We initially thought Dominic Ochoa was an actor who merely happened to be into cars. After spending time with him, we now realize it’s the other way around—that he’s a car nut who just happens to be in show business.
His choice of metal is classic old school. To give you an idea of his automotive taste, some of his cars are a Ford Escort Mark II RS Mexico (seen here), a classic Mini Cooper S, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I, and a Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet.
For his daily needs, including going out of town to shoot his soap May Bukas Pa, he uses a current-model Ford Ranger. He likes its simplicity and utility—the fact that he can load his bikes and car parts at the back.
Dominic likes cars and he likes driving (he only hired a full-time driver three months ago). And he’s very particular about driving skills and time efficiency. “Kabisado ko ang oras. ’Pag binanatan mo ’yung North Expressway from end to end at 120kph, eksaktong 29 minutes. ’Pag binanatan mo nang 170kph from the tollgate to the exit, 20 minutes ’yan. Nine-minute difference, puwede ka pang maaksidente. Never mind.”
Road safety is something very important to the actor. Like all intelligent motorists,
he is dismayed by the lack of discipline and brain activity among other drivers. “There was one time before going to taping—it was a Saturday morning—pababa ako ng Ayala underpass sa EDSA. May bus na nagsakay sa likod ng Urdaneta, biglang nag-swerve...gustong sumingit. Tinigil ko ’yung auto. The bus driver went down; I went down. Sabi ko, ‘Anong problema mo?’ Sabi niya, ‘P---, si father pala!’” (Dominic plays the role of a priest on TV.) It wasn’t the reaction Dominic wanted to hear. “’Pag nag-sorry ka, lalambot na ako e. Pero ’pag minura mo ako, 7am in the morning, teka muna.” An MMDA officer arrived on the scene. Dominic simply said, “Hindi na ako magsasalita. Tingnan niyo na lang ang posisyon ng mga sasakyan namin, kung sino ang mali.” The erring bus driver was issued a ticket.
“I felt bad because hindi naman ako ganoong klaseng tao. But sometimes hanggang doon lang ang kaya mo.” Dominic feels driver education is the key, and that it has to start from the LTO.
One thing that helps him relax is going on long drives. But he also enjoys the simple pleasures. “Nung time na nilinis ko ’yung gas tank ng Mini Cooper, nagwalis ako...nilinis ko ’yung mga piyesa. Tapos umupo lang akong mag-isa. Ang sarap, nakaupo lang—tinitingnan ko lang mga auto ko. Iniisip ko lang kung anong gagawin ko sa buhay, kung anong plano ko.” There are three cars he dreams of staring at while contemplating life. A 1973 Porsche 911S, a 1973 BMW 2002 and a W113 Merc SL-Class.
One thing’s for sure: Dominic’s love of cars is certainly not an act.
Note: This story first appeared in Top Gear PH's December 2009 issue.