Seda Centrio became the halfway house for the first ever trans-Philippine trail ride by a group of Off-Road enthusiasts last May 22nd.
4x4 Expedition PH, group of Off-Road enthusiasts from business, medical practice, engineering, architecture, and entertainment, aims to explore the different parts of the country through off-road trips to promote tourism, environmental awareness, culture, peace, and road safety.
“We belong to different groups of off-road enthusiasts who decided to bond together as one team, the FJ Cruisers Trail Team, FJ Cruisers PH, and Team Royal Trails and we decided to do the very first 4X4 Expedition of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. So we call ourselves 4X4 Expedition PH,” said Club Ambassador Albert Martinez.
“We made it after a long 12-hour drive from Lake Sebu. We’re so happy for this grand arrival at Seda Centrio of Cagayan de Oro. Thank you Mr. Armand Angeles, we did not expect this! We were so tired when we arrived but now we’re so happy and so proud of this team being sponsored by Seda,” he added.
The epic 16-day journey kicked off last May 15 from Seda Vertis North and ended at the same venue last May 1st. In between, the group also dropped by Seda Abreeza in Davao City on Day 6, and Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod City on Day 13.
Among the destinations visited by the group after leaving Quezon City were Albay, Sorsogon, Leyte, Surigao, Davao, General Santos, South Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Bohol, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Caticlan, and Batangas.
Joseph Sunga said the trail ride was organized by everyone as a barkada upon invitation of Vanjo Duterte. “We all got to know each other through our passion for off-roading. Trail teams have been exploring Luzon many times already. But the decision of where to go took a lot of meetings, a lot of coordination, a lot of misunderstandings before we decided let’s do it just a month and a half ago.”
“This is the first time that it happened, a 4x4 run through Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao so thank you for supporting us Seda, and we’ll be seeing more Seda along the way,” Martinez said. “Thank you for this fantastic and sumptuous dinner, the warm welcome, and the special parking for our rigs!”
“We’re very thankful you chose Seda to be part of this family, to be part of this journey, it’s the first as well for us to have something like this, and we really want you to feel at home here at the hotel,” replied Armand Angeles, Seda Centrio Hotel Manager.
4X4 Expedition PH mission is to organize a trail team for an overland exploration discovering and promoting Philippine tourism, culture, and environmental programs; to promote road safety, peace and security in the country, and not the least, to foster camaraderie and strong foundation of unity among the team members, the government agencies concerned, and the local communities.
“With this expedition, we will showcase areas that have never been seen before, never been heard of before. Even ourselves as a team, we were so surprised that there’s such beautiful areas which have never been explored,” Martinez said.
“We will have a YouTube Channel in which we will showcase everything that we’ve gone through. We will have ten 20-minute episodes. With this YouTube Channel that we will be creating, we will show to Filipinos and to the international market what other things in the Philippines which are mind-boggling beautiful. We are hoping that will be under the Department of Tourism to encourage Filipinos to support local tourism.”
As expected, the sixteen day odyssey was not without its fair share of challenges with the team chasing targets and schedules.
“We’ve gone through so many obstacles, including a minor accident during our trail, but there many challenges like those,” Martinez said.
“Wherever we go we are coordinating with the PNP, with the LGUs, so they are aware we are there, and we have mapped out all areas along our trails including the nearest hospitals, so in case anything happens we know where to go. Not only for human but also mechanical emergencies because our rigs break down also.”
After driving the FJ Cruiser from Manila to Cagayan de Oro, Martinez said he is convinced it’s one of the best off road rigs he’s ever driven.
“It’s designed to go off-road and it’s comfortable. But these are all monster trucks. Each car has special tires, brakes, suspension, and underpinnings just to make sure that whatever obstacle we go through, we can conquer it.”
After a month’s rest, the group is next planning to do a similar trail journey through Palawan and the Ilocos region.
“This will be our showcase, our proof of concept, so for our next trip we can present to other advertisers to help us because right now most of our expenses came out of our pockets as enthusiasts with the same shared goal of promoting the back roads of the Philippines and promoting tourism,” Martinez revealed.
Besides part of their corporate responsibility programs, 4X4 Expedition PH and other off-road enthusiast groups also provides certain IP communities with basic needs like medicine, e.g. in Tanay, Rizal where off-road teams bring relief good for the Dumagats.
“After seeing the back roads of the Phils I am so proud to say that I’m Filipino because our country is so beautiful with so many little known attractions like the Enchanted River and Lake Sebu. There’s literally thousands of beautiful places off the beaten track that we should see.|”
[Photos: Special Parking for 4x4 Expedition PH rigs at Seda Centrio; 4x4 Expedition PH Club Ambassador Albert Martinez and Expedition organizer Joe Sunga being interviewed by Cagayan de Oro media and bloggers; Seda Centrio Hotel Manager Armand Angeles and Sales Director Carol Valdez with Expedition PH members led by Martinez.]