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!

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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.

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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

Motorist apologizes over Muntinlupa incident

Very recently, an incident that took place in Muntinlupa caught the attention of many as a video about it went viral. Since after, the motorist who went against the cops got charged and was ordered by the Muntinlupa prosecutor to be released in relation for further investigation. Now the latest update about the incident as reported by the Manila Bulletin is that the motorist apologized officially.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

Franz Luke Orbos, the motorist who cursed at Muntinlupa policemen and traffic enforcers over a traffic violation and bragged about his father, has issued an apology over the incident.

Orbos, listed as the son of former executive secretary, and former Pangasinan governor and representative Oscar Orbos, was in the limelight recently when a video of him hurling invectives and displaying rude behavior against law enforcers was posted on social media.

His altercation with the Muntinlupa police and traffic enforcers happened last July 14 along Susana Heights road in Brgy. Tunasan, a busy thoroughfare near the Susana Heights toll gate.

In the video, Orbos, a resident of San Juan, is seen confronting police officers and traffic enforcers and saying, “Bakit mo ako titiketan? Ano ginawa ko? (Why are you going to give me a ticket? What did I do?)”

He continued his outburst and said, “Bakit niyo ako poposasan? Hindi nyo ba ako kilala? Hindi niyo ako kilala? P**** hindi niyo ako kilala? Kung sino ang tatay ko? P**** kayo e. Ginagago niyo ako. Tingin niyo takot ako sa inyo? (Why are you going to handcuff me? Don’t you know me? Do you know who my father is? You are making a fool of me. Do you think I’m afraid of you?”

He was arrested and the Muntinlupa police and Traffic Management Bureau (MTMB) filed a complaint of alarms and scandals, resistance to a person in authority and direct assaults against him with the Muntinlupa prosecutor’s office.

In an apology issued Sunday, Orbos admitted his mistakes and said it was different from the “Christian values” that his parents taught him.

“Recently, an incident has gone viral on social media involving myself. What you saw on the video is indeed regretful and contrary to how I was raised with Christian values by my loving parents, who taught me to be respectful to the proper authorities,” he said, TV Patrol reported.

Orbos added, “My family and loved ones have been hurt and disturbed for what has happened. I am deeply remorseful and I sincerely apologize to all who were offended by my conduct.”

“Like any human being, I have committed a mistake and I am prepared to suffer the consequences of such. This incident has truly been a learning and humbling experience for me. It has moved me to rise above and beyond these unfortunate circumstances and be a better person for my family, God, and country,” he said.

Listed as complainants in the case filed with the Muntinlupa prosecutor’s office are Police Corporals Marlon Sandoval and Rolando Liban, and traffic enforcers Felicisimo Co Jr. and Ramon Reamico of the MTMB.

In a resolution, the Muntinlupa prosecutor’s office ordered the release of Orbos as “there is a necessity to conduct further investigation as there are matters that need to be clarified. Hence, it is hereby recommended that a Preliminary Investigation be conducted on the instant case.”

The preliminary investigation is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. on July 30 at the Muntinlupa prosecutor’s office.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the apology issued by the motorist?

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

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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 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.

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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 toll collection to start July 12, 2021

For those of you who constantly drive going north or south through Skyway Stage 3, better brace yourselves as the collection of tolls from motorists will formally begin on July 12, 2021. That is this coming Monday already. Take note that it has been seven months since the use of Skyway Stage 3 was kept free for motorists.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

After nearly seven months of providing the public free use of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday announced it will start collecting toll on the elevated expressway starting July.

In a statement, SMC said it will be using a revised toll matrix which is lower than the original proposed toll fees.

To recall, the Toll Regulatory Board approved last March the provisional toll rates for the Skyway 3.

The approved provisional toll rates are the following:

For Class 1 vehicles

Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105.00

Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30.00

Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak – P129.00

Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264.00

For Class 2 vehicles, the toll rates are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles.

For Class 3, the rates are thrice the price of Class 1.

The approved provisional toll rates are lower than San Miguel’s petition ranging from P110 to P274.

SMC said the TRB issued a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll on Skyway 3.

The company, through its SMC Infrastructure, said it will post the final approved toll rates at the toll plazas prior to the start of toll collection.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said that the revised toll matrix, as approved by the TRB, takes into consideration the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and on Filipinos.

“We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists.  We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances,” Ang said.

He said the tolls it will collect will provide the company revenues to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway—particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs.

Skyway 3 reduced travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, the elevated toll road has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5.

With the start of toll collection, the government can now also start generating significant income from the expressway, as it imposes a 12 % VAT on all toll fees, according to SMC.

SMC said it fully-funded the construction of the project with no government funds or guarantees and had spent over P80 billion– more than double its original cost – to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

And here is a related video news report also by GMA Network…

As seen in the above report, clearly it is high time for motorists to pay San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for using Skyway Stage 3 which itself is a magnificent piece of infrastructure (made possible by capitalists, not socialists) that will benefit generations of Filipinos who need to travel north, south and within key parts of Metro Manila. Skyway Stage 3 is a major factor in the decongestion of traffic along EDSA, C-5 and other major metropolitan roads. By the way, what motorists will pay starting Monday, a portion of that will go to the national government in the form of value-added tax (VAT).  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you prepared to pay the toll rates for Skyway Stage 3 starting July 12? How many times a week do you travel along Skyway Stage 3? Are the toll rates approved fair to you?

If you are a daily traveler on Skyway Stage 3, how was your travel time between destinations?

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

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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!

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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.

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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 Quirino southbound exit now open to motorists

Hey readers! Have you been driving along Skyway Stage 3 lately? In case you missed the news, the southbound Quirino exit of Skyway Stage 3 was officially opened this past Monday. To be specific, it allows motorists from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to travel to Manila much faster and safer than before.

In a May 24, 2021 Facebook page post, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang wrote: Together with the DPWH, we opened today the Quirino southbound exit of Skyway Stage 3. This will cut travel time from Balintawak and Quezon Ave. to Manila to less than 20 mins from the usual 1.5 hours. In the midst of the pandemic, we remain committed to delivering sustainable infrastructure that will ensure better lives for the present and future generations. This is the world we want.

The Quirino exit on the southbound lane of Skyway Stage 3 formally opened. (source – Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

To put things in perspective some more, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about the same subject matter. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through SMC Infrastructure, opened Monday the southbound Quirino exit of the Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway to Class-1 vehicles, allowing motorists coming from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to directly reach Manila within less than 20 minutes from 1.5 hours without traffic.

The opening was led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar and SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“The full completion of Skyway Stage 3 will divert at least 75,000 vehicles away from EDSA or C5. This is a realization of President Duterte’s promise to decongest EDSA. Skyway Stage 3 is proof that the private sector and the government can work together towards a unified solution,” Villar said.

Ang said the opening of the Quirino southbound exit will greatly improve accessibility from Quezon City and Manila.

“With more private vehicles diverted to Skyway Stage 3 on their way back from NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), or coming from Quezon Avenue, to Manila, traffic on our major public roads as well as on streets usually utilized as ‘shortcuts’ or ‘alternate routes’, will be a thing of the past. This will redound to relief from congestion and faster and easier commutes for many of our countrymen on our major thoroughfares. We thank President Duterte and the government team led by Secretary Villar for all their support,” he said.

And said SMC will continue to deliver on its commitment to bring motorists quality infrastructure that addresses congestion and lack of accessibility.

“We remain dedicated to providing convenient and seamless travel for motorists to help decongest Metro Manila and enable growth in all areas that we reach,” he added.

SMC, which fully-funded and built 100 percent of the Skyway Stage 3, said the expressway now has 15 operational ramps.

These include Northbound entry/on-ramps — Buendia (Zobel) and Quezon Avenue; Southbound entry/on ramps –Balintawak, Quezon Avenue and Plaza Dilao; Northbound exit/off ramps –Quirino Avenue, Nagtahan, Quezon Avenue, A. Bonifacio, and Balintawak; and Southbound exit/off ramps –Quezon Avenue, E. Rodriguez, Nagtahan, Quirino and Buendia (Zobel).

Now here is a related news video for your viewing pleasure and learning…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you traveled along Skyway Stage 3 and exited through Quirino already? If you did, what was the experience like? How fast did it take you to travel from Balintawak or Quezon Avenue to exit through Quirino? Is the southbound travel along Skyway Stage 3 even better now that the Quirino exit is open?

To all motorists based in Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, how often did you travel along Skyway Stage 3 this year?

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

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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

Las Piñas River Drive Extension (AKA New River Drive) opened for motorists

After being formally opened a week ago, the Las Piñas River Drive’s extension (note: referred to as the New River Drive) made its presence through the local news media via the Manila Standard (May 6) and the Philippine Star (yesterday). The said new road was completed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and its ribbon-cutting ceremony was done with the presence of Senator Cynthia Villar and Las Piñas Congresswoman Camille Villar and other officials.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the New River Drive led by Senator Cynthia Villar and Las Piñas Representative Camille Villar plus other varied officials. (source – Senator Cynthia Villar Facebook page)

So what exactly is this New River Drive? According to the May 4, 2021 post on Senator Villar’s Facebook page, the description is as follows (some parts in bold):

LAS PIÑAS RIVER DRIVE EXTENDED FURTHER

The new 850-meter River Drive traverses Verdant Subdivision to Naga Road via Verdant Acres in Bgy. Pamplona 3 to Vergonville Subdivision, St. Joseph Subdivision and Villa Isabelita in Brgy. Pulang Lupa Dos. The 640-meter River Drive in Casimiro will also be partially opened via Casimiro Village, Dela Cruz Compound and Batibot in Brgy. Pamplona 3. The completion of this project, which is still ongoing, will connect Casimiro Village to Zapote Road.

In the respective published reports of the Manila Standard and Philippine Star, Senator Villar stated that the new road and other road developments in the City of Las Piñas will entice investors and lure in investments. Through the Philippine Star report, the Senator expressed her thanks to the DPWH for addressing their concerns on traffic in the city through the River Drive project. According to Manila Standard’s report, the elderly Villar guaranteed that she will work closely with the City Government and the DPWH to ensure that traffic problems in the city will be resolved swiftly.

Senator Villar, Congresswoman Villar and other officials examined a stretch of the new road as they walked on it. (source – Senator Cynthia Villar Facebook page)

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you were able to drive along the 850-meter Las Piñas River Drive, how was the experience? Was the ride smooth? How much time did it take you to travel the entire 850-meter stretch?

In relation to the above questions, how was your experience driving along the Alabang-Zapote Road since the New River Drive opened?

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

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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?

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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