Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation (TMPC) successfully staged the 11th running of the Road Trek – the annual excursion of motoring journalists to far flung provinces of the country using their complete lineup of vehicles. For this year, the Road Trek destination was Daan Bantayan in the northernmost tip of Cebu island that was held from May 31 to June 2.
Arriving in Cebu onboard an early morning flight from Manila, the group of motoring hacks were shuttled to the Toyota dealership located at the reclamation area in Mandaue, where senior vice president Jose Manuel Cuenco prepared a genuine Cebuano feast. All of Cebu’s finest were on the spread, from sugbang nukos (grilled squid), succulent and sweet mangoes, to the best ever Cebu Lechon with matching pusô (rice cooked in palm leaves). That’s aside from the other delightful fare prepared including paella and lengua con champignon (ox tongue with mushrooms).
Lined up outside the Mandaue dealership were 10 of Toyota’s most popular models starting with the Wigo, Vios, Yaris, Altis, Camry, Innova, RAV4, Fortuner, FJ Cruiser and the Hi-Ace Grandia for use by the Road Trekers in driving to Daan Bantayan. All the models used, according to Cuenco, are also the popular models in Cebu and their sales is a significant part of the 10,000-unit monthly sales that TMP has been achieving of late.
From Mandaue, the Road Trek convoy headed west toward the boonies of Balamban for its first stop. It took barely an hour for the Road Trekkers to reach Canso X, a mountain adventure resort with great vistas and good food. As with the previous Road Treks, fun challenges awaited the participants to pit teams against each other while testing their wits.
Following the set of challenges and feasting, again, on local snacks, the Road Trekkers proceeded with the drive down the mountain, turning right along the coastal road toward Daan Bantayan, up north. Other stops and challenges were made along a beach resort in San Remigio and a golf resort in Medelin town.
After driving some 160 kilometers and gaining five pounds because of the numerous food stops we had, the group finally reached Kandaya, a posh resort hidden in the northernmost tip of Cebu, Daan Bantayan.
TMP president Michinobu Sugata was not able to join the trip because he had to be in Japan with President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the announcement of auto industry roadmap that was tailored fit to benefit giant car companies. Sugata-san was well represented though by TMP vice president for marketing Sherwin Chualim and Jade Sison taking care of our every need.
Our rooms were enormous. The facilities were more than complete. Food was abundant, drinks overflowing… and after a cruise onboard a yacht going to Malapascua Island, what better way for TMP to end the trip than with a private concert by no less than music icon Ely Buendia—it was the ultimate junket!
Now I’m trying to guess where TMP will hold next year’s Road Trek. Could it be back to Boracay, where the first ever Road Trek was held? Let’s wait and see…