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Island life with the Isuzu D-Max

As a follow-up to its introduction on August 29, Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) led select members of the motoring media for a ride and drive of the refreshed D-Max around the scenic island of Camiguin. Dubbed the “New Isuzu D-Max LS-A Media Test Drive,” the event was led by IPC executives — President Hajime Koso; Yasuhiko Oyama, vice president for sales; Joseph Bautista, sales division head; Robert Carlos, product planning head; and Nora Liquido, corporate communications manager. The 20 motoring scribes were divided into groups of three, and were allocated in seven D-Max units.

A centuries-old tree beside the ruins of the old church of
Camiguin is a mute witness to the island’s rich history.

Known as the country’s second smallest province (next to Batanes), the well paved road network and generally mountainous terrain was the ideal venue for the D-Max driving event. Aside from being a driver’s destination, Camiguin also offers a rich mix of natural attractions and cultural treasures which was a treat for city slickers like this writer. This writer was in pick-up number four with Randy Peregrino of the Business Mirror, Ruben Manahan of Carmudi and Leandre Grecia of TopGear PH as my road trip companions throughout the two-day event.

Cultural heritage

Day One of the New D-MAX LS-A media test drive saw the participants take a 30-minute drive from the provincial capital Mambajao to Taguines Lagoon, followed by a sumptuous seafood lunch at the nearby J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant. From there, a 40-minute drive to the island’s interior brought the group to the Tres Marias Hill, a trio of domes dotting the island’s most prominent geological feature, the towering and still active stratovolcano Mount Hibok-Hibok. A 10-minute drive on unpaved roads then led to the cold yet refreshing Tuasan Falls.

By midafternoon, the Isuzu convoy had a generous serving of the province’s most popular fruit at the Lanzones Farm 25 minutes from the falls, and a mere two minutes from the next stop in the itinerary, the Sunken Cemetery, where the remnants of a graveyard and a town destroyed and sunk into the sea by the explosive birth of nearby Mt. Vulcan in the 1870s provided the solemn foreground to a magnificent sunset.

Participants to the media test drive enjoyed the tour around Camiguin as the pickup provided the power, comfort, and confidence to take on the island province’s various road conditions. The D-MAX LS-A is powered by the powerful and fuel-efficient 4JJ1-TCX 3.0-liter 4-cylinder In-line Blue Power Diesel engine with VGS turbo intercooler that generates 177 ps @ 3,600 rpm and maximum torque of 380 Nm @ 1,800-2,800rpm. Available in the 4×2 and 4×4 MT and AT variants, the D-MAX LS-A drivetrain consists of either the 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift or the 6-speed manual transmission with gear shift indicator.

“The Isuzu D-MAX LS-A with Blue Power Diesel engine is our answer to the clamor of our customers for reliable, hardworking but fuel-efficient vehicles. This represents nearly a century of Isuzu’s experience and innovation in the design, engineering, and workmanship of diesel-powered utility vehicles. The D-MAX LS-A is infused, as well, with features that address the demands of a market that value both hard work and play, business with leisure.” Stated Koso, during his remarks at the welcome dinner held at the Paras Beach Resort with Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo as the guest of honor.

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