My husband Lester and I have both been working from home (WFH) ever since we closed our office in January 2018 and migrated our magazine business from publishing to online. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, our daughter Vette had to shift her Nihongo classes from face-to-face to virtual as did our son Chevy with his high school classes. Thus, for the better part of two years, our family has kept most of our activities indoors as our small contribution to help minimize the spread of the deadly virus.
I can proudly say that we spent the two-year quarantine period quite productively. Aside from his writing, Lester had time to work on his project cars. Vette and Chevy learned to cook delicious meals while Vette honed her baking skills. We made the renovation of our home a family project. Both of our kids did well in their classes and both even found time to indulge in their individual passions – Vette with manga artwork and Chevy with his games and music. After being indoors for two years, I felt we all deserved a break – outdoors. Thankfully, the pandemic has eased and the restrictions have been lifted.
When Andrea Suarez of Ogilvy & Mather Philippines, the ad agency of Ford Group Philippines, asked if I would be interested in crafting a story using a Ford product that would be apt for the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, which was on March 8th, my mind immediately zeroed in on my family. As husband-and-wife, Lester and I have always treated each other as equals at home, at work, and at play. He is Catholic while I am Muslim and we respect each other’s beliefs. In fact, we love discussing the similarities of our religions with our kids, instead of the differences.
I would like to think that we both have raised Vette and Chevy to be responsible for their own thoughts and actions as well as to respect the rights of everyone, regardless of gender. At 22, Vette feels strongly about gender equality and has grown up to be a strong-willed young woman who’s not afraid to express her opinion about the subject. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Chevy has shown us that he has not developed any biases against any gender. As an example, he’s as comfortable with me driving as he is when his dad’s behind the wheel. He just teases me that “Daddy drives a little faster…”
Driving to Subic
Andrea booked the four of us – Vette, Chevy, Lester and I – for an overnight stay at the Court Meridian Hotel in Subic Bay, Olongapo. She also arranged to lend us a 2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Sport 4×2 AT, which looked menacingly macho in its dark metallic hue of Deep Crystal Blue and black 20-inch wheels. As an ode to #IWD2022, I took charge of planning and arranging our trip and told my supportive husband that I’ll be driving all the way to Subic and back so he can just relax during the entire trip.
As further ode to IWD 2022’s theme of #BreakTheBias, I also wanted to enforce the notion that women, especially a mother-of-two like me, can easily drive a macho-looking sport utility vehicle (like our Everest) as well as any man. In fact, I enjoy the look on the faces of male drivers when I’m behind the wheel of large vehicles. They always give this look of disbelief that I’m as comfortable driving an SUV as I am driving a subcompact hatchback. It really breaks the male biases against female drivers, more so when they see my husband dozing comfortably in the back seat while we’re doing 100 km/h on the tollways.
Of course, having a smooth, easy-to-drive, and fun-to-drive SUV like our Everest, helps maintain my driving confidence, whether I’m cruising on the highways or navigating through the narrow streets of Metro Manila. Its 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine and automatic transmission offers smooth yet torquey but mostly quiet performance. I even boasted to Lester that I’ve beaten my personal fuel mileage record – from 9.0 kilometers-per-liter average in my 1.4-liter gas compact sedan to an average of 12.9 km/l with our Everest.
Despite being bigger and taller than my personal compact car, I found the Everest easy and fun to drive. I didn’t try to manually shift the transmission so I don’t really know if it’s a 6- or 10-speed, but I’ve driven it enough to know that it shifts smoothly and decisively, especially when I press the accelerator for more speed, or when driving over hilly roads. I also like the fact that all the controls are within easy reach, which lets me keep my eyes on the road instead of glancing at the dashboard and looking for a certain switch or button. Best of all, I love that it has a separate USB port at the console for music and for charging my gadgets, which I can’t do without.
We drove our dark blue Everest near the dark blue waters of the Subic Bay public beach where we had a fantastic time bonding and catching a magnificent sunset. The next morning, we took it to the ACEA Beach Resort across the bay where we had a great time swimming and playing on its white sand beach. I’ve never seen my husband so relaxed in his life that he managed to learn how to float in the water! He doesn’t know how to swim so it’s really a feat that he’s never done in his entire life, up to now. I’m so glad that he’s ecstatic about learning how to float. I guess I have to teach him how to swim next time.
Vette had fun in the water as did Chevy and I’m glad that we all were able to get away as a family, even for just two days and one night. On the drive home, I drove my three passengers to Clark, Pampanga for lunch at Iguana, our favorite Mexican restaurant. After Lester and Chevy savored their chimichangga and Vette and I finished our chicken quesadilla meals, I drove the Everest down NLEX and into the Santa Rita exit to buy some inipit and toasted pastillas from Eurobake, our favorite pasalubong stopover before heading back to Metro Manila.
If you think that staying at Court Meridian Hotel, playing at the Subic Bay public beach, swimming at ACEA Beach Resort, having a Mexican lunch at Iguana, and buying local pastries and sweets at Eurobake is a lot of driving to do in just one weekend, it is not, especially with the Ford Everest 2.0 Sport AT. Definitely, not for this woman! After all, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day 2022, albeit a bit late, and I feel that I owe it to all women, and moms and wives like me, to set an example of love, equality and respect that starts with my own family.