Home Editors' Picks Chasing the sun

Chasing the sun


Rediscovering the outdoors aboard the Ford Territory

AFTER A HIATUS from local travel and recreation due to the (again) surging pandemic, I finally grabbed the opportunity for a pleasurable break up in the mountains of Tanay, and went on a trip with the Ford Territory.

The Territory is Ford Philippines’ relatively new five-seater mini-SUV running on a sprightly 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. And so far, it’s done the company good with an impressive local sales performance since its launch back in August 2020. That says a lot about the Territory’s public appeal and, perhaps, the good words that have been going around about it. As a matter of fact, I was surprised to find many people approach me while I had the car parked here or there — asking what model of vehicle it was, its price range, and occasionally requesting if they could have a peek inside. Admittedly, the Ford Territory does look good, and it seems to fall in that Goldilocks sweet spot of not being too big and not being too small — tickling the taste of many. I do agree that it is a great size to fit in small families comfortably (with good legroom in the back), and versatile enough but not excessively gargantuan for young professionals who like to haul along sports equipment or take their pets around on trips with them.

On this occasion, I traveled with my sister as we joined a group of other individuals on a journey to experience the sunrise up on a hilltop of Viewscape Nature’s Park in Tanay, Rizal. It was only then that I actually realized that I’ve more often gone for sunsets in the past… and that it was quite invigorating to try and catch the first rays of morning sunshine after darker days behind us.

To race the next day’s sunrise, we spent the night over at Thunderbird Resort in Rizal. The path leading there from Quezon City was a nice mix of highway driving and zigzag, uphill roads characteristic of any journey to the lush areas of Rizal. The Territory certainly did not disappoint — with sufficient power to climb even the steepest twisty corners, and even with some annoyingly underpowered trucks occasionally slowing down our momentum along the way. It also comes with a Sport Mode button, which I happily engaged whenever I felt like making quicker overtaking moves and enhancing my driving experience through the twisties.

But perhaps another strong appeal for young families is that the Territory is also equipped with its proprietary Ford Co-Pilot360, which is basically a suite of active safety features that keeps drivers and their passengers more confident while on long, out-of-town trips. The safety features range from subtle assets like convenient rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, and autonomous emergency braking (which assists in braking the car early when a collision is imminent). A high-definition 360-degree camera also appears to be a crowd favorite for parking, in addition to its built-in parking sensors.

I also like the overall ambience and tactile feeling of the Territory’s cabin. Its soft-touch surfaces are definitely among the things I appreciate, alongside its large windows that let in a lot of beautiful, natural light. Of course, on this trip, I made sure we popped up the panoramic moonroof to let in some sorely missed fresh mountain air, without having to wind-blow our hair.

And as Ford has always been particular about offering car tech, the Territory comes with a large, 10-inch fully digital instrument cluster that provides a plethora of driving information. Its infotainment system, which in my opinion does need some getting used to in the beginning, is already Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-compatible. Wireless phone charging is also on offer.

The short retreat to Viewscape Nature’s Park turned out to be a lovely, small sibling adventure joined by friends. The property also offers a short hike down through small dragon fruit farms and toward a small cave that you simply pass by. The trail eventually loops back to where you first started, and takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to finish. The property also features a small campground where your group could hold an intimate picnic (and bonfire, if you like) while surrounded by the green mountains of Rizal. Should you decide to actually camp there for some stargazing at night, the property also has a simple bathroom within short walking distance.

Why not try going for some safe, outdoor recreational activities to warm up those joints and muscles?