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Kalesa (sometimes called a karitela) is a horse-driven carriage used in the Philippines. The word predates the Spanish conquest and descends ultimately from an Old Church Slavonic word meaning "wheels." This was one of the modes of transportation introduced in the Philippines in the 18th century. They are rarely used in the streets nowadays except in tourist spots and some rural areas.

A kalesa looks like an inclined cart popularized during Spanish occupation as a method of transportation. It has two round wheels on each side and two rows of seats that can accommodate four persons. The driver sits in a block of wood hosted over the tip of the cart near the horse.

Levi Celerio, a National Artist of the Philippines in music, composed a song about the Kalesa.

Kalesas can still be found in Intramuros, Manila, Binondo and nearby streets and also in Iligan City, where there is a street where adorned kalesas can be taken for a ride.


  • "Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua española" by Guido Gómez de Silva (ISBN 968-16-2812-8)

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