Stylish Bamboo Taxis from the Philippines

Rustico Balderian, municipal mayor of Tabontabon, decided to design and build a vehicle to become the main mode of transport. However, he felt the vehicle should meet the following 4 criteria: low-cost, fuel-efficient, safe, and environmentally-friendly.

Tabontabon is located about 30 kilometers south of Tacloban City in the province of Leyte, Philippines. Tabontabon is home to 10,000 people with about 1,500 households. 90% of the population have rice farms as their main source of income. The town is the center of six other municipalities: Dagami, Dulag, Tanauan, Tolosa, Julita, and Burauen.

Bamboo is indigenous and renewable.  It  is stronger in tensile strength than steel.  These bamboo cars are 90% made of bamboo and run fully on coco-biodiesel.  Out-of-school youths of Tabontabon are the main manufacturers of these bamboo cars.

Source:  TOTI Eco via Inhabitat

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

14 responses to “Stylish Bamboo Taxis from the Philippines

  • Daisy Rhoades

    Very good specially if it is employing the local youth. More power to you…


    How inspiring it is to hear great news coming from a hidden place in a far flung town of the province of Leyte, TABONTABON. We need community leaders like you who could contribute a lot in building up a more progressive & better Philippines. Your achievement has been marked in many parts of the world through media and the cyberworld. Congratulations & more power to you Sir & of course to your constituents. Yours is the future for a more successful Tabontabon & the Philippines as well. Bravo. . . .

  • a certified tabontabonan

    it’s been a while that we have heard any news from tabontabon leyte…I was born and raised in that small place…i saw the gradual development of tabon, from infrastructures, small business rises to increased number of professionals…however these professionals (just like me) preferred to work and live in other places as they offer better opportunities not to mention the salary…but it is inspiring to know that some people go back to their roots, share and offer their expertise and knowledge and have the desire to uplift the lives of tabontabonanons…this bamboo car is a symbol of creativity, inspiration, unity and one goal…. that is for the development of every individual…. and hope that future generations will benefit from this…this is also a wake up call ha aton na mga taga tabon to start appreciating what resources we…
    I too congratulate and salute Mayor Toti Balderian for his endeavors….what we can do is to support him kay para man gihap ini ha aton…..God speed………..

  • Tom Lamas

    Filipinos have the inguinity, as proven here it needs the support of the government and private sector to encourage Filipino scentists and engineers espcially this eco taxis which is made by youngsters. Where is the engine made from? Im guessing it must be from Japan. But this is a good start for a Filipino made and designed car. This project should be expanded and can be exported to Southeast Asian countries.

  • marlon raquel

    Great job, Mayor! Kunta damo pa nga mga proyekto it makikita ha Tabontabon. It’s been years and years since this municipality has been stagnant.

  • caroline paner braggio

    I f ever I want to purchase one How much is it?I’m planning to use it in Liloan Cebu,city.

  • Secretlee

    Australia, up north, could definately use these too. I wonder if it would be difficult to start a sister manufacturing plant in either the Territory or Queensland? Capital can be found in many places for an excellent idea like this. Its been a while since I’ve come across an idea so humble, yet so grand. I’m sure the Filipino town could benefit from exporting either the vehicles or the idea.

    I wonder if Mayor Toti Balderian is aware of the beginnings of worldwide recognition he’s recieving here at Matangmanok? And how long before vehicles like these are no longer a novel idea, but essential transportation for tropical suburban environments?

    Anyone got the specs for this? What sort of fuel does it use? Fuel consumption? Electric or the possiblity of an alternate energy source? Does it come in 4WD? Many questions. Interesting… Very interesting and very well done. Congrats.

  • Secretlee

    Apologies if I have the Mayor’s name wrong, I am still trying to figure it out. Claim ignorant Aussie, and will improve my Filipino as soon as Jim starts teaching me?

  • Secretlee

    Now I know what Coco-biodiesel is. I thought it was part of the bamboo, DOH. I am reading up on different fuels. Sounds perfect!

  • Secretlee

    Ok, after looking around, I found the “Bamgoo”, which is a Japanese made bamboo electric car, that looks more like a golf buggy and I also found cars made by Citroen and Peugot, partially from Hemp. Does anyone know the difference in quality or durability between hemp and bamboo? Also, I cant seem to find anywhere what the top speed of the Bamboo taxi is? It has been quoted over and over that the taxi has “low speed” but no specifics so far. Does anyone know? Could the bamboo taxi be converted to 4WD? Could either, or a combination, of hemp and bamboo become the “new steel”? What about the plastic coating that is (?) used on the outside of the bamboo?

    The negative reactions to the Bamboo taxi, introduced by Mayor Rustico Balderian (got it right this time!), seem largely based on the concept of coco-biodiesel and the questionable logic of using another food source as fuel. Does this logic mean that we should no longer use coconut oil on our skin, in our hair shampoo, or any other of the many uses for coconuts? (No more coconut shell bikini’s?)

    With their GM monopoly creeping, largely unnoticed like a killer vine to control our world crop, seed and pesticide markets, I would be very interested to know what the US based company Monsanto has to say? Its clear, that with the world demand of oil on the verge of exceeding supply, we will need to come up with some type of alternate newable energy source – and FAST. I wonder about the validity of arguments based on using food sources as fuel, when our entire economy could be on the verge of collapse? This may sound alarmist, but its fairly logical, oil is increasing in cost of production with the “peak” of worldwide oil production long past in 1964, supply is depleting rapidly, so, fuel will become scarce on a worldwide scale, meaning no trucks to transport our food. Doesnt it make sense to use a food source as fuel if we cannot come up with anything better in the very near future?

    If anyone can point me in the right direction for further research, I’d appreciate it. I’m finding it hard to find credible and unbiased sources of information about this. Thanks!

  • tincup

    I wonder how dependable the bamboo taxi is after a typhoon or just a heavy down pour and how long do you think the pile of sticks last…..You are all dreamers….I lived and grew up in Tabontabon, to me the roads will shake it apart.

  • Secretlee

    Welcome Tinpot!

    A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. ~Oscar Wilde

    I guess we are all dreamers. Shame you do not know the joys… All the best Tincan, I sincerely hope that one day, you will dream too.


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