Inday Hami/Joy says: this is one of the best researches this semester. unfortunately, i can’t upload the pictures now. i don’t know what’s wrong. so for now, you’ll just have to imagine Patoo Wheel’s jeepneys.
By Lyra Roxette L. Granada*
Differently designed jeepneys can be found almost everywhere in Iloilo. The unique thing about them is that you probably cannot find one jeepney designed exactly the same as another. Each jeepney is evidence to the artistic ability of its designer and fabricator. That is why jeepney making is considered to be one of the products of Filipino, particularly the Ilonggo’s ingenuity. Knowing this, I became interested to learn more about jeepney making, and by doing research on Patoo Wheel Motors of Oton, Iloilo, it will give me more information on it.
I chose to study this shop because whenever I go to Oton to visit my grandmother, I usually find myself riding a jeepney made by Patoo Wheel Motors. I wanted to find out more information about the said shop so I went to Brgy. Trapiche, Oton where the shop is located. Oton is a place known for its jeepney making industry and Patoo Wheel Motors is a byname. The shop is popular in assembling and designing not only Oton-bound jeepneys but also jeepneys bound for Villa, Jaro, Leganes, and Mandurriao.
It is Mang Domingo Noviza who owns the said shop. He is the one who manages and at the same time assembles and designs the jeepneys. It was in 1960’s that his father namely Casiano started to build jeepneys as a source of income for the family. Mang Domingo, together with his parents and six brothers were residing at Miag-ao during this time. Before, his father was a mechanic who worked in a certain shop in Miag-ao doing assembly and repairs. His father then decided to put up his own shop. Because of this, Mang Domingo’s father was able to finance the education of all his children.
While Mang Domingo’s five siblings are all professionals and are presently residing abroad, it is he who decided that after finishing his course on Marine Engineering, he would not work on a ship. He just preferred to help his father with the business since he is the only one among his siblings skilled enough to do assembly and designs on jeepneys. It could be said that he inherited the skill of his father.
Eventually, Mang Domingo put up his own jeepney shop in Oton. It was in 1990 that he moved there where his relatives his the mother’s side reside. He named his shop Patoo Wheel Motors after his fondness for the way a duck walks. Pato is hiligaynon for duck and he just stylized it to Patoo. The logo for this is a duck inside a steering wheel. He started his business having only two workers to help him.
Today, given only four assistants, Mang Domingo is mostly the one doing assembly, designs, and repairs of each jeep. He really enjoys doing these things.
As I gained more interest in the study, I make some comparisons between Patoo Wheel Motors and Pasajero Sosyal. I wanted to find out the similarities and differences of the jeepneys of both known shops in Iloilo.
Patoo uses light engine such as Kia and Hyundai while Sosyal uses heavy duty engines such as Mitsubishi and Isuzu. Patoo jeepneys have short distance routes (usually just around Iloilo City up to Oton, Villa or Mandurriao. On the other hand, Sosyal jeepneys do long distance travel such as the 40 km. Iloilo City-Miagao route. So, the engine should be suited based on the distance traveled. Both shops base the form of the jeepney hoods on latest car models such as Toyota and Subaru. Both also place different designs on sidewalls reflecting the nature of the work of owners of the jeepneys who are mostly OFWs.
Most jeepneys built by Patoo have a capacity of 22 seaters while that of Sosyal has 26 seaters. A Patoo jeepney is 5.5 m long, 1.52 m wide, and has a height of 1.48 m from the ground while a Sosyal jeepney is 8.8 m long, 1.7 m wide, and has a height of 1.62 m from the ground. Patoo jeepneys are smaller and lower than Sosyals.
Sosyal places its shop name mostly on the running board of the jeep while Patoo places its name and logo on sidewalls. Sosyal places the name of the owner and his/her children mostly above the windshield, mudguard and bumper while the other shop places them mostly on the running board.
Unlike Pasajero Sosyal, whose brand name is painted in large script, Patoo’s isn’t that conspicuous since the Mang Domingo wants it simple.
Mang Domingo, he told me that it takes 3 months to finish assembling and embellishing one brand new jeep. Doing the job requires at least 3 workers. Pasajero Sosyal can finish the job in 2 months since it has many workers.
It was in 1997 that Mang Domingo considered his business to be most profitable. His business was growing because of increasing demand for passenger jeepneys as the number of OFWs increased. OFWs would buy a jeepney either for remembrance of their hardwork abroad and as a source of extra income for the family.
I asked Mang Domingo what else he could obtain in this business aside from earning money. He, in reply, simply said that he really likes making jeepneys especially the part when he designs them. He said “Loving your job and achieving enjoyment out of it really counts when you’re into business.”
His business really helped him improve his standards of living. He was able to build a big house, own a car and 4 passenger jeepneys. These jeepneys represent his 4 children. One jeepney per child. You’ll see the name on the windshield of each. Mang Domingo’s Patoo Wheels also finances the education of all his children: Jane who is the eldest studies nursing at St. Pauls University, Tanya at Sta. Maria Catholic School (Ateneo de Iloilo), Martin at John B. Lacson Maritime University, and Kleron (youngest) at Immaculate Concepcion School in Oton.
Mang Domingo is now 52 yrs. old and still continues making jeepneys. He said that as long as he still has the physical strength to run Patoo Wheel Motors, he will continue to do so for it is something he truly enjoys.
About the Author:
Lyra Roxette L. Granada is a 2nd year BS in Accountancy student of UPV. She is a Mindanaoan from
Lanao del Norte. She is presently residing at UPV Balay Ilonggo dorm in City campus.