Aboriginal Tribe In The Philippines Carves Ornate Scooters From Trees And Races Them


A tribe that is native to the Philippines known as the Igorot has drawn the attention of the world with their ability to carve items from wood- including scooters.

According to igorotage.com, their name means ‘mountain people’ in their native tongue of Tagalog and was given to them in the 16th century by invaders from Spain.

The irony of the name was that it was meant to be derogatory for an uncivilized people who were said to be unable to positively contribute to modern society.

The Igorot is presently gaining attention for their ability to carve scooters from trees. The ability to do so has been passed on as a tradition through multiple generations of the tribe and the world is a better place for it.

The bicycles each represent the style and artistic nature of its owner, and is made completely from the carved tree. The vehicles are all two-wheeled and have been carved in images like horses, dragons, and lions.

The scooters can reach speeds up to 25 MPH and are a little tricky to ride since they do not possess advanced braking systems. The scooters are slowed when the rider presses down on a wooden petal that is connected to a piece of tire. The friction slows the bicycle down until the rider can use his feet.

The riders do not use any type of gear to protect their head or any other part of their bodies. It is a tribal event for drivers to show-off their bicycles to other tribe members and riders often don festive gear before riding as a group.

Richard Haw is the photographer that caught the ride of a group of Igolot one day and took the photos in the article.

Haw has lived in the area for some time and is familiar with the culture. He says he does not believe the wooden bicycles have been the cause of many fatalities but notes there are many deep scars on the legs of the riders.

“When they race through the town, it is a chance to show off their scooters which is a source of pride for the carver.”

“… it just so happens that I had my camera on hand and snapped the cowboy-inspired scooter zooming downhill. Owning a motorcycle is considered a status symbol for people of a humble background. Since most of them do not really earn enough to afford the real thing they would just make imitations of scooters by whatever means they have.”

So what do you think of these creative bikes?