The SUV looks muscular on the outside, but inside it is the paragon of comfort.
Roadtrippin’ with my favorite allies
Igan D’Bayan (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — You could almost see your beloved vinyl LP warp in front of your eyes as it churns out tales of a Third World Man and those Babylon Sisters. Turning into a lump of useless wax, cueing the sound of much lamentation. That was how hot it had been the past few days in Metro Manila. You could theoretically fry an egg outside. Or melt like that Nazi dude in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

So, when Kathy Moran asked me and my girlfriend Avee Tan if we wanted to tag along for a test-drive up the hills of breezy Tagaytay, we said yes right away. Like three bodacious cowboys journeying to somewhere hilly and less hellish. Kathy did all the driving, I did most of the talking, and Avee slept mostly on the way — sneaking away to dreamland once our SUV got stuck in the snarling traffic just before Alabang proper. But our ride for the day — the Ford Everest — is one comfortable machine of luxurious motoring. Well, I’m speaking as a passenger, of course.

There was something about those ergonomic Everest seats, its cabin: comfy all the way. It’s like flying business class from Manila to Singapore. (Curiously, it takes “longer” these days to get from Marikina to the Port Area because of the everyday Truckmageddon of South Harbor than to take a flight to the Lion City for, say, its art festivals and vinyl shops.)

I suddenly remembered our old family car, which gave me and my niece that feeling of being strapped to an iron maiden. It was the old reliable when driving to the province to visit relatives, but you dreaded every trip, every goddamn birthday celebration. Unless you had tablets of Bonamine and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. That was not the case with our recent trip to Tagaytay via the Ford SUV. Oh, and Kathy seemed to be enjoying herself at the controls as well. This lady loves driving, power steering, and the hum of the highway. Especially as we neared our spa and lunch destination, zigzagging upward with a stunning view of Taal Lake and those geometric ridges, with the Ford Everest taking us to the top with ease.

It rained once we got to T House in Tagaytay, turning the semi-infernal heat of Manila into a distant memory.

Along the way, there were Japanese surplus shops and we stopped at the biggest store. “This could be it,” Avee and I motioned to each other. There might be an original pressing of a Steely Dan record there somewhere near the Sinister-Insidious-looking lamps and crimes-against-aesthetics porcelain plates. Simply waiting for new ears.

“Is there gas in the car?” sings Donald Fagen in Kid Charlemagne. Yes, Donald, we got enough in the Ford Everest tank to do it all over again and be like Jack. Wheels turnin’ ‘round and ‘round, indeed.

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