On the Coastal road to Naic, Cavite, last Saturday, I saw these funky passenger transport vehicles in Imus, Cavite. They were smaller than a bus but larger than a jeepney, and as flamboyantly decorated with folk art. Let us call them “beeps”.
Beeps have the characteristic artwork common to jeeps – the “title” on the signage above the windshield; the names of the owner and his family painted all over the vehicle; and colorful motifs.
The design on the back of this beep reminds me of Hawaiian quilt appliques.
This artwork shows Mickey Mouse as a cruise director – implying, perhaps, that this beep is your own cruise ship to your destination.
The backs of beeps, like taxicabs, often bear the names of the owner’s wife and children and some motif that has special meaning for them. The splashguard at the bottom will often have either the name of a patron saint or some quotation.
This beep’s rear splashguard bears a quote about love. Filipinos are, in general, a romantic folk. Why the matching prawns? No idea. I saw several beeps with the prawns.
The airbrushed art on this beep is eye-catching. Note the color-coordinated passersby. Photography is a serendipitous activity.
Motifs from popular culture are often used. This is an anime-decorated beep. The side panel shows characters from “Kingdom Hearts”.
The bishop’s miter and crook are also common motifs for Cavite beep artwork. The back art of this one – a guardian angel watching over two children crossing a log footbridge – is beautifully and painstakingly rendered.
Since beeps have more surface area than jeeps, there is more scope for folk artists to let their creativity run free in creating large designs. This kind of art work, executed on a moving canvas, reaches a wider audience than if it were just hung on the wall.