Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Celebrating Philippine Independence: Inspiring Pinoy stories

June 12th is nearing, time to dust off whatever bit of patriotic spirit I've kept hidden since I lost faith in the vision inspired by the first EDSA uprising.

Just the other evening, while waiting for a cab on the corner of Buendia (Sen. Gil Puyat) and Chino Roces St., I heard two foreigners talking about the wonderful time they had the night before at a bar in P. Burgos and one of them remarked that it would have been better if the girls weren't such hustlers, then complained about having spent $200 too much on what he described as one of the sorriest lays he has ever had.

"I shouldn't have paid her at all. That bitch! If I wanted a lousy fuck, I would've stayed home with my wife -- she's a Filipina too." he had said, laughing heartily.

Feeling a bit disgusted with their conversation, I was thankful enough to finally see an empty cab cruising towards the direction I was going. As soon as the cab driver stopped in front of me, he rolled the window down and asked where I was headed, with an expression that seemed to tell me that he was just deciding whether or not he would drive me over. Even before I could answer, his eyes spotted the two foreigners staring intently at his cab and he suddenly blurted out that he wouldn't be able to drive me to wherever I was headed because he needed to get the taxi back to the garage. Thereafter he promptly drove a few meters down the road to a spot where the two foreigners had walked over to in an attempt to find another cab and in a matter of seconds, the foreigners were climbing in the taxi, speeding off presumably to another girly bar.

After a few more minutes of waiting, I was able to hail another cab and this time the driver agreed to convey me to my destination but on the condition that I pay an extra P20.00 on top of whatever his meter charge would be. Of course, I had to agree to this unfair situation because I was just too darned tired to get angry over getting bilked by a cab driver.

On the radio, news regarding the so-called Erap 5 was blaring and then there was some tidbit about a child that had been abandoned in a mall. The cab driver seemd quite intent on listening about the wrong doings of government and society at large, cursing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former President Fidel Ramos for screwing everything up.

"They don't know how to do anything except steal our money and make life harder." he said.

Finally, upon arriving at my house's threshold and looking forward to some rest, I realize that my garbage had not been collected. On top of that, the neighbor's dog had managed to turnover the large plastic garbage bin where the garbage truck boys would get it from along with P10.00 snack money. The neighbor's dog did one hell of a job munching through all the trash and spreading it around in front of my gate. Then all hell breaks lose as two rival groups of colorum or illegal tricycle drivers begin hurling rocks and invectives at each other for purportedly making unwanted incursions into each other's territory. Another neighbor, a suspected druggie tries to drown out the noise by turning up the volume of his karaoke, which he had set up on his front pavement along with a couple bottles of beer.

This is more or less the kind of Philippines I see everyday and on June 12, I'll see if I can blot out this reality with a couple rounds of beer, enough to start celebrating whatever good I can remember about being a Filipino.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Light Speed Auto Show on June 10 and 11

I love autoshows...

The best one I've seen so far was the Manila International Autoshow (I am not really so sure about the title of the autoshow now because I into my third bottle of San Miguel Cerveza Negra). But, you know, for all its high power glitz and glamour -- what with all the spanking new models and very rare pieces of road art... It kinda lacked something... It kinda left you hanging a bit... Like, my problem basically is, some new cars are cool and all but customized cars and restored cars are what really makes a car show...

That's why I am definitely looking forward to Team Lightspeed's 2nd Autospeed show at the people's village in Tiendesitas (if you are on Oritgas going towards Pasig, just go past Meralco and MC Depot, you won't miss it). This car show has got a lot of soul.

Friday, May 26, 2006

PTCC Round 3 and 4 at SIR set for June 4 and 5

Rounds 3 and 4 of the Philippine Touring Car Championships are all set for June 4 and 5.

In rounds 1 and 2, Group One rivals Jody Coseteng and Kookie Ramirez battled it out with Ramirez emerging to sweep two firsts.

After round two Coseteng requested that all cars be checked out at scrutineering to make sure that everyone was within spec. It turns out that Coseteng's pistons was just a tad smaller than the rest, perhaps explaining his uncharacteristic sluggishness in the first two rounds. This, and perhaps the fact that Kookie Ramirez was really running faster with a more powerful engine (an EK3 Honda which my source says is the same as the rest which are Honda B16s) and a set up that was on the money as far as the Batangas Racing Circuit was concerned. Plus, may I add and this comes with all due respect, Kookie was having a good hair day as observers noted that he didn't commit any errors in both rounds.

There were a couple of spin outs and runs in the run-off, case in point would be the spectacular red gravel shower by Don Pastor at the double apex turn.

Group 3 was a bit more dicey as Francisco "Pacho" Blanco and Mateo Guidicelli rubbed quite a bit. Guidicelli comes from a victorious karting career but confesses to having a bit of trouble adapting to a much bigger car. He would have said that, compared to carting, driving a production car was like riding moby dick -- a water mammal with a fat ass, if it had one. In anycase, I am wondering if I should sell Guidicelli or Pacho some duct tape come next racing weekend as one of them invariably had a bumper hanging.

A car of note was Lory Uy's pink phantom done up by Auto dress code. It was a beautiful blur streaking the BRC. With some careful tuning by Velocity's Blanco Lory's car squeezed out 10 percent more horsepower, upping its asphalt ripping strength at the wheel to over 110 HP -- if I am not mistaken. She placed fourth in her group, which was not bad because last year she usually ran last -- which was fair considering she had to attend to a whole lot of matters including organizing work for Race Fans which runs the PTCC.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Slipstream, soon on Channel 23!

Slipstream, the only TV show featuring the races of the Philippine Touring Car Championships (which was known as the Philippine National Touring Car Championships in 2005), will soon be seen on Channel 23 and this has been made possible largely through the support of San Miguel Corporation.

Finally, it seems all that San Miguel beer drinking has not been for naught and is actually supporting my livelihood.

Ah! Good old Danding's livelihood support program has finally trickled down and the 'giving back to the people' has reached poor old me -- call me some time, let's have some nice, ice cold San Miguel beer.

In anycase, it seems all the hardwork put in by the Slipstream crew and the Slipstream frontmen (Carlo Tirona and Dominic Uy) has begun to pay dividends. And you know the saying, the reward for hard work is more hard work.

We'll finally have the money to spiffy the show up a bit, give it more gloss and think up funnier jokes which hopefully won't feature too much of Carlo getting the business end of a wisecrack.

More wit, less slapstick! Less gags, more go!

We have to hand it to Dominic and Carlo, not a few people have said that they make the show loads of fun to watch. With Dominic or Dom playing the straight, gentleman type, Carlo's wackiness flies off much further. Awh! Forget the British humor of Top Gear, it's just too dry and at times its humor digs in too much, becomes a bit snotty.

Plus, we are intent on featuring more sexy.... cars.

And babes, if you actually dig them more than uber modified cars.

Ahhh... What am I talking about? Of course you are more interested in the girls, that's why you're interested in the cars... That's what the cars are for, it's to get the girls... right?
You bunch of horndogs!

Anyway, if there is any particular girl you'd like us to feature, just post a comment and we'll do our best to feature that girl. Ayt!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Philippine Touring Car Season 2006 is on!

The Philippine Touring Car Championship got off with a blast on May 7, firing out its first two rounds with a mixed grid composed of Group 1 (souped up cars) and Group 3 (not souped up cars).

Kookie Ramirez seemed to be out for some payback, taking pole position in the starting grid after besting Jody Coseteng by 1 second during the qualifying heat held the day prior to the races. I haven't gotten the official results yet as Jody had lodged a protest, perhaps suspecting other racers had made unsanctioned modifications in their cars. I'll provide the scores as soon as I get them from Race Fans and Chief PTCC promoter Boss Richard Santos.

In the meantime, we're going to do some celebrating with the Automobile Association of the Philippines on Sunday. It's the AAP's 75th Anniversary and apart from the yearly awards, they are -- for the first time -- enshrining three guys in their hall of fame.

Junep Ocampo, who wrote a coffee table book for AAP "In the Fast Lane" -- yes, he wrote the entire coffee table book -- also wrote the introduction for each of the Hall of Fame awardees...

If I may, I'd like to print what he wrote here because I found it quite informative:


Our first AAP Motor Sports Hall of Fame awardee needs no introduction. He is long considered the father of Philippine motor sports, having been responsible for organizing most of the early races in the '50s and the '60s. Most of his adulthood years were spent promoting motor sports. And even in his death, he succeeded in etching motor sports permanently onto the Filipinos' national consciousness.

Just like all great sportsmen of the world, he was born to drive. He had them all – motorcycles, cars, boats and even airplanes. Being the youngest child of a former Philippine president, he got to have these expensive toys. Even as he grew up and became one of the Philippines' foremost taxation lawyers, his heart remained fixed on car racing.

Old-timers always give him the credit for organizing the earliest drag races at the abandoned Nielsen Airport runway in Paseo de Roxas Makati in the 1950s and the first attempts at oval races at the Santa Ana horse race track.

He is also acknowledged as the foremost promoter of karting. In 1965, he built the first karting track in the country in his hometown in Tanauan, Batangas. The track served as venue for several Asian Karting Prixs participated in by karters from different Asian countries.

Our awardee was a born leader. He organized not only the races, but the racers as well. He was the founder and first president of the Cam Wreckers Association, a group of car racing aficionados who organized races and later competed as a team in major racing events. With the Cam Wreckers, he organized the annual Shell Car Rally which later evolved into what we is now known as Sampaguita Rally.

But the greatest and still unsurpassed accomplishment of our awardee as a Filipino racecar driver was his back-to-back victories in the Macau Grand Prix, the foremost car racing event in Asia in the '60s and still considered one of the toughest racing events today. He won the Macau Grand Prix in two successive years – in 1962 and 1963 -- on board a Lotus Formula Junior. He was chasing for his third victory in 1967 when, in the third lap of the race, he lost control of his car, slammed on the Macau seawall, exploded in flames and killed him instantly.
He was only 36 years old when he died, and had he been alive today, he would have been as old as AAP.

Thirty nine years after his death, the Automobile Association Philippines is inducting into its Motor Sports Hall of Fame the one and only father of Philippine motor sports, the late Arsenio "Dodjie" Laurel.

Our second Hall of Famer is a friend of Dodjie Laurel's and a long-time classmate of our third awardee. Just like Dodjie, he had been into cars for as long anyone could remember. Historians who write about the young people of the post-war Manila recall him as having the flashiest car in town.

And he loved to race. He and Laurel were two of the regulars in the early drag races in Paseo de Roxas and later in Quezon Avenue near the University of the Philippines where both of them studied Law. He also competed in go-karts, mostly at the Nichols Airbase parade grounds and at the Luneta.

Our awardee served as vice president of the Cam Wreckers when Dodjie was still alive. He took over Dodjie's place after the latter's death in Macau and he continued organizing drag races – this time at the Meralco Avenue in Pasig – and the Shell Car Rally which later evolved into the Rally of Champions.

One unforgettable motor sports event where our awardee figured prominently both as an organizer and competitor was the first Philippine Grand Prix in Cebu City. Being the Cam Wreckers president at the time, he was among those who put together the event and later on competed in it. He won the Stock Class race on board his favorite Austin Mini, but he lost in the Modified Class event due to a technicality. He was black-flagged in the middle of the race in what was the first recorded disqualification in Philippine motor sports history.

In the '70s, our awardee opted to concentrate more on organizing races. He was named member of the Philippine Motor Association National Committee on Motor Sports in 1972, a post he occupied until his election to the PMA presidency in 1982, Under his watch, the PMA – now known as AAP – expanded its motor sports' reach, with the Philippines being elected to the Senate of the FIA, the world governing body for motor sports.

Our awardee served as PMA president for 17 years. It was in those years that legitimate racetracks in Carmona, Batangas, and Subic were born. And it was in those years that the different motor sports disciplines – from drag racing and karting to rallying and circuit racing – reached entirely new levels.

It was just sad that our awardee left us in 1999 at the age 65. But his legacy lives on as more and more young people continue his passion for motor sports.

Without further ado, let's pay tribute to our second AAP Motor Sports Hall of Fame recipient, the late Attorney Conrado "Dodo" Ayuyao.

The third and last person whom we are inducting tonight to the AAP Motor Sports Hall of Fame has a connection with our first two hall-of-famers. Our second hall-of-famer was his classmate in grade school to high school, and our first hall-of-famer was the one who introduced him to motor sports in the 1960s.

Our awardee was a late-bloomer. He only began racing go-karts when he came back to the Philippines from the United States in 1963. He was already 32 years old then, and he began what would be a 40-year motor sports career on a go-kart that Dodjie Laurel lent him.
He may not have the flashy cars of Dodjie or Dodo, but he had the heart and the passion to drive. He would drive for you even from Pagudpud to Sorsogon if you would let him. What he lacked in equipment he compensated with his fierceness and hunger. He was in all the races – mostly driving borrowed cars. And the best thing about him was he was always winning.
He won the Shell Car Rally in 1966 on board a Renault. In the next two years, he was Driver of the Year of the Philippine Motor Sports Club by virtue of his victories in many slalom events at the Nichols Airbase and the Manila International Airport grounds.

He competed in most of the major racing events in history mostly driving Toyotas. He was in the Cebu Grand Prix in 1969, Manila Grand Prix in 1970, Greenhills Grand Prix in 1971 and the series of races in Ortigas Center and BF Homes. And because he was always slugging it out for the championships, he often found himself figuring in controversies and accidents. One accident he had in 1977 – with the late Arthur Tuason in BF Resort Village in Las PiƱas – was so serious that he himself called for the stop of circuit racing. He vowed never to race or organize a race again if it was not in a legitimate racetrack.

He resumed racing only in 1994 after finally putting up the Subic International Raceway. Now at 72, he still competes in club races while his three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons all compete in various racing events.

Our awardee is often called the Bearded One, mainly because of his omnipresent beard that has become his trademark over the years. Unknown to many, his beard is also related to his fast driving. He grew it to conceal a scar that he got when he miraculously survived a car crash on Edsa in the '60s.

Let's call him now, the Bearded One, the Living Legend of Philippine motor sports, our third and last inductee to the AAP Hall of Fame for tonight, Mr. Jose "Pocholo" Ramirez, Jr.

Motor Sports babes...

I've been scriptwriting/directing for Slipstream (which will soon air on Channel 23 on Sunday 12:00 noon starting on the last week of May) and through the show, I've met a lot of people who figured quite prominently in the motorsporting community.

I'd like to give in to a fit of name dropping right now but I am not sure if the people I'll name will recall me or what's worse, will recall me for reasons like being the guy with a lot of stupid questions about motorsports.

I am a complete and utter idiot when it comes to sports, more so with motorsports.
Thankfully enough, there have been a lot of guys in the motoring community who were more than willing to share their years of knowledge with me -- some with knit eyebrows and others with a look of condescension. The only problem is, most of the times during my interviews with them, I can see their lips moving but I can't seem to understand what they were saying and worse I get distracted by some of the other things I see on the track. Like this girl here.

Or these girls...

Or this girl...

Or this girl...

Or this girl here....

But don't get me wrong here, I am not complaining.

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