The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Cultural Curiosities: Searching for gas in a Coke bottle

Please do not drink.

Please do not drink.

We texted Vince. He was available to take us to a property that made it on our short list. It was well over 20 kilometres from town so we asked him if he had enough gas in his tank. We told him maybe we should put in more.

As we passed the edge of town it started to rain. We were getting pelted by raindrops from the open sides so we all tried to move strategically towards the center of the tricycle. Little beads of water started to form on the roof just above ‘the Chef’s’ head. I watched in amusement as the beads got heavy enough to fall.


Tricycle + Rain = Adventure

New gas stations seemed to have popped up since the last time we were here just nine months ago. As we reached the first station we saw it was closed. No gas. The next one was the same and so on. No one had gas. I started to get a bit worried.

No, motorcycles do not run on Coca Cola

No, motorcycles do not run on Coca Cola.

Suddenly, Vince veered off the road and stopped in front of a small roadside stand. He was handed a one litre green hued Coca Cola glass bottle and just like that we had gas! This ‘bote-bote’ (bottle-bottle) gasoline is an underground business for people who cater to motorists who want convenience. It actually makes sense when you think about how tricycle drivers try to save as much gas as they can when they transport people around. They already shift to neutral on downhill sections of road and coast. I can imagine they would be happy not to have to drive out of town for gas. It sure saved our trip.


Tricycles are the taxis of Coron.

But with these new gas stations and a recent fire that was made worse by a ‘bote-bote’ seller, the Municipality of Coron is now banning this practice. I know it’s for safety reasons but a little part of me is sad to see it go. It’s the kind of quirkiness that gives a place its character.


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2 thoughts on “Cultural Curiosities: Searching for gas in a Coke bottle

  1. I had read about that ‘gas in a Coke bottle’ thing in newspapers. It was interesting to have your photo back that up.

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