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for Mercedes Benz said that by the end of 2016, most, if not all of the aging passenger jeepneys in Baguio will have been replaced by the Jeepney Benz.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.
MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – The Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has announced a new deal with Tesla Motors to purchase from the Silicon Valley company some 600,000 prototype units of the all-electric Tesla Model S.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya announced the new initiative in response to recent protests by Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) drivers who were upset about the Aquino government’s plan to phase out 600,000 jeepneys that are at least 15 years old.
Abaya said that Tesla units will replace the dilapidated, pollution-causing Philippine “kings of the road.” They will be fitted with the same colorful body paint characteristic of the jeepneys.
It will cost the Philippines $50,000 per Tesla unit which will be imported from California beginning next month. The price is a bargain considering that the Tesla Model S has a base price of $70,000 in the U.S.
The government will, in turn, sell the units to jeepney operators and drivers for a subsidized price of P2 Million each, payable for life.
Life of the jeepney driver, that is. Not life of the vehicle.
Manila, Philippines – When Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon lost the 2012 Miss Universe crown to Miss U.S.A. Olivia Culpo, two million Filipinos took to the streets of Manila to protest what they claimed to be unfair judging by the international panel of judges. “Our Miss Philippines was clearly the winner,” proclaimed Elias Batongbakal, one of the protest organizers. “Janine not only showed her amazing poise and beauty. She also answered the final question with great intelligence and confidence — none of those ‘major, major’ stuff.” Batongbakal was obviously referring to another Miss Philippines – Venus Raj — who competed in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2010 and lost the crown because of a not -so- smart answer to the final question.
On Wednesday, Filipinos took to the streets again, this time to protest the failure of Manila to take the No. 1 spot in an international survey of “The World’s Ten Worst Public Transit Systems.” Manila came in No. 2, second only to Mumbai. “We were robbed,” protestors chanted. Protest organizer Elena Katigbak said, “Manila’s public transit system is the worst in the world, hands down! How can they take this great honor away from us?”
Katigbak continued, “Where else in the world can one find colorful funny cars (jeepneys) –complete with gas fragrance and obnoxiously loud stereos — stinky buses, dilapidated taxi cabs and sardine-packed light railway system? And did I already mention the 24-hour standstill traffic?”
A Manila public official, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation from his boss at the Department of Public Transportation, said that he suspects the foreign nationals who undertook the survey were probably met at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, whisked into air conditioned limousines with dark tinted windows, treated with shots of Johnnie Walker Black Label and taken through backstreets inside gated millionaires’ villages before being dropped off at their 5-star hotel in Makati. “They didn’t see the real public transport system of our Metropolis,” the official said.
As of press time, the Department of Foreign Affairs was reportedly preparing a formal letter of protest to the authors of the survey to demand that Manila be declared No. 1 and rescind the honor earlier given to Mumbai.