Can EDSA ever be Subic?
MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2015 - 9:00am

Subic never fails to amuse me whenever I go there. And I was there for two straight weekends. The first was upon the invitation of Toyota Motor Philippines for the culminating leg of the Vios Cup. While the second week was for the 2nd and final leg of the only motor sports competition that auto companies openly compete against each other, the STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge. And all the time I never failed to see drivers make a complete stop at every intersection to give way to those who came ahead. And not one dared to tailgate the car ahead but similarly made a full stop (like the way it should be done while crossing a stop thru intersection) and patiently waited for their turn. And this scene was repeated even at intersections where there were no traffic enforcers in sight. It looked like second nature to these guys—like obeying traffic rules and regulations were a way of life—and it is.  

With all due respect to those running other parts of the country, most people I know, myself included, only see this in Subic. And most people who have seen this, myself included can only hope this can be replicated in Metro Manila or at the very least in EDSA—as a popular TV series is similarly titled, “Wish ko lang.”

We just had the head of the PNP-HPG, Police Chief Superintendent Arnold Gunnacao for an interview in the Motoring Forum segment of our TV show Motoring Today and he mentioned that what’s needed in EDSA to continue whatever small gains they have achieved in managing traffic in the metro’s main thoroughfare is more HPG and MMDA personnel. And I would agree with the gentleman except for a qualifier—more personnel who are dedicated, straight and firm who would implement the law without fear and favor. This was how it all started in Subic. No one was above the law—no senator, no congressman, no military, no police, no media. Make that happen HPG Chief Gunnacao and you can be as popular or unpopular like Senator Dick Gordon, who started it all in Subic. But it still works and people still give credit to good old Dick. Then perhaps EDSA can be another Subic. Or is it, “Wish ko lang?”

I hope not. Go for it, sir! It can be a worthy legacy.

The rocker is rolling…away.

“…it breaks my heart to announce that my tour of duty as Toyota Motor Philippines president will be coming to an end. Next year, I shall be leaving this lovely country for Japan,” was the closing part of the speech of Mr. Michinobu Sugata during the traditional Christmas lunch with the motoring media held last week to the almost simultaneous moans from the journalists present, which could only mean an expression of sadness.

Sugata-san has been here of the past six years, double the time that most past presidents stayed in the country, enjoying two extensions that could only mean an indispensable presence and at the very least, a better than good performance.

I remember having spoken to Alfred Ty, the very young but dynamic vice chairman of TMP about Toyota’s policies governing such extension of tour’s of duty specifically as to how long an expat executive’s stay can be. Alfred was candid enough to explain that “no matter how good the performance of a sitting president may be, you can only extend so much as going beyond would also be unfair to the executive especially when there’s a waiting promotion, (which usually happens to expats of multi national companies that have performed well in the country) as holding on to the executive could mean missed career opportunities in Japan.”             

And considering the sterling performance of Mr. Sugata during his stay, I can surmise that TMP is letting go of him with a heavy heart. And similarly it was I guess for Sugata-san to make the emotional announcement as the journalists took the information also with a heavy heart. After all it’s not very often that we come across a gentle, very accommodating (he has never declined a request for an interview—on cam or not), friendly, gregarious (he more often than not joins and bonds with journalists during events like launches and test drives up to the wee hours of the morning) and a rocking and rolling president like Sugata-san. And it doesn’t stop there, he performs top-notched and the records shall bear witness to that. And with all due respect to whoever would replace him—very big shoes to fill.

To my friend, Sugata-san, I say, Sayonara, till we meet again and my best wishes to you as you take on a new path in your life. Thank you for your friendship.

Special yearend TV viewing for motoring and auto enthusiasts

STV has produced an awesome line up of TV specials for your yearend viewing to be aired on Solar Sports (Channel 70 for Sky Cable, Channel 35 for Destiny Cable and Channel 55 for Cignal).

On Auto Focus, this Thursday, December 24 are the highlights of the recently held Auto Focus Pre Christmas Test Drive Festival at the concert grounds of the SM Mall of Asia to be followed the following week, December 31 with the “Auto Focus—the Year That Was in 2015” featuring the highlights of the significant car launches and test drives during the year while on January 7, 2016, we shall have the highlights of the 2015 STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge in Subic.

On Motoring Today, on Sunday, December 27 would be a big treat for racing enthusiasts as we air the 2015 World Formula 1 Series in review complete with all the highlights including most of the fantastic passes and crushes in this year’s series. While on January 23, 2016, we shall have the past year in review on The Year That Was in Motoring—2015.

Enjoy your TV viewing during the Holidays!

Happy Motoring and a Merry Christmas to all!

Contact: /

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with