What do you like to do on long weekends? We suppose some of you go out of town, some wake up early for exercise, and others like reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee. As for us, we just want to sleep in and catch up on much-needed rest.
So it was with a bit of trepidation that we received an invite from Subaru distributor Motor Image Pilipinas, to join a weekend drive to the Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal. Driving Subarus wasn’t what made us hesitate--it was the 5:30am meeting time. But when Subaru marketing executive and Traffic Stopper Ann Santibañez personally asks for our attendance, well...we’re just mortals.
This is how we found ourselves at the Subaru Greenhills dealership before 6am, sipping coffee and munching on McMuffins. We were briefed on the route we would take--the famous "Tanayburgring"--and were told to maintain a six-car distance between each vehicle when driving in the gravel parts of the trip. This was to avoid paint damage from rocks kicked up by fast Subarus.
When Ann handed us our key, we pressed the unlock button and a top-spec Forester XT lit up in the parking lot. Oh yes. Heading out of EDSA early in the morning, we encountered minimal traffic. It got a little busy in the heavily populated parts of Antipolo, but past the Forest Hills development, the Forester’s 2.0-liter boxer turbo sang as we opened up the throttle.
If you’re not familiar with the roads of Tanay by now, you have to stop what you’re doing and drive out immediately. On a map, you will see that the roads are a series of tight turns and sweepers that hug the hills. It’s an amazing route to drive, in other words. Plus, it’s near enough from the city that it makes short trips possible without taking up your whole day.
The Forester XT and its 237 horses were quite at home on these roads. There was no shortage of power when blasting through the straights, and the brakes were so good that the SUV didn’t feel unbalanced when we dabbed on the stop pedal in tight turns. The Forester didn’t tilt too much either, allowing for very little body roll.
Once we arrived in the Pililla Wind Farm area, we left the main road and the path became a gravel trail. This part was designed to be an opportunity to show off the Forester’s symmetrical all-wheel drive. The turbocharged SUV never felt out of control on the pebbly surface, even when we were going fast enough that the dust cloud obscured the Subarus.
We arrived at the location of the windmills, where we stopped to take social-media evidence that we were there. The windmills themselves were large, although we couldn’t say if they were as large as the more famous ones in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. After a few photos with the majestic monoliths, and some fun with the 296hp WRX STI, we headed for our lunch destination.
At the 10 Cents To Heaven restaurant, Motor Image prepared a delicious steak meal. Along with the Subaru clients who joined the fun run, we relished the food while taking in a spectacular view of the hills of Rizal. Even after we finished our steak, we lingered and just inhaled the fresh mountain air. It was like being detoxified after breathing in city air for so long.
Right after lunch, we drove back to the city. The downhill drive was equally exciting, just requiring more mindful brake use than the uphill trip. The roads, the gravel path, the twisties, the food and especially the cars all combined to make the "Subaru Windmills Drive" something worth waking up early for.
Motor Image hinted that a similar event was being organized for another occasion, this time with a more off-road orientation. We’re setting our alarm clocks already.
Photos by Dinzo Tabamo