MNTC to further provide easier travel


It can be sooner than we think – people moving faster around the metro and having an easier access to the north’s expressway and goods speedily transported from Manila’s North Harbor to the Northern parts of the country.

A multibillion-peso road network expansion program being undertaken by the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), developer and concessionaire of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to provide easier travel of people and transport of goods within Metro Manila and on to the Northern provinces was kicked-of last Saturday, June 5 with the opening of the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link.

Otherwise known as Segment 8.1, the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link is a 2.7-kilometer expressway, had its inaugural drive-through last Saturday lead by out-going President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and business tycoon/philanthropist Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of MNTC.

The NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link connects the NLEX, at its Valenzuela City junction, to Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. It was built at a total cost of 2.1 billion pesos and is expected to serve up to 30,000 vehicles daily during the initial year. By providing motorists from Metro manila and its environs with another set of entry and exit ramps to the NLEX, the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link is expected to help significantly decongest EDSA, particularly in and around the high-traffic Balintawak area. The distinctive feature of this segment is a full cloverleaf interchange, three times larger in area than the Balintawak Cloverleaf, and designed to allow motorists to enter and leave the main tollway from whatever direction without making a full stop.

The new segment kicks off NLEX’s multibillion-peso road network expansion program known as NLEX Phase 2. Under NLEX Phase 2 are three other road projects: Segment 8.2 which will link Mindanao Avenue to Katipunan Avenue and to C5, Segment 9 which will connect McArthur Highway in Valenzuela to the NLEX, and Segment 10 which will link McArthur Highway to Manila’s Port Area. Segment 9 will ease access to McArthur Highway, the old route to Central and Northern Luzon. Segment 10 will dramatically speed up the transport of goods to and from Manila’s North Harbor.

The MNTC, one of the country’s recognized responsible corporate citizens, not only exerted efforts in minimizing motorists’ and residents’ aggravation during the project’s construction that started in April 21, 2009 by finishing on schedule, it has also provided noise barriers for the project to minimize noise problem after completion.

In order to maintain its world-class standards in its projects, the MNTC has fitted in the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link “green” devices such as solar-powered emergency call boxes (ECBs) that motorists can use, motion sensor light switches in buildings, photocell switches that turn outdoor lights on and off based on the ambient lighting level, energy-saving median roadway lighting that automatically reduces power consumption during non-peak hours (from 1:00am to 6:00am), tunnel lights with asymmetrical reflectors, and heat insulation in buildings.

The bar has also been raised by MNTC in road development as the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link is also among the very few roadways in the Philippines to use Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) pavement, a bituminous mixture that provides a number of advantages, specifically in the areas of surface performance, durability, environment-friendliness and whole life costs. Studies conducted by international research institutes have shown that SMA has a high resistance to permanent deformation as well as to wear and tear caused by traffic and climactic changes; offers superb riding characteristics (evenness, smoothness and skid resistance); and provides a noise level lower that traditional road paving materials.

“It’s really of service to motorists with this additional access to the NLEX. With this project the flow of traffic of passengers and cargo would be that much better,” said Mr. Pangilinan during an ambush interview by members of the media present.

Mr. Rodrigo Franco, president of MNTC added, “The primary benefit of the motorists is that we will provide them another means of access to the North Luzon Expressway, so if you are coming from Quezon City, the eastern side of Metro Manila, you don’t have to go to Balintawak anymore, some of you can go directly to NLEX through Mindanao Avenue, so we are hoping we will decongest the Balintawak area.”

Our congratulations to the Manila North Tollways Corporation – indeed currently one of the country’s strongest partners in progress.

PGA Cars brings in the all-new Cayenne

Typical of most Robert Coyiuto Jr.-hosted affairs, the launch of the second generation Cayenne Sport Utility Vehicle was marked with glitz and glamour.

PGA Cars came in full force to warmly meet and graciously entertain guests composed of the media, loyal customers and industry friends who trooped to their EDSA showroom last Thursday evening, June 3. Led by its chairman, the dapper business tycoon Robert Coyiuto Jr. together with his “always young-looking” brother, Mike, son and “heir apparent” PGA executive director Robert Coyiuto III, vp for marketing Edwin Chua, public affairs director Amado del Rosario and the very capable and trusted “go to guy” management whiz kid and poker expert, Nick Lagmay, to name some, the hosts gave their guests all the time to scrutinize the features of their new remarkable market offering while leisurely enjoying an open bar, flowing food and a bevy of lovely and attractive usherettes. The event was further enhanced with the presence of Mr. Marcus Pachmann, Sales Executive of Porsche Asia Pacific, a real dead-ringer for F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and Mr. Ross Smith, chief operations adviser, PGA Cars, Inc.

It would require more than this column’s allowable space for me to describe the outstanding features of this all-new Cayenne and may still not do justice to it in the process. However, some of its attributes that I would like to mention here include its significant lighter weight, compared to its predecessor, by 185 kilos or 440 pounds despite having a bigger wheelbase and therefore bigger space. Also, the lavish and luxurious interior of this Cayenne resembles that of the Porsche Panamera. And if you have seen the Panamera’s interior you would agree with me that describing it as opulent can be an understatement.

It’s really best you this remarkable Porsche SUV yourself at the posh PGA Cars showroom.

Congratulations to PGA Cars for another queue-maker.

Chairman of Isuzu Japan here for CSR project

The presence of no less than the top executive of Isuzu Motors Limited (Japan) for an event related to one of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects here in the Philippines can only signify how important Isuzu’s socially-relevant undertakings in the country are being viewed in Japan.

The chairman of Isuzu Motors Limited, Yoshinori Ida, flew into the country on May 27 to personally welcome the fourth batch of scholars who will undergo training at the Isuzu-funded auto-mechanic training center of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Tacloban, Leyte.

As we have been writing in this column and featuring in our TV shows, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has always been involved in laudable projects that benefit the country and the Filipino people, most of them traditionally marking their anniversary celebrations. There was this “save the mangrove” project in Pangasinan, the seeding of Tilapia fingerlings at the Laguna de Bay, the building of classrooms in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, just to name a few.

Now, this TESDA-initiated project forms part of IML’s “Heart And Smile” corporate social responsibility campaign. Formally opening its doors in 2008, the center aims to provide expert training to deserving but underprivileged youth with an eye to securing gainful employment for these young individuals after they finish the course.

The fourth batch of scholars consists of 18 students. This brings to 93 the total number of scholars who have benefited from the project. The first two batches have 30 scholars each, while the third batch has 15. The students from the first batch are set to graduate in October; they stand to receive an NC4 certification, which is currently the highest level in auto-mechanic training in the Philippines.

Isuzu is very proud to be part of this noble project,” declared new Isuzu Philippines Corp. president Ryoji Yamazaki. “That’s why the chairman of Isuzu Motors Limited himself makes it a point to come here every time there is a new batch of scholars. This is our company’s small way of giving back to a society that has been very good to us. We know that by supporting this program, we are doing our share in pointing the Philippines toward progress – which, in turn, will also benefit the whole automotive industry.”

The “all-all-new” Nissan X-Trail is here

“The coming of the all-new Nissan X-Trail CVT, as well as the other models that we bring in, is a testament of our commitment to our customers. Commitment to deliver the best value product that will fit their needs and wants. The all-new X-Trail is packaged just like that, a vehicle that will respond to the consumers’ lifestyle needs supported by features that will provide them ease, comfort, pleasure, and safety,” shares Allen Chen, president and ceo of Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc.

Many are viewing the introduction of the Nissan X-Trail CVT and the other models coming in as mentioned by Mr. Chen as a possible much needed “shot-in-the-arm” of Nissan Motor Philippines. If you recall, the first time the Nissan X-Trail was released here in the country some years back, it made quite a stir in the local auto market as it registered a remarkable sales performance. But after that, the models that could claim any success close to that Nissan X-Trail came in far in between.

I wasn’t at the launch and I have not seen this new model up close but judging by the literature and the TV footage from my TV crew it may stand a good chance of making it good as its predecessor, if not even better. 

As described, the all-new Nissan X-Trail CVT features the XCVT (Xtronic Continuous Variable Transmission) known to Nissan that guarantees drivers a smooth driving experience. Whether for city driving or on a challenging terrain, the Xtronic CVT provides smooth gear change to suit customers’ needs for more natural, powerful sensation of acceleration, which means lesser fuel consumption. This means, a stress-free “no-shift-shock” for that driving comfort. Powered by QR25DE in 2.5-liter engine displacement, the all-new X-Trail is built to provide high engine torque and output. The improved QR engine was designed to improve combustion and optimize performance. It also generates lower noise and vibration. This gutsy QR engine with twin overhead camshafts delivers peak performance of 170 hp of power and maximum torque of 230Nm.

Congratulations to Nissan Motor Philippines for their well-attended launch of the Nissan X-Trail.

Motoring Today celebrates 23 years of service

Last Monday, June 7th, STV Sunshine Television celebrated quietly the 23rd anniversary of the first airing of the TV show Motoring Today – a more than 2 decades of service to the general motoring public.

Motoring Today now airs at 12 noon, Sunday at the Solar Sports Channel on the Global-Destiny Cable Network and soon back on the Sky Cable Network.

Happy Motoring!!!

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