Note from MindanaoBob
As I have previously announced, this is the 10th Anniversary of LiP, and I have invited back some previous writers on the site to give us an update about how they are doing, what they are up to and how their lives are going.
In that interest, I would like to welcome back The Cordillera Cowboy, Pete McKee. I always find a bit of a romanticism in that name “Cordillera Cowboy” and I have always found Pete to be a very genuine person. Pete has written on the site from time to time over the years, and his contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your anniversary contribution, Pete!
One of the things I like about Live in the Philippines Web Magazine is that the articles and comments often cause me to think about things. Usually that’s a good thing, and doesn’t cause too much havoc. Such is the case here lately. There have been a few articles and comments about folk’s preference for a simple provincial life. There was also another article about riding the jeepney. Some folks commented that they like them. Others said that the jeepnies were mechanically unsafe and that they wouldn’t ride them. The train of thought all of this sent me on ran straight through the Province and toward one of the vehicles I encountered there. That is the trusty 6X6 truck of the mountains.
I encountered this one while we were doing some building on our ranch in Nueva Vizcaya. The project involved moving a small wooden building from the neighboring property over to ours. It was a relatively simple operation, just take it apart, get the pieces over to our place, and put them back together.
Our initial plan was to move the disassembled pieces by dragging them with hired carabaos. But, as often happens when you’re involved in a project in the Philippines, someone you know, knows someone, whose cousins brother-in-law knows someone who has EXACTLY what you need! Enter Jun, and his 6X6 truck. These 6X6 trucks are used extensively in the mountains for off road type work. Our project fit the bill perfectly.
For those who may not know, 6X6 refers to the number of wheels on the vehicle, by the number of wheels that the transmission can send power to. For instance, the 4X4 designation is for the familiar 4 wheel drive pickup trucks and jeeps. The 6X6 has 2 axles in back and 1 in front with 6 wheels altogether. There is a transfer case that allows the driver to shift power to all 6 wheels. Jun’s truck appears to have started its life as a military vehicle. It certainly resembles the M35A2 deuce and a half truck that many of us old Army guys remember.
Now for the part that seems to make many westerners a bit squeamish. Jun’s truck would never pass even the most lenient of road safety inspections. If it ever had a roof over the cab, there is no sign of it now. There are 5 gallon jerry cans and barrels mounted on the outside at various places. One of these has a garden hose connected to it that feeds into the engine compartment. I presume this enabled him to add water to the radiator without having to fight with the rusty hood.
But the real testament to Jun’s provincial ingenuity can be seen in the wheel hubs of his truck. The hub, or the inside of any automotive wheel, contains bearings and other moving parts that must stay lubricated. Otherwise, the parts will grind together and the wheel will destroy itself from the inside. The lubricant must be contained inside the hub, and protected from outside dirt and grit. This is the function of the hub cap. The factory made hub caps on Jun’s truck were long gone. In their place was plastic bags, tied expertly in place with lacing wire.
In spite of all these perceived deficiencies, Jun drove his truck with no problems from somewhere up in Ifugau province to our place, outside Solano. The truck performed admirably all through our project, and I have no complaints. In fact, rather than complain about any shortcomings, I admire the resourcefulness of the people who keep these vehicles moving and earning money for their owners. So here’s to life in the Province, including all those jeepney drivers and the intrepid mountaineers with their 6X6 trucks!