Negros road race 'goes green'

By Ira V. Panganiban

Posted at Jun 02 2009 04:44 PM | Updated as of Jun 03 2009 12:44 AM

Leading car company Toyota recently held a road race in Western Negros island, this time not just to feature powerful cars but to make an environmental stand.

Through visiting various locations around the country and getting closer to nature’s wonders, the 5th annual Toyota Media Road Trek, the annual event aims to promote environmental awareness, local tourism, and sustainable mobility.

“Holding the Roadtrek in Negros Island is very befitting of this year’s Environmental Theme.  Bacolod is famous for its eco-treasures as recognized with our hall-of-fame award as the country’s cleanest, greenest and most livable city.  The Vios and Innova will prove worthy companions as you enjoy the extensive road network matched with the greatest view of the South China Sea and the famous Mt. Kanlaon,” said Toyota's Assistant General Manager Mr. Roque Jarillo.

The trek was held last May 21 to 23 and included 24 media participants who experienced a comprehensive test drive of the locally-produced and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) Innova and Vios.

Since its first run in 2005, the Roadtrek has seen various regions across the country including Panay Island, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dumaguete, Rizal, and Palawan.

Media participants represented major print and broadcast outfits including Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Times, Business Mirror, Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard-Today, FHM, TopGear, C! Magazine, Motoring Today, Auto Extreme, Auto Review, Stoplight TV, and Magic 89.9.

Participants were divided into 6 groups with 4 members and 1 vehicle each. The Vios and Innova traversed roughly 500 kilometers from Sipalay in Negros Occidental to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.

After welcoming rites, activities took place in the diverse areas of Negros including the up-hill winding roads of DS Benedicto, like sugarcane-hauling and crab-catching challenges in Kabankalan. There were also activities held at the hilly rough roads of Cauayan and Balanan Lake in Siaton and Dumaguete.

Driving through various road conditions and terrains, and performing environmental conservation challenges demonstrated the vehicles’ versatility, performance, toughness and fuel-efficiency. 

“Toyota vehicles are capable of traveling various road conditions of the Philippines, and at the same time able to cater to diverse lifestyles of customers, regardless of the province or region they come from,” said Raymond Rodriguez, TMP’s First Vice President for Vehicle Sales Operations.

Teams who played their best were given cash prizes during the Culminating Night. The 2nd Runners Up were Allan Madrilejos of FHM, Boom Gonzalez of Magic 89.9, Jaykee Evanglista and Dinzo Tabamo of TopGear. The 1st Runner Up was composed of Vernon Sarne of TopGear, Brian Afuang of Manila Times, Dong Magsajo and Jeff Reyes of Philippine Star. The members of the winning team who scored the most points were Butch Gamboa, Jenny Bleza, Matt Mallari of Auto Focus and Charles Buban of Philippine Daily Inquirer.