Northern Weekend

I am quite happy with this journal section we've just put up. It allows me to pour out the thoughts that come rushing in at 3am as I lay in bed after finishing a proper article for our page. It is inherently a means for all of us to empty out the adrenaline tank as we guide ourselves to the path of slumber. So please, allow me to drain this.

At Opus Macchina and Get Lost, we mostly do shoots on weekends because it allows us to go a bit farther for better shots. We try our best not to shoot in the metro because it's far too congested. Unfortunately, this sort of schedule eats up on Miguel and Kaye's family time. So as not to ruin it, we plan things out with their kids in mind. I guess we are a bit of a democracy. When Toyota Motor Philippines invited us to the third Vios Cup Race Weekend at the Clark International Speedway last September, which also happened to be the local launch of the updated Toyota 86, we decided that we needed to do something interesting for the kids as well.

Talia and Erin are fantastically well-behaved kids, which makes it harder for all of us to not have them in mind on weekends like this. So we cut a deal with them. We said that if they come with us to the Vios Cup, we'd take them to Subic after. Toyota Motor Philippines was magnanimous enough to offer Miguel and Kaye a family room to fit the two girls. As expected, the Vios Cup Race didn't fail to entertain. The kids loved it and were absolutely thrilled to see race cars in the paddock. Truthfully, it was nice to see different teams exerting maximum effort on getting the best result. Philippine motorsports needs this boost. 

Start The Fun.

After the Vios Cup race, we finally headed straight out to Subic. Surprisingly, it felt a lot shorter than I remember. It couldn't have been the cars, or was it? I think it has a lot to do with the efficient highway system of the North. It's decongested and properly done. And is it just me, or do people gradually get better at driving from NLEX onwards? 

By the time we hit SCTEX, people were driving like they would in the United States. They followed the rules, used their indicator switches, and there were no idiots found crawling on the overtaking lane. I'm puzzled. How is it possible that people can practice this on SCTEX and return to being monkeys on SLEX? Somebody throw me a banana.

Miguel at this point had fallen madly in-love with the Civic RS Turbo. Well, even I did. It is a complete game-changer as far as engine, power, tech, and space is concerned. It is now so big, it should be ashamed for being considered a compact sedan. I thought the whole Earth Dreams technology was a ruse. With an engine the size of a free Coca-Cola, it would be catastrophically under-powered, except it couldn't have been further from the truth. The performance was a shocker. It was so quick and it made all the right noises too. I especially loved the CVT transmission, because it was only when I read the spec sheet that I realized it had a CVT - which is usually the work of Satan.

As for me, I looked forward to the long journey for I happened to have a 321 horsepower, front engine, rear-wheel-drive M performance coupé in the form of a BMW M235i, which was in full stealth mode in black. I really would've preferred it in Melbourne Red, but since beggars can't be choosers, I decided to enjoy it instead. It was a lovely and relaxing drive. The Civic and the M235i seemed to enjoy the open highways, and of course, when traffic started decongesting, the temptation to put our foot down on the gas pedal deemed more unbearable by the minute. The Bimmer is hilariously fast. It throws you down the road like a bullet, but with a chassis that's even quicker. 

One of those days you would like to drive forever.

When we arrived in Subic, the traffic situation turned for the best - because there was none. It was just a sea of cars that knew how to do four-way stops and actually know what yield meansThis lead us to El Kabayo Stables, the once fabled stomping ground for equestrians and enthusiasts who love and adore horses. As soon as we parked our cars, we were received by a very cheerful Susan Rivera, who manages and oversees the daily operation of this beautiful ranch. The place is supported by Wildlife in Need (WIN), a non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates animals that are in need. 

Susan was kind enough to pull out the horses before they had to feed at 4pm, much to the delight of my nieces. The horses were in stunning condition and they almost looked like thoroughbred race horses. They really are beautiful and graceful animals, and it such a joy to see them very well-cared for by this institution. If you are planning a family trip to Subic, I strongly urge you to take your family here. You don't just get to see and ride healthy horses, but it will raise awareness with your children as far as protecting animal rights and helping them restore their dignity by keeping them healthy. 

Meet some thoroughbreds.

As we covered our final set of kilometers on our approach to Lighthouse Marina, the only hotel to stay in when in Subic, Miguel and I couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces - even if the two cars we had driven up here have as much in common as a meatball and a hummingbird. The Civic was responsive and really comfortable. As a matter of fact, this is one of the cars that Miguel's family unanimously loved. You never feel the lack of power that plagues majority of petrol powered cars that come from the East, which is a real breath of fresh air. It is the compact car of the moment.

The BMW was exceptionally great. As a sports car proposition that you can drive every day, it is superior. It is quick, it is comfortable, it corners like its on rails, and it does all of this like a charming lad that oozes with quiet confidence. No special attention needed, which as a result, doesn't limit you from going wherever you please. We ended the night at the outdoor cabana of this gorgeous hotel and watched the kids swim in the pool as Miguel, Stefano, and I rambled about how awesome and capable the cars were. I really do wish that most days were like this.

Lighthouse Marina is an integral part of the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines.

2016 Honda Civic RS Turbo

Engine: 1,498 cc, DOHC 16V, Inline-4, Earth Dreams VTEC, Turbocharged
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 173 bhp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 220 Nm @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
Transmission: Earth Dreams CVT, FWD
0-100 km/h: 6.8 seconds
Top Speed: 215 km/h
Fuel Economy: 10.4 km/L Overall
Price: PHP1,398,000
+: Class leading power, space, and equipment. Even the CVT works great
-: Exterior and instrument panel design is subjective
Verdict: Punches above its weight class and dominates its segment
Rating: 10/10

2016 BMW M235i Coupé

Engine: 2,979 cc, DOHC 24V, Inline-6, TwinPower Turbo
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 321 bhp @ 5,800-6000 rpm
Torque: 450 Nm @ 1,400-4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Sport Automatic, RWD
0-100 km/h: 4.8 seconds
Top Speed: 250 km/h
Fuel Economy: 7.7 km/L Overall
Price: PHP4,990,000
+: Power, adjustability, handling, pace, driving experience
-: Could use more standard equipment at this price point, looks aren't for everyone, I prefer it with a manual gearbox
Verdict: Perhaps one of the best driver's coupés you can buy today, but I would save for an M2
Rating: 9.5/10

Ex-Automotive Executive

Instagram: @enzoteodoro