A Look Back at Top Gear (SNES)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing Top Gear and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Remember back in the early 1990s how impressive the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES or Super NES) was when it comes to fulfilling your early expectations of the enhanced gaming experience aided by new technology?

Super Mario World was astounding the first time I got to play it on our Super NES. The same experience too I had with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

And then there was our first Super NES racing game titled Top Gear (not to be confused with the popular motoring media franchise) developed by Gremlin Graphics and published by Kemco.

The game cover.

Concept and Game Design

Top Gear is a car-focused racing game that had over thirty tracks and creatively emphasized the global locations in it. The very meat of the game is its global tournament in which you need to finish at least in 5th place in order to qualify to join the next race.

Creatively, each race has courses that vary in distance, the sharpness of turns (as far as 2D graphics allowed), number of laps and, strangely enough, have certain obstacles that can distract or even surprise such as stones, iron plates and even trees.

Before choosing a car, you must pay attention to the maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption.

On the player’s side, there are cars offered and they vary in terms of maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption. Cars also have nitro which come in limited amounts and can be used to give you a boost

For its visual presentation, Top Gear is strictly a split-screen game even during times you play only single-player. In my experience, split-screen is more lively to watch when playing against a fellow human player.

Quality

I can say clearly that Top Gear was highly enjoyable to play, and it was more fun 2-player sessions. On the very gameplay itself, I enjoyed the high-speed challenges that include overtaking other cars on the road while trying to climb up the rankings enroute to the finish line. Speaking of challenges, the aspect of managing your fuel supply while dealing with speeding and overtaking others is memorable and there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped because I was not able to make a pit stop during the race.

The pit stop itself can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on situations. If you are low on fuel and you still have a long way to go, you need to refuel at the pit stop. However, the more time you spend on the pit stop, the more your opponents traveled catching up with you or increasing their lead over you. There were also memorable times when I had sufficient fuel and my opponent had to refuel at the pit stop. While opponent was refueling, I just kept driving and used the nitro to increase my speed and keep on moving forward.

Split-screen all the time, even when you play single.

Going back to the fuel management aspect, there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped. Suddenly, an AI-controlled car from behind hit my car and gave me some forward movement. There were a few, unexpected times that my gas-empty car got pushed enough to cross the finish line.

Visually, race courses are limited in the sense that the game only shows split-screen views. You always have a road to travel on which can suddenly turn left or right depending on the race course. What adds visual variety are the surroundings specifically the elements on the sides of the road (examples: the desert environment Las Vegas, the snow of Sweden, the rain forest trees of Brazil) and background art (example: the metropolitan view of Tokyo). Sprite scaling is limited but that is understandable given the limits of the Super NES. Even so, the feeling and look of 3D is sufficient.

Night driving in 2D.

While the sound effects of cars bumping, tires screeching and engines are satisfying, what really stood out is the soundtrack which, for the most part, is energetic and even encouraging enough to keep me and my friends playing. Barry Leitch produced the music and due to the lack of time provided to him, he had to literally recycle and arrange his other musical works from Lotus games.

Conclusion

One car still racing on the road with low fuel, the other car is in the pit stop refueling.

Top Gear was truly a well-made game and it succeeded not only in delivering a true console generation upgrade over our NES for console racing but also created lots of bouts of fun for me and my friends. In my experience, this Kemco-published game was the first true gem of multiplayer on the Super NES. Even by today’s standards, Top Gear remains unique and still is very enjoyable for anyone who loves 16-bit, 2-dimensional console racing.

Overall, Top Gear is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

What caught my attention during the Xbox Gamescom 2021 showcase

The Xbox Gamescom 2021 digital event has passed and it turned out to be different from the acclaimed Xbox-Bethesda event. Just before it happened, Team Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg posted on Twitter stating: Running about 90 min & focused on game updates coming this year. So to set expectations, no new reveals or major surprises, but fun stream with our amazing hosts @vicious696 @kateyeager !

It was different in terms of tone, upcoming games, and announcements but ultimately it was still fun. In case you missed the Xbox Gamescom 2021 live stream, it is posted below for your viewing pleasure…

What caught my attention

Remember when I first wrote about The Gunk which was originally slated for a September 2021 release exclusively on Xbox? After such a long period of no updates from developer Thunderful, a brand-new trailer of the game was shown during the Gamescom showcase of Microsoft and what is notable was that it turned out to be the first look on its gameplay! Watch and look closely at the new The Gunk trailer below…

According to the Xbox.com article written by Thunderful’s game director Ulf Hartelius, The Gunk will finally be released this coming December (previously targeted for September 2021 release). Read the excerpt below. Some parts in boldface…

We’re extremely happy to have finally revealed our first gameplay trailer during the gamescom 2021 – Xbox Stream.

Early on, we decided to use Unreal Engine 4 to bring this story to life. It not only allows us to rapidly prototype and iterate, but it also offers us incredible flexibility and powerful graphics tools that have made the jump from 2D to 3D extremely smooth for the team. On top of that, we added some of our own super cool tech to do things like give the gunk a life of its own. From the outset, our goal was for the gunk to have this mesmerising quality, something you can just sit and watch bubble away for ages, like a lava lamp.

Partnering with Xbox has been incredible, and we wanted to leverage the power of the Xbox ecosystem to its fullest potential. We’ve made a massive effort to ensure that whatever platform you play on, you will experience our full vision of The Gunk.

As is to be expected, we’re using Smart Delivery to best support all Xbox platforms. On Xbox One, you can expect a stable 30fps experience that offers the beautiful art design and graphical flourishes that you have seen in our trailer. If you’re playing on Xbox Series X|S or a high-end PC, everything is dialled up and we aim to provide you with a smooth 60fps gameplay experience at up to 4K resolution.

Considering the high expectations that Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite are the premier Xbox-exclusive games set for the 4th quarter this year, The Gunk is a welcome Xbox-exclusive addition that gamers can look forward to especially if they are searching for science fiction adventuring laced with exploration. Personally, I am looking forward to The Gunk!

State of Decay 2 was surprising. While I never got to play any State of Decay game, this update for the game (which was first released in 2018) looks like a serious attempt to resonate with dedicated franchise fans as it will deliver the original map of the first game (launched on Xbox 360) which will be presented with an open-world aesthetic. The said update is coming out on September 1, 2021. Watch the trailer below…

More on State of Decay 2, here is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by Will Tuttle. Some parts in boldface…

In this new version of the iconic map, players will learn about the latest developments in this area, discovering new characters and storylines and resolving long-running plot threads.

Players can also look forward to six new bases, as well as unique weapons and outfits that can only be found in Trumbull Valley. New missions and new achievements await those who choose to settle on this new map.

In addition, we are proud to announce that State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition has surpassed 10 million players since its launch, a major milestone reflecting the success and popularity of the ultimate survival-sim game.

I never played the original Dying Light game and am not a fan of zombie-related gaming, but Dying Light 2: Stay Human was intriguing and entertaining to watch during the Xbox Gamescom 2021 event with lead game designer Tymon Smektala and animation director Dawid Lubryka of Techland doing the presentation. To see more of the game, watch the video below…

Here’s an excerpt from the Xbox.com article. Some parts in boldface…

The designers at Techland put a lot of attention to parkour animations. There are thousands of them, making navigation feel incredibly smooth. We wanted to make it as close as possible to the real world, while keeping all the moves fun and easy to pull off. But what takes exploration to the next level is your new set of skills—and gear! Oh yes, you don’t have to rely on your body alone. From the new paraglider to the ever-useful grappling hook, you’ll be able to make the most epic runs. They’ll often take place hundreds of meters above the street level. There are also ropes to swing on, rope bridges, trampolines, elevators—you name it. Of course, you’re going to need some practice before you master the navigation.

Survival is not just about moving around, however. Parkour is like yin to creative combat’s yang. Combine the two, and you’ll truly have a chance to see another sunrise! In Dying Light 2: Stay Human, the way you approach enemies can — and should — differ after you consider some factors. First of all, the faction you’ve sided with can impose (or prefer) a certain style of playing. Some like to steamroll through the enemy, others prefer to be more subtle about it. But ultimately, you choose how you play, so another thing to watch out for is who you’re facing. Between the Infected and the various factions surviving in the city, everyone will try to take you down in a different way. Some enemies will act alone. Some will work in a group. It’s good to learn the different behavior patterns and recognize what kind of weapons your enemies are carrying.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human was first announced during the Xbox event of the E3 in 2018 and in January 2020, it was announced that the game would be delayed. The game is set for a December 7, 2021 release for multiple platforms.

Crusader Kings III, which was released on personal computers in 2020, is coming to Xbox Series consoles as well as Xbox Game Pass (XGP) although a clear and specific release date has yet to be announced as of this writing.

I find this one interesting as I enjoyed simulation, strategy and role-playing games on PC before. I also enjoy playing games that allow gamers to make decisions out of the choices offered and show what happened next. Already an assurance has been made that Crusader Kings III has been optimized for Xbox Series consoles. Check out the excerpt from the Xbox.com article below. Some parts in boldface…

The Xbox Series X|S adaptation of Crusader Kings III will take advantage of the many strengths of the system, bringing special benefits. For example, the Xbox Series X|S internal SSD will allow for ultrafast loading times will enable you to easily switch between the game and a playthrough or tutorial you are checking out on YouTube.

The UI has been customized to work with the Xbox Wireless Controller, including the addition of radial menus, ensuring that none of the depth and detail of the Crusader Kings III experience has been lost in translation.

The release date for Crusader Kings III for Xbox Series X|S will be announced soon, but we can already commit to having this title available on Xbox Game Pass on day one. We hope that the Xbox community will grasp the opportunity to play one of the most popular strategy titles in the world.

Last but not least is Forza Horizon 5 which is set for a November 9, 2021 release and it is only looking even better and more promising. Check out the two newest videos below…

Playground Games are really experts in their craft with regards to open-world racing games as you can see in the above videos. The Mexico setting is just waiting to be explored and I am confident there will not only be a lot of locations to visit but also surprises and very exciting races to compete in. Check out the excerpt from the Xbox.com article below. Some parts in boldface…

As you play through Forza Horizon 5 and explore our expansive version of Mexico, you can expect cargo planes, an active volcano, a race to the festival under beautiful Mexican skies, and more. You’ll see exciting sights like the Ford Bronco Badlands atop the active, snow-capped Gran Caldera volcano, the 2020 Corvette Stingray tearing up the asphalt towards a dust storm in the Mexican farmland, and the Porsche 911 Desert Flyer crashing through the dense jungle tree canopy.

And finally, you’ll get to experience the stunning Mercedes-AMG ONE at full speed along Mexico’s sunbaked rocky coast.

Conclusion

The Xbox Gamescom 2021 digital event served its purpose with regards to games coming to the Xbox ecosystem this year (note: Psychonauts 2 got another pre-launch boost) as well as delivering updates for Xbox Game Pass subscribers as well as new stuff for Xbox gamers who rely on cloud services for their gaming needs. The Xbox-exclusives presented (led by Forza Horizon 5) are not as high-caliber as those showcased in the Xbox-Bethesda event of months ago, but still there is something exciting for the Xbox ecosystem and its gamers to look forward to.

In my honest view, Team Xbox and 343 Industries missed an opportunity to give gamers a much-needed update about Halo Infinite which, as of this writing, still has no solid release date and lacks serious updates about the single-player campaign! By now, the positive vibes from the multiplayer previews have faded and the recent reports about Halo Infinite are discouraging. While Japan is having very serious COVID-19 problems, the 2021 edition of the Tokyo Game Show is still on as of this writing. Will we see Team Xbox organize a Tokyo Game Show-related digital event to emphasize Halo Infinite and provide the much-needed updates? We will find out soon. Really, the pressure is now on 343 Industries to ensure Halo Infinite will be great to play.

In ending this piece, here are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Skyway Stage 3 adjustments related to toll collection snags

Were you among the many motorists who got stuck in traffic along the Skyway as a result of snags related to toll collection payments (formally started on July 12, 2021), lack of load for payments and lack of radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers on the vehicles?

Well, you definitely are not alone and the Skyway system operator issued a press statement very recently and they will work harder to make things more convenient for those traveling along Skyway Stage 3. To put things in perspective, posted below is the statement published through the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

Skyway O&M, operator of the Skyway system and a unit under San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) SMC Infrastructure, expects more seamless movement along the new Skyway Stage 3 with the implementation of new measures to avoid congestion on access and exit points following the first day of toll collection on the elevated expressway.

These measures resulted in faster throughput of vehicles even at high-volume toll plazas just a day later.

“It’s unfortunate that many motorists were caught in traffic last Monday. We apologize for the inconvenience. While this was not totally unexpected on the first day of toll collection, for our part, we know we have to do better. Hopefully, with the measures we put in place, traffic conditions will continue to improve and normalize,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said that traffic throughput at toll plazas slowed down Monday primarily due to vehicles with insufficient load, as well as those availing of free radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker installation and re-loading onsite.

“Our Skyway teams are always on the ground, and we monitor our expressways via cameras 24/7. If there’s any issue, we can respond and make corrective measures very quickly,” he added.

Among the measures Skyway has since implemented are: deployment of more personnel for traffic management, toll collection, and Autosweep RFID sticker installation; opening of more lanes for Autosweep RFID installation and reloading; and installation of more signs to guide motorists who are unfamiliar with the expressway, its toll plazas, and the start of toll collection.

Motorists with no RFID stickers, who insist on paying in cash, or have insufficient balance are asked to exit the toll booth and park on the side so as not to inconvenience existing ETC users. They are given the option to have RFID tags installed or reloaded, or pay in cash.

Vehicles with no RFID or have insufficient balance are directed to Del Monte Toll Plaza B coming from Balintawak where they can have their RFID tags installed or reloaded.

Skyway O&M reported that traffic throughput at toll plazas was significantly better starting Tuesday, or the second day of toll collection.

For instance, traffic queues at the Buendia southbound exit, which only has two lanes and where there was significant buildup Monday, was considerably shorter at only up to 200 meters. This was observed only during rush hour starting at 8 am.

While the vast majority of motorists utilized electronic toll collection, a small percentage, or 4 percent, consisting of cash-paying motorists and users with insufficient load, slowed down transaction times at toll plazas.

The additional measures implemented have since addressed these issues, bringing about a smoother traffic flow.

Skyway 3 was soft-opened last December and has provided the public free unlimited use for nearly seven months, with SMC’s foregone revenues reaching PHP3 billion.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) had just recently issued a notice to start collecting toll to Skyway 3.

“Before, if you were stuck on NLEX or Quezon City and you were headed to Alabang or Makati, or vice-versa, motorists simply had no choice but to endure two to three hours of traffic. Today, with Skyway Stage 3, motorists can opt to use it for convenience and faster travel times. With more vehicles diverted to Skyway 3, there will be less congestion on Edsa, C-5, and other major thoroughfares, resulting in improved travel on our public roads,” Ang said.

SMC and TRB worked together to arrive at toll rates that are much lower than the original toll fee matrix, particularly for vehicles traveling shorter distances.

Apart from foregoing revenues for seven months, SMC had also deferred recovery of a significant portion of the right-of-way costs for the project in consideration of the economic impacts of the pandemic.

With Skyway Stage 3 now operating 24/7, SMC said that Autosweep sites along the elevated expressway are also open 24/7.

“I would like to request our motorists who have not yet availed of their free RFID stickers to please do so, and make sure they are activated with sufficient credit. This measure, which was pushed by (the) government last year, is for everybody’s safety and also for your convenience,” Ang said.

He said using RFID will ensure they have better, safer, and faster trips on the expressways.

“Also, as a reminder, please be conscious of which toll lanes you are using. Do not use ETC- only lanes if you have insufficient balance, as there are penalties that come with this. If you have insufficient balance, please use the assigned lanes for RFID installation or reloading. Most of all, please always show courtesy towards fellow motorists and tollways workers,” he added.

Site locations that offer RFID installation and reloading are from the south, Zobel northbound (After Entry), Quirino northbound exit, Nagtahan northbound exit, Quezon Ave. northbound entry, and Del Monte northbound toll plaza; and from the north, Del Monte southbound toll plaza, Quezon Ave. southbound entry and Plaza Dilao southbound entry.

And here are related news videos from rival networks GMA and ABS-CBN…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you satisfied with what the Skyway operator stated and the adjustments they made? When it comes to traveling from south of Metro Manila to the north, are you willing to endure the heavy traffic along EDSA just to save money now that toll collections are in effect on Skyway Stage 3? What was it like to drive from South Metro Manila all the way to the NLEX via Skyway Stage 3 during toll collection?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox consoles, PC and Xbox Game Pass this November!

If you are looking for a great looking and fun-filled racing game this year, the one to go for is definitely Forza Horizon 5 coming out on November 9, 2021 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and on Xbox Game Pass (XGP)!

Very notable for having an excessive amount of time to itself during the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase,  Forza Horizon 5 is the newest entry in the best-selling game franchise developed by Playground Games. For the newcomers reading this, the Forza Horizon game franchise that started in 2012 is known for its open-world approach to racing which is more focused on street racing action and stunts (in contrast to the realism focus of the Forza Motorsport series of simulation racing games). The fictional Horizon Festival is an essential part of the core concept of the Forza Horizon series. Creatively, the said festival moves from one country to another as seen in each game of the series – Colorado in Forza Horizon, Southern France and North Italy in Forza Horizon 2, Australia in Forza Horizon 3, and Scotland and England in Forza Horizon 4.

This year, Forza Horizon 5 is set in Mexico which looks stunning as the game was not only made with the most modern Xbox technologies but also the experts of Playground Games really proved what they could do both artistically and technically. The result is a highly photo-realistic game (note: ray-tracing available in Forzavista mode), high frame rates (60FPS performance mode included), super smooth gameplay and a whole lot more!

For greater perspective, watch this demo video that was part of the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase…

As seen in the above video, Forza Horizon 5 is more than racing and exploring the diverse locations of Mexico…it was made to be a whole lot of fun to play. The expedition looks really adventurous while the Pinata Park and Events Lab emphasize creative fun racing! This is racing game design that must be experienced!

And there is more! Check out this excerpt from the official Forza blog emphasizing Forza Horizon 5. Some parts in boldface…

Experience a deep and rewarding campaign, where you’ll meet new characters and determine the outcome of their Horizon Story missions. You’ll take on expeditions across the map, battling the elements in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars.

In multiplayer, experience the most social and connected experience we’ve ever created. The Horizon Open takes the best parts of the traditional Forza Horizon online competitive experience and smashes them all together. Seamlessly jump into Races, Drift challenges, Eliminator sessions, and more. Horizon Tour is your chance to meet up like you would at a car meet and race co-op against Drivatars on circuits all over the map, forming up as a convoy as you hop from one race to the next. From there, you can head to the Horizon Arcade, where you quickly and seamlessly take on some truly wild challenges and minigames with other players.

Next, our creator community can hit up the EventLab. Imagine the Blueprint Builder you’re familiar with in modes like Super7 and Blueprint races, but blown way out with a powerful new toolset that includes custom races, challenges, stunts, entirely new game modes and so much more that you control, down to the rules of the game itself.

After that, it’s time for Gift Drops, like a personalized Barn Find Blueprint. Tune a car, paint it, then leave it hidden for others to find somewhere on the map. It’s a whole new way to share your prized cars with friends or others online.The social aspect of Forza Horizon 5 is huge, with systems like Kudos that allow you to reward other players for positive acts and encourage clean, friendly driving, as well as the Forza LINK system, which enhances your ability to join up with other players by recognizing the things you like to do and finding other players to do similar things with.

Wow! Not only are the experts of Playground Games making Forza Horizon 5 fun and engaging, they are also working hard on making it the most accessible game socially speaking. This is a major Xbox-exclusive game to watch out for this November. Not only will Forza Horizon 5 stand out well among the many, many games on Xbox Game Pass, it will stand out among all racing games for this year and even into 2022!

In ending this piece, here are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

New gas station in Las Piñas City

Did you notice an eye-catching, new gas station while driving here in South Metro Manila? There is one in Las Piñas City called Cleanfuel and it sure has a notable color scheme that makes it visually stand out.

Cleanfuel’s gas station opened recently in Barangay Pamplona Tres. (source – Cleanfuel Facebook page)

What is also notable was that the brand new Cleanfuel gas station got featured in the Business Mirror. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article. Some parts in boldface…

The aggressive stance of leading independent oil company Cleanfuel to tap new market is being exercised anew with the recent opening of its premier station in Las Piñas City.

The inauguration of Cleanfuel Alabang-Zapote station has provided easy access to affordable yet quality fuel products to private motorists, public utility, and commercial transport.

The latest location of Cleanfuel serves as one of the gateways in the South Metro Manila, catering to the large volume of vehicles coming to and from Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Bacoor, Cavite.

Located along the busy stretch of Alabang-Zapote Road in Barangay Pamplona Tres in Las Piñas City, this 2,400-square-meter retail station will be beneficial to all types of motorists as it offers topnotch fuel products including Clean91, Premium 95, and high-grade diesel as part of the company’s mission to offer outstanding yet affordable products.

Aside from the products at the new station, the company also prides itself with the first-class amenities offered to customers such as clean and spacious air-conditioned restrooms, commercial space leasing, air-and-water services, cashless payment options, and loyalty rewards program.

The newly-opened station in Alabang-Zapote road, which stretches for nine kilometers and connects roads towards Alabang, Muntinlupa, and Las Piñas, will include added amenities from its leasing tenants such as a carwash bay area, food store outlets, and motorcycle stores.

Providing more value to its patrons is one of Cleanfuel’s best offerings and the VIP Rewards card (which is being offered FREE in all branches) can make the most out of every top-up as customers earn points; redeem exciting items, and discounts from its establishment partners.

“This is such an important occasion for us as we open our first branch in one of the busiest commercial district in the South. We’re excited to provide motorists a new level of customer service, quality fuel, and world class facilities,” said Atty. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, president of Cleanfuel Group of Companies.

Suntay explained, “With businesses slowly opening up and our economy recovers, we at Cleanfuel, through our continuously-growing station-network will be ready to provide the most competitive pricing in the market to help motorists. Our vision is to help our customers maximize their earnings by providing quality fuel at the lowest price possible.”

While the threat of the pandemic is still within the horizon, Cleanfuel customers can expect the same safe and risk-free environment as its workforce continuously upholds safety health precautions like wearing face masks and face shields, thermal scanning of personnel, social distancing, disinfection of workstations, and hand washing. Cashless payments are also made available.

Wow! Cleanfuel and its PR department/partner really went all out with their heavy and lengthy message through Business Mirror. Their gas station did not simply open but offers a lot for customers to enjoy and that the business itself is meeting with health protocols. The company president also stated that they will open more stations, including in key areas of the National Capital Region (NCR).  

For South Metro Manila, this new business is a welcome development especially as the country is on pace for economic recovery and that means consumer spending – including buying fuel and automobile-related services or products – are gradually moving back to pre-pandemic levels. Really, when it comes to restoring prosperity, creating jobs and providing customers choices for products and services, the capitalists can make those happen. The socialists cannot do the same.

Sports cars at the newly opened Cleanfuel station! (source – Cleanfuel Facebook page)

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you visited Cleanfuel in Barangay Pamplona Tres yet? If you did, were you able to buy fuel and spend time at their station? Does Cleanfuel’s claims of first-class amenities prove to be true? Are their fuel rates attractive? Do you want to see more Cleanfuel gas stations open?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

San Miguel Corporation to speed up work on completing Skyway Extension

You must have heard about the opening of the northbound section (entry point at Susana Heights part of the South Luzon Expressway) of the Skyway Extension Project that happened just days ago with the presence of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang and Department of Highways and Public Works (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar who made final inspections that day. That’s really great news!

Here are more good news! SMC announced that it will do more with the construction of the Skyway Extension Project’s southbound section (exit also in the Susana Heights area of SLEX) and things will move at a faster pace with a 3rd quarter completion in mind.

To put things in perspective, below is the excerpt from the press release published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

“It’s only been a number of days since we opened the northbound section, free to the public until further notice, and already we have seen a huge improvement in traffic flow, particularly on SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and the Alabang viaduct. That makes us even more determined to complete construction of the southbound section so this project can fully serve motorists and improve traffic and connectivity to and from the south,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said the soft-opening of the first two of the three lanes of the northbound Skyway Extension from Susana Heights to Sucat, Paranaque proved to be timely, as it coincided with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Despite the higher volume of vehicles on the expressway, traffic has been smooth because many Class 1 vehicles now use the Skyway Extension. 

“We’re already seeing how convenient and much faster travel is now, and it will become even more evident when traffic volume picks up and starts to normalize. That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move towards completion of the southbound Skyway Extension,” Ang said.

As part of the next phase of construction, Ang said the Hillsborough off-ramp of the elevated southbound Skyway will be closed to traffic permanently starting April 19 at 6 a.m.

As such, vehicles coming from the elevated Skyway will now exit at the steel ramp in Alabang. Heavy traffic is expected in this area.

“Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we need to close this portion to secure the staging ground for equipment and workers and to accelerate construction and ensure the safety of our motorists. I appeal to our motorists again for their patience and understanding. We expect heavy traffic to persist for the duration of the construction, but rest assured we will do everything we can to help mitigate this, and complete the project within the timetable,” Ang said.

With this, SMC Infrastructure is advising motorists to take the following alternative routes:

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther South

• From Skyway Elevated, keep left to Steel Ramp towards destination.

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang

• From Skyway – Elevated, keep right to Alabang-Zapote off-ramp.

The Skyway Extension southbound section has two lanes and runs from the Skyway Main Toll Plaza to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa, with a total distance of four kilometers. 

Meanwhile, Ang reiterated that use of the northbound Skyway Extension will remain free for motorists until further notice. 

The Skyway Extension project is part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway System, which includes the newly-opened Skyway Stage 3, also fully-funded by SMC.

Did you enjoy the above news and details? I sure did. What San Miguel Corporation (in coordination with the national government) has been doing is already benefitting people of Metro Manila and those from both the north and south of the National Capital Region (NCR) who need to travel great distances efficiently and faster. The results will be even greater once the entire project has been completed and the benefits will be available not only to travelers and motorists today, but also for future generations of people. Check out the related Skyway video below.

That being said, SMC and the Skyway projects are great examples of capitalism making great improvements to the national infrastructure. It is clear that the private sector is essential as it has the technologies, the expertise and resources to improve the quality of life (apart from providing good paying jobs) here in the Philippines. Capitalism is essential and good, and socialism (and all its related Leftist garbage) sucks. For more insight about capitalism and socialism, watch these videos from John Stossel plus another video that debunks the Left’s propaganda that the poor got poorer.

In closing this piece, let me ask you what you do think about the latest developments about the Skyway project? If you actually traveled via the Skyway lately, how was your travel experience?

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Skyway Stage 3 opened to motorists

After long years of waiting and a lot of hard work done mainly by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and its strategic partners, Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway here in the Philippines has officially been opened to motorists as confirmed by SMC’s president and CEO Ramon S. Ang.

“All access points and seven lanes in select areas will be available to motorists starting January 15 still for free—extended until February 1—so that our motorists can experience and enjoy seamless driving along this engineering marvel over Metro Manila’s congested streets,” Ang posted on his official Facebook page on January 13, 2021.

An official photo of a specific stretch of Skyway Stage 3 released by San Miguel Corporation.

Yesterday, the inauguration ceremony of Skyway Stage 3 was held and was graced by many government officials and special guests, including President Rodrigo Duterte. Ang expressed hope for the future as Skyway Stage 3 will benefit a lot of people traveling between north and south of Metro Manila.

Ang issued the following statement: I celebrate this special day with a full heart, knowing that we have delivered another game-changing project that will make a difference in the lives of so many Filipinos for many generations to come. With the official opening of our 18-km Skyway Stage 3, traffic in Metro Manila will be significantly reduced. It will no longer rob our kababayan of precious quality time with their families. After bridging the north and south of the Metro, we will begin work next month to realize another dream: to link Manila and Rizal in the east and eventually provide seamless land travel on all four corners of Metro Manila.  Thank you to all our partner-stakeholders past and present, and to the Duterte Administration for the unwavering support in helping us deliver this vital infrastructure project! Maraming, maraming salamat po!

As mentioned before, Stage 3 of Skyway is a stretch of about 18 kilometers that connects the northern and southern parts of Luzon with an elevated highway that results much faster travel for motorists. Not only does it connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), it also allows motorists coming from both highways to reach their destinations in Quezon City, Manila and Makati City via designated exits. Skyway Stage 3 also has seven lanes.

In addition, anyone traveling from the north, let’s say the province of Bulacan, who has to travel all the way to Cavite province can do so by traveling along Skyway Stage 3 (to bypass EDSA and all the congested Metro Manila streets below), reach the older Skyway that connects to the NAIAX (Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway) and connect to the CAVITEX (Cavite Expressway). Motorists from Cavite on the other hand can go north much faster than before through the same route of expressways.

People from Laguna province who need to visit far destinations in the north like Subic Bay or Clark can do so by entering the Skyway from SLEX, go through Skyway Stage 3 and enter the NLEX. From NLEX travelers can go to Subic Bay via the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). To reach Clark, travel further north via NLEX.

The potential benefits of Skyway Stage 3 makes travel between north and south much easier and more efficient. This also means avoiding losing precious time in traffic jams in Metro Manila’s old roads below the Skyway, and this should translate into much less stress traveling. As such, San Miguel Corporation and Ramon S. Ang deserve a lot of thanks and admiration. Also, never forget to thank God that this incredible achievement of Philippine infrastructure happened in our lifetimes. For sure, Skyway Stage 3 will contribute a lot to the socio-economic development of not only Luzon but the Philippines as a whole.

In ending this, posted below is the January 5, 2021 official video of Skyway Stage 3 (which was partially opened weeks ago) for your viewing pleasure and learning.

+++++

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Toyota Philippines Donates Vios to Ospital ng Muntinlupa

In support of the local health workers handling the daily operations of the Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun), Toyota Motor Philippines formally donated one unit of its popular car, the Vios. Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, OsMun director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac, and City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela personally received the service vehicle from TMP Chief Physician Dr. Laennec Baquiran, TMP execs Dr. Jojo Cruz and Allen Rufo on September 9.

The Toyota Vios donated to Ospital ng Muntinlupa. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

In return, the City Government of Muntinlupa extended its gratitude to Toyota Motor Philippines for its valuable assistance to improve the local COVID-19 response efforts. The donated Toyota Vios will be used by OsMun as a service vehicle.

As of September 9, Muntinlupa City has 3,743 confirmed cases with 2,913 recoveries, 702 active cases, 128 reported deaths, 523 suspect cases, and 595 probable cases.

+++++

Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

2020 Alabang Hills Village vehicular stickers for non-residents now available!

Recently the Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) announced that it is accepting applications (for brand new and renewal, and for residents and non-residents) for the 2020 edition of the vehicular stickers for Alabang Hills Village, Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa City. Motorists whose applications got approved will see their brand new AHVA stickers released to them.

For your visual reference, see the images below.

The front page.
The back page.

As seen in the images of the 2-page application form, required (in the form of the latest photocopies of the requirements) if the vehicle is under the applicant’s name are the vehicle’s Official Receipt (OR) and the Certificate of Registration (CR) of the vehicle. If the vehicle is not under the applicant’s name, required are OR, CR and a notarized Deed of Sale.

If the vehicle is under the name of a Company, required are the OR, CR and a Company Certification signifying that the applicant is the authorized user. If the vehicle has been recently acquired and has no license plate yet, required are the Delivery Receipt and Sales Invoice.

Most notable of all, as listed on the application form, are some changes on the application procedure which is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Take note that things will be a little bit different compared to last year. Firstly, the application form must be filled-up with details (for non-residents, this includes an endorsement from a legitimate Alabang Hills Village resident, from your homeowners’ association or from a school or organization) and must be signed by the applicant (on the back page). Secondly, the signed application form and the required documents (note: must be attached with the form) must be sent to the AHVA through email at alabanghills@yahoo.com (note: you don’t need to personally and physically submit your application form and documents. You only need to scan them for the purpose of sending them to AHVA via email)

Thirdly, the applicant must wait for the AHVA to reply by email from the Sticker Processor on the payment arrangements and day of appointment. That being said, you must prepare yourself for whatever amount will be charged and whatever method of payment will be revealed. Constantly monitor your email. Fourthly, an authorized crew member of the AHVA will install the new vehicular sticker on the windshield (driver’s side) of your vehicle on the day of appointment.

One last thing…the AHVA confirmed to me today that they charge P1,200 for a 1-year sticker (2020-2021) and P2,400 for the 2-year sticker (2020-2022) for non-residents.

Inside Alabang Hills Village, I spotted a tarpaulin (located a short distance away from the Tirona street gate) about the different schedules of the start of applications of AHVA’s 2020 vehicular stickers for different types of applicants. The following details are:

August 24, 2020 – Non-residents

September 14, 2020 – Residents

September 28, 2020 – Commercial

October 12, 2020 – Motorcycle/bicycle

Meanwhile, the old vehicular stickers issued by AHVA in 2019 for private vehicles (both resident and non-resident) and commercial vehicles will expire on September 30, 2020. Meanwhile, the 2019 AHVA stickers issued for motorcycles and bicycles will expire on October 30, 2020. As such, anyone who have expiring stickers need to apply and renew as soon as possible.

Inside Alabang Hills Village.

If you have further questions for the AHVA, send them email at alabanghills@yahoo.com or call them at 8850-8254 and 8850-9631.

+++++

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

COVID-19 Crisis: Are you anticipating the new vehicular stickers from Alabang Hills Village Association? You are not alone!

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from my sources within Alabang Hills Village in Muntinlupa City, Philippines. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 that started in China clearly halted societies and economies around the world, reaching to the point of pushing the less fortunate people to despair.

Here in the south of Metro Manila, villages that had confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their residents tightened access into their territory as a means of preventing the risk of infection. This is not surprising at all and it is quite understandable.

At this time of the year, it is normal for motorists to prepare themselves in anticipation of the new edition of the vehicular stickers (residents and non-residents) from the Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA). For the newcomers reading this, Alabang Hills Village (Muntinlupa City) strategically connects to BF Homes (via Tirona Street gate), Alabang-Zapote Road, the long road (Don Jesus Boulevard) leading to other communities, Madison Galeries and the service road by the highway. Alabang Hills is also where San Beda College Alabang and New Life Church are located at. These factors make AHVA vehicular stickers a must-have. Back in July 2019, I published the story about the 2-year vehicular sticker for non-residents. I also published about the 1-year non-resident vehicular sticker.

Of course, due to this ongoing pandemic, things are still looking uncertain this year as to when the AHVA will issue the next edition of their vehicular stickers (Year 2020) for both residents and non-residents. The people whose old AHVA vehicular stickers are about to expire are unsurprisingly concerned.

I reached out to the AHVA for answers:

As of this writing, the AHVA still has yet to make a formal announcement about the 2020 edition of their vehicular stickers. This means no registration process yet, no issuance of new stickers too.

That being said, the AHVA did confirm to me however the following:

1) Motorists with valid non-resident vehicular stickers are allowed to enter the village. – Just today, I did exactly this before doing a U-turn to exit the same gate I entered (because the places I tried to visit inside were both closed). It was the Alabang Hills Alabang-Zapote gate specifically.

2) The old AHVA vehicular stickers are still valid at as long as there are still no new stickers (Year 2020) formally announced. – This news I got from the AVHA and from two of their gate security guards should provide some relief to those who were worried about their AHVA stickers expiring this year. Your old stickers are still valid as of now.

So there you have it, my readers and fellow residents of South Metro Manila! If you want to help others who have vested interests in Alabang Hills Village, please share this article to them.

While waiting, you are free to contact AHVA at landlines 8850-8254 and 8850-9631, and email address ahvainc08@yahoo.com.


For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.