Aug 10, 2016

No better place like home

I've been out with my wife, Babes together with my brother and fellow Star columnist, Rey (Biz Link) and his wife Evelyn and their children RG and Ina for a few weeks stay in their house in San Francisco. It's our first time for us brothers and our families to go Stateside together. We planned this trip to have a reunion with our other brother, Eddie, the retired economist from the UP academe community who has decided to settle in Las Vegas.

The minute I stepped inside the plane for our trip out of the country I decided that the coming weeks would indeed be a break as I explained to our very understanding motoring editor, Manny de los Reyes. It would be a couple of weeks of no writing of columns or TV scripts, just sight seeing, shopping and a lot of eating. Not even driving, for luckily Rey's son RG is a certified pilot and that's exactly what he did the whole time-pilot us around to see the sights of San Francisco.

Whenever I travel I always arrive home a little frustrated seeing and knowing that we are still far behind in so many things compared to the outside world. But this time it's different. I felt we're better off. If you think it's uncomfortably hot in the Philippines during summer, you should experience the Las Vegas summer, where we made a side trip. Whenever I would go out of our hotel, the Bellagio, I would feel like standing in front of an air conditioner-but on the wrong side-where the exhaust is. If you find 40 degrees Celsius as uncomfortable here in the Philippines, try 47 degrees and you would say its purgatory or a prelude to hell.

Anyway, it was a wonderful break and now it's back to the salt mines.

Is it for real this time?

Word has it that the present administration is bent on phasing out public utility vehicles that are15 years and older as one of the many measures that would be implemented to reduce the number of vehicles on the road with the end goal of improving traffic flow.

This is nothing new. If my overflowing memory bank is not failing me I remember there is a pending legislation on this, which I think is already a law that just needs implementation, but not being implemented due to strong lobby against it.

Let's not blame the auto industry for having too many vehicles on the road. That's a good sign of an improving economy. The problem is we do not have nor are we building big enough roads to accommodate these vehicles that are needed to meet our growing population's mobility demands.

And to top it all, we also do not have a system to phase out old vehicles. Perhaps we don't really need to see these old vehicles destroyed as what's being done in other countries. Just relegate them to the countryside and out of the cities, if they are still usable and functioning.

We still have to see if the present administration is really serious about this phase out.

Volkswagen Philippines' road safety campaign

The Ayalas through Volkswagen Philippines is laudably stepping up its award winning Child Safety Initiative (CSI) campaign this year by holding mall tours in various urban centers.

The campaign introduces early childhood safety awareness to children as young as 4 to 8 years of age and imparts important road safety habits to their parents.

Volkswagen PH actually kicked off its CSI campaign last weekend at the Robinson's Magnolia in New Manila, QC. The second one is scheduled on August 20 and 21 at Robinson's Place, Las Pinas to be followed on October 1 and 2 at Robinson's Place Lipa in Batangas, then October 15 and 16 at Robinson's Galleria in Cebu and finally this year on November 5 and 6 at Robinson's Place Manila.

The CSI tours feature a miniature-simulated roadway within a community (complete with road signages, stoplights and miniature vehicles) for the kids' use at the Junior Driving Course. Other features have been added to generate more child interest and parents' participation.

In a recent release we learned that Volkswagen PH's CSI campaign is part of the global CSI strategy of the German automaker rolled out in various countries based on two pillars. One is the prevention of accidents by teaching and educating parents and kids about possible dangers on the roads. The other is to emphasize the passive safety devices of modern-day passenger vehicles, with special focus on the use of age-appropriated child safety seats.

Ford churns out outstanding sales figures

In their latest news release Ford Philippines announced its best ever July performance with total retail sales rising 61 % year-over-year to 2,748 units, with the continued strong demand for the EcoSport, Ranger and Everest behind the feat.

"Our big three Ford nameplates continue to drive record sales this year, attracting customers across the country who appreciate the value, quality and safety that our global Ford vehicles deliver," Lance Mosley, Ford Philippines managing director was quoted as saying.

According to the same release Ford's year-to-date sales have now risen to a similar 61% to 19,517 units, which could perhaps firmly maintain their number 3 rank in the local auto industry in terms of sales.

The EcoSport compact SUV continued as one of Ford's top-selling nameplates in the country with July sales registering 866 units, the best monthly performance this year. The introduction of the EcoSport Black Edition variant is expected to further increase customers' interest in the nameplate.

On the other hand, the Everest mid-size SUV, which is available in five variants, sold 945 units in July helping its year-to-date sales jump to 7,906 units.

As for the Ranger, which has a full line up of 13 variants in the Philippines, July sales jumped 26% year-over-year to 700 units pushing it year-to-date retail to total 4,672 units.

Indeed the industry is continuously looking up.

Win online racing and see Singapore F1 GP free!

Porsche fans and enthusiasts are invited to put their driving skills to the test online while maneuvering the new 718 Boxster S and 718 Cayman S down twisting roads.

Celebrating the arrival of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine 718 model line, Porsche Asia Pacific has launched an online racing game titled 718 Challenge.

The best player reaching the top of the leader board by midnight of August 17 will win an once-in-a-lifetime, tailored experience witnessing the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia as part of the 2016 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on September 16 to 18.

You guys have still a week to try your luck and put to test your online driving skills. Visit

Here's what to watch on Auto Focus this week

Auto Focus, the weekly TV show for the automobile enthusiast has in its program line up this week a review of the all-new Toyota Fortuner and a glimpse of the 2017 Porsche Panamera and the Chrysler 300S Sport, triple-treat for all car aficionados.

Aside from the latest news and developments in the local auto industry, SUV watchers would have a great time comparing feature-to-feature the Honda Pilot against the Volkswagen Touareg as we put them head-to-head. If you have an eye for the all-new 2016 Honda Civic, we'll have a special feature centering on a recent media test drive of the newly launched compact sedan recently done in Bohol.

Auto Focus, the country's premier auto news and features TV magazine airs on Solar Sports (Sky Cable, Channel 70 & Destiny Cable, Channel 35) every Thursday evening at 10 o'clock.

If you miss watching it or any of its past episodes just check out its website

Happy Motoring!!!

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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)