TOYOTA ROADTREK 2013
Equal parts high-octane adventure and days of relaxationBy Kenneth M. del Rosario |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tires screeched. Engines roared. Speed was served for lunch.
These were familiar elements to a typical day of the Toyota Roadtrek, an event that motoring journalists have come to look forward to every year. This year, Roadtrek was everything that the automobile reporters expected: equal parts high-octane adventure and days of relaxation under the sun in an exotic location.
In its ninth installment this year, it’s almost cliché to say that the event was bigger than the last; that Toyota has topped itself yet again. But that’s exactly what happened. Any of the terms people use to get a bigger portion of a meal in a fast-food restaurant or in a cup of coffee in a café-grande, biggie, upsize-would be an apt way to describe Road Trek 2013.
This year, the entire fleet of Toyota was on full display-including the Toyota 86, Prius, Fortuner, Corolla Altis, Vios, RAV4, Hilux, and the Innova. It was like a reunion of sorts, both of Toyota officials and the motoring press (with many familiar faces that have joined past Roadtrek events).
Since 2005, the Roadtrek had brought media participants in Iloilo-Caticlan (2005), Cagayan de Oro-Davao (2006), Dumaguete-Cebu (2007), El Nido in Palawan (2008),
Bacolod-Dumaguete (2009), Iloilo-Boracay (2010), Leyte-Cebu (2011) and Bohol-Cebu (2012).
A day of fun activities
This year, Toyota brought the automobile press to the Clark International Speedway for a full day of fun activities.
Grouped into four, the participants were challenged with maneuvering the Altis through a tight obstacle course without hitting the pylons; racing the 86 through a technical section of the race track; fitting as many things (stuff usually brought on long drives) inside an Innova for a minute; and driving the Hilux on an impossibly tough offroad trail while trying to keep as much water on a plastic kiddie pool placed at the back of the vehicle.
Not just speed and skills
But the challenges didn’t just test the participants’ speed and skills in driving. In some of them, it was about patience—like driving the Prius to get the best fuel consumption. Driving a car with the horsepower of the Prius is an exhilarating experience, only you can’t run on top speed in this situation, otherwise you burn fuel. There was also a challenge wherein participants have to achieve the lowest possible heart rate while seated in the passenger seat of a Toyota 86 with a professional drifter giving it his all to try and do just the opposite.
If this was just any other motoring event, they would have probably had shuttled the media men and women back to Manila at the end of the day. But this wasn’t just any other motoring event. The day at the Clark Motoring Speedway was just the first phase of this year’s Roadtrek adventure.
The following day, Roadtrek moved South, to the world-renowned island of Coron in Palawan. One of the hottest destinations in the country today, Coron provided the perfect venue for a much-needed relaxation.
While the first phase was all work, the second phase was three days of R&R—eating, singing, swimming; lots of water sports and massage on the side. During the last night at the Two Seasons Resort, which just opened in January, the awards were given to the winning groups.
The motoring press had barely gotten back to Manila when talks of next year’s Roadtrek had took off. This year’s was impressive, but every one can’t help but look forward to the tenth installment in 2014.
As early as now, people should probably expect the “bigger-than-ever” or the “Toyota-has-done-it-again” angles when write-ups about that upcoming Roadtrek next year come out. But when it comes to the Toyota Roadtrek, it always seems that things go their way.