Before noon, the Miata Club Philippines delegation gathers near the stage to be recognized. Founding member Eddie Salonga goes up and gives a short intro, then calls his club forward. The club banner is held up and everyone poses for a group photo. At over a hundred members in attendance, the Philippine delegation is the largest outside of Japan, and certainly the most cheerful.
Mazda PH has also arranged a bus tour of the Miyoshi proving grounds, and this time we’re not allowed to take photos save for a specific portion of the banked oval. We are shown different surfaces that simulate various road conditions around the world. There is a pockmarked portion for (presumably) Third World roads, a wet section for traction testing, and even a cobblestone area with stones imported from Belgium at great cost.
At one point, our guide points toward a nondescript building with a slightly rustic look. He says this is the design studio, and he hasn’t even been there because it’s so top-secret. It’s a short but impressive tour, and it reminds me that while Mazda is a humble global player in the automotive industry, it is a global player with serious resources at its disposal.
After the bus tour, I notice I’m near the massive Miata parking lot that we first saw coming in from the gate. It’s even more impressive up close. The MX-5s are not organized by generation, color, or any discernible order. Someone from our group points out that the majority of units are manuals, which shouldn’t be a surprise if you think about it.