By Ameerah R. de los Santos, April Tornea, and Xyrelle F. Ymasa

Note: This is a paper produced under the Internship Program of the IA Center for Intramuros Studies.


This paper discusses the role of kutseros and the horse-drawn carriages also what we call kalesa following the Intramuros’ image. It proposes the narratives of kutsero community and how their job is significant to the institution’s popularity. Given its historical significance, how kalesa was introduced by the Spaniards in the 18th century and how cocheros treated in the period of American colonial ruling. This paper used Situated Learning theory and Community of Practice developed by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, which the acquisition of knowledge relies to the social interactions. To understand the kutseros’ narrative and experience, this paper used interview as a method of data gathering. Through this process, the researchers found out that the kutseros not only filled with the experience they gained from their family background but also learned how to manage horses from feeding to taming them. They also gained additional knowledge from the seminars conducted by the Department of Tourism as well as were guided by the Intramuros Administration. This paper was able to modify the importance of kutsero as a job and how these profound actors help reshape Intramuros’ image.

Keywords: Kutsero; kutsero community; kalesa; Intramuros; Situated Learning Theory and Community Practice.

To get a copy of the paper email [email protected]

About the Interns

This research paper was completed in September 2021 under the internship of Ameerah R. de los Santos, April Tornea, and Xyrelle F. Ymasa

Ameerah R. Delos Santos is currently an undergraduate History Major student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila (PUP). As university scholar, she has huge interests in the fields of film history, social history, and cultural studies. Her researches dwell on the pre-colonial Philippines, 20th century Southeast Asia, and Heritage preservation. She also experienced doing an ethnography about the Lumad and the Buddhist Temple in Manila.

Testimonial: “During my time in the internship, we were able to produce a paper focusing on the kutseros of the walled city. I have learned a lot in this internship, especially about the institution’s history and its systems and operations. I personally enjoyed being an intern in the institution even in the work- from-home set-up, although admittedly, I am hoping for a face-to-face internship but due to the current situation, it is impossible to happen. But nonetheless, I gained a lot from this internship, from the numerous electronic books and journals that were generously given to us by our advisor Mr. John Arcilla, but also I gained a work experience that exposed me how I could help in my chosen field that will definitely help me in my future endeavor. Lastly, I thank the institution for welcoming us and having the privilege to experience working in the esteemed institution as well as I extend this gratitude to our advisor Mr. John Rancho Arcilla for accommodating us and making us feel that we are part of the institution.”

April S. Tornea is an undergraduate of Bachelor of Arts in History in Polytechnic University of the Philippines- Manila. She has great interests in the study of military history, folks and beliefs most especially in Visayan region. In her three years of the chosen program, She had experienced doing ethnography as well as organizing and facilitating seminars that she believe will help her in her future plans. She is also a member of the YFC, an organization outside of the Univsersity which she was able to do social works such as visiting and entertaining children with disability.

Testimonial: “As an intern of Intramuros Administration, I am honored to be part of the institution that enable us to experience an On-the Job Training even in a work from home set-up. With this gained- knowledge and with the help of our advisor Mr. John Arcilla, we were able to produce a paper that concerns kutsero community in the Intramuros. I am thankful to our advisor who diligently guide us hand- hand with the sources we need to enhance our skill-set. Through this experience, I believe this will help me to build my career plans in the future.”

Xyrelle Ymasa is a BA History undergraduate student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Sta. Mesa, Manila. She was a former student librarian at the PUP CSSD Library and Learning Resources Center, a member of Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral sa Kasaysayan PUP, and as one of the committee heads during conferences and seminars, she is an experienced facilitator. Her interest and researches dwell particularly in Pre-16th Philippines, Philippine colonial history, and World War II.

Testimonial: “I gained a lot of understanding during my internship—the IA’s rules and regulation, some information about architecture, and notions for every different view about particular things from the past. Also, I acquired a knowledge about writing a contemporary research. As a history major, I was used in writing solely about things and events of the past. For me, the older the topic, the better. When we started our research about present day kutseros in Intramuros, it was quite difficult for me to adjust my research and writing skills. But with the help of Mr. John Arcilla, his comments and suggestions, made it easier for me to learn and understand how the research works. Lastly, I would like to speak my gratitude to Mr. John Arcilla, who generously gave journals and information to us, and to Intramuros Administration, the very institution that welcomed us and gave us an opportunity to grow as a researcher. It was really a delightful and satisfying experience to be working with you.”

Internship Mentor: Rancho Arcilla, M.A.

Learn more about the Internship Program of the Center for Intramuros Studies

Contact us: [email protected]

Interested in applying for an internship at the IA Center for Intramuros Studies? Email us your CV with cover letter via [email protected]. Address your letter to Rancho Arcilla, Coordinator, Center for Intramuros Studies, Intramuros Administration. For more information on our Internship Program go here.

Note: The opinions expressed by our interns in their papers and presentations during their internships with us do not necessarily reflect any statement, stand, or position of the Intramuros Administration or of any of its personnel. Moreover, inclusion of research papers or project proposals in the online database of the Center for Intramuros Studies or the website of the Intramuros Administration do not necessarily constitute as an endorsement.

For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via [email protected]
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