Leave it to the guys at Ford Philippines to come up with unique ideas on how to stage a ride and drive. While other car companies go for long drives and explore the beauty of a certain town and savor the gastronomic delights it has to offer, Ford would rather subject you to physical challenges that would promote team building.
To point out a historical fact, it was Ford PH that started the idea of media ride and drives with a twist. Ford PH’s swashbuckling president Terry Emerick, in the 1990s, held a media event at Mount Pinatubo, where the media pitched tents, had fun around a bon fire under the pale moonlight and in the morning, went off roading to promote their Built Ford Tough theme. The word adventure was an understatement.
Fast forward to the present time and the current day officials of Ford PH seem to have revived the idea as participants of the recently concluded Ecosport media drive found themselves (me included) at the Laiya Adventure Park in San Juan, Batangas. Judging from the zipline, a three level tower for rappeling and a hanging rope bridge, this venue was no walk in the park so to speak. “This event aims to test your physical and mental abilities and to promote team unity,” explained Ej Francisco, Ford PH head of marketing and communications.
Prior to being subjected to extreme physical challenges, the media convoy drove off from Ford’s BGC dealership. This writer was paired up with Anjo Perez of Wheels Magazine and Genevieve Tiu of CarGuide PH and The Manila Times. We were assigned to drive an EcoBoost powered blue Ecosport Titanium equipped with a 1.0- liter engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Some of us drove the Trend version powered by a 1.5-liter TiVCT engine. Our team only found put that we were driving an EcoBoost variant when we arrived at the Laiya Adventure Park. The engine and throttle response was spot that we were left with smiles on our faces throughout the drive. The mini SUV’s suspension gamely absorbed all road imperfections and the insulation was superb, as we shared stories and current events with each other without the need to raise our voices. Personally, this writer gives a two-thumbs up to the Ecosport’s redesigned front fascia and the dashboard layout with a large interactive screen at the center console.
Being an adventure place, the road going to the venue was unpaved that was a welcome sight for lead footed drivers. The Ecosport’s 209-mm ground clearance was perfect as we drove through the loose gravel and dirt track.
In true Ford “Go Further” fashion, all of us went a bit further as we tested our stamina and teamwork throughout the afternoon. The young members of my team carried my aging ass around the course and we finished a strong third place overall. The day was a glorious moment to the achievements of both men and machine.