San Francisco rolls out Filipino-themed Christmas cable car

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
San Francisco rolls out Filipino-themed Christmas cable car
Vice Consul Adrian Baccay (left) rides the first Filipino Christmasthemed cable car as it rolls out in San Francisco. Cable Car No. 17, decked with Filipino Christmas decor like capiz shell and abaca lanterns and ‘Maligayang Pasko’ garlands, will ply the Powell Street / Market Street-Fisherman’s Wharf route until the first week of January 2024.
DFA Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The San Francisco Municipal Railway (SF Muni) rolled out its first-ever Filipino Christmas-themed cable car, with the Philippine consulate general in San Francisco joining the inaugural trip on Nov. 29.

SF Muni has traditionally decorated its iconic cable cars with holiday decorations, but this is the first time that the Filipino community has been asked to adorn one of its cable cars.

For this project, the consulate said SF Muni partnered with the Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) in decorating cable car No. 17, which was built in 1887.

Vice Consul Adrian Baccay and Cultural Officer Clasara-Steylaerts joined the FAAE and other volunteers in decorating the cable car at the Cable Car Barn on Nov. 25.

Among the Christmas decors used were capiz shell and abaca parol, a “Maligayang Pasko” garland and “#LoveThePhilippines” ornaments.

The Philippine Department of Tourism office in San Francisco also provided support.

“Filipino Christmas is definitely in the air in The City By The Bay. I thank SF Muni for their initiative to promote Filipino Christmas traditions in San Francisco, and I laud the FAAE under its president Al Perez and the Fil-Am community in the Bay Area for the bayanihan spirit that they have shown to complete this project,” said Philippine consul general in San Francisco Neil Ferrer.

The inaugural trip was driven by Celso Abueg, a cable car gripman for the last 24 years.

He took pride in driving SF Muni’s first Filipino Christmas-themed cable car.

A newly arrived immigrant from the Philippines when he first took on the role of a gripman, it was a full circle moment for Abueg as he plans to retire next year.

Cable car No. 17 will ply the Powell Street/Market Street-Fisherman’s Wharf route until the first week of January 2024.

San Francisco is home to the world’s oldest, largest and last manually operated cable car system.

The San Francisco Cable Car System is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

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