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.

Apps

Waze gets a new look!

It was long overdue and it’s finally here

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If you frequently take the roads and use Waze as your driving companion, you may have gotten used to how it look — no matter how dated it seemed. That’s changing now as the app is getting an all new look.

The company says the brand refresh “reinforces inclusivity and connection into every journey on the road.” Whatever that means, the revamped Waze app now follows a more flat design and with more expressive cartoony mood indicators.

The new visual language based on roads and maps which will also be seen in multiple places, including the Waze website, emails, and social channels.

“This brand refresh encapsulates that unique Waze experience visually, with a new grid format based on our map, new Moods to capture the infinite array of emotions we all feel while driving and a lively color palette that celebrates the joy that we always try to bring to the road, and the magic of our community and the way we work together for better,” said Waze Head of Creative Jake Shaw.

What do you think? Do you like this new look or do you prefer the old one?

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Automotive

Nissan is making their electric cars better with all-wheel drive

Called the e-4ORCE

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When electric and hybrid vehicles started becoming popular, hardcore automobile enthusiasts steered clear for two main reasons: the lack of EV infrastructure and lack of power in early electric vehicles. Though the former remains a persistent problem today, modern carmakers are doing their best to create better and better powertrains in electric vehicles.

Nissan, for example, is developing a new system for its electric cars in the future. As you might know, Nissan’s contribution to the world of electric travel is the Nissan Leaf. With the upcoming technology that they call “e-4ORCE,” Nissan aims to pack more power into their electric packages. It’s all about improving the driving experience.

Now, you might be wondering about the weird name. Besides being a quirky twist on “force,” the name pertains to the technology’s new all-wheel drive. Previously, the Nissan Leaf subsisted on front-wheel drive.

More technically, e-4ORCE jams in a second electric motor, giving more boost and control to the system’s power. It improves acceleration and braking more efficiently. Handling also gets a bump, allowing drivers to control their vehicle exactly as they want it to do.

Despite the improvements in power, e-4ORCE also works on driver and passenger comfort. Driving is stabler and smoother. In turn, this improves driver confidence regardless of the road conditions.

Nissan first demonstrated this upcoming technology at last year’s CES 2019 using a custom Nissan Leaf e+. In the future, the carmaker hopes to add this technology to more mass-market electric vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Why Nissan’s new infotainment system looks better than others

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Apps

Digital keys lets you unlock your car with an iPhone

No more keys that’ll scratch your phone

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Apple wants to replace physical keys with an iPhone and the brand has announced a new feature at WWDC 2020 to make this possible. Digital keys are stored on your iPhone and can be used to unlock the car with just a single tap. Furthermore, you can share the key with your friends and family via iMessage.

Emily Schubert, Apple senior manager of car experience engineering, demonstrated how a driver can tap the door handle with their iPhone to unlock the sedan. To start the car, just keep the iPhone on the car’s charging pad and you’re good to go.

The technology leverages NFC (Near Field Communication) to interact with the car. The Wallet app is a safe haven for your keys and this is the same app where your Apple Card, as well as other tickets, are stored.

On the automobile side, BMW will be the first marque to introduce it to drivers. The digital key functionality shall feature first in the 2021 BMW 5 series this July. Apple said more cars that work with the system will come to the market next year. For electric cars, the tech giant is also working on its mapping application to show nearby charging points.

While Tesla owners will not be surprised by this announcement, it can bring a monumental change for many since it relies on existing technology and can support cars that are already on the road.

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said the tech giant is working on a standard with industry groups to realize a secure, “real” keyless experience by next year.

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