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.
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.
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.
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.
Nissan Assist app launched in Philippines
All-in-one service app
This new app will provide a fully digital end-to-end customer service experience for customers nationwide, as part of the company’s continuing digital transformation.
This also means customers will now have a one-stop shop to access all Nissan services, including the following:
- Access to vehicle information
- Request a quote
- Book a test drive
- Track vehicle sales orders
- Roadside assistance
- Dealership locator
There will also be news on model launches, as well as sales campaigns and promo updates.
For existing owners, it would also be even easier to book services and take note of one’s maintenance history as the records will also be included in the app.
Lastly, a loyalty program and exclusive deals will also come with the app. Users can earn and track points which they can use to redeem Nissan merchandise, services, and other offers.
New Xiaomi AIoT products include TV, Scooter, Smart Pet Feeder
There’s also a Smart Pet Fountain
A new range of Xiaomi AIoT products have been announced to be available in the Philippines later this month, including a brand-new TV, smart doorbell, electric scooter, smart pet feeder, and even a smart pet fountain.
Here’s a quick rundown of the new products which shall be available starting on August 20, 2022 on Xiaomi concept stores, Shopee, and Lazada:
- Mi TV P1E 65”
- Xiaomi Conference TapCast
- Xiaomi Smart Doorbell 3
- Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Pro
- Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder
- Xiaomi Smart Pet Fountain
- Xiaomi Air Purifier 4 Compact
The Conference Tapcast is a plug-and-play device that can be connected to TVs, projects, and monitors for a wireless screencast. It will available for PhP 5,499 with a free Bluetooth speaker worth PhP 899 for early bird buyers.
Speaking of TVs, the Mi TV P1E 65” serves as a 4K HDR10 display with 60Hz MEMC technology for smooth visuals and great connectivity.
The TV features Dolby Vision and Dolby Audio support, and comes with Android TV 2 for endless content. It also has Chromecast built-in for direct streaming from other devices. It is priced at PhP 33,999 and comes with a PhP 1,000 discount from August 20 to 21.
Safer, cleaner homes
For home security, the Smart Doorbell 3 comes with a built-in 2K camera and infrared lights for clear video even in the dark. The camera offers multiple views such as ultra-wide and diagonal 180 degrees, plus AI motion detection.
The doorbell also has an intercom for visitors. The device runs on a 5,200mAh built-in battery that is rechargeable via USB. It will be available for PhP 5,199 with a free Mi motion-activated night light 2 until supplies last.
The new Smart Air Purifier 4 Compact filters up to 99.97 percent of small particles with its 3-in-1 layer-by-layer filtration system. It also has real-time air quality monitoring, while adjusting settings is a breeze with its control buttons and indicator light.
The air purifier will sell for PhP 4,799 and will come with a free filter worth PhP 1,299.
Smart solutions for fur babies
For families with pets, Xiaomi also released the Smart Pet Food Feeder and Smart Pet Fountain, which feature 24-hour automatic pet feeding and healthy water housekeeping.
The Smart Pet Feeder comes with a six-grid dispensing structure. It can be controlled wirelessly using the Mi Home or Xiaomi Home app. Owners can set the time or quantity of food it dispenses.
On the other hand, the Smart Pet Fountain provides clean running water to pets, thanks to its four-stage deep filtering. Like the pet feeder, the fountain can be paired with either app.
The Smart Pet Feeder will retail for PhP 5,199 while the Smart Pet Fountain is priced at PhP 3,299. As an introductory deal, customers may also get a free Mi 360 camera (1080P) worth PhP 1,799 with a purchase of each item.
Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Pro
Rounding out Xiaomi’s newly-released products is the Electric Scooter 4 Pro which comes with more power and speed than its predecessor. It features a dual-braking system, self-sealing tire, energy recovery, and a magnetic charging port.
The electric scooter with an aluminum alloy body can go for a maximum speed of 25 kph and can take you up to 55 kilometers on a full charge. It can be bought for PhP 35,999 with a free Mi Commuter Helmet for early bird purchases.
Celebrating spesh occasions with the Ford Territory
Friends, blue skies, and creature comforts for a cozy drive down south
I can still remember the first time I rode the Ford Territory. I was astounded by the vehicle’s creature comforts that gave drivers and passengers a cozy experience.
We traversed between cities, looking for good food. Despite the hellish traffic that comes with driving in Metro Manila, we were entertained by the technology packed inside the automobile.
More than a year later, the Ford Territory found its way to my garage. It’s like a gift of adventure, in time for my birthday.
9:00 am. south kids, ready to go.
July 23. It was a Saturday morning when I received a call from my best friend, Mark, asking me to get ready. They arrived shortly and tried to wind down watching Netflix at home while I prepare everything we need for the trip.
The last time I celebrated my birthday was three years ago. When the pandemic robbed us of time and moments to be with the people we love, I found it difficult to find joy in glamorizing my day. As the world eases up, I knew I had to take this chance to get out and be fabulous.
Before we set off for an adventure down south, we took a photo in front of the Territory.
It was only the three of us who are going for a ride, though. Two of my friends, Oliver and Marlon, weren’t able to join my momentous occasion due to a conflict in the schedule but they decided to stop by and greet me.
10:00 am. navigator at your service.
We were headed to pick up the parents of my godson along Santana Grove in Parañaque. Of course, I wasn’t the driver. I took on the shotgun to be the navigator and the DJ. And so I can always look at myself in the side mirror.
The first half of the trip consisted of exploring the Territory’s technology. A drive isn’t complete without good music, so we used Apple CarPlay in its infotainment system to connect our iPhones. Plenty of devices can get in the way of easily connecting your iPhone to the vehicle, but it’s still easy to pair.
What we found troublesome was using both Maps and Spotify. The music gets interrupted whenever Maps prompts with a new direction to take. Since music is more important to us, I used my Android phone to use Maps and have a separate, dedicated navigation tool.
If you have a car mount like Moshi’s SnapTo Universal Car Mount, you can clip it so it’ll hold your smartphone.
11:30 am. blue skies.
Our destination for the weekend was Calatagan. That means we have to pass through Tagaytay, which is horrible on the weekends. We took several detours and long cuts just so we have to make it to our favorite stop, Mahogany, in time to meet our other friends driving their sedan.
Finally seeing good weather, we blasted ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry and opened the windows, as well as the sunroof, while traversing CALAX.
I was already having a good time, and it was just the morning.
1:00 pm. time for bulalô.
Our mood went down; energies depleted. We finally encountered Tagaytay’s unbearable traffic on the weekends. It took us at least half an hour to arrive at Mahogany Beer Market, and we even struggled with finding a parking slot.
When we found a space to park, I loved how the Ford Territory assisted us, thanks to its Ford Co-Pilot 360, an advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies. Parking in reverse — parallel even — allows the screen to provide a simulated aerial view of the Territory’s surroundings on the screen.
The Mahogany Beef Market is popular for serving fresh meat such as beef, chicken, and pork. On the second floor of the beef market, you can find a slew of food stalls serving Bulalô — a Filipino soup dish made from beef leg bones and marrow.
Mahogany wasn’t fancy in any way, but the food is overwhelmingly delicious and they serve it at a cheaper price compared to restaurants found in Tagaytay. The place is also nostalgic. I remember my drunken nights from Papa Doms, stopping over at Mahogany so I can get sober.
READ: 24 Hours in Tagaytay
3:00 pm. safe drives in the rain.
It took us more than an hour to reach Calatagan coming from Tagaytay. The drive was filled with chill OPM blasting through its speakers. We weren’t able to use the sunroof since we encountered heavy rains and thunderstorms when passing through Nasugbu.
The infotainment system came in handy when I was adjusting the vehicle’s air-conditioning system, the ambient lighting, and sometimes, the seat’s heater. My friend kept increasing my seat’s heater while I try to take a nap, which annoyed me since my butt’s getting really warm.
On another note, my friend was able to keep his eyes on the road and take control of the vehicle’s settings even if we were all asleep, thanks to the easily reachable buttons in and around the steering wheel.
4:00 pm. hello, calatagan.
By four in the afternoon, we were able to arrive at our destination called The Beach along Lucsuhin-Hukay Rd. There are military checkpoints along the way, so be sure to stop when they tell you to do so — even if you’re obstructing the traffic. They’re pretty angsty if you’re considerate of other vehicles.
Nevertheless, the staff at The Beach greeted us with a welcoming smile when we arrived. Even in the lobby, the staff were polite, courteous, and accommodating. When we got the keys to our room, we were served refreshments while we bask at the sound of the waves crashing down the shores, along with the murmurs of friends and families chatting and having fun.
We tried to settle in and change our clothes so we can relax.
6:00 pm. dillydallying at the beach.
As the sun sets, we were vibing, dancing to the beat, and drinking beer, while gawking at the scenery unraveling before us.
When the night came, we ate our freshly-served dinner and I blew the candles from the cake my friends surprised me with. It’s funny how they stole the Instax films I have at home as my cake’s topper to make it really about me.
My birthday night ended with moments of revelry, alcohol, music, and good companionship. I couldn’t ask for more.
07:00 am. mornings by the beach.
The Beach, home to aesthetically-pleasing sets and decors, looked immaculate when I went out to enjoy the rising sun. The sea was calm, the breeze was cool, and there are happy vibes all over the place.
The resort offers a freshly-brewed Kapeng Barako, a coffee varietal grown in Batangas province coming from the Coffea Liberica species. There’s also a complimentary breakfast for the guests.
The Beach had an Instagrammable dining area by the sea, and we opted to eat our breakfast there.
9:00 am. laughter and splashes.
Making the most out of our stay, we decided to head to the beach. We weren’t thrilled with the kayak, and instead, we swam up to the inflatable which proved to be challenging for almost everyone trying to make their way up.
We took several photos, had fun splashing around, and enjoyed swimming.
Moments later, we decided to try the Infinity pool. Of course, we still had our photos taken.
12:00 pm. it’s time to go.
Check-out is at 12 noon. We dressed up because we were a little extra. We took group photos in several parts of the resort to commemorate the celebration.
Of course, we all posed in front of the Ford Territory. Rising pop-rock sensation, Noela, and her boyfriend stood out of the sunroof. If this was a 7-seater, we would’ve really enjoyed using only one vehicle, and our drives may have been filled with waves of laughter and stories.
2:00 pm. wind in my hair, i was there.
We were on the way home, and there were only three of us inside the Territory since the couple we picked up before were joining my friend in another vehicle. We were taking separate ways after eating our lunch at Tagaytay, again.
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I took this moment to sing along to my favorite songs, as I open the sunroof. We were savoring the cool breeze despite the blazing heat of the sun. It was literally a Taylor Swift moment of “Wind in my hair, I was there” because I remember it all too well.
4:00 pm. do you have oat milk?
Like on ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’, we took a long way home. But no, we didn’t ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright. We passed by Amadeo, the coffee capital of the Philippines. We stopped over by Kaffe Belardo so my friends can buy their coffee beans.
I bought a ready-to-go beverage, taking a sip of their cold brew mixed with almond and oat milk. It’s rare to see local cafes offering milk options, especially for those allergic to regular, fresh milk.
With the scent of coffee and the cool breeze thanks to a lineup of trees surrounding the highway, Amadeo is a good place to drive when you just want to get away from it all. I wish I went here when I was losing myself before.
9:00 pm. singing in the car, getting lost upstate.
The Sunday traffic was arguably hellish, especially if you’re down south. The full tank was almost depleted after over a hundred-kilometer drive, which made us giddy since we didn’t have to stop over at gas stations to refuel while we were on our way. It made the trip efficient, and our planned schedule was followed — even with bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The Ford Territory offers a cozy experience — whether you’re a driver or a passenger. It makes being on the road fun and comfortable, thanks to its creature comforts that are easily accessible to anyone. Moreover, the technology infused in the vehicle makes everyone feel safe.
I never pegged the Territory as a long-drive companion, but it proved that it can handle city drives and road trips excellently, more than what we asked for.
To know more about the latest offers, visit ford.com.ph/shopping/latest-offer/ or any Ford dealership nearest you.
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