A total of sixty-nine race lovers, eight of them celebrities trooped to the Clark International Speedway last Friday and Saturday, April 28 to 29 to participate in what is considered as the biggest event in the history of Philippine motorsports-the Vios Cup.
In his speech during the opening of the4th season of the series,Satoru Suzuki, president of Toyota Motor Philippines remarked, "Waku-doki or "heart-racing fun" is best communicated through the exciting world of motorsports! Using the Vios, the locally manufactured car not only prides its fun features but also its qualities that has consistently made it the best-selling vehicle in the country."
Despite the scourging heat in most parts of the central plain of Luzon, where the former US Airbase is located the motorsports enthusiasts braved the sweat just to have a glimpse of participating celebrities or cheer for their friends or watch one of the most popular circuit races in the country's year round racing calendar.
Celebrities who participated in last year's series who were retained to run again include, Jericho Rosales,Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Fabio Ide.
The new celebrity racers in this year's grid are, Aubrey Miles, Gretchen Ho, Ella Cruz, Dominic Roque and Jake Cuenca.
In the Rota Celebrity Class' Round 1,Fabio Ide lead the podium finishers while Dominic Roque top the class in Round 2.
Other Round 1 top of podium finishers includeDon Vic Portugal of theToyota San Pablo Team in the Rota Promotional Class,Tonton Ramos ofToyota San Fernando in theBridgestone Sporting Class and Daniel Miranda of Obengers Team lead the Total Super Sporting Class.
In Round 2, Rex Diwa ofToyota Isabela topped the Rota Promotional Class, Toyota Cebu'sLord Seno won theBridgestone Sporting Class while Daniel Miranda of Obengers Team registered a back-to-back win.
The Vios Cup returns to theClark International Speedway for its2nd leg on June 10 to 11 for another exciting circuit race.
Sunshine TV shall have a special feature of the Vios Cup in one of the future episodes of Auto Focus. And we'll have it on its website too. Watch for it.
BMW Philippines hosted select members of the motoring media, this writer included, to a travel experience with the latest iteration of the BMW X1 in an exclusive city-to-sea luxury drive. The lifestyle experience that spanned the streets of Manila and the back roads of the North aimed to feature the model's efficiency, driving dynamics, flexibility for cargo space, and interior comfort.
The experience began in AutoAllee BMW in Quezon City where we had a scrumptious breakfast and a brief introduction to the route to the Northern destinations.
A short pit or bladder stop was made at the BMW San Fernando dealership owned and operated by multi-brand auto industry exponent, Mr. Levi Laus for some refreshments and coffee.
After a short but warm welcome speech from Levi, we embarked on a journey to Pradera Verde, a recently developed recreational facility inLubao, Pampanga with a vast green field spanning 315 hectares and a wake board park.
En route, all the invited journalists, whether driving or riding, were all reminded to explore some of the BMW X1's driving modes, including the renowned BMW iDrive System, which was loaded with a music playlist that was pre-determined with the help of the journalists themselves along with a number of lifestyle selections, such as meal and activity preferences that were meant to enable guests to customize their drive and travel with ease.
At the scenic destination, the participants were put to their first challenge, which required navigating drones. Fusing accuracy and creativity, guests were delighted to try their hand at taking the best photo of the parked BMW X1s then landing the drones on specific markers on Pradera Verde's helipads. The challenge required precision and stability - features highlighted in the BMW X1 that aim to deliver the ultimate driving pleasure.
Following the activity, the motoring media practitioners were treated to a hefty picnic-themed lunch and were sent to continue their drive to a picturesque seaside haven. One of BMW's successful Sports Activity Vehicles, the BMW X1 cruised through another hour of driving while treating its drivers and passengers alike to comfort and a sense of thrill.
The newly opened ACEA Subic Bay, built with a private beachfront access, rejuvenated guests upon their arrival with refreshments and a breathtaking view of the ocean. Here, the teams were challenged a second time. This time, they were each given a chance to guess the number of specific items packed inside theBMW X1 parked by the beach ofACEA Subic Bay. The activity featured the BMW X1's expansive boot space that pushed the total usable room up to 505 liters, teams had a bit of a time figuring out their answers and wondering just how many coolers, golf bags, and luggage items were actually inside the vehicle.
The exciting activity was followed by a relaxing sunset yacht cruise that took the media participants around Subic Bay and through a route that overlooked the Mayangga and Snake Islands. Experiencing the sea breeze over delicious cocktails and champagne was the perfect toast to the day's drive before an exquisite beachfront dinner.
The two-day event ended with a flavorsome feast in Subic's famousMeat Plus Café before heading back home to Manila.
For BMW Philippines the exclusive BMW X1 getaway was conceived to indulged the motoring media to an unforgettable experience, which would prove that adventures aren't often only about the destination, sometimes, it's about the drive.
"From feeling the precision in its driving dynamics to discovering the expansive boot space that it offers, each challenge was closely tied to the kind of experience that the BMW X1 gives its driver and passengers," said BMW Philippines' lovely lady president Ms. Maricar Parco. "It was our great pleasure to host this two-day drive, which we hope would change everything our guests know and expect from a Sports Activity Vehicle. We look forward to hosting more driving experiences that showcase what Sheer Driving Pleasure is truly about"
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For anything about the automobile like car reviews and head-to-head comparisons of current models and the latest in the auto industry try www.autofocus.com.ph .
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.
At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network’s AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart’s middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN’s DZYL and DZQL.
From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.
In the early 70’s, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).
In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports’ living legend Pocholo Ramirez.
After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable’s Channel 13.
The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport’s hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.
In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry’s latest technological developments.
In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star’s business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.
Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.
Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)