Have you ever felt like a tourist inside your own country? I just did – and, take note, it was just inside Metro Manila. I know it sounds quite bizarre but together with four motoring journalists, I toured around Intramuros like first time travellers, all because we roamed around the Walled City using a bicycle.
Mind you, the bicycles we used weren't the ordinary ones. Compared to the regular bikes which were framed with alloy, steel, or carbon fiber, the ones we used in this particular tour were bamboo bikes (hence the brown frame). Locally produced, guaranteed handmade, and with all the materials sourced from the Philippines, riding the bamboo bikes is like riding any bike, but with national pride.
The production of these handmade bamboo bicycles is an initiative of a Philippine-based socio-ecological enterprise aptly named Bambike. It employs builders (a.k.a. Bambuilders) from Gawad Kalinga, offering them fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. Bambike also offers scholarship, pre-school teacher sponsorship, and a weekly feeding program for children.
To help the community even more, Bambike also maintains a bamboo nursery for reforestation. This is because one of the company's main goals is to help both the planet and the people who are in need by making the greenest bicycles the world has ever seen. Bambike ensures that its bicycles give that unfamiliar but wonderful feeling that’s not usually experienced when riding the regular bikes.
Thanks to Ford Philippines, I got the chance to pedal around the ancient structures through the Bambike Tour, and at the same time, drive through the Walled City inside a Ford EcoSport.
The Bambike Tour offers a 2.5-hour guided bike tour around the walls of Intramuros. It includes stopovers at eight to ten historical and cultural sites inside the Metro’s old city. Bambike also offers the one-hour Express Tour, which is enough to give five to ten persons a quick feel of Intramuros.
EcoSport plus Bambike is a simple and affordable way to spend a one fine summer day reliving the glory days of Intramuros. A full-guided tour costs P1,200 per person, while the Express Tour will only require P600 (per person) from your pocket.
Meanwhile, speaking of summer, if you're in search for help in ticking all the items on your 2018 Summer Getaway list, then consider the Ford EcoSport as your riding companion. The EcoSport, one of the three locally most-sought after vehicles bearing the Ford emblem, offers a vast line of features to make your vacation season even more exciting.
It has perfect room for five passengers, 20 accessible compartments like cup holders, side-door pockets, a slide-out drawer under the front passenger seat, and a spacious glovebox. How much luggage can it carry? Fold the rear seats flat and fit a 560-liter washing machine inside perfectly in place (although you won't need one but just so you can imagine). You won’t have to worry about beach stuff anymore.
With the vehicle’s 200-mm ground clearance, no road dilapidation can stop you from driving to your favorite summer spot. Add this to the available power of the 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine that can put out 108 hp and 142 Nm of torque. Power is being transmitted by either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission.
EcoSport, like the budget-friendly and eco-friendly Bambike Tour, is also fuel efficient. Given all these features while carrying a not-so-hefty price tag, I’m sure you’ll agree why this hot selling Ford crossover is your best bet for a driving companion this summer.
Try driving the EcoSport, and try circling around Intramuros using the bamboo bikes – for someone who didn’t expect much from the experience, trust me, I realized that what I did is indeed a must-try.