Automotive

A Father’s Day drive up north

Story time!

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We recently got the Ranger Raptor for the second time to use at this year’s STV ARCC and represent Ford Philippines. And since we had a free day before the event itself happened, I decided to use it and take out my dad along with my brother for a road trip. Good thing Mom had an errand to do that day!

Dad wanted to visit a certain theme park restaurant north of Metro Manila so I agreed and went for it. We already brought the Raptor to a 4×4 route for some off-road action, so now we go for long, paved roads with hungry stomachs.


That’s Dad, my brother Kiefer, and me on the road

After four hours of driving from the south, past the traffic metro, and all the way up north, we reached our destination. The place is called Isdaan Floating Restaurant and it’s at the municipality of Talavera in Nueva Ecija in the Philippines. “Isdaan,” when translated, means “fishery” so it already paints you a picture of what to expect. The restaurant is hard to miss as it has a wide, inviting facade fronted with sculptures.

The staff greeted us with a warm welcome and led us to our private floating nipa hut with koi fish swimming around and under us. Looking at the menu, there were lots of choices from appetizers, meat, seafood obviously, and even specialties that you don’t usually see in city restaurants.

“Guarding” the floating nipa huts

We got Bicol Express (spicy stew), Sinigang na Liempo (pork belly soup), and Binukadkad na Plapla (butterflied fish) from the menu. One of their signatures is a Boat Special. Basically, they offer select dishes in a long sizzling plate mounted on a wooden counter-top that resembles a boat. This was how Bicol Express was served which greatly added to the presentation value.

Food was really great especially the soup. While the service wasn’t too snappy and could definitely be improved, the food compensated for it. It has that home-cooked taste that hits the spot after a long drive.

After eating, we decided to walk around the area and check out the theme park side of the place. There were giant statues everywhere — from the Charging Bull similar to New York’s, Big Buddha of Phuket, and even prehistoric dinosaurs. It does make for great photo opportunities as you’ll see in the following photos.

Apart from the gigantic and humorous characters, another attraction to find here is a corner to vent out all your pent-up emotions. For a reasonable price, you can choose objects like those plates or coffee mugs that you can smash onto the wall. If you ask me, I feel it’s a bit out of place in this family-friendly restaurant but it still does make the place unique.

Those are all fun but what usually entices people to visit this place is the fact that you can dip your feet in this shallow pond and have large koi fish swimming in between your legs. It might sound weird and it’s probably not for everyone, but the novelty of being able to do it was actually fun.

These koi quickly gather around you as you go near the water

Caught this little guy trying to nibble on his watch

Can’t leave the place without this obligatory shot!

After all the photos were taken and a few minor mishaps (one of us slipping trying to get in with the fish, not telling who), we were ready to go back home. It was another four hours inside the Raptor and we ended up exchanging stories and laughing our way through the expressways while the truck was mostly on cruise control. It was definitely a trip to remember.

Automotive

A look at the new Nissan Juke

A more matured successor

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Nissan has officially introduced the refreshed model to its Juke — a funky-looking car that had some people love it while some would rather look at a different direction.

The new model appears as if it’s nicely hit by puberty. It now looks cleaner overall, with the V-motion grille still there but appears to be a bit sleeker.


Up front, the headlamps have been replaced with tri-bar LED lights and are accompanied by LED fog lamps. The taillights, on the other hand, have been updated to thinner strips. Gone are the boomerang-shaped rear lights of the previous model.

It now sports a contrasting roof design making it look similar to more luxurious SUVs and its rear door handles remain hidden along the C-pillars. Meanwhile, the new Juke stands on 19-inch wheels that blend well with its overall stature.

With its refreshed design comes bigger dimensions. The new Juke grew a bit larger in terms of length, width, and height.

This, of course, translates to a bigger cabin. According to the company, the interior now has more space for passengers as well as more cargo space in the trunk.

The seats are wrapped in black leather with an option for red accents all over for the higher-end variants. It features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, optional Bose speakers, and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If your passengers wish to stream music and movies on their gadgets during long drives, the cabin has been equipped with its own Wi-Fi hotspot.

Of course, it comes with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility suite. Things like Adaptive Cruise Control and Road Sign Recognition make for smoother and easier driving. While its Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert ensure that everyone inside the cabin is safer.

It also boasts its new ProPILOT technology that makes the vehicle handle the steering, braking, and acceleration on its own — making it a semi-autonomous vehicle.

Under the hood, it runs on a three-cylinder turbocharged engine that outputs 117 horsepower. It can then be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

So far, the new Juke is just being offered in Europe but it will be available in more markets in the future.

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Automotive

Toyota PH enters the hybrid space with its new Corolla Altis

The Corolla line continues

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Toyota Motor Philippines has just unveiled the newest Corolla Altis. There are five models to choose from including the company’s first hybrid variant in the country.

The new Altis comes with a fresh exterior and what sells it most are the pair of headlamps that wrap around its body. A large black grille adds weight to the front fascia and is then flanked by accented fog lamps.


Going around will also reveal an updated look. The taillights have been tweaked with added character in them — check out that strip of red light piercing through the trunk lid.

Inside, it carries a more straightforward approach with fewer frills and decorations. There’s a floating touch display right at the center and a simple layout for the climate control’s buttons and knobs right under it. A tri-spoke steering wheel is then mounted with buttons for media navigation and cruise control.

The top of the line variants get leather seats, an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the driver, reverse camera, and parking sensors.

It’s also got a lower center of gravity so you feel more confident taking on curves with a bit of speed. And in order to further improve visibility for the driver, the windshield has been increased and the A-pillars were made slimmer.

For a Corolla Altis with an internal combustion engine, it gets a 1.6-liter Dual VVT-i engine mated to either CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. If you’re choosing the hybrid variant, however, you get a 1.8-liter engine and an electric motor. Combined, they have an output of 121 horsepower.

Focusing more on the 1.8 V Hybrid variant, it has a set of features that further improve safety for the everyone inside the vehicle. It boasts a pre-collision system, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and more using a camera mounted at the top of its windshield.

It also comes with different driving modes like Eco, Normal, Sport, and EV that makes it run purely on electricity.

Pricing for the new Corolla Altis follows:

  • 1.6 E MT — PhP 999,000
  • 1.6 G MT —  PhP 1,045,000
  • 1.6 G AT — PhP 1,115,000
  • 1.6 V CVT — PhP 1,185,000
  • 1.8 V Hybrid CVT — PhP 1,580,000

The lineup is available in different colors, namely: Attitude Black, Red Mica Metallic, Silver Metallic, Freedom White (for G and E variants), Celestite Grey Metallic (for HEV, V, and G variants), and White Pearl (for HEV and V variants).

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Automotive

New Porsche Taycan perfectly merges latest tech and retro styling

An important milestone for the company

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Porsche has finally announced its first fully electric sports car.

Called the Porsche Taycan, its configuration and specs make it a competition to Tesla’s Model S although the new EV is far more expensive than Musk’s offerings. But while it features the latest tech, the Taycan still has that retro-ish look reminiscent of Porsche’s older models.


The stance, its slopes, and even accents remind us of the iconic Porsche 911. It has the familiar sloping hood with headlamps housed in a semi bulging design. According to the company, the driver will be seated with a low center of gravity — achieving that performance vehicle orientation.

Available in two variants, the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S run on a dual electric motor setup that outputs an equivalent of 616 horsepower in the combustion world.

If that doesn’t impress you, both models have a ‘launch control’ mode that ups the ante to 670 horsepower for the Taycan Turbo and 750 horsepower for the Turbo S. This makes it possible for the Taycan Turbo to go from 0-60mph in three seconds and the Taycan Turbo S in just 2.6 seconds.

A 93kWh battery pack powers both models and the company says it is able to sustain power for extended periods of time without overheating the battery pack.

In terms of range, it was mentioned that it could go as far as 280 miles or around 450 kilometers before needing to plug in the vehicle. Charging is also one of their main highlights as the Taycan can be charged from 5 percent to 80 percent in under 23 minutes.

This is made possible via an 800-volt charging technology from Porsche which makes it sound like you’re simply filling up a smartphone’s battery.

The launch of the Porsche Taycan signifies a few things for the automotive industry. One is that Tesla now has a newfound competitor in terms of performance, at least (Model S is still significantly cheaper).

Another thing is that electric vehicles are really the future of mobility and we’re sure that more and more manufacturers will be coming out with their own electrified offerings in just a few years’ time.

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