Jeepney Factory, Sarao Motors

I have always loved Jeepney steeds. 

There are so many things I am in love with about The Philippines. I love suman, palitaw, the warm culture, baskets, bags, textiles, people, places the list can go on. I created a list of experiences I want to have to deepen my understanding of these things I love. For example, I want to know where our rice comes from so we have gone to Banaue and recently IRRI. I don’t want to just eat suman, I want to make. I want to sit side by side a tita and have her teach me the art of suman. I have been to Baguio and Ilocos to see the sacred art of weaving, I don’t just want the inabel or textile I want to experience the art! I don’t want to just ride a jeepney, although I would settle at driving one, I want to see how they are made and where they come from. So, my adventurer friend and I packed the kids up and headed to Sarao Motors for a day tour of a jeepney factory. dsc00850A little history about Sarao, it really is fascinating. The current owner is the son of the founder. He was super friendly and it was so cool to actually meet the man! He even took photos of our kids visiting and emailed them to me. So cool!

The company was first established as a small automotive shop in 1953 by starting entrepreneur Leonardo Sarao, a mechanic and a former calesa driver. From an initial budget of 700, the company grew into a multimillion corporation. At its peak, the ratio of Sarao jeepneys rolling the streets of Manila outnumbered other names by nearly 7 to 1, the name Sarao became synonymous with the vehicle.

Courtesty of Wikipedia. 

Guys, Sarao Motors really is a cool place. It really is a workshop. They were super accommodating but don’t expect it to be a museum or have a tour guide, they are working. Visiting was super easy to arrange via FB and free! You can see how accomodating they were in the photos below, our kids were seriously everywhere.

Like so many others, I have long appreciated the art and detail of the jeepney, it stands out as the iconic symbol of The Philippines. The detail in the jeepney art is remarkable and there is so much you have to really take your time to notice it all. It is everywhere! On top of the jeepney, the lights, the side panels even the metal frames for added detail. Obviously, there is so much pride in these vessels.

There were a number of jeepneys on display but more so being improved and created. The rich color The Philippines is reflected in the art of the jeepney, I love it!

As mentioned before, the beginning of Sarao Motors started with a kalesa, this kalesa!

The workshop was about half a block long. Towards the front were already finished jeepneys, those on display and others that needed minimal repairs. The back half of the workshop was starting from the ground up. I loved seeing the hands of these craftsmen work, repair and create. There was a section for motors, painting, welding, upholstery and so on.

The wood plank with different paint markings is where the panels of the jeepneys hang as they are being painted. Also, if there is a seamstress anywhere I will find them! I couldn’t believe this humble mans job. He was an artist who sat at his sewing machine and created panels to be upholstered. The long benches are stuffed with a type of hay and then upholstered.

Mr. Sarao and myself. 
Oh yes we did have a McDo picnic in the middle of a jeepney factory. 🙂 

Things To Know:

  • Sarao Motors Inc. 249 Pulang Lupa, Zapote. Las Pinas
    Las Piñas, Rizal, Philippines
  • We got a bit lost so please use this map and make sure your pin matches this photo. Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 4.19.59 PM.png
  • Sarao Motors is super responsive on FB messenger and I suggest giving them a heads up you are coming.
  • Dress your kids in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Your kids will most definitely get dirty. There is a bathroom there but it is definitely what you would expect a workshop bathroom to look like.
  • There is a McDo just around the corner if you get hungry. There are multiple tables and the workers did not mind that we used them.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. vinneve says:

    My father owns a jeepney when I was a little girl and finally sold it after I finished highschool. It served it’s purpose well. I heard from a grape vine that Suzuki is copying it’s style but don’t know what had happened after that.


    1. amber says:

      Super fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

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