One of the old radio jingles that lurk unforgotten in my mind is the one for Briggs and Stratton, the indefatigable motor that powered the fishing boats, also known as “pumpboats”, I got to know early in my life while living in Mactan, Cebu. The jingle goes “Briggs and Stratton, Makinang Maton” – the Filipino translation of “mean machine.”

I’m not even sure that the latter-day boats were still powered by Briggs and Stratton, but perhaps not, because of either the scarcity or expensiveness of briggs parts from the point of view of a simple net fisherman. Nevertheless the sound of the bancas powering up breaking the still of early morning is a sound to be remembered.

I found other manifestations of this motor also in forms of transportation mostly in the rural areas. The kuliglig, for example, is a vehicle composed of a two-wheeled trailer pulled by a two wheeled tractor similar to a rotary tiller. It is powered by multi-purpose diesel or gasoline engine, commonly used in the provinces of the Philippines.

This style has morphed into a pedicab as well. I have seen some plying the side streets of Metro Manila.

Whatever transmutation this motor may have undergone is a tribute to the Pinoy’s imagination and ingenuity.

Makinang Maton (Mean Machine)

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