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Our Jeepney

In 2000, under the leadership of then FAAIE president Marilou Buan, Brian Kamp suggested, and the board of directors agreed to undertake a mission: "acquire an authentic Philippine jeepney to increase visibility of the FAAIE and to share the bayanihan spirit throughout our community".

After years of fundraising, in 2008 Sarao Motors, in Las Pinas, Philippines was commissioned by past president Norma Gavin to create a custom jeepney for the FAAIE.  According to Ed Sarao, president of Sarao Motors: "because we knew this jeepney was heading to the USA, we took extra special effort to create a jeepney that displays the pride we have in our country."  And, boy, did they make something special!  Sporting brush-painted murals and rainbow layered pin-striping, the Ambassador is a rolling piece of fine art...a true beauty!

 

After the Jeepney's arrival in 2009, mechanical work started in earnest to add a motor and transmission to the jeepney.   Past President Randy Palmer headed a project to insure the jeepney became mobile and safe.  Randy also named our jeepney: "the Ambassador".

By our count, the Ambassador was the twelfth functional jeepney in the USA.

In Spring of 2010, the Jeepney made its first appearance in the annual Spokane Armed Forces Lilac Parade.  Festooned with streamers and surrounded by proud members in traditional Filipiniana, the Ambassador stepped into the spotlight!  Proud members still regale with memories of the first time they saw the jeepney: "I couldn't believe this jeepney...it is so beautiful and nice.  It makes me proud to belong to FAAIE!"

In 2013, Brian Kamp became the caretaker of the Jeepney.  His insistance that the jeepney "must be reliable, and it must be safe" has proven to be a wise goal.  Nagging mechanical issues have been repaired, safety issues resolved and the Ambassador is now a street legal, legally licensed, reliable, safe and, most importantly, a fun form of transportation.

Because the Jeepney is featured in parades, in 2015, a fully animated LED light show was added by Brian Kamp, Bob Gower and Ed Newman.

The Ambassador currently does several parades every season, a few car shows and many special appearances.  A highlight for the members is when the Ambassador is right in the middle of the FAAIE Pista sa Nayon, allowing members to take photos in and around the jeepney.   The jeepney is available for private functions for a small honorarium.

Please take a look in the photo gallery to see photos of the construction process of the Ambassador and how truly stunning our jeepney is.

The pride we have in the Ambassador cannot be quantified.  It is OUR jeepney, and, quite possibly, the most beautiful jeepney in the world!  Mabuhay!

 



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