Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Busy in Subic

By. Andy Sevilla – Business Mirror

SUBIC – The weather here is not that good for the past two days that I have been here. By the time you read this, I would be back in Manila and back to where the action is. The past two weeks have been so hectic for us as we were caught up with several events in the motoring beat.

Amado del Rosario of PGA Cars invited us to test-drive their newest baby in town – the petrol and diesel variants of the Audi A4, a sporty and luxurious car for those who are always on the go and onboard a comfortable vehicle. I was paired with Inquirer’s Andre Palma and we topped the economy run from Edsa to Subic and back.

Then came the invite of JP and Jeanette Tuason for their Tuason Racing School “Media Racing Experience” that was held at the newly renovated Subic International Speedway, which is jus a few meters from the Subic International Airport. I tell you, this one is superb fro those who are in “need fro speed.” JP and Jeanettes’s Tuason Racing School, or simply TRS, is simply fantastic in “teaching” us how it was to ride a racing car such as the ones they are using right now – the TDCi Ford Focus. Yes, JP was so proud of the Ford Focus because of its great handling and power, especially the extra torque it has.

“This is one hell of a car which you can experience yourself. So please be careful and always follow our instructions,” he said as he gave important tips and guides in handling the cars and even the racetrack that was very slippery and padded in several places because of the intermittent rains.

The 13 members of the media who answered the invitation for a two-day event sponsored by Ford Philippines were divided into two groups – one was for the so-called pros of for those who have under went stringent schooling for the past several TRS events, while the other one was for the “novice” who are the so-called beginners. We were bunched into the beginners’ crowd that included Inquirer’s Tessa Salazar, Speed lab’s part-owner Sydney Ang, Hotwire’s Enzo Ruidera and Manila Bulletin’s Aris Ilagan. The more than combined six hours of instructions and racetrack experience on board the Ford Focus racing car was so exhilarating and one-of-a-kind, really. I placed third over all in the media challenge that day behind Enzo and Sydney, while Johnsy Reyes beat C’Magazine’s James Deakin, while C! magazines Vice Pornelos checked in third in the pro level.

Everybody had a good time, including my son Juan Miguel, who was able to tag along. He was allowed to go drivers on a “hot lap,” and he also took several pictures for his “motoring blog.”

On Sunday, it was the turn of Hyundai to bring a large batch of media men to Amvaya Cove also in Subic for the launch of its three eye-catching and superb cars – the i10, yhe i30 and the Genesis. They were launched later in the night after another economy – run challenge held early in the morning as all the 13i10 cars with members of the media on board left Hyundai Manila Bay. Just before the launch of the three cars, winners were awarded their respective prizes and they were the following – champion, Manila Standard’s Dino Directo and this paper’s Ira Panganiban; first runner-up, the father-and-son team of Ron and Ronad de los Reyes of “Auto Review”; and second runner-up, this writer together with FHM’s Tuel Lucas. We also got to snatch another prize as being the 10th car to enter Shell’s San Fernando station.

The i10 was one of the best compact cars I have ridden so far, I was the one who drove it while Ruel was my navigator from Pasay to San Fernando and on to Subic’s Amvaya Cove, a very relaxing and luxurious place. I understand this place is just for members only and their chosen guests, huh! I thought I was riding a Mini Cooper with the said car as it has all the power and torque one need most in an eco-run such as that one. And it was so economical to use also. The winners used only 2.7 liters all the way, while the first runner-up consumed more fuel that us, but they took a long route. We used only 3.485 liters!

Fe Argudo was also very proud of the results of the first test of the i10 as she went into a long list of thanking several media personalities and outfits (that included the BUSINESS MIRRO, of course) for Hyundai’s great success for the past 10 years now. She also unveiled two of the new very good-looking Hyundai cars that will enter the market in the next few weeks now – the i30 and the Genesis.

See that, three events and stints at the very busy hub of Subic Bay in just two weeks!

I was amazed with the way this tiny city within a province is slowly evolving into a megacity. Constructions are everywhere. Restaurants and decent drinking places are sprouting everywhere. Boutique hotels are being erected one after the other. That new Lighthouse Hotel at the end of the Baywalk was such a good small hotel. It is new and very accommodating. I and my family tried it when Felix Mabilog of Kia Motors held an event also in Subic last year. The said hotel had just opened up but everything was already in order and the people there are very accommodating. You can try that one.

Subic’s investments are going great, really, as various locators are said to be hurrying in choosing various locations inside the area. I can safely say that Subic really had transformed into one good resting and investment place, especially now that the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) had just opened. Seventy-five percent of those traveling to Subic from Manila are no longer taking the old routes along the San Fernando-Gapan Highway. The SCTEx is really great and very convenient, and the terminal fees from Manila are very minimal and very affordable.

More on Subic and more on those three sporting events this Friday. I’ll have to pack my bags first before I get left behind here in Amvaya Cove.

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