When civil engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr developed the first ever Ferris Wheel, or sometimes referred to as the Chicago Wheel, he might have thought of using wood as the main material. But perhaps the idea was immediately taken off the drawing board with wood being a difficult material to work with for such a gigantic mechanism. It was understandable that he used steel instead.
The amusement ride became famous all over the world to the point that engineers and designers have made versions in different countries over the years.
One of the coolest ones is this bamboo Ferris wheel made by a local in the Philippines – by someone with zero technical education about making such mechanisms but with the inborn Filipino creativity.
Mang Johnny thought of making his own Ferris wheel out of the readily available bamboo as an alternative to the expensive amusement ride every time his town celebrates the fiesta in Brgy. Marnay, Sinait in Ilocos Sur. He tells in an interview with ABS-CBN that many families wanted to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel but they were unable to pay the amusement fee due to poverty.
This isn’t the first time that Mang Johnny made a Ferris Wheel. Back in the 1960s, he and his childhood fellows built one but it was already destroyed. The new bamboo Ferris Wheel was built in 2014 originally as a pastime his grandchildren, but now it is being used by neighbors and visitors as well – for free.
It is entirely made out of wood and bamboo, which is a type of grass, rotated manually. Only four people can be accommodated by the ride, which have to secure themselves while being seated on the wooden plank. There is no safety feature in this ride.
Some may be terrified to try out the ride because of the screeching sounds the bamboo Ferris Wheel make when it rotates. But there is no need to fret, really.