Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

Toyota Road Trek 2017

‘Wigo’ where waves wow

Posted on May 24, 2017

ON ITS 13th year, Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) motoring-cum-lifestyle-cum-tourism event, the Road Trek, on May 17-19 went to Siargao island for the first time.

Toyota PHL’s annual Road Trek event serves a dual purpose -- to highlight the Philippines’ best locations, and to showcase the company’s lineup. At far left is the heavily revised Toyota Wigo, which was joined at the event by an assortment of Yaris, Camry, Vios and Prius C models.
Located at the northeastern tip of Mindanao 800 kilometers southeast of Manila, this teardrop-shaped island -- at just 437 square kilometers -- is world-famous for an attraction perpetually crashing on its shores. Facing the open Pacific Ocean and sitting at the edge of the Philippine Trench, Siargao is at the receiving end of the powerful ocean swells churned out by the extremely deep waters, making it the surfing capital of the Philippines. As a result, surfers from all over the world have made Siargao a must-stop in their lifelong search for the perfect wave, and not a few have made the island their home, setting up resorts and employing the locals to offer tourists, surfers or otherwise, their own patch of tropical paradise.

The island also boasts a decent roadway -- well-paved concrete two-lane roads that follow the coastline and traverse the interior, offering picturesque views of the thickly forested hills and the azure Pacific. In Siargao, motorcycles rule, and one can often see locals and foreigners on their bikes, their surfboards slotted into sidebars welded onto one side of the motorcycle -- a contraption not seen anywhere else in the country.

This combination of island and offshore wonders is what prompted TMP to conduct its Road Trek 2017 in Siargao. It was also an occasion TMP found ideal for the beachside launch of the heavily revised Toyota Wigo mini hatchback.

And so, amid variants of the Toyota Yaris, Camry, Vios and the Prius C, the Wigo stood out as TMP’s newest baby, which now sports a redesigned fascia and rear bumper, as well as a new 1.0-liter VVT-i engine -- a small car one can use to “surf” an island.

The new Wigo also comes in a new color -- orange -- which, according to Carlo S. Ablaza, marketing manager at TMP, “exudes youth, dynamism, and sportiness; a refreshing change for the Wigo to make it stand out from the rest.” He also disclosed its three variants available in the country: the 1.0 E M/T, and the 1.0 G in M/T and A/T.

The Road Trek wouldn’t be what it is without the signature fun team games during the drive from the airport to Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa. The six challenges lined up for the nine participating teams, which were held at resorts along the way, tested their knowledge of the island and of the new Wigo, as well as their creativity and savvy in tackling photography and social media. Each challenge translated to accumulated points that would determine the top three winners.

TMP’s annual Road Trek serves a dual purpose: To highlight the Philippines’ best locations using the country’s best-selling vehicles. Since 2004, this has been the series’ overriding objective. And for 13 years, Toyota in the Philippines has been surfing its own perfect wave, “hanging 10” and enjoying the ride at the top.