkiki is the creation of Vincent Dinundon (from what I can gather, the president of the BANAUE RICE TERRACES WOODEN SCOOTER ORGANIZATION). According to an article by Gio. A. Tuazon, the scooter was carved out of hardwood and coated in black, from the wooden wheels to the horse figurehead and the rather imposing mohawk head atop the handlebars. He sold it to Governor Mark Lapid of Pampanga (for just 8 grand @_@) in the hopes of getting a viewdeck created to serve as a showroom for their wooden scooters.
For the privilege of owning that unique piece of art, I certainly hope the BRTWSO got a viewdeck (or two). While the scooters would be a bit bulky for a souveneir, anything crafted as well as Bangkiki is definitely worthy of display (I mean, really, how many Mercedes Benzes does a body need, oh affluent rich?). Supposedly when the race occurs, there is a thriving market for the wooden scooters used, but personally I’d rather shell out for something like Bangkiki (which is basically a sculpture on wheels).
For those interested, I found a youtube video of the race (but listen to it without the volume – the siren of the police escort is annoying as hell):
The race itself seems interesting – if a tad slow; aren’t they allowed to kick at the ground to gain more speed? It may just be the cynic in me talking, but as much as I love the concept of a downhill wooden scooter race, it might be better for them to try to liven it up a bit somehow (it is a sign of both my age and my mentality that I found myself thinking Road Rash as I watched the video).
Wooden Scooter Race: A Tribute to Filipino Ingenuity (also the source of the photo) – I wonder what that “secret” story is, which was the inspiration for naming the scooter Bangkiki.
Yabadabadoo industry in Ifugao booming – a rather misleading headline after watching the video @_@