|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Fuel efficiency fun runs are dime-a-dozen these days and often times, at flag off, you immediately know who’s going to win (or at least gun for) the top prize. So, leave it to the folks at Philippine Allied Enterprises Corporation (PAEC), Bridgestone’s distributor in the Philippines and Tuason Racing School (TRS) to organize a different sort of fuel efficiency fun run—one with no preset route, no preset condition—only five predetermined checkpoints which must be completed in a ten-hour period.
We were divided into 10 teams of three participants each and assigned identical Toyota Vios 1.3 cars, raffled off naturally to give everyone an equal footing. Partnered with, whom I considered to be, eco run gurus Vince Pornelos of Autoindustriya.com and Chris Van Hoven, it seemed only natural that our team stood a good chance snatching the day’s winner take all prize. Ah, but there’s a catch: fuel efficiency is just 30 percent of the entire challenge. The team must participate and complete all the challenges to earn maximum points in order to come out on top.
And so, as Team 5 set out for the Clark Freeport in Angeles City, where all but one activity will be held, Vince and Chris spent equal time arguing about how to get the most fuel efficiency as they did about who’s going to go through the wakeboarding course. I, on the other hand, simply got comfy at the back either posting away on Facebook or Instagram, or acting as the group’s default GPS (thanks Google Maps). All throughout, we stuck to the spirit of the rules (hey, some teams resorted to folding their side mirrors and/or pushing their car a couple of meters to the tollgates—and we know who you are), relying simply on Bridgestone’s new Ecopia EP200 to give us more travel for less fuel.
As the flagship passenger car tire in the Ecopia line, the EP200 is designed primarily for small and medium-sized cars such as the Vios. It offers the highest levels of low rolling resistance among any tire designed for the Asia-Pacific (Vince can attest to that) and even features several design elements that improves driving stability. With Nano Pro-Tech technology, the EP200 minimizes energy loss during tire rotation thereby giving up to 8.1 percent better fuel efficiency compared to a conventional passenger tire.
The farthest waypoint is the Angeles City Flying Club, so we decided to dispatch it first. There, we did 10 minutes of ultralight plane flying time (I even got to try it for a good five minutes, which was awesome). After taking in the breathtaking scenery around Mt. Arayat, our team gained some bonus points on the “buzzer” challenge. After the Angeles City Flying Club, we headed off to Paradise Ranch for a 30-meter (no biggie) Superman-style zip line (which I did twice) and a quick tree planting session where we had to give back to Mother Nature by planting five seedlings. The penultimate challenge was to complete two laps around the Clark International Speedway in go-karts before the dreaded wakeboarding activity at the Deca Clark Wakeboard Park.
Although the ultralights were by-far the most fun activity of the day, I simply had to give special mention to the wakeboarding. Personally, this is perhaps the most difficult activity of the day for one simple reason: I don’t know how to *freaking* swim. Yes, you’re given a life preserver and a helmet, but the thought of being tugged around a murky lagoon while riding a glorified plastic raft simply doesn’t give me confidence. Also, wakeboarding is a Throwback Thursday worthy flashback during my time at the Jollibee Challenge where my then teammate (which is part of Team 8 during this eco run) Neil Pagulayan and I failed. Miserably. Still, mustering the courage shown by my teammates who both accomplished the task, I couldn’t let them down, and goodness, I did it. On my second run, I did it. And kudos to everyone who cheered me on (yes, Wii Gamboa, you helped me get through it).
The day ended with dinner and drinks at the Prism Lounge at Widus Resort and Casino. And despite mustering a fuel economy figure close to 20 km/L, alas, Team 5 didn’t win the Bridgestone Ecopia Ecorun. And that figure included Chris using Wilson Philips on his iPod to control Vince’s driving habits. The team that eventually won garnered a figure more than 10 km/L more—registering a staggering 30-plus km/L reading. Amazing, considering we were all running on identical cars.
Though we didn’t walk away with any cash on this day, I felt that I came away still the big winner. I’ve done more exciting, daring, death-defying stuff on the day of the Bridgestone Ecopia Ecorun than I have during my entire lifetime. To walk away with such an experience, to walk away with such confidence, I believe makes this day priceless.
The typical Bridgestone Ecopia owner may not do all these activities in a single day, heck; he may not do any of these ever. But since it delivers more kilometers on less fuel, the Bridgestone Ecopia at the very least offers you the chance to do more with less fuel. It offers you the chance to explore that extra kilometer, to take the long way around, to experience life more. And who knows what’s waiting for you around the next bend? If it’s adventure, make sure you take it on.