Road Trek-cum-Lexus romp

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In Photo: The Lexus Team poses for posterity in front of Le Charme Hotel before the STV Rally blastoff.

THE Toyota Road Trek, if things went well as planned—and it should, given God’s endless grace—must be heading home today (Friday). The three-day joust of country driving, et al., in keeping with cherished traditions started on Wednesday (May 17). It took off in Manila via Surigao City, Toyota dutifully herding yet again a hardy band of motoring journalists to Siargao, the nation’s vaunted surfing capital. Now, if by God’s design that I had done some Siargao surfing, you will know for sure in succeeding chronicles here.

Again, as you might have guessed it—and in uncomplaining compliance to the timeless tyranny of deadline writing—this column (alleged?) was hacked out in advance. No one can dodge deadlines, or the pink slip lurks in eternity for the wordsmith that vacillates.

Ah, to be a writer.

You bawl not when sentence-construction confusion creeps in, or you should not have taken the pen-pushing profession at all.

Passion you must treat it to kill stress, numb dismay.

For, if there’s one true labor of love in this world, it is writing. You do it, keep doing it, because you love it. Period. Love, of any kind for that matter, never grows old.

But if to churn out columns in ridiculous regularity every week is hard enough you say, how about trying to write a short story—or a novel for that matter?

As the revered Nick Joaquin, the writer for all seasons, said it: “Only a fool would elect to sit for hours in the loneliness of a room just writing and writing and writing.”

Thus, to get to the point, some break is needed to keep the writer’s sanity intact. The Toyota Road Trek has been that exceptional elixir for more than a decade now—at least to me. As Raymond T. Rodriguez, the worthy successor of Danny “Sir John” Isla as Lexus president, said, just days before the Road Trek blastoff: “Let’s get together anew. And, yes, Al, let’s do it with the TMP boys again.”

An original Road Trekker himself in the event’s 2004 baptism of fire, Raymond’s fellow original TMP (Toyota Motor Philippines) boys include Jing Atienza, Sherwin Chua Lim, Sonny Guerrero, Atty. Rommel Gutierrez and Sir John. Sonny has retired but a replacement with sterling credentials would be Jose Ariel Arias. Kei Mizuguchi, Carlo Ablaza and Jade B. Sison would have completed the elite TMP cast this year?

You bet.

Lexus first in STV rally

DON’T look now but Lexus emerged first in last weekend’s STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge in Subic.

First, as in Lexus arriving ahead of the 10 other teams at the dining hall for the late lunch at Harbor Point Mall inside the former American naval base facility.

Add to that was the enviable feat that nobody even came close to finishing second behind the Lexus team that was shepherded almost flawlessly yet again by the lean and mean tandem of Frances Concepcion and Lu Curitana.

Cheers to them, winners!—Mike Lee, Mico Lee and Brent Co (Lexus GX460 model); Jeff Reyes and Dinzo Tabamo (NX300hybrid); and Ronald de los Reyes, Dax Lucas and Nico Ylanan (RX350 FSport).

STV top honcho Ray Butch “Elvis” Gamboa, seated beside SsangYong’s supremo Dave Macasadia at the elegantly prepared dining area right smack in the middle of the HP hallway, immediately raised his single malt-filled glass to welcome Lexus’s gallant first-placers.

Elvis was joined in the glass-raising ritual by Lexus Team strategists Danny “Sir John” Isla and Vernon B. Sarne, with the rally’s chief moving force Jenny P. Bleza and Isuzu’s Nora Liquido happily mixing in with the jubilation. As the Lexus captain, I watched humbled, but quietly awash with joy.

The official results, though, in the 40-car, 11-team competition now on its eighth consecutive edition will be announced in the award ceremonies on May 23 at the Green Valley, Pasig City.

Should the gutsy Lexus Team proceed not to scoop up the prime plum, fine. That was not in the game plan when the strategy meeting on the eve of the rally was held at Subic’s Le Charme, a promising hotel.

Emphatically emphasized that night was adhering to Vernon’s long-established Lexus mantra: “What’s the point?”

The rally gold is but an ornament. Paramount is to treat first the team’s tummy needs.

A day before the rally, didn’t the sumptuous Samba lunch at Shang The Fort for the Lexus Lovables set the tone for the squad’s historic romp in Subic, capped by Suzuki-san’s pisco sour sip? Burp!

PEE STOP There was a minor glitch in the STV Rally May 13 when the platform/stage collapsed, damaging two taxis and a motorcycle that are about to enter the parking area designated as the starting grid for the day-long event. Good thing it was Harbor Point and not STV that put up the platform. “It happens sometimes, but thank God damage was minimal and no one was hurt,” said Rally founder Ray Butch “Elvis” Gamboa, pointing his finger to the sky in acknowledgement of the power of divine love. “Clean living, Sir Paul?” You bet.