MacArthur Highway – Street photography

The following text is excerpted from Wikipedia’s article on MacArthur’s Highway. I recommend reading it if you have more interest. All photographs are my own and are copyrighted.  Please do not reproduce in any other media or social media without permission.  Fell free to post links to this post.   Most are taken in the area of Tarlac City, Tarlac Province.  All captions are my personal commentary.   

“MacArthur Highway was built in sections beginning in 1928 during the American colonial period. It followed much of the route of the old Manila Railroad line from Manila to Dagupan. It was named Highway 3 and was also called Route 3 in early U.S. military records. The highway eventually reached the Ilocos provinces in the north and became known as the Manila North Road spanning a distance of over 500 km (310 mi).

On June 17, 1961, the section of the Manila North Road between Manila and Pangasinan was renamed in honor of the Liberator of the Philippines during World War II, General Douglas MacArthur.”

The following photos were taken along MacArthur Highway as it passes through Tarlac City, Tarlac province.

Workers riding on top of truck load - Tarlac City, Philippines.

It’s quite common to see full trucks or vehicles with workers riding on top. A regular site


A thumbs up of sorts, for taking his photo. Many Filipinos love to have their photos taken. A foreigner with an obvious good camera will often result with a call out “Sir” and then they strike a pose.


While there are plenty of cars, Trikes and Jeepney are common forms of transportation. The trike, is one of the most common used for school kids to get to and from school, if the family can afford it. The other option is walking. I have seen as many as 4-5 kids squeezed into a trike side car and 2 more riding behind the motorcycle operator.


American pop culture is well entrenched within the Philippines and can be seen in one form or another in most places.


Little Road side stands are prevalent along most major roads and side streets. This one is quite small, but provides a small variety of snacks and beverages at a very affordable price. The older lady smiling and waving is the owner, and the security guard is the customer.


Truck full? No room inside? Just make yourself comfortable on top. And no, that pink drape is not a fashion statement. Filipinos are quite willing to use anything at hand, and in this case the drape provides protection from sun, road dirt and debris.


Sir, sir… and when the camera is raised strike a pose. This at a local car service center. The philippines is photo crazy and one of the world “selfie” capitals.

It is amazing what can be fitted onto the side are of a small 125-150 cc motorcycle. Obviously a lot of though and planning goes into the load.

It is amazing what can be fitted onto the side are of a small 125-150 cc motorcycle. Obviously a lot of though and planning goes into the load. Vendors from the outer provinces will often bring their wares into the cities, to sell them.


This is a classic road side “Sari Sari” store. Basically a variety convenience store that tries to provide many types of needs. A well ran Sari Sari store can provide some good income if it is in an accessible location. You will find them all over the place. Yes they have the big chains like 7-11, but family Sari Sari stores provide a more diverse variety and usually at lower prices.

Even in small towns and cities, well outside of Manila, traffic can sometimes be "intense".

Even in small towns and cities, well outside of Manila, traffic can sometimes be “intense”.

Hot Wheels Jeepney in Tarlac City.

Another example of American Pulp Cultures presence in the Philippines. Hot Wheels Jeepney in Tarlac City.


No he wasn’t scowling at me. Rather a moment later he pulled down his scarf and waved and smiled. Note again, the random pieces of clothing and materials that are used as protection from sun, dirt and road debris. You will see a lot of trike drivers with a shirt worn backwards or just the sleeves for protection. Not fancy but it works.


Yep, catch a ride wherever you can.


And if it isn’t passengers, then its equipment. The Venerable “Trike” a small motorcycle with side care has many uses both personal, family and public. Again note the informal protective clothing.


Sometimes it is difficult to tell where the traffic ends and parking begins. There are rules of the road, but really just they are suggestions.

Feel free to leave  comments or suggestions.

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