OK, some singing, please? The following lines are to be sang to the tune of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. By The Beatles, of course.
“It was 20 years ago today/Mitsubishi came down to say/Tokyo Motor Show’s gonna be worth your while/It’s been guaranteed to make you smile/So let me introduce to you/The one and only Mel Dizon/Taking me in the Tokyo Motor Show uh-oh-oh-oh!”
Yes, it was that long ago, when I had my baptism of fire in the Tokyo Motor Show. Time flies, indeed.
The year was 1993. Mel Dizon, then a no-nonsense vice president of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, invited me to cover the Tokyo Motor Show. Who am I to refuse such honor and privilege? I’ve heard so much about the Motor Show. And, back then, I was the Inquirer’s Motoring editor. No way I would refuse the invite.
Before that trip, I’ve been to Japan several times, but all had been to cover sports events. The first time was the Asian Zonal Chess in 1978, won by the late Ruben Rodriguez (he was my roommate) in Itoo City, Japan’s summer capital; the rest of the journeys were boxing events, such as the world title fights of Frank Cedeño at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall in 1983 Gerry Peñalosa in Yokohama City in 1998 and other bouts I could not now recall (ah, SM blues).
And then this chance dangled to me by Mel in 1993 to cover the Tokyo Motor Show, one of the world’s Top 5 motoring events that parade the newest automobiles—and tomorrow’s vehicles, too, collectively called the concept cars.
I’ve never seen so many automobiles in my life, so many brands and models that I could only dream of seeing before the 1993 sojourn.
That is why I am forever grateful to Mel, who has retired from Mitsubishi but, as far as I am concerned, he has never retired, will never retire—from my life, in my life.
From 1993, I will cover again the Tokyo Motor Show, a biennial event, in 1995 upon the invite of Nissan through Val de Leon. And again in 1997, with Honda as my host through Arnel Doria and Tin-Tin Reyes. Arnel is now with Volkswagen, while Tin-Tin has retired and is now building a family in New Zealand.
And then in 1999, it was Toyota’s turn to invite. Once I got aboard, I was never the same again. Vince Socco, then a vice president of Toyota Motor Philippines, who is now one of Toyota Asia Pacific’s top guns and has TMP under his powerful wings, is the culprit.
“Now that we have snared you, in my life, you will be our captive forever,” Vince said.
And so, from 1999 to 2011, it was Toyota all the way for me at the Tokyo Motor Show, including this year, making it a total of eight straight trips biennially to the Land of the Rising Sun.
The main reason for that is: The first car company to invite me gets the crack. Thus, from 1999 to 2013, Toyota was always first.
No hard feelings. I know that my friends from the “other side” understand.
Oh, well, just for the record, my uninterrupted string of Toyota stints got almost broken when a guy from Nissan offered to invite me to the next Tokyo Motor Show—while we were still in Japan covering the event. That was only a while back.
“So that we can have you in the next TMS,” the guy said, after I had bumped into him at the event’s Media Center. “I am inviting you now.”
“Sure, thank you very much,” I said. “My rule can stand the test of time.”
Unfortunately, the guy wasn’t with Nissan anymore by the time the next Tokyo Motor Show came along.
God permitting, I am en route to Tokyo this morning for my 11th straight coverage of the Tokyo Motor Show. I pray I won’t disappoint in my next reporting.
It is against this backdrop that North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) is spearheading the balling of trees for replanting at gaps along the famed expressway in a massive “greening” program chiefly initiated by Manila North Tollways Corp.’s (MNTC) Marlene Ochoa. It began last week.
Thomas Geronimo, the safety officer of MNTC, has personally supervised the recent earth-balling of Indian mast trees along the expressway near Valenzuela City, through the 2.4-meter Segment 9 of the Nlex Harbor Link project. It is in conjunction with a mandate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that trees with a diameter of 15 cm or less can be earth-balled then replanted at a specified site. The next earth-ball site is the area along Balagtas, Bulacan.
Earth-balling is digging out a tree, ensuring that its roots remain intact and are enclosed by soil to protect the plant’s core for high survival rating. The DENR allows earth-balling provided that 100 seedlings are planted for every transplanted tree that does not survive.
Pee stop. For Toyota, a highlight will be its display of five world-premier concept vehicles in the 43rd Toyota Motor Show from November 20 to December 1. The concept vehicles convey Toyota’s vision of a future mobility society that values the joy of driving. For its part, Lexus is to unveil the Lexus RC sports coupe and a turbo-charged version of its Lexus LF-NX compact crossover SUV. I can’t wait to see them in all their glory and splendor. Cheers!