Automotive

STV breathes life to old motorsport with ARCC

Keeping the spirit of rallying alive

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I was at Clark, Pampanga in a former United States Air Force base in the Philippines for the STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge (ARCC).

For the unfamiliar, it’s also called Sampaguita Rally in the Philippines, but it was actually inspired by the Dutch’s Tulpenrallye (Tulip Rally) for the way the directions in the handbook look like. It gained popularity in Europe at the beginning of 1950s and was also the number one motorsport in the Philippines back in the 80s. The sport eventually died down but Sunshine Television has been faithful to breathe life into the sport until today.

STV Chairman and CEO Ray Butch Gamboa kicks off the event.

Now, the “rally” in its name might paint a different picture for some. Usually, speed is associated when you hear the term “rallying,” and that’s because of the modified rally races that are popular today. STV’s ARCC doesn’t follow this trend and stays true to its roots wherein drivers are not required to go fast to win.

Taking an oath to play fair and square.

Car manufacturers, importers, and distributors were the event’s participants and I was invited to be one of Ford Philippines’ representatives. There were a total of nine media reps split into three groups and Ford gave the groups a vehicle each to use in the event.

Our group was in a 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium with me at the helm, while one was assigned as timekeeper and the other as navigator.

You, as a participant, get in the vehicle with your teammates and are put on a public road along with other motorists. You’re expected to follow driving rules just like you normally would while following the tulip-shaped directions written on the handbook.

This is what the handbook looks like with tulip-shaped arrows for directions. The smaller sheet is filled with our time for all the checkpoints.

More than speed, the key factor to winning is precision. A series of checkpoints were set up throughout the course, and our team, along with hundreds of participants from other brands, had to arrive at the perfect time at each checkpoint. Get there one second late/early and you get a demerit. In the end, the group with the least number of demerits wins. Having said these, the goal is simple: Be on time, all the time.

With more than 150km of driving, the goal of the event was to promote driver discipline and road safety. This means if you violate traffic rules, authorities can and will flag you and issue a ticket (plus the organizers can disqualify you from the event depending on your offense).

There’s our ride, Vehicle 24.

The dynamics inside the vehicle (at least for us) worked like this: The navigator obviously had the handbook and told the driver where to turn. Meanwhile, the timekeeper calculated the time needed from one point to the next to made sure we get to the checkpoints at the perfect time — all while inside a moving car. Then there’s an average speed indicated per direction so I, the driver, had to maintain constant speeds depending on the instruction. Mix in traffic lights and buildup of cars and the feeling of frustration crept in knowing we needed to catch up.

Still, it was a great practice for coordination and communication among us inside the vehicle. Since Rally Director Georges Ramirez chose a route with tricky turns and hidden checkpoints, it made things more exciting and required us to almost be at the edge of our seats looking out where that next turn would be.

Team Ford (although not complete)

The 2018 ARCC was indeed a challenging experience, but it’s for that same reason that all of us enjoyed the event. Our group didn’t make it to the top list but hey, it was an adventure that you don’t do every day. It also taught us a thing or two about teamwork and precision driving, and I even ended up making new friends. So it’s not all that bad.

Automotive

5 driving tips for pregnant women

What to do to ensure the safest drive

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Illustration by MJ Jucutan

It’s 2018 and women can drive. And you know what? They can even drive while pregnant. 😎

But, having and growing another person inside of you entails special considerations. To ensure the safest and most comfortable drive, I’ve rounded up a checklist for those expecting.

Make yourself comfortable

Considering you’re driving around an instant two people, make sure you’re comfortable when you get behind the wheel. Being nice and cozy in the driver seat before you head out ensures less distractions when you’re already driving.

Adjust your seat so that you have enough room. We know the right positioning can be a little confusing because of how your body has changed, but as a general rule, your breastbone should be 10 inches from the steering wheel. You can even pack small pillows for your back to make sure it has proper support.

Use the seat belt properly

Yep, it can get tricky. But, here’s how it should go:

Your seat belt should be below your belly bump and the lock should be at your hips. The shoulder belt should run across your breasts to the side of your bump. Remove extra layers like thick jackets to make sure everything is fastened and secured in the right places.

Take breaks

There’s no shame in stopping to take a driving breather. You are carrying another human, so you’re excused. Make sure you stop and pause every 90 minutes for a toilet break. Use this opportunity to rest your feet and relax.

Be prepared

Like a true girl scout, make sure you’ve stocked your car with supplies and much-needed snacks. Always have a bottle of water ready and pick health food you can nibble on ahead of time for your drives. Have all your info with you in the car — including your doctor’s number and pregnancy details — just in case. Also, it helps to plan your routes ahead and schedule your drives.

Check yourself

You know yourself best so before heading out, assess how you feel. Make sure you’re feeling alright and consider how you’ll be feeling in the coming hour. Be honest with yourself and recognize that there might be days when you’re better off not heading out on your own. The best preparation is prevention.

Lastly, congratulations girl! 🎉


Thanks to our friends at Ford for sending over some driving tips and inspiring this piece. 

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First-ever Ford Ranger Raptor lands in the Philippines

We witnessed why it was named as such

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Ford’s rugged truck has finally reached Philippine shores after it was unveiled early this year. Holding the title as the only factory-built performance truck across the region, the Ranger Raptor is targeted towards those looking for a vehicle built tough for your off-road adventures.

One look at this beast and you’ll know it’s not your ordinary pickup. It takes styling cues from the F150 Raptor with the iconic block FORD lettering within the grille design. The front bumper is also installed with fresh LED fog lamps and air-curtain ducts for less wind resistance against the body. Being a true off-roader, its front fenders not only look tough, but Ford says it also resists dents and dings from driving on the road less traveled.

Powering the Ranger Raptor is a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that outputs 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. Ford explains that running with its 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo simply means taking advantage of sequential turbocharging in order to deliver greater responsiveness, drivability, and maximum efficiency. Being a performance vehicle means it should be ready for anything that the road (or lack of it) presents the driver. This is why the Ranger Raptor’s shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by Fox while its suspension has been crafted to take on rough terrain even at high speeds.

During the launch, the Ranger Raptor showed off for a bit as it raced through the open track. It rained really hard that night so it made the course a lot tougher, but the Raptor pierced right through it and leaped around like it was nothing. We saw why it was named as such.

While it oozes power, this truck has the brains to go with its brawn. It has a Terrain Management System which includes different modes depending on the terrain you’re in. For one, there’s the Baja Mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally. While this mode is activated, it automatically switches to being ultra-responsive and allows off-road driving without being held back. Additionally, the company’s Driver Assist Technologies found their way here including SYNC 3, Hill Start Assist, and more. It’s own Satellite Navigation System even has a “breadcrumb” feature and leaves a trail when entering uncharted areas.

Enough specs and watch it leap, splash, and blaze through the muddy terrain in this video:

The Ranger Raptor is available at all Ford dealerships in the country with a starting price of PhP 1,898,000.

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Automotive

Drive, Eat, Shoot: Exploring the East with the Ford Everest

Who says combining work and play isn’t fun? 🤔

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During our participation at the Auto Rally Challenge a few months back, we were lent a Ford Everest to use at the event. We actually had an extra day with it and our group at GadgetMatch decided to set aside our laptops, grab our cameras, and take the Everest to the first destination that came to mind.

Since we had an enjoyable time with it, we thought we’d share our experience with you guys.

You can check out this short clip of our trip shot entirely on Sony’s smartphone.

The Ride

What we drove was the 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium. It’s a midsize SUV great for hauling the family and is packed with safety and comfort features. Being the top of the line variant, it’s the only model with a 4×4 setup so it’s a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures.

Inside, it comfortably seats five people and if you need more, the third row folds out at a press of a button and accommodates up to two more people.

If you find yourself on a long highway stretch, its Adaptive Cruise Control makes for a more relaxing drive so you can take in the scenery around you. Don’t enjoy too much, though, and make sure to still be attentive of the road ahead!

Ford’s SYNC technology lets you play music and read text messages without having to look away from the road. You can do these things through voice commands.

Features like Blind Spot Information and Lane Keeping make sure you only switch lanes when it’s safe. Meanwhile, its Active Park Assist together with proximity sensors help when you squeeze your way through a tight parking space.

A Power Panorama Moonroof also comes with the package. Enjoy a view of the sky or open it for a breath of fresh province air — it’s all up to you.

From the leather-wrapped seats down to the available 230V socket, it’s creature comforts like these that make the Everest an enjoyable ride.

Considering our headquarters in the Philippines is at the east-most border of Manila, we thought it would be exciting to go out of the busy city and see some sights. The province of Rizal made the most sense, so we hopped inside the Everest.

The Food

We left around lunch time so the first thing on our itinerary was to look for a place to eat. We wanted none of those fast food chains; we wanted to try something new.

This led us to our first stop: Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal.

Angono is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines and is evident in the restaurant. Apart from the dining area, there’s a dedicated space with an abundance of artworks, from paintings and woodwork to sculptures.

The restaurant specializes in Filipino dishes. Although, if one feels adventurous, there’s an exotic corner in the menu with crickets and beef testicles. Unfortunately, none of us felt like going for cow balls during lunch so we went for a safer, more traditional meal.

We got Kalderetang Itik (young duck stew), Balaw-Balaw Fried Rice, grilled chicken, and Minaluto which is basically seafood platter with a mix of fried pork and vegetables.

With our tummies filled and bodies energized, we hopped back on the Everest and off we went for our next destination.

The Sights

Although we were out on a road trip, we still brought a bit of work with us. We needed to shoot photos for our smartphone reviews and wanted to go for a fresh, new location. We heard the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City is photography-friendly and offers an array of contemporary art displays and wide, open spaces.

We were not disappointed. The place is a spacious haven for art, culture, and OOTDs. It has a Greek vibe to it which goes well with the shroud of trees surrounding the area.

A quick tip if you plan to go to Pinto Art Museum: visit on weekdays so there are fewer people. We heard the place can be a little crowded during the weekends and holidays.

Hundreds of artworks are displayed throughout six galleries so be sure to allot enough time going around. We think two to three hours should be enough.

Shot using a Sony Xperia XZ2 with a clip-on macro lens

Shot using a Sony A7S II

The entire museum is inside a 1.2-hectare property that not only houses paintings and installations, but brightly colored fowls, as well!

We shot what we needed and were ready to go home. But one last stop: We chanced upon this road less traveled and pulled over to bask in the rays of the setting sun. We popped open the Everest’s Power Liftgate and gathered around to hang for a while.

Stories were exchanged, selfies were snapped, and laughs were had. We drove back to our headquarters shortly after and called it a day. That was how our quick trip to Rizal with the Ford Everest went.

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