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A Mercedes-Benz taxi in Singapore

Mercedes-Benz Taxi???
By Charles Liao Are you familiar with the auto manufacturer Scion? No? How about TVR? Citroen? Lotus? Fiat? Smart? (No, I’m not kidding… there really is a company called Smart.) If you answered no to most of those question, no one can blame you. For years, the Philippine car industry has hesitated to bring in cars from these foreign manufacturers, because according to them, there isn’t a big enough market for these cars. They do have a point, but what about the people who do want to purchase them? Up until now, most of us Filipinos can only dream of acquiring a Mercedes-Benz for themselves, while in nearby Singapore, a Mercedes-Benz is ‘just’ an ordinary taxi. It’s amazing how far behind our auto industry has fallen compared to other Asian countries. When I went to Singapore two years ago, I was shocked when our taxi driver said, “Here in our country, you can only own your car for ten years. After that, it’s crushed and turned into scrap metal”. I actually thought he was joking, for if you did this in the Philippines, people would think you were out of your mind. Could you imagine tearing up a perfectly good BMW or Audi? Just the thought of it would be absolutely crazy, with our country’s already weak economy.

This is probably why local dealers often release their new models months, or even years after they are released in countries like the U.S.A. or Japan.

A good example is the Nissan XTrail, which was released in Japan during the last quarter of 2001. We only got it in 2004. The Mitsubishi Endeavor has been in the U.S. market since 2003, but we only got it last year. My point is, the Philippines isn’t exactly the best place to buy a new car if you are a prospective buyer. With the current status of our economy, there is nothing much we can do about it. If people don’t have any money, why bother releasing something no one will buy? This is exactly what car companies have been trying to tell us for years. Well, that’s about it. At this point in time, we can only hope that this industry will change for the better, for the sake of future generations.


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By Miguel Menchaca performance vehicles in our market, as mentioned in my previous article, more and more Filipino auto enthusiasts are turning to illegally smuggled cars from Japan. Most of you may have noticed the recent destruction of some Many people think Subic by the be seized vehicles in that it would local really good where nice crushed like a government, to own athey sports carperfectly Lamborghini or BMWs with in the good Lincolns and a Ferrari herea backhoe. Philippines but little do kind of activity But the question is, if thisthey know that is this would why very bad and inconvenient illegal, then be a do Filipinos still keep buying idea. Here are some of cars? The answer these Japanese ‘surplus’ the many reasons is why. simple: a huge amount of road presence for an amazingly low price. Us Filipinos have For known for being proud are always been one thing, Cars like theseof our built to go on high speeds.of ours naturally achievements, and this trait If they don’t, their engine cars. It be able to function extends to ourwill not is amazing that many properly and it may get ruined or even of these smuggled cars are able to slip destroyed. Here in the Philippines, where through customs unnoticed into the hands of traffic may be found their lucky new owners. in almost every corner, there are very limited place to go Because of their low prices, people on high speeds to be able toabout the car’s don’t seem to care anymore maintain the engine of sports in In addition, if a history. For aexample,car. Cebu, a notorious person were to buy a all sorts car, he or smuggling hub where nice sports of vehicles she would the to spend at least can be smuggled intohave country from Japan three times a week going construction vehicles, found; trucks, buses, on a skyway or any other place where one is allowed to are all and of course, high-performance cars go on high speeds just to be ready maintain the lined up in the streets able tofor the buying engine of the car. This will other place in public. There is probably no take up one’s precious time where you Filipinos can’t the Philippines which many can purchase a afford to waste. BMW 5-Series for only 195,000 pesos, or a nice Mercedes-Benz E-Class for 200,000 The second reason Evolutions, pesos. Mitsubishi Lancer concerns the a extra expenses one local have to pay when favorite car among will rallyists and drag buying a nice had for the same price you racers, can be sports car. This is connected to our first reason. As said earlier, these would pay for a normal Lancer here in types The earliest made to go be going Manila. of cars are versions couldon high speeds and, to be able pesos. I mean, who for as low as 160,000 to maintain the cars engine, one will Take do this at guys, could resist that?have to your pick, least three times a you or maybe be arranged almost anythingweek want could even more. This will obviously cost a lot of Even for for if you have the right contacts. moneyultragas supercars like Ferraris and Porsches exoticwhich we all know is really expensive nowadays. have been known to cross these borders.

SMUGGLING PRIDE WhyBy Charles Liao Some Cars Aren’t Made For The Due Philippines prices of to the ever-increasing cars in the Philippines, and a relative lack of

The same kind of activity has also been going on in Subic for the past few years, but business has recently slowed due to the numerous crackdowns and investigations conducted by the local government. But still, if you have the time, patience, and guts for it, there is always a way to get the car of your dreams for less than the price of a new Kia. However, like any good deal in this world, there are always some drawbacks. In the case of these supposedly ‘surplus’ vehicles, some of A Ferrari burning downright scary. First the consequences can beon the SLEX of all, since Japan is a right-hand-drive (RHD) country, next reason why having wheel is The meaning the steering sports positioned the Philippines is notthegood instead cars here in on the right side of a car idea is of the left, some of into ancars have or the risk of getting these accident been haphazardly converted to left-hand-drive crashing the car. Since these cars are built to (LHD), since it is the safety to register travel in high speeds, impossible of those who an RHD car is at drive them here. great risk. We will never know when something bad will happen that Absolutely anything can go wrong. will lead one to crash his car and maybe even Since my family owns one of these converted lose his or her life. Plus, here in the cars, I experience all of these risks firsthand Philippines, there are many wild untrained everyday. Reversed switches, controls and drivers who only care about themselves when buttons are the most common problems, and driving which increases the risk of crashing these are not so bad yet. If you happen to have into one another. In fact, not too long ago, purchased a really bad car, it could have there was a very terrible accident where in a problems with the steering, brakes, lights, Ferrari crashed into another car while driving suspension, and most commonly, electrical at high speeds in the skyway along SLEX. For problems. I for one have experienced things the person driving the other car, this accident like wipers going in the wrong direction, was not so bad because he didn’t spend much windows which open but not close, and worst, on his car but for the person driving the doors on the wrong side. Also, if the police Ferrari, this was a very horrible and notice that your car is registered with a “Y” or depressing accident because he spent so much “Visayas only” plate number, they can arrest money to buy his Ferrari. Another incident you, for quite obvious reasons I must say. My would be the car crash that took place near point is, the choice is really up to you. Would Tagaytay. While one person was driving a you buy a luxurious and fast smuggled car, and brand new Porsche on the way to tagaytay on compromise your on-road safety and risk a rainy day a few years ago, he lost control of being arrested? Or would you rather buy a the car because he was going too fast on the safe, reliable locally available car, which no wet road and swerved off the road and one will notice? The choice is yours, my friend. crashed into a tree. The man was all right but his brand new Porsche, which costs millions of pesos, was completely destroyed. These are some of the reasons why it is not really a good idea to own a sports car here in the Philippines. I guess some cars just aren’t made for our country.


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But it isn’t just a patrol car for chasing wrung-out Fiats, Alfa Romeos and the occasional Ferrari. The Police-liveried Gallardo also doubles as a super-fast response car, with the ability to be the first on the scene of a serious accident. It carries life saving medical equipment such as a defibrillator to revive car crash victims, and is used as a high-speed shuttle to transport organs between hospitals. Best of all is that with fourwheel-drive sending all 500 horses into the road, the Gallardo patrol car can be used all year round in all weathers.

Lamborghini Police Car… Don’t Even Try To Run!
By Miguel Menchaca

This would be an excellent police car to have here in the Philippines, but as you all know the government can not afford these types of things so until this happens, we just need to pray that the police will be able to catch lawbreakers.

Here in the Philippines, most lawbreakers don’t get caught by the police for many different reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that the police cars here are way too old and slow. How do the policemen here even think they can catch a lawbreaker when the lawbreaker’s car is faster then theirs? They have no chance at all to catch the bad guys with the cars that they use. The lawbreakers will have no trouble at all out running the cops. In Italy however, the police cars are very different. From the country that has the world’s greatest concentration of supercar manufacturers comes the world’s fastest cop car. Yes, the lucky Italian cops have a Lamborghini Gallardo at their disposal, a genuine police car used by the Italian Carabinieri to patrol the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway outside Rome – Don’t even try to run! Prime hunting ground indeed, because its 5.0-litre V10 will grant it 193mph flat out and a tarmac-ruining 060mph time of around four seconds. Lets see those lawbreakers try to run from the cops now!


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Juan Miguel G. Menchaca is usually called Jorge by his classmates. He is presently 15 years old. He is into many sports including baseball, basketball and football. I like playing many video games including halo, Grand Theft Auto, and Guitar Hero. His favorite subject in school is math, and his favorite computer game is DotA. He also enjoys going to the mall and hanging out with his friends. He loves to watch movies and eat out with his family. On certain days, he sleeps over in his other friends’ homes which is also really fun according to him. These are the things that Miguel loves to do.



Charles Edward E. Liao was born on June 29, 1992, and he has one brother. But enogh about the facts. Most people consider him as just a smart, responsible guy, but under the surface, there is still much to learn about him. For one, he is a dedicated car enthusiast, and many of his close friends know that he has been one ever since he was a little kid. He even learned how to drive when he was still in Grade 6, and he has been regularly practicing ever since. Moreover, He has been studying at the Ateneo since prep, and that amounts to just over ten years. The happiest years of his life were spent at this school, and he has absolutely no regrets up to this day for choosing to enroll here. However, a lot of people also know that Math is his most hated subject, unlike Miguel, but in spite of this, He still manages to strike a perfect balance between both my academic and social life. Well, that’s basically it; he may not be perfect, but at least he gives his best in everything that he does.


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