Searching for the Bulalo and Other Backroad Adventures – Manila Bulletin

An exhilarating drive to Tagaytay in the 2021 Ford Everest Sport

THERE IS NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH The 2021 Ford Everest Sport (Cars.co.za)

Driving on city roads through bumper-to-bumper traffic can be stressful and frustrating. In the country, however, it can be therapeutic. Time spent on a peaceful cruise gives the chance to slow down, breathe, reflect and recharge. With the recent easing of travel restrictions in the country, a road trip outside the metro makes perfect sense.

When Ford Philippines invited Manila Bulletin (MB) to try the 2021 Ford Everest Sport, the idea of ​​traveling to the highlands first came to mind. We decided to take a short and easy trip to one of the most popular “quick getaways” in Luzon-Tagaytay. The project could not have come at a better time as a close friend, Iloilo Culture Champion Chef Tibong Jardeleza was in Manila for leisure. Another stroke of luck, everyone’s schedules aligned.

For those who may not be familiar with Chef Tibong, he is known for promoting the culinary culture of Western Visayas through his annual events, such as Sabores de Visayas and Tabu-an Ilonggo Heritage Cooking Competition. He visited prominent chefs from all over the country around Region VI, introduced them to the distinct culture of the Ilonggos and sampled the regional cuisine. This time, it was his turn to walk the culinary streets of Manila.

For the trip, I was joined by lifestyle editor, novelist and poet, AA Patawaran; renowned writer and culinary consultant Angelo Comsti; one of the country’s most promising young culinary talents, chef Don Baldosano of Linamnam Manila; and guest of honour, Chief Tibong.

PRODUCE TASTE TEST Chef Tibong (front) with Angelo (right) and the tour guide

The itinerary was busy but quite straightforward. We were to drive the new automobile on roads surrounded by open grasslands and pine forests, drive through Cavite to join a farm tour, seek out an outstanding Bulalo restaurant, and spend the night in Don’s wooden cabin in Tagaytay.

DAY TOUR Don with the guide in one of Gourmet Farms Inc.’s many hydroponic tents.

But first, my impressions of the car. As soon as it was delivered to my parking lot, I was impressed by its imposing silhouette. It was a nice, big car, big enough to look like a full-size sport utility vehicle, although it was classified as a mid-size SUV with a body 4,903 millimeters long, 1,837 millimeters high and 1,869 millimeters wide.

EVERYTHING’S PINE AA Patawaran reading on pine trees

Of the available color options Alabaster White, Aluminum, Diffused Silver, Meteor Grey, Shadow Black and Sunset, the loan that was sent was in Deep Crystal Blue. The blue exterior and black accents suited me perfectly.

Up front is a blacked-out grille and bumper, Everest badge and an eyeliner-style automated LED light. The back has the same wicked aesthetic. There’s a hands-free power tailgate and 250 liters of boot space. With the third row folded, storage space expands to over 876 litres. Its 20-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in 50-series tires. Again, it’s a tall car sitting atop 225 millimeters of ground clearance. Entry and starting are keyless.

BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT The Everest Sport (Ford) cabin

The cabin is spacious and everything is laid out logically, made to look and feel more spacious thanks to blue interior trim. The finish is also top notch. There’s a Sync 3-backed eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen also serves as a rear view camera. The instrument cluster is a combination of digital and analog.

The leather-trimmed seats are incredibly comfortable, especially the six-way power driver’s seat. Mechanically, the 2021 Ford Everest Sport 4×2 AT is the same as the 2.0 Titanium 4X2 AT except for looks and some additional features found in the latter.

EASY DRIVING ON TRAFFIC The author behind the wheel of the car

Pressing the accelerator feels like most modern automated cars. There is a brief lag before acceleration. Despite its size, the car handles surprisingly well. It’s lightweight and responds exactly as you’d expect to every input. He had that dynamic flattery that makes you feel like a more skilled driver. I enjoyed driving it to work, even in Manila’s heavy traffic.

Before the release, I asked my AA editor to test drive the car. He was hard to please, having tested so many high-end cars as an industry veteran. The best I could get from it was that the Ford was a blast to drive beyond the 120 kilometer speed.

HOLY LAND Chapel of the Sanctuary of Saint Joseph

On the way to Tagaytay, we opted for a wheelie ride. The first was Angelo, over six feet. As far as I can tell, he was comfortably seated in the driver’s seat, even with his long legs. His personal car is an SUV, so his ride was smooth and effortless. Our first destination was Gourmet Farms, Inc. in Silang, Cavite. We got to the farm quicker than expected, even after driving around the highway. We got lost while still in Manila, but it was a fun experience, especially with good company in an amazing car.

It was 11 a.m. when we arrived at the 12-hectare estate. The sun was high, the air hot. But our desire to learn took over and we continued the visit on foot. Our starting point was the Gourmet café, which is the mini grocery store that offers pasalubong and other farm products. The farm in the early 80s was initially a coffee trading company with the vision of promoting Filipino coffee to the global market.

CABIN IN THE WOODS Wooden cabin of the Don Baldosano family in Tagaytay

We walked for nearly an hour, picking and trying the various herbs and vegetables grown on the farmland. It finally gave us a perspective of the hard work it takes to grow quality produce. We also passed by St. Joseph’s Shrine with a conference hall, outdoor pavilion, guest house and chapel.

Despite its size, the car handles surprisingly well. It’s lightweight and responds exactly as you’d expect to every input. It has that dynamic flattery that makes it feel like a more skilled driver.

To top off the farm tour, we ate at Gourmet Farms outdoor restaurant and, as expected, the salads were fresh and delicious. Exhausted by the heat, we took refuge in the strong air conditioning of the car. We then retired to Don’s Tagaytay’s cabin, a relaxing and peaceful getaway where time seemed to stand still.

The next day, Don was the designated driver. We explored the vacation town and its signature dish bulalo. We went to a fast food joint called Jaytee’s Filipino Cuisine and then to LZM, a roadside restaurant. Both served bulalo to our satisfaction but considering the price and in terms of broth, LZM is more highly recommended. The last stop before heading back to Manila was Reef Acienda Designer Outlet. Chef Tibong asked us to stop and buy a few things. It drizzled lightly on the way home, so the rain-sensing windshield wipers on swept the moisture off the windshield.

In Manila, it was my turn to drive. The longer the car was with me, the more my interest grew with its 10-speed automatic transmission, 180 horsepower engine and 420 newton meters of torque. I was never really able to activate its adaptive cruise control, which automatically slowed the car in traffic. It detects the car’s distance from other cars and objects ahead and adjusts the speed accordingly.

As an SUV, gas mileage is decent at 15.5 kilometers per liter on the highway and nine kilometers per liter in the city. The total tank capacity is 80 litres. Throughout the week I couldn’t refuel even after all my travels.

Other features of the Everest Sport include electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking system (ABS), rollover mitigation and brake assist, front and rear parking sensors , hill launch assistance, volumetric anti-theft alarm, etc.

All in all it was a memorable weekend spent with some of the best people using a top notch car. The automobile suits both the single person and the family man with its imposing looks, spacious interiors and various practical features.

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Toya J. Bell