Apr 13, 2016

2016 Isuzu mu-X’s drive & ride and island hopping

Apart from their fast-selling trucks, which are much preferred by those that are deep into the professional commitment to transport goods, services and people, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) now has its midsize SUV, the Isuzu mu-X that’s likewise surging in their sales charts breaking records.

With the market’s unprecedented acceptance after last year’s launch of the nominated heir to the similarly successful Isuzu Alterra, IPC now introduces the 2016 Isuzu mu-X 3.0L VGS with a maximum horsepower rating of 163 Ps and maximum torque of 380Nm churning out of a common rail direct injection and an intercooled Variable Geometry System (VGS)turbocharged powertrain.

To give the motoring media an up close and personal hands on experience with the 2016 Isuzu mu-X, IPC organized a drive and ride event last week, April 6 to 8 in the island paradise of Palawan with 14 journalists hosted by IPC executives headed by no less than its president, Mr. Hajime Koso joined by evp, Mr. Takashi Tomita and senior vice president Mr. Art Balmadrid with product development manager Mr. Joseph Bautista.

“This event, mainly complemented by the 2016 Isuzu mu-X 3.0L VGS and this province, has proven its point: that the vehicle is eyed to be closed to the heart of every traveler and that its power would keep one’s heart at beating fast,” said Koso-san

“We are proud that this vehicle was brought along this side of the world so that many can enjoy its perks and abilities,” the motoring media’s well-liked IPC president added.

From the airport the fleet of 2016 Isuzu mu-X convoyed to the island safari of Calauit located at the northern tip of Busuanga. In this long grueling 75 kilometer-drive and ride, the IPC flagship went through a tough test of engine performance, riding comfort, maneuverability as the journalists made the 2016 Isuzu mu-X prove true all its feature claims. And indeed it passed all the torturing tests with flying colors after going through a variety of road surfaces from smooth, dusty to gravel-filled to rough roads to no roads at all.

The comfortably punishing and demanding drive and ride experience was followed by a welcome lunch with some of the most exotic animals in the world like giraffes, zebras and the Calamian mouse deer to name some within the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary. Being an avid and passionate animal lover I had mixed emotions while there—ecstatic being with these exotics that I rarely see but very sad as I get to learn that some of these beautiful animals fall prey to humans for their meat’s commercial value. But then that’s another story, but indeed a disturbing one for which I intend to give some inches in my Business & Leisure column, which appears here at the Star every Saturday.

Right after lunch at the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary, we continued with the test drive and ride. Although shorter at 43 kilometers, at least we were already bound for our place of rest, the Busuanga Bay Lodge.

After the first day’s demanding test drive was the second day’s well-deserved R&R, which included a long de-stressing and recharging boat ride in the serene and placid waters of Palawan and an island and beach tour of Banul Beach, Barracuda Lake, Atwayan Beach, Kayangan Lake and Siete Pecados. The day was capped with an evening of singing and the ever-present bottles of Macallan single malt.

The public will be able to have its own test drive experience with the 2016 Isuzu mu-X including its new exciting variant together with other brand new vehicle models from the country’s major automobile manufacturers and importers during the Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival at the SM Mall of Asia on April 21 to 24.

Results of "on site" voting for "Auto of the Year"


We conducted a 4-day "on site" voting during the MIAS for the Auto Focus Automobile of the Year-People's Choice Awards and here are the public's Top 10 choices. These votes shall be included in the present tally.

01 Subaru WRX STI (Sports Car) Votes 234
02 Ford Ranger (Pickup) Votes 147
03 Mitsubishi Montero Sport (Midsize SUV) Votes 143
04 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Large SUV) Votes 130
05 Toyota 86 (Sports Car) Votes 124
06 Mazda MX-5 (Sports Car) Votes 116
07 Mitsubishi Lancer EX (Compact) Votes 88
08 Mazda Mazda 3 (Compact) Votes 83
09 Honda Civic (Compact) Votes 65
10 Toyota Fortuner (Midsize SUV) Votes 62

01 Lamborghini Aventador (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 290
02 Porsche 911 Carrera S (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 212
03 Ford Mustang (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 207
04 BMW M4 (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 121
05 Mercedes-Benz SLC 200 AMG Line (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 120
06 Lexus RCF (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 117
07 Dodge Challenger SRT (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 115
08 Lamborghini Huracan (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 111
09 Mini MINI Cooper (Luxury Subcompact) Votes 83
10 Bentley Continental GT (Luxury Sports Car) Votes 78

The next "on site" voting shall be held during the Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival at the MOA.

On line voting continues on www.autofocus.com.ph with daily electronic raffles giving lucky voters items of value as prizes.

Vote for your favorite automobiles via your cellphone and win a prize.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments (email) sunshine.television@yahoo.com


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)