1946: A New Bus Company Rolls Onto the Roads of The Philippines

August 28, 1946

Ricardo De Lara Paras and his brother-in-law Florencio P. Buan established a pioneering bus service in the post-World War II Philippines. Philippine Rabbit Bus Company, Ltd., which was incorporated as Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines exactly 11 years later, came into existence less than two years after the liberation of the Philippines from a brutal Japanese occupation and only about eight weeks after the formal American relinquishment of sovereignty over the Southeast Asian island country.

De Lara Paras

Paras developed the idea of the bus company during his wartime service in a Filipino guerilla unit under the command of the U.S. Army in Luzon (the largest and most populous island in the Philippines). Paras’ job included assessing the routes and logistics that would allow Allied military personnel to easily travel from one location to another in the region. Paras realized that he could translate this geographical knowledge into a lucrative transportation enterprise and, following the end of the war, persuaded Buan on the feasibility of such a business

Throughout most of 1946, the two men used one-time U.S. Army trucks to move corn, rice, and other produce to public markets within Luzon. Paras and Buan, however, eventually became aware of a more pressing transportation need when many local residents – who customarily relied on their own feet or animal-drawn carts for mobility – were requesting and receiving rides on those vehicles to get to various destinations.

Philippine Rabbit Bus Company was subsequently launched, with the first run traveling from the municipality of Moncada in the central Luzon province of Tarlac to the shopping district of Divisoria in the Philippines capital city of Manila in southwestern Luzon. The company, which owes its name to the speed and agility of rabbits, is now officially known as Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. It continues to serve Metro Manila and the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, and Pangasinan.

For more information on transportation in the Philippines, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_in_the_Philippines.

A video featuring several Philippine Rabbit buses is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZFHTKU45rA.

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