Technology has advanced at an extremely fast rate in the 21st century; the century of innovation. These innovations have drastically changed people’s lives all over the world. Many things of which we thought couldn’t be possible back in the 1990s are now a reality.
These developments also happened in the Philipines, where a special tribe has been turning modern items such as bicycles into creative pieces of art.
Igorot-Garonne, an aborigine tribe, has used their wood-carving skills to the fullest. They have carved modern bikes into beautiful wooden pieces of art and they participate in street races with these bikes. Animals head such as that of a horse, dragon or lion can be seen at the steering wheel of the vehicles.
Richard Haw, photographer, has caught these street races on camera when the bicycle “gang” arrived in the town of Batad.
Haw said: “I was walking to my truck in the town when we were treated to the spectacle and 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.”
The men raced each other downhill and reached speeds up to 25mph only wearing their traditional highlander g-string, called Bahag, and red robe which signifies that they below to the same tribe. They didn’t even wear any protective gear.
Haw, currently living in Tokyo, added: “I have not heard of any fatalities or accidents while people have been using the bikes, but looking at their legs you can see deep scars and I can imagine that it might have come from this.”
They can slow their speed by stepping on a wooden pedal which in turn puts pressure on a piece of a thick recycled tire. The bicycle will slow down sufficiently and the driver’s feet can do the rest.
Haw, whose wife Elaine is also a part-Igorot, said: “When they race through the town, it is a chance to show off their scooters which is a source of pride for the carver.”