…honest kutsero of Luneta
By Apolinario B Villalobos
At dawn, from his humble home in Caloocan
He diligently pedals his way to Luneta
The same he does when he goes home at night
But all these he does with unpretentious delight.
In Luneta, for years, he worked as kutsero
Guiding his tame horse, he fondly calls Rapido
Both of them braving the rain and searing sun
Even pangs of hunger as best as they can.
A typical Filipino, this guy – Jaime Mayor
For earning honestly, he could not ask for more
With perpetual smile on his sun-burned face
He and Rapido, in Luneta, strollers can’t miss.
One day, his honesty was put to a test
When a purse was left behind by a tourist
Whom he pursued just before she was gone
And who was amazed by such an honest man.
Tightly he was hugged and praised to heavens
In a language that sounded strange to him
But just the same, these he took in stride
Though, his appreciation, he could not hide.
He said, he is proud to be a Filipino
And proud that he lives in a beautiful country
His modest knowledge of English, then…
Is always ended with –
“It’s more fun to be in the Philippines”!
(Jaime Mayor is a driver (kutsero) of a horse-driven rig (kalesa) in Luneta (Rizal Park) of Manila. His average daily earning is Php200.00. This is carefully budgeted to suffice for the needs of his wife and four children. One day he drove around the park, four French ladies, one of whom left her purse in the back seat of the rig. After finding it, he took time in looking for the group. The ladies were surprised as they were not aware that one of them left her purse in the rig. The amazed owner of the purse gave him a tight hug. On September 13, 2012, the Rizal Park administration gave him a plaque of appreciation.
After three years, I finally met Jaime Mayor. On December 27, 2015, a Sunday, while I was gathering materials for blogging, I happened to talk to a rig driver if he knew Mr. Mayor. He nonchalantly pointed to the rig that just passed by. I practically ran after the rig up to its unloading station where he obliged some photo opportunities.
Mr. Mayor is among the rig drivers of Castillan Carriage and Tour Sevices which is based at Fort Santiago. According to Mr. Herson Magtalas, Checker/Operations Coordinator of the said agency, despite the popularity of Mr. Mayor, he remained humble as the nationwide recognition given him did not affect him a bit. He is still the same guy whom they knew – unassuming, hardworking and a man of few words. Mr. Magtalas added that the former Department of Tourism, Mr. Gordon gave him profuse praises, and the same recognition was followed by other government officials. He was also given a spot in a commercial, the earning from which helped his family a lot.)