Chalk one up for the country’s most dominant manufacturer with the successful staging of the Toyota Roadtrek. Now on its 13th year, the Roadtrek is an annual event when gear heads like this writer gets the chance to explore the natural beauty of the archipelago behind the wheel of a Toyota.
This year, a select group of motoring pen pushers where sheep herded to the rustic island of Siargao, an hour a half away by chartered plane. A previously unknown piece of real estate in the easternmost part of the country, Siargao was thrust into the limelight in the 1990’s when surfing photographer John Callahan began posting pictures about the clear waters, tidal pools, and its potential as a surfer’s paradise.
Now the island is a happy mix of locals and tourists who decided to migrate and enjoy the laid back lifestyle. Where else can you enjoy a cup of coffee amid the splashing of the waves?
Toyota for their part ups the ante every year by surprising us with scenic and postcard perfect destinations for us to drive their vehicle lineup. In a way, car manufacturers are tourism ambassadors because they promote the tourist destinations and we as their guests, get to write about it.
This year, Toyota unveiled the latest iteration of the Wigo clad in its new Orange hue. Shortly after a sumptuous lunch at a seaside resort, Toyota took the wraps off the new Wigo. The refreshed 2017 version sports a new front fascia with new headlamp clusters, new chrome grille and pointed chins at the bumper corners. Toyota also equipped the new Wigo with a new powertrain, the 1KR-VW 1.0 liter, three cyclinder, 12-valve gasoline engine. It is one of the most practical and affordable subcompacts in the domestic market.
As expected and to the chagrin of senior members of the motoring press, organizers arranged a battery of physical and mental challenges to make the ride and drive event more eventful, or in my case, painful. Our car of choice was the Vios, Toyota’s best selling compact sedan with a strong sales figure of at least 3,000 units a month or a growth of nine percent by the first quarter of this year.
I was paired up with the most attractive homosapiens according to their relatives Eggay Quesada and Ira Panganiban. Troopers that we were, we gamely participated in the challenges throughout the day, and enjoyed driving the Vios along Siargao’s unmolested roads. Siargao is a driver’s destination, with motorcycles outnumbering cars three to one. We all had a blast navigating the well paved roads of this island paradise.
After a day of sweating under the sun and scratching the pavement with its fleet of cars, our efforts were rewarded with a stay at a boutique resort. Second day of the Roadtrek was spent island hopping, snorkeling and simply enjoying a cold can of beer at the pool of the resort.
In true Toyota fashion, the second night saw us literally drowning ourselves with booze and eating to our heart’s content. Our team fell short on points to win an award. It’s okay, win or loose, all of us were winners from the beginning because we got to experience this year’s Toyota Roadtrek. I am so looking forward to next year.