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November 26, 2020

So Why Did Mazda PH Choose the Pangolin as the BT-50's Spirit Animal?

2020 has been one hell of a year. With a global pandemic still surging and economic crises afflicting most nations around the world, it’s been a dire effort for anyone to keep a sound, positive outlook. Add to that, the Philippines has just gone through two intense typhoons, taking with it most of whatever morale is left of our countrymen. Amidst all this, the automotive industry has chosen to move forward, with brands launching vehicles one after the other, offering support to the health and public sector, and getting involved in charitable activities. 

One such company is Bermaz Auto Philippines. In a unique move, the exclusive distributor for Mazda in the Philippines, has partnered with an unlikely organization; unlikely, only because while the focus for many has been toward calamity-ridden sectors, Mazda has chosen an area that has been quite overlooked—the conservation of an endangered species. With its collaboration with the Katala Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Mazda aims to help raise awareness toward the protection of the Philippine Pangolin (endemic to the province), as well as its habitat.

Borne out of his own general curiosity about animals and local conservation efforts, the President of Bermaz Auto, Steven Tan, shares that the team didn’t actually go looking for a partnership—the idea came to them. With the Pangolin being a quiet, gentle creature with a tough exterior, it was only natural that it was likened to the Mazda BT-50, the brand’s pick-up truck that espouses toughness, but maintains the classic Mazda touch. 

In honor of the partnership, and to put a stamp on the Philippine Pangolin, Mazda launched the BT-50 Pangolin Edition (click here for the full specs). One of these trucks will be provided exclusively to the Katala Foundation for one-year, for its team’s daily rounds through Palawan’s rugged terrain. Coincidentally, it’s to replace the NGO’s long-serving service vehicle, another Mazda, in the form of a 1996 Proceed.

With this partnership, Mazda and the Katala Foundation hopes that the BT-50 Pangolin Edition will further promote the NGO’s wildlife protection advocacies and help it to perform its preservation and monitoring duties during this time. 

Quoting the foundation’s Program Director, Indira Lacerna-Widmann, “We hope that with this vehicle, we will have the right direction to achieve the conservation status of this species [the Philippine Pangolin]. It’s an honor for us. The passion that we work for this species—and for other species that we are working on—is carried also in the passion for this vehicle.”

Indeed, it will. Because, in turn, for Mazda’s Steven Tan said, “Anything endemic to our country is worth protecting.”

Word by Gen Tiu.

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