Thursday, March 23, 2017

ONE Championship Main Event: Filipino Fighter Eduard Folayang Defends ONE Lightweight World Title on April 21


The largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has just announced a spectacular fight card for ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, which takes place Friday, 21 April at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. The action-packed evening promises to feature the absolute best in local and international mixed martial arts talent. In the main event, ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Baguio City, Philippines, will make the first defense of his title against top contender Ev “E.T.” Ting of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ticket information for ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY is available at

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The All-New Mazda CX-3: A Crossover Like No Other


Berjaya Auto Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles in the

country, has unveiled the latest addition to the Japanese brand’s new-generation

vehicle lineup – the all-new Mazda CX-3 Freestyle Crossover Vehicle.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hotel Finds in Manila: Vieve Hotel, A Comfortable Getaway by the Bay

Vieve Hotel Manila is a welcome find in the heart of the popular Malate-Ermita district. Considered a 3-star category, one gets a pleasant surprise to find a spacious, clean and ample lighted structure right along the busy Mabini Street. 

Located only two blocks away from the famous Manila Bay with its gorgeous sunset, Vieve Hotel is the perfect base when one wants to take a walk around the popular streets of Adriatico, Pedro Gil and Roxas Boulevard.  Businessmen, tourists and locals from all walks of life and nationalities also find the hotel conveniently located, as it is not far away from the international airport.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 Honda Civic 1.8L E CVT - Bootiliciously Impressive

The Hills Are Alive with the All New 2017 Honda Civic!


By Monch Henares

At First Glance

Oh My God! What a HOT behind! Those were the first words I uttered when I saw the 2017 Honda Civic that evening. Its glowing red-angled hips made my head do a 360 as it gracefully did a turn around me. My heart was beating so fast knowing that soon I would be behind its wheel for one exciting week.

2017 Honda Civic's Hot Sexy Behind

Midnight Burgundy was its color, it looked jet black to me that evening. The following morning, a magical transformation caught my eye... as soon as the morning sun caressed its sleek curvy body, it turned into a mouth-watering and juicy plum color . What an elegant eye-catching shade shrouded in mystery.

I have always loved how Honda designers create such provocative front profiles. The Civic didn't waste time in alluring me to its squinting LED eyes, seductive smile, and  its jaw-dropping lip, yet, it still created that aerodynamic feel. Its body stood symmetrically low with almost perfect proportions. This new Civic grew a bit bigger compared to its older siblings. For me, it's the sexiest Civic ever.

The Interior

I was handed the Key Fob (with a tucked-away key) that could lock and unlock the doors, the trunk, and remote-start the engine. I can just keep the keyfob in my pant pocket, and simply walk away, and the car would lock itself and the headlights would automatically turn off, too. This comes in handy, if I happen to forget to switch them off, in which case I always do.  I also tried locking the car with the key fob left inside, good news, it won't lock! I can also remotely start the engine from my kitchen window on a super hot day. and it would simultaneously activate the Automatic Climate Control to lower the interior temperature while the car remains locked. Cooool feature huh?

The Roomy Interior sits 5 adults comfortably with each having individual headrests and 3-point seat-belts. Its handsomely styled Front Bucket Seats when pulled all the way back still leaves ample legroom for the rear passengers, while its Rear Folding Seats increase the already large trunk space. The driver's seat was snug and comfortable. Seat height adjustment, properly placed pedals and a foot rest to boot, set the tone for a relaxing ride experience.

Rear-folding seats with 3-point seatbelts.

The Telescopic Height-Adjustable Multi-Function Steering Wheel, though looking like an old school game controller, had a lot of  useful features. The left side houses Bluetooth Connectivity, Voice Command, Menu Selection, Touch-Sensitive Volume Control, and a 2-axis Selector Pad. while the right side housed the Cruise-Control pad.

Multi-function Steering Wheel and LCD Instrumentation

A smart-looking, animated, and well laid-out LCD Instrument Panel is the main attraction of  its cockpit type dashboard. An On-Board Computer also runs most of the Civic's hi-tech features and a 7-inch Infotainment Touchscreen, placed the center of the dash, sets and monitors most of them. Included are Audio Connectivity, Smartphone Connection, Bluetooth / WiFi, Internet Browser, Settings, Info, Climate Control and Downloaded Apps to name a few.

2017 Honda Civic 7" Infotainment Screen

I'm sad for the CD lovers out there. I didn't find a CD slot. Maybe its time to shift to the more compact memory cards instead.

Just connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to play your personal music, or use your phone's mobile data to listen to your favorite online music Apps or radio stations. You can even surf the internet via WiFi, or play downloaded movies via HDMI connection. The movie theater experience just went mobile.  Bring out the popcorn and drinks guys! There are a lot of cup holders and water bottle holders too, Eight to be exact!

Connectivity and Gadget Tray w/ 12 v power outlet, USB, and HDMI

I'm glad Honda thought of giving all of us gadget hungry people a Gadget Tray to store all our techie paraphernalia. They made use of the then useless space (now very useful) behind the center console. I connected my memory stick full of mp3 music via USB. All my gadgets were connected and charging through the 12 volt Aux Power Outlet. I could have connected a mobile TV box or a laptop and watched movies through the HDMI Port. All these ports and gadget space, all hidden from view but controllable through the infotainment screen. Neat!

The Journey

This time, we set our eyes on the cool weathered, pine filled, city of Baguio which is 250+ kilometers from Manila. The drive was a combination of three hours of high speed NLEX/TPLEX driving and thirty minutes of a uphill zig-zag climb. With me were 4 of my good friends from Pete's Place Musicroom. We left Pasay City at about 5:30 AM to make it just in time for our 9 AM breakfast at a friend's cafe. The car was packed with 5 adults and a trunk full of luggage for a 3-day vacation. My friends at the rear enjoyed the roominess of the Civic. Even Patti, who was sitting in the middle, said it was surprisingly very comfortable. There was one complaint though that came from my 5'8" tall friend, Jeffrey, who sat at the right rear. His head kept hitting the grab-handle in the ceiling every time I swerved to the left. If the Honda engineers moved it an inch to two inches forward, he would be fine. I told him it was his head's fault and not the car's. Kalbo kasi!

Driving up Kennon Rd., to Baguio City

When we got to NLEX, I switched ON the ECON feature with the Cruise Control set at 100 km/h for the 1st hour. ECON uses the on-board computer to precisely control the engine, CVT transmission, air-conditioning, and cruise control for maximum fuel efficiency. I averaged 16 km/l on that run. Then I tried it manually for the 2nd hour, ECON ON and Cruise Control OFF, and keeping my foot steady at 100 km/h,  I averaged 18 km/l. Awesome! Does that mean I'm smarter than the on-board computer? I have a feeling I could have bettered those results if I lowered my speed to 90 km/h.

2017 Honda Civic...every control is within easy reach.

The car handled great and had a lot of excess power even though it was filled to the brim with friends, their luggage, and a ton of junkfood. It's 1.8L 141hp i-VTEC Engine and its seamless shifting CVT  (Continiously Variable Transmission) are a match made in heaven. It is a far cry from the problematic CVT's they encountered a decade ago. I strongly believe that they have perfected the technology.

1.8L 141hp i-VTEC Engine 

Climbing the zig-zaggedy Kennon Road was a breeze, I had the VSC and Traction Control ON, and turning those sharp curves was clean and precise. The 4-Wheel Disc-Brakes with ABS and Brake Assist assured me of my safe stopping power. I just loved the Electric Emergency Brake which made the car stay parked on a steep incline when a vehicle, a few cars ahead, stalled. All I had to do is press on the accelerator to release it... no more hanging and balancing acts between the brake and gas pedals. Another cool feature is the Brake Hold, which applies the brakes while in stop-and-go traffic. Applying it with the brake pedal and released with the press of the accelerator. It did not work well on steep inclines though, but perfect for flat city streets.

Brake Hold - Makes Stop-and-Go city driving a pleasure.

This trip felt so safe in the Civic with more standard safety features like Dual Front Airbags, Dual Seatbelt Warning system, Automatic Lights, Anti-Theft / Engine Immobilizer, Rear Camera Parking, and Automatic Front Passenger Window.

My Overall Rating

There were a few tiny things that bothered my almost pleasant ride.... first to mention is that loud "thud" noise from the steering rack every time I would come to the end of a full turn of the wheel. The steering was light but I think Honda has to dampen the end stops. Second would be the low front passenger seat. My 85 year-old mother had a hard time alighting from it. Third is the super bright Engine Start/Stop button, which is distracting at night.  I wish it were half as bright. Fourth is the missing trunk lid back cover. I could see its every working detail. Lastly, of course is the "Jeffrey" grab-handle I talked about earlier. Maybe next time I would make him ride in the middle instead.

Jeffrey giving the grab handle the evil eye.

My most-liked features outweigh the least-liked. I am in awe with the larger and roomy interior which sat 5 adults comfortably. The spacious trunk that when in the hands of a master packer like myself, can be filled with double the amount of luggage which we drove up with. That includes all the fresh produce, jams, fresh strawberries, Baguio Walis Tambo (broom), dried flowers, and  21 pieces of  assorted jackets from the Ukay-Ukay.

Yes! lots of luggage packed into its large trunk...with more room to spare.
Do we stop by the market one last time?

The 2-part rear folding seats, make even more room for long, odd sized items. The Gadget Tray that stores most of the techie gadgets in one neat area. The Brake Hold that makes driving in traffic an ease. The Remote Engine-Start that makes you cool down your car before you get in to drive. Lastly, the sexy and eye-catching angled rear lights, I just can't stop thinking of that behind.

Sexiness? Check!

You got me at "HOT". A whole new Honda Civic...The Civic is Reborn! For the listed price of P1,093,000, with a whole lot of safety and convenience features, ample power and great fuel economy, roominess, great ride, and its overall sexiness, its worth every centavo. A truly great driving experience for me. In a scale of 1-10, I will rate the  Compact 2017 Honda Civic 1.8L E CVT a  9.8

'Civic Action'
photographed by my talented friend Vincent Garrucho

Special thanks to:


Professional Photographer Vincent "Magnivincent" Garrucho of Eye Q Media Productions

Social Media  Specialist Jeffrey Enriquez for their awesome photo contributions.

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Monch Henares is a tech and motoring specialist, and managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He is now based in Manila, Philippines.
You may e-mail him @
To follow him on Facebook, please click here.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dining Finds in Baguio: Home-Cooked French Cuisine with Five-Star Quality at Chef Didier's Table

Chef Didier Derouet is a true French artisan.
Photo: Vincent Garrucho

Baguio, also known as the City of Pines offer a lot of dining places from local food to international cuisine.  Amidst these variety of restaurants at the center of the city, it's refreshing to know that one of the few authentic French dining places is found right in the house of Chef Didier Derouet, a French national, and his charming Filipina wife, Merna Brazil, aptly called Chef Didier's Table.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Globe Studios and Disney Work Together in Making Dreams Come True for Young Filipinas

(L-R), Quark Henares, Daniel Tan, Leah Salonga, Ernest Cu, Janina Vela, Albert De Larrazabal, and Joe Carilo with the finalists.

Globe Telecom, in partnership with The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia, is redefining the landscape of  local entertainment by the recent launch of the Disney Princess: I Dare to Dream, a digital reality-series produced by Globe Studios in collaboration with Disney and Maker Studios.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mazda 2 V+ The Mazda Baby Is All Grown Up

By Monch Henares

At First Glance

There she is.... the Mazda 2 V+.  It's that new vivacious smile that caught my attention.  Gone are the days of the Joker-like grin grills. Sleek, flowing lines enhanced by sporty front and side body skirts, and a rear spoiler complete the Mazda 2's aerodynamic nimbleness. Kudos to the KODO Soul of Motion design philosophy.

The Key-Less Entry coupled with an Alarm System and  Push-Button Engine Start/Stop, which are only found in premium models, is standard on the Mazda 2 V+. All I needed was my trusty E.T. like finger to unlock, lock, and start the engine. The key fob stayed protected inside my pant pocket the whole time. The 10 kph Auto Door Lock also engages as I start on a trip. That's very convenient and safe I should say. 

The Interior

One would think that a sub-compact car would be cramped and claustrophobic, but not the Mazda 2 V+.  There is ample leg room at the rear with seats that are sporty and stylish. The cool-to-the-touch fabric material and ergonomic seat design with height adjust of the driver's seat did not make me feel tired driving at all. And what makes this model really versatile are its Rear Folding Seats that had  two 3-Point Seatbelts and Adjustable Headrests for each passenger. Having an expandable trunk space, which most car buyers look for, is so convenient when loading long cargo and luggage.

The designer-type steering wheel is equipped with buttons for Audio, Bluetooth Connectivity, Info Controls and even Voice Command.  These easy-to-reach controls are located at the front left side, while the Manual Override Paddle Shifters were located behind the steering wheel. It was like I was behind the wheel of an F1.

The instrumentation is easy to read and well-placed, but an analog tachometer would have completed the look and function.  The 7-inch Infotainment Screen which sits on the center of the dash is one to behold. It's a display for Audio, Entertainment, Bluetooth Connectivity, NAV, Trip Computer, and a Rear View Parking Monitor. I never figured out if I could play movies on it.

Below the screen is a beautifully laid out array of vents, outlined with a red stripe, and bordered with a handsome Carbon Fiber Panel . The shocking red striping did not tickle my fancy, though. A less flashy shade of red would have been more soothing to the eyes.  Maybe I am just an old bull who does not like shocking red. TORO!

At the center console, one would find a row of three sleek aircraft style knobs to control the Auto Climate System.  These keep the cabin at a pre-selected comfortable temperature. Its got heat too! Below it is a CD Slot with 2-power/USB ports, an AUX port, a 12 V power outlet, and an SD Card Slot for NAV data. That's all I needed to connect my gadgets stuffed with music

On the center floor console sits the ergonomic Skyactiv Transmission Selector Stick and south of it, all by its lonesome, is the Sports Mode switch. I would have preferred if the designers placed it at a more visible area, like on the dash or steering wheel. It was hard to switch on when I really needed, no, no,  I wasn't drag racing. 

Lastly, I just love the sophisticated  looking Commander Control for the OM2D (Connect Smart Connectivity & Entertainment Audio System) which is just to the right of the emergency brake lever. Trailing behind it are two out-of-place cup holders. Why it's all the way back there, i don't know.  It was an arm twisting task just to get my drink.

The Journey

Our journey takes us north starting from Chaotic Manila to the Law-Abiding streets of the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales. 150 kilometers of smooth high-speed driving through the NLEX and Scenic SCTEX , slowing down a bit on some portions due to the never ending road repairs. The Mazda 2 V+ run like an Olympic track star. It responded with demanding quick starts, high speed acceleration, maneuverability, handling, and braking which I had full access to, thanks to the powerful 4cyl 1.5L Skyactiv 108HP Engine in sync with the 6 speed Skyactiv Transmission. I tell you this car can deliver. Completing the star team are features like 4 Wheel Disc Brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, Sports Mode, and Hill Launch Assist.

I am guilty of always leaving the turn signals engaged after changing lanes or overtaking, that bad habit was instantly cured when I found this car had Turn Lane Change Signals, which are 3 signal flashes at a tap of the turn signal lever, enough for you to complete the lane change. Neat trick! I felt very safe driving through tunnels and long 2-lane stretches late in the day, Daytime Running Lights make the car more visible to oncoming traffic especially when the piercing afternoon sun was at our back. 

I'm a stickler for interior bliss and to my surprise, the Mazda 2 V+ had a very quiet ride. No annoying hisses, clicks, clacks, thuds, and rattles. I was also shielded from the outside traffic and road noise. What let me down was the darn horn. It sounded like a dying cow. Mooohoohoo! The ride through uneven and rough road was a bit stiff, but what can one expect from a sub-compact. It still was a pleasure to drive.

Monch's Overall Rating

It's nimble and quick and I even named it Jack. Priced a little bit under a million pesos, this model has almost every feature a premium model would have. It's size, roomy interior, configurable rear seat and trunk area, convenience and safety features, and awesome fuel economy make it a great daily driver. 

I averaged 20 km/l on this trip alone and that's with a heavy foot. Not bad at all. It's small, but terrible in a good way. I'd rate the Sub-compact Mazda 2 V+, on a scale of 1-10, a  9.5

Visit Mazda Philippines

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Monch Henares is a tech and motoring specialist, and managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He is now based in Manila, Philippines.  
You may e-mail him @