BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Car manufacturing and sales continue to boom in the Philippines, proof that the country is no longer the “Sick Man of Asia,” but rather, “The Rising Tiger.”
The fact that the German company, Porche, has opened a dealership in the Philippines is a testament that there is a lucrative market for luxury cars in the country.
Now, Mercedes Benz has unveiled its latest model, available only in the Philippines — the Jeepney Benz. It is modeled after the military-style passenger vehicles which are the primary mode of mass transportation especially in the urban areas like Metro Manila and Baguio.
The first unit of the newly-assembled fleet of Jeepney Benz hit the road last weekend in Baguio City, summer capital of the Philippines. The launch coincided with one of the largest festivals in the country, the ‘Panagbenga’ or flower blossom festival.
A spokesperson for Mercedes Benz said that by the end of 2016, most, if not all of the aging passenger jeepneys in Baguio will have been replaced by the Jeepney Benz. Mercedes is offering a low-interest loan to jeepney operators to encourage them to trade in their old vehicles for the luxury model.
So, when in Baguio, ride in style. The Mercedes way.
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – It’s political campaign season in the Philippines and, as expected, the presidential candidates are making their respective promises to the Filipino electorate. The Aquino administration’s candidate, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, is no exception. He continues to tow the line of Daang Matuwid (Straight Path).
His promise? If elected, he will abandon the summer residence of the president of the Philippines — the Mansion House — and move to the Laperal White House on Leonard Wood Street.
The White House is a historical building orignally owned by the Laperal family and converted into a museum. It is known by many to be haunted. It was occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and served as a garrison, where — if some stories are to be believed — they brutally tortured and murdered many. Among them, the Laperal family, except Don Roberto, who would survive the war only to accidentally slip and fall to his death from the stairs in front of the house.
Roxas said that giving up the expansive and elaborate Mansion House — one of Baguio’s top tourist attractions — would be in keeping with Daang Matuwid, which aims to abandon government excesses.
On the other hand, Roxas said, he’d rather live in the White House during his visits to Baguio. ‘There is a very prestigious and presidential feel to it. It will put me in equal footing with the president of the United States whose official residence is also called the White House.”
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Secretary Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a love-hate relationship with Manila’s homeless population and street children. She is known to have rounded up street families and hauled them to resorts outside Manila during the visit of Pope Francis as well as during the APEC summit.
Soliman now wants to make it up to these families.
National government officials — from the president to the members of the Supreme Court to Cabinet secretaries all have their summer houses and cottages in Baguio City. Most of them spend their Holy Week vacation in Baguio, as a way to unwind and escape Manila’s summer heat.
Well, this year, Soliman is making the ultimate sacrifice. She is offering her Baguio cottage to a dozen homeless families for an all-expense paid vacation to Baguio from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
Most Filipino Catholics give up eating meat during the season of Lent. Soliman chose to give up her Baguio cottage.