Ain’t no island far enough
MOST car enthusiasts, if not all, believe there’s this numinous bind between them and their machines. Believe it or not, this form of attachment even transcends further into a partnership to conquer adventures, achievements and even challenges. One of the well-known car groups in the country, the Porsche Club Philippines (PCP) takes its members’ enthusiasm even to greater heights by doing extended drives to certain provincial destinations.
Recently, the group made another milestone this year by going the distance to conquer two islands—one off the coast of Luzon and another in the Western Visayas. According to PCP President Toto Cruz, the group has been doing three to four runs outside Manila annually for the last several years. “This is a happy occasion for Porsche enthusiasts like us and over the years, the family has grown. We started the club in 1991 in Manila, and we quickly made friends with Porsche enthusiasts in Cebu, and now in Iloilo. So, the family continues to grow and the journey continues,” he said. “But this time, what’s special about this year is that, the three founders of Porsche Club Philippines are all present [referring to himself, Tony Alunan and Gabby Valdes]. It’s the first time that we’re together, and we’re happy to be here all together,” he added.
The Mindoro trail
PCP committee member for long drives Noy Yao coordinated with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to ensure smooth and orderly transports from one port to another. In this particular journey, the seven-car group—comprised of 911 classics (Targa and Carrera), 964 and 993—will be ferried through roll-on, roll-off (Roro) vessels from different port entry and exit points of the islands. From Batangas Port, it took only two hours to reach the port of Calapan in Mindoro. There, the group commenced its journey from the northern part of the land. Early on the tour, the convoy was greeted with tight winding roads ahead of the provincial highway stretch. And these series of zigzags went on in between expanses. Then about five hours, several stops and more than 170 kilometers later, we finally reached the newly established port of Bulalacao in the southern part of Mindoro. TJ Benitez, who drives a 37-year-old 911 Carrera, shared his experience. “This is the first long run that I’ve done and also the first trip via a Roro. It’s nice, because we were able to drive nice and long winding roads, which is built for Porsche driving. We also appreciate the design of the cars because they really curve through mountain very well. It’s also like a shakedown, because you get to find out what are the things you need to improve or fix in the car,” he said.
Pushing further in Panay
Another Roro transfer took the entire fleet from Bulalacao to the port of Caticlan. Known as the gateway to the famous Boracay beach, we reached the area in the early afternoon and went on with the final 250-plus-kilometer leg of the voyage. Likewise, constricted curves challenged the convoy while the sun started setting, and soon the roads became dark and harder to deal with. Not even the sea from the coastal highways can be seen, and it became more difficult for the drivers to maintain their pace. That went on for hours of long stretches, until we finally reached Iloilo City late in the evening. Manny Dimaculangan, who drives a classic 911 Targa, along with his younger brother Eric, knew the challenges ahead. “I was preparing for this for the last several weeks, because this is not an ordinary event and you really need to take it seriously. So, I have to check everything, like the tires, underchassis components, engine, brakes condition and, more important, the electricals, particularly the lights,” he explained. “And we took extra effort to be careful, since it’s a night drive and that we’re trying to determine the road conditions,” he added.
Tour around the city
Meanwhile, another group from Cebu had its own share of expedition through the island of Negros, in Bacolod, and up to Iloilo port the following day. Notable from the southern faction are the two oldest, rare and in immaculate condition 356 models. One of the owners happened to be the famed industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue from Cebu, and his car is the oldest among the group. “It was a beautiful route because we passed through San Carlos all the way to Bacolod. And it’s really perfect for the Porsches because the roads are winding and challenging,” he shared. Along with other classics and contemporary editions, the two parties finally converged, staged a momentous drive together around Iloilo city, and bonded over dinner with programs and recognitions. Throughout the tour, the Roro method proved to be an excellent alternative—aside from flying—when it comes to traveling to another peninsula. It’s economical and would certainly fuel everyone’s desire for long drives with their ever reliable and in tiptop condition mainstream vehicles. And with the way PPA is managing the busy ports all over the country, you are certain of a hassle-free, safe, and secured transfers from one port to another.
This article was originally published by our media partner, BusinessMirror.
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by Randy S. Peregrino | Published: 2 March 2017 | BusinessMirror