Dad starts Robert Bautista’s profitable wedding paradeBy Tessa R. Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquier
Every father to every boy must have experienced the time when the sneaky little devil drove the family car out for a joyride with the barkada, without the patriarch knowing.
Robert Bautista, now 34, considers himself an exception, though, and maintains that he was always a “good boy” to his dad. What this car enthusiast reveals is a 27-year-old son who asked his father’s permission to borrow the car, and turned that opportunity into a million-peso business.
Robert earned P1,000 in 2004 when he used his businessman dad’s 1997 BMW316i as a bridal car for a friend. Word then got around that Robert was a fine bridal car provider, and he would soon be asked if he had a Mercedes Benz to use for another wedding. Robert wasted no time trading his red convertible Pajero for a Mercedes-Benz. From then on, Robert and his bridal car rental business was off and running.
Eight years later, Don Robert’s Bridal Cars boasts of having the widest variety of bridal cars. Rental rates ranging from P4,000 to P14,000. And did you know that there are international awards for bridal car rental services? Well, better believe it, because Robert has been a recipient of several of those.
The Don Robert’s fleet is composed of over 25 units, from vintage cars (including a 1929 and 1957 Cadillac) to newer models such as the 26-ft ultra-stretch Lincoln Limousine with sunroof, its own bar and DVD/TV, and Intercom, a number of BMWs and Mercedes Benzes (even a recent C180 model). Other luxury choices include a 2006 Chrysler 300C, a Lexus Executive Series, and a 2011 Camry. A white Hyundai Elantra is about to be added to his lineup, as soon as a white unit becomes available.
Robert’s office-garages in Mandaluyong City and Tanza, Cavite, resemble a museum/showroom of classic cars: A 1947 Jaguar Mark V, 1960 Jaguar Mark II, 1933 Ford Convertible, 1932 Studebaker, 1965 Mercedes Benz, 1948 Buick, 1962 Beetle, a Bug Eye Mercedes-Benz E240 with 20-inch chrome rims and audio setup and HID headlights, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class (the Princess Diana model) with 19-inch Lorinser mags, a Mercedes-Benz E220 with 17-inch Benz rims, Mercedes Benz 300E with 17-inch Elegant Benz chrome rims, and more.
Robert’s bridal cars have had their fair share of show-biz exposure. The Lincoln Limo, which Robert claims is the longest limousine in the country, was recently used in reality TV show “Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2” and local telenovela “Marimar.” The 1929 Cadillac was featured in indie film “Rosario” and in the “Budoy” teleserye. His 1932 Studebaker was also seen in “Pinoy Big Brother Season 2” and in the “Trudis Liit” TV soap, and by Bea Alonzo’s character “Gelai” in the “Magkaribal” TV series. Actress Anne Curtis rode the 1960 Jaguar Mark II in “The Wedding.” Don Robert’s cars are also top-of-mind in magazine pictorials and wedding expos.
For this, and other achievements, Don Robert’s Bridal Cars (check out bridalcars.com.ph) has earned the 2008 Consumer’s Choice Award as the “Most Innovative Bridal Car Rental Services,” 2009 Asia Pacific Excellence Award’s “Outstanding Bridal Car Rental Service,” 2010 Top Quality & Talent Awards Asia “2010 Best Bridal Car Rental Provider,” 2010 Most Sought After Wedding Supplier, 2011 and 2012 Top Booker Getting Married Bridal Fair Bridal Car category, 2011 Consumer Quality Awards “2011 Best Managed Bridal Car Rental Company.” For Robert to say “Don Robert’s Bridal Cars has proven its name in the business” may be understating things a bit.
Car lover first
Robert, though, was a lover of cars first, and foremost. “My first car was a Mitsubishi Colt Mirage (US Version) which I got for my 18th birthday. I loved dressing it up and putting in loud speakers. After that, a Nissan EX Saloon, then an MR2 Sports car.”
Don Robert’s maintains its own detailing, car paint and restoration shops. “The most meticulously maintained are the vintage cars like the 1929 Cadillac, 1930s to 1960s collection, parts of which are very hard to find. The easiest to maintain is the Honda VTI-s, the parts of which are available everywhere,” Robert said.
Robert’s wedding with his lovely wife Shellita Chloe Bayot in 2009 was a showcase of the company’s cars. The occasion used 18 bridal cars, and was featured in kasal.com. Robert said his dad, Angel, was beaming with pride that day, probably because he didn’t need to borrow a wedding car for his own wedding.
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