art on the move

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.

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7 Comments on art on the move

  1. TAO
    7 April 2009 at 12:30 pm (4013 days ago)

    Wow! That is great. You would never see attention like that lavished on such a vehicle in this country. Possibly folks here don’t see them as so important to their livelihood and as an expression of their existence. Thanks yet again for the fascinating post (at least to someone sitting way out this way). :D

  2. naic cavite online
    7 April 2009 at 3:04 pm (4013 days ago)

    cool blog, great pics… cavite calls that vehicle as “baby bus” or “mini bus” :)

  3. Jenny
    7 April 2009 at 3:20 pm (4013 days ago)

    @TAO: Glad you like it! I’m glad you found it interesting. :)

    @Naic Cavite Online: Thanks for the info! :)

  4. wella
    8 April 2009 at 7:00 am (4012 days ago)

    Remarkable! Excellent commentary with the wonderful photos. These are a relatively recent phenomenon? They didn’t have these when I was still living in the Philippines.

  5. Jenny
    8 April 2009 at 10:43 am (4012 days ago)

    @Wella: thanks, I’m happy you liked the article and photos. These baby buses are in Cavite. None in Manila. :)

  6. Joel
    9 April 2009 at 9:23 pm (4010 days ago)

    Jenny, your beep photos makes me nostalgic for Manila jeepneys. Nice shots….! and great penmanship…..too!

  7. Sam
    18 March 2010 at 5:04 pm (3668 days ago)

    These baby buses have been around since the ’80s. At least that is what one of the drivers told me when I asked him.

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