By Aries B. Espinosa

Toyota Road Trek 12

A dream drive to ‘paradise Bourne’

Posted on May 25, 2016

ONLY THE COUNTRY’S number one car maker could have pulled such a feat: Four days in Palawan, including three in one of the country’s most beautiful island resorts; 53 participants; 10 vehicles, not including transfers via plane, jeepney, pump boat, and speedboat; countless breathtaking snapshots. All of these encapsulated into one memorable summer ride-and-drive event.

The Toyota group en route to El Nido. -- Aries B. Espinosa
In the past 12 years, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has been conducting its Road Trek series as a way to highlight the performance of its latest vehicles. For the 12th edition of the Toyota Road Trek, TMP chose the theme “Life Full of Drive,” and put the spotlight on its recently launched redesigned IMVs, or International Innovative Multi-purpose Vehicles -- the all-new Fortuner SUV, Hilux pickup, and the Innova MPV.

Participants to the Road Trek 12 actually began arriving in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on May 4, but the event proper started on the morning of May 5, at the sprawling Toyota Puerto Princesa City dealership. After breakfast, the participants were grouped into 10 teams, and were given the keys to the following IMV variants: the all-new Hilux (4x4 G AT, 4x2 G AT, and 4x2 G MT); the all-new Fortuner (4x2 V and 4x2 G); and the all-new Innova (2.8 G and 2.0 G).

To spice up the drive, the teams were given various challenges designed to test their fuel economy skills, powers of on-road observation, memory, teamwork, and hand-and-eye coordination throughout the drive from Puerto Princesa City to El Nido Resorts in northern Palawan, 250 kilometers away.

Each team was also given the opportunity to ride in and drive at least three of the IMV variants in various provincial road conditions.

After the grueling six-hour drive, the contingent was rewarded with a memorable two-night stay at the exclusive Lagen Island Resort (where the two lead stars of the Bourne Legacy movie -- Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner -- supposedly stayed during the shoot of the Palawan scenes of the movie).

During the awards night announcing the team winners of the challenges, Satoru Suzuki, the newly appointed president of TMP, who joined the Road Trek for the first time, remarked; “The fact that the Toyota Road Trek is on its 12th year only shows the importance and success of this legendary event.”

Jose Ariel T. Arias, SVP for marketing at TMP, explained further; “The Toyota Road Trek series lets our guests experience the joy of driving a Toyota while appreciating the beauty of the Philippines. We have traveled to the ultimate summer spot, the best beach and island destination in the Philippines, El Nido. And based on Road Trek history, the last time we held the event here was way back in 2008, on Miniloc Island.

“This only signifies the deeply rooted tradition we have that makes the signature Toyota event a cut above the rest. Aside from all the fun and games, I am glad to see, whether old or new, the friendship and camaraderie all of you share. The fun memories built are further strengthened in Road Trek adventures such as this.”