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Anyone who’s ever experienced hiring a driver will know the telltale signs of a good one. Obviously, you want to hire someone who can handle himself behind the wheel. You also want to look for someone who knows his way around the city and is, of course, punctual.

One quality many of you might forget to take into account, though, is loyalty—and perhaps it’s the most important qualification. Long tenure and a good recommendation from a previous employer aren’t just indications that someone’s good at his job—it’s a sign that he cares about the employer and the work being done, too.

If you’re looking for an example, look no further than Roland Quitevis, who has served as the official driver for eight UK ambassadors under the British Embassy in Manila over the past 33 years. Quitevis, who has also driven for several members of the United Kingdom’s Royal Family during visits to the Philippines, was recently awarded the British Empire Medal by no less than Queen Elizabeth II for his work.

When the Queen of England takes notice, you know you’re doing something right.

“I am delighted to announce that Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II has honored Mr Roland Quitevis with the British Empire Medal for his services to UK-Philippine Relations,” British Ambasador Daniel Pruce said via the embassy’s official Facebook page.

“This is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Roland’s long service at the Embassy, mostly spent as the Ambassador's driver,” Pruce added.

[facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ukinthephilippines/photos/a.121229051220906/3101198213223960/?type=3&theater]

Quitevis, the sixth of eight children, first began working for the embassy after he moved to Manila from Ilocos Sur when he was 22 years old. He started as a messenger, and over time was promoted to the official driver of the Ambassador. Since he started ferrying foreign dignitaries and officials, Quitevis has taken every opportunity he’s been given to improve his skills behind the wheel. This includes comprehensive driving courses in the UK back in 1999 and 2003.

“I remember being so grateful for the opportunity, which is why I have always loved every single day of it—come monsoon rains, heavy Manila traffic and day-to-day encounters with British Embassy staff in action,” Quitevis says.

“I have also been so honored to be able to drive for some members of the Royal family. These include three visits by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, two visits by Princess Anne, and a visit by Prince Charles,” he continues. “It has been such a memorable experience to me to meet each one in person. In fact, during the most recent visit of Princess Anne to the country, she commented that I was very young when she first came to Manila and visited the indigenous community in Clark in the aftermath of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption.

“For me, every moment with all the ambassadors has been unforgettable, as they have treated me like family and always with utmost respect.”

Quitevis says being presented with the Honorary British Empire Medal is the “defining moment” of his career with the embassy. Remember, guys: If you find a driver who’s for keeps, treat him accordingly. You never know—maybe the next Roland Quitevis is already ferrying you around town on a daily basis.

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Did you know there’s a way to keep a battery fresh for longer periods of time? It comes in the form of a battery tender. This one, produced by CTEK, “restores, charges and reconditions the battery using a patented multi-step charging process.”

The device is compatible with all types of 12V batteries, including lithium ones. The adaptive charging mode automatically recognizes the size of the battery and selects the optimum charging settings for the fastest charge. Just plugging in the car battery and doing one charge cycle twice a year can extend the life of the battery by a significant amount. We’ve experienced it firsthand.

PHOTO: CTEK

If your battery finally goes dead and you don’t have the battery tender with you, read on. Now it can happen to anyone, even the most finicky petrolhead: You forgot to turn off cabin lights before leaving the parking lot. You get back to a car with a drained battery. Now you’ll need a friend with a good running car and a set of jumper cables to get back on the road.

Before we proceed, a number of precautions. Be aware that you are dealing with low voltage but high current that’s enough to cause severe electrocution. Reversing the polarity of the connections, connecting positive to negative, and vise versa, will damage critical electrical components and trigger fault codes, and may even cause fires. If you’re lucky, you’ll only blow one or two fuses.

The manuals for both your car and the donor car will have specific instructions on how the jump-start process should be done. There may be an illustrated guide that points out the location of the recommended grounding post, or dedicated jump-start terminals. These terminals are fuse and/or diode protected and isolate sensitive electronics.

If you’re the one providing the jump-start, check the manual before helping out a friend or a stranger. You could be doing harm and causing damage instead of helping. In general, here’s how to rig up the jumper cables safely:

1) Park properly.

Have your friend park his car close enough, but the car bodies should not be touching. Put an automatic transmission in Park; a manual car should be in neutral. Set both parking brakes. If the ground is wet or it’s raining, it’s not safe to be handling hefty electrical wires.

2) Find both batteries’ locations.

Open both hoods. Your booster cables should be long enough to bridge the distance between the batteries. Turn both cars’ keys in the off position. Better yet, take the keys off the ignition switches.

3) Wire it up.

At any time, do not to touch the clamps together or to the car body. With that in mind, get the positive jumper cable—the red one. Remember the mnemonic: “First, red to dead.” Clamp the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery, then connect the other end to the positive terminal of the charged battery. The negative cable is the black one; attach one clamp to the negative terminal of the charged battery.

PHOTO: Raymond Figuerres

The cables are now energized and the last step to complete a circuit is to connect it to an appropriate ground on the stalled car. It could be any unpainted surface, but I suggest to connect it to something away from the battery fumes, moving parts, hot surfaces, or fuel sources. When you connect the last clamp, sparks are unavoidable, and it could start a fire in the engine bay. Clamp it on a strut bolt or the engine hoist.

Before continuing, double-check your connections. Red wire, red clamps on positive terminals. Black wire, black clamps on negative terminal and grounded surface on the stranded car.

4) Start the helper car.

When you start it, that car’s alternator will generate a current that’s now routed to charge both batteries. It will take a few minutes of charging before the combined parallel current of the batteries is enough to start the car. The charging system can generate more amperage and speed up the process if the donor car is revved.

5) Start the car with the weak battery.

Even if it isn’t fully charged yet, there should be enough voltage and current from the batteries connected in parallel, to crank the starter motor.

6) Disconnect the cables.

PHOTO: Raymond Figuerres

Remove the last clamp you attached, observing the reverse of the sequence when you attached them. Next off would be the black clamp on the negative battery terminal of the helper car, then the positive clamp on the good battery, and lastly the red clamp on the weak battery’s positive terminal.

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The all-new Mazda 3 is coming. As to exactly when we aren’t certain yet…though if these images are anything to go by, ‘soon’ would be a pretty safe bet.

The photos you’re looking at were sent to us by reader Allan Gonzales. Yes, those are fresh units of the Japanese car manufacturer’s next-generation compact hatchback and sedan onboard a flatbed truck on an expressway.

PHOTO: Allan Gonzales

If you’re planning on buying one when it comes out, these images will also give you a pretty good idea of what colors will be available. Of course, there’s the Soul Red hatch up top next to what we’re guessing is a Deep Crystal Blue sedan. On the first level sits a white hatch and a silver sedan, too. Note these may not be the names of the official Philippine-spec colors.

In March, Mazda Philippines gave the country a preview of the all-new 3 hatchback and sedan, albeit in the form of US-spec units. In Malaysia, the vehicle is available with either a 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine capable of 118hp and 153Nm or a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G with 162hp and 213Nm of torque. In other countries, it also comes with the much-hyped Skyactiv-X engine.  

PHOTO: Allan Gonzales

No indication of what we’ll get here in the Philippines, but again, these photos suggest we might not have to wait long until we find out. Are you excited for the all-new Mazda 3’s official launch, too?

PHOTO: Allan Gonzales

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There are two things that make each piece in any type of collection special: value and story. It’s not always that you hit those two birds with one stone, but this latest timepiece from Oris lets you do just that.

The Swiss watchmaker has announced the final piece in the Oris Ocean Trilogy: the Blue Whale Limited Edition wristwatch. This isn’t a racing watch, but it’s a timepiece that has a great story behind it—it supports a cause. The collection that this new watch completes aims to raise both awareness and funds in support of the advocacies of various agencies.

PHOTO: Oris

The first two watches in the trilogy—the Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition III and the Clean Ocean Limited Edition—are meant to help restore coral reefs and clean up our oceans. This third and final piece was created in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDSC) in support of the protection of the world’s largest animal: the blue whale.

The Blue Whale Limited Edition is based on the Aquis diver’s watch. It has a 45.5mm stainless-steel case with a water resistance of 50 bar (500 meters). Its bezel is finished in aqua-blue ceramic, and features a graduated aqua-blue dial. It’s also the first Aquis chronograph with a 3,6, and 9 dial layout.

And it doesn’t come cheap, priced at CHF9,600 (more than P498,000).

Only 200 pieces will be made, and each will be available as part of the complete Oris Ocean Trilogy set. Each set will be packaged in a special box made from recycled PET plastic.

“We’ve been very intentional about our mission to bring change for the better,” said Oris co-chief executive Rolf Studer. “The environmental challenges the world faces are real, and we believe that both individuals and corporate entities have a responsibility to overcome them. The Blue Whale Limited Edition is a very special watch, produced in unusually small quantities for Oris, and the perfect symbol of the dangers facing the blue whale. We’re extremely proud to be working with (WDSC) and look forward to seeing the change our partnership will bring.”

WDSC marine biologist Fabian Ritter explains the need for protecting these marine mammals. “Blue whales are iconic animals and a symbol of the plight of our planet,” he says. “You could say that saving blue whales for the long-term would give us hope. Ecologically, blue whales play an important role in the ecosystem, increasing the resilience of the seas. We’re only just beginning to realize how important these large animals are in regulating the equilibrium in the oceans’ ecosystems.”

What better way to spend on a hobby or expand a collection than to help a good cause while you’re at it, right?

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A refreshed version of Ford Everest, the American carmaker’s local midsize SUV offering, is finally coming to the local market.

Ford Philippines has already sent out invitations for an event on August 9, 2019, and while the company doesn’t explicitly say this will be the launch of the new Everest, the photo accompanying it is proof enough for us.

PHOTO: Ford

Naturally, no specs, engine details, prices, or variants have been provided. But if you’ve been keeping tabs on this vehicle, you’ll know that it was launched in Thailand a little over a year ago.

Over there, the midsize SUV gets two engine options: A 2.0-liter bi-turbo mill capable of 210hp and 500Nm of torque (the same one powering the Ford Ranger Raptor), and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel with an output of 178hp and 420Nm. Both come mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Currently, Philippine-spec units run on a 2.2-liter turbodiesel (158hp and 385Nm) and a 3.2-liter turbodiesel (197hp and 470Nm).

PHOTO: Ford

Other alterations found in Thailand units include an updated grille up front, a redesigned bumper featuring some nice chrome and a mesh underneath, a new wheel design, and updated headlights.

Better late than never, right? We’ll know more when the vehicle makes its Philippine debut next month. What other improvements do you want to see in the refreshed Ford Everest?

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Sixteen days of nonstop riding in extreme road and weather conditions has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on celebrity rider Ryan Agoncillo.

In June 2017, Agoncillo and six other members of the Himalayan Adventure Team Pilipinas conquered what was previously known as the ‘World’s Highest Motorable Road’ in Khardung La, India. It was a historic first in the rich and colorful history of Philippine motorcycle culture.

On June 25, 2019, another group of Pinoy adventure riders led by Cheggy Medina survived the Himalayas, where they proudly waved the Philippine flag. Like Agoncillo’s team, Medina and his group depended on the Royal Enfield Himalayan to successfully complete the journey.

PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Agoncillo and Medina, along with their respective team members, shared their exploits with this middle-size adventure stallion during the recent launch of the 2019 Royal Enfield Himalayan.

The new model now comes with dual-channel ABS and an ‘automatic headlamp on’ feature (AHO), as well as electronic fuel injection (EFI) for its Euro 4-compliant 410cc air-cooled, single-cylinder engine. Otherwise, everything else from the preceding model is retained on this practical yet very capable thumper.

PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Knowing the positive effects of the new features on safety and fuel economy, the adventure riders present during the event expressed their approval of the new Himalayan.

Some people raised this question: Do adventure bikes really need the ABS?

“Yes,” Agoncillo said, “especially when you’ll use the Himalayan as your daily ride.”

PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

The ABS of the Himalayan cannot be switched off. Also, Medina’s group rode to the Himalayas using Himalayan units equipped only with the EFI and not ABS. Hardcore adventure riders will attest that ABS does not matter much during extreme off-road riding. Manually modulating the brakes in reaction to the bike’s slightest movements is the best way to stay in full control of the motorcycle, especially on very slippery and steep downhill sections.

But if you’re talking about abrupt braking on the pavement, ABS becomes an essential electronic aid—it will keep you in control of the bike by preventing the wheels from locking. The point Agoncillo wanted to highlight is that almost all Himalayan owners also want to enjoy their bike every day in the city, where roads are mostly paved instead of being loose and slippery.

PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Probably the best sales pitch for the new Himalayan is its strategic pricing—P326,000 for the Touring version (with side panniers), and P299,000 for the Street variant. Hey, that’s like having a brand-new adventure bike for the price of a secondhand unit from other brands.

Now, can you picture yourself carving up the mountain roads on weekends and riding to the office on weekdays with a Royal Enfield Himalayan?

PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

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Remember how we previously mentioned the prospect of a three-minute drive from Villamor Air Base to Taguig? Well, that could very well be a reality now.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has officially opened the Cavitex-C5 Link Flyover, otherwise known as Segment 3A1 of the C5 South Link Project, to the public. The agency delivered on its earlier promise to open this portion of the highway by the end of July.

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

When we took a quick drive through the unfinished flyover earlier this month, we were told that a one-way trip between its two endpoints is estimated to take less than five minutes. To be honest, it was hard to confirm it back then, driving at 10kph in a small convoy and all that. But after testing out the finished segment today, we can agree that it’ll be easy to make such good time through the flyover—possibly even faster.

“We are supportive of road engineering solutions for everyday problems. This is a vital project that will cut travel time in half from the usual 1.5 hours spent to cross from Villamor Airbase, Pasay area to Taguig City. With 3 lanes in each direction of this flyover, passage of the anticipated 8,000 vehicles will be eased when they use the flyover starting 8pm sharp tonight,” said DPWH secretary Mark Villar in a statement.

As of this writing, the Toll Regulatory Board has yet to announce the official fees, so those passing through may still enjoy toll-free trips in the next weeks (possibly even more than a month, or so we were told).

With two major roads partially opening in a span of two days—Section 1 of Skyway Stage 3 yesterday and this segment of the C5 South Link Project today—it seems that the government really is keen on meeting its deadlines this year. If it keeps up its current pace, we can finally see the completed projects soon. For now, you can check out some more of our photos below and tell us what you think.

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

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The city government of Manila is filing a request for the suspension of the entire Baclaran–Divisoria jeepney line, due to multiple reported incidents of trip-cutting.

“The people of Manila and the city government of Manila will be the complainant before the LTFRB,” said city mayor Isko Moreno during a press conference held on the morning of July 23, 2019.

Moreno also issued a warning to operators and drivers of other jeepney routes where trip-cutting—or terminating the service before completing the route as specified in the franchise—is rampant. Routes mentioned included MCU–Bluementritt, Cubao–Divisoria, and those passing through areas like Pedro Gil, Padre Faura, and Paco.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra III was also present during the press conference. “We welcome and will accept whatever complaints the city will file against any and all public utility jeepneys—o kahit na ano man, pwedeng UV Express o mga taxi na pupunta dito sa Manila—na nagti-trip-cutting o kaya nag-aabuso sa kanilang prangkisa,” he said.

“Pagdating kasi sa prangkisa, I would just like to point out very simply, na pag may ruta yan, may tinatawag na origin–destination,” Delgra continued. “Pagseserbisyuhan niyo yung mga pasahero na sasakay sa inyo, whether sa origin or anywhere else dun sa daan na yan, papunta dun sa dulo. Wag naman niyo naman ibitin yung mga pasahero na hanggang doon lang kung saan niyo gusto. Kahit iisa nalang ang pasahero na sakay niyo, kung saan ang destinasyon niyo, ihahatid niyo talaga yan hanggang sa destinasyon.

“Yan po ay obligasyon niyo—ito po ay isang responsibilidad na binigay niyo under a franchise, which is a privilege granted by government. Yun po ang palaging ulit-ulit na sinasabi doon sa mga operator, lalung-lalo na doon sa mga driver na nagmamaneho.

“We welcome the initiative of the city. We will accept whatever complaints the city will file.”

Normally, the LTFRB imposes graduated penalties for such violations, starting with monetary fines, then suspension, then outright cancellation of the franchise. Moreno said that the the final decision on the suspension and its duration rests with the LTFRB.

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With the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo fast approaching, Toyota is doing its part to ensure “mobility for all” by providing these electric shuttles for the event. 

The Accessible People Mover, or APM for short, stretches around 3,900mm long, 1,600mm wide, and 2,000mm high. Its expected range is 100km, with a top speed of 19kph. The basic model can seat five passengers, or one wheelchair rider and two additional passengers. It features two rows for passengers in the rear in a 3+2 configuration, while the driver's seat is centrally mounted to “allow the driver to see passengers and support their individual needs as they enter/exit the vehicle.”

In case of emergency, relief-spec models are also available which can hold a stretcher and two medical personnel. 

These shuttles will be used to ferry staff and athletes to their respective events, as well as elderly people, PWDs, or pregnant women in need of transport. As you can see in the photos, its doorless design means easy entry and exit for passengers. Around 200 of these will be cruising around the Olympic grounds next year. 

PHOTO: Toyota

PHOTO: Toyota

PHOTO: Toyota

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Are you dissatisfied with the Philippine Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) quality of service? If your answer is yes, you’ll be glad to know your complaints aren’t falling on deaf ears.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth annual State of the Nation Address (SONA), one of the first orders of business was to call out the government agencies that need to improve their services. The list includes—you guessed it—the LTO.

Duterte reminded everyone that he signed the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 in an attempt to improve the services given to Filipinos by the different government agencies.

“However, much is to be done in ensuring our responsiveness to the people’s needs, based on the complaints received by the Contact Center ng Bayan,” Duterte said. “The LTO, SSS, BIR, LRA, and PAG-IBIG are the top five agencies that need to drastically improve their service.”

The president reiterated his instructions to these agencies to simplify their procedures. He demanded that Filipinos should be able to process and complete their transactions with the government agencies via electronic means.

He also stated his new solution to alleviate traffic in the metro: “Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends.” He requested the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and all concerned Metro Manila government officials to see to it that the initiative will push through.

“My request, my pleading to the MMDA and all concerned local officials in Metro Manila is to undertake immediate action to ensure smooth flow of traffic,” the president said. He also ordered DILG secretary Eduardo Año to suspend mayors and government officials who fail to follow the newly given directives.

Do you share the same sentiments as our president? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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