Saturday, April 29, 2017

About the 30th ASEAN Summit



April 29th, 2017 - the 30th ASEAN Summit, a summit of the top delegates from Southeast Asian countries gathered annually, took place at the Philippine International Convention Center amid the current issues surrounding not just in the Philippines but across Asia.

This is the first ASEAN Summit for Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte since he took power at the end of June, last year, and the theme for this year's summit draws inspiration from his campaign slogan; Partnering For Change, Engaging The World.

President Duterte, who became the center of attention from the media for his infamous war on drugs and extrajudicial killings that killed thousands of people since he took office, hosted this year's summit and in his opening speech, it's an honor to have the Philippines hosted this summit for this milestone year as the year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN since 1967.

While the ASEAN leaders talked little about the ongoing South China Sea issue, they've signed a declaration that will boost the ASEAN's civil service to achieve Vision 2025. This Declaration supports the first thematic priority of a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN under the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN 2017, according to Philippine Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala.

Bubble Gang - April 28, 2017 #BGAirlines

On the April 28, 2017 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Kaladkad gags

- The false stuff at the market

- The Jungle Belles found a way to beat the summer heat!

- More news for moms in Balitang Ina!

- A childish court hearing...

- An interview with an animal lover



- A militant group of men occupying women?!

- Waiter, there's a finger in my soup?!

- The Paoay 5-0 are investigating another crime scene...

- Basa-basa-pik!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Forza Horizon 3: The Raven

As with our little "secret agent" assignment wrapped up, look what I got from this weekend's Forzathon event. It's a 930-spec Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3 and I know what I'm on about with this classic Porsche 911 later on but first...



Served as the flagship of the Porsche 911 range, the 911 Turbo 3.3 (930) was hailed as the fastest production car available in Germany at that moment of its introduction. Powered by a 3.3L flat-six engine and an air-to-air intercooler that helps with the pressurized air charge, it produces 300HP of power and does 0-60mph in five seconds. It can reach a top speed of 260.9kph (162mph). Thanks to emission regulations in Japan and US, Porsche stopped selling the 930 in the said countries but continue to sold in Canada as well as Mainland Europe. Anyway, so much to talk about the 930-spec Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3, look what you can do with that kind of Porsche...





It's not that much but if you give this 930 Porsche 911 Turbo a lot of power, say somewhere in the 900HP mark, and some other improvements to keep it competitive, what you can have here is an actual representation of the Blackbird as seen from the Wangan Midnight series and pitting alongside the Devil Z that you had in your garage, that is your S30 Fairlady Z tuned to the max to replicate such a monster, you can have a classic Wangan Midnight rivalry on the Land Down Under, when you find a nice straight line to toy around with, say a highway that stretches from the Outback to the Surfers Paradise. Pretty cool, wasn't it, but sadly this isn't the time for that because it's time to show the crowd how the Blackbird was made for...



So, the legend is TRUE. There really is such thing as the feared Blackbird from the Shutokou and now it has emerged on the streets of Australia! How scary was that? It's like the soul of the tormented emerged and it won't rest until it gets what it desired and yet, here we are, standing in front of the legend everyone's feared about aside from the Devil Z. You get the point but if you want your own little Blackbird, you'd best be hurry because you have this weekend to do so.

Forza Horizon 3: Secret Agent Man



This car needs no explanation because this is the Bond car that started it all. Yes, this is the Aston Martin DB5, the Bond car that became a legend ever since it popped up in the Bond movie, Goldfinger, and do you expect me to talk? No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to drive!

If I can remember correctly, the DB5 is powered by a 4.0L six-cylinder engine generating 282 bhp (210 kW) of power and a top speed of 145 mph (233 km/h). It was mated with a ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s). About 1,023 DB5 units produced, mostly are hardtops.

The DB5 became the hallmark of the partnership between Aston Martin cars and James Bond movies since it first appeared in Goldfinger. Five decades later, it returned in Skyfall, featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond. It's fare to say that it's a great honor to drive the best Bond car 007 had, unless I don't trigger some lunacy that could infuriate Australian Intelligence...and yet, I did.



I did sent the DB5 on the race against movie star cars. From the Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard, the Boss Mustang from Diamonds are Forever, another Bond flick, the Supra from The Fast and the Furious, the AE86 from Initial D, among many other star cars that crave more than just popcorns and sodas. If you want, I had a little clip for that. Ready?



What? Like James Bond, it's "everything or nothing" but still, I had a lot of fun being Bond in the DB5 because when you see an Aston Martin, all you can think about is James Bond, right? It's like another mission, another hot girl, and another ruthless baddie for you if you're driving a Bond car like this, am I right? Everyday's a Bond movie, especially in the Land Down Under. What a day...

Let's Do The News! (April 28, 2017)



- Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam visited the Malacanang palace after arriving in the Philippines two days ago. President Rodrigo Duterte personally greeted the Sultan of Brunei after arriving at the Palace earlier.

- President Rodrigo Duterte says he will seal his fate for his bloody war on drugs and a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court won't stop him from pursuing his campaign. The former prosecutor said he was a man who was true to his word, including wiping out drugs, so he would accept the consequences, even if it meant prison, or death. Duterte even backlashes against local or foreign media over the extrajudicial killings issue.

- The Land Transportation Office in Metro Manila releases new plastic driver's licenses to the public.

- The activist group Common Causes released a report targeted against US President Donald Trump ahead of his 100th day in office this weekend.

- Meanwhile, Senator Jeff Merkley introduced a bill alongside Bernie Sanders to end the U.S. fossil fuel use by the year 2050, hoping to super action on the state and local level, even as the Trump administration pushes the use of coal, oil, and natural gas production.

- The Formula One strategy group agrees on the proposal to ban the controversial shark fin and T-wing elements for next year's season.

- Nissan confirms that more models will receive the NISMO treatment anytime soon.

- Mazda announced a new three-row crossover SUV coming to Japan this year, tentatively called the CX-8.



- Bubbu! Desu wa! Dia Kurosawa from Love Live! Sunshine!! Joins the figma lineup! Available to order starting at 5,833 Yen plus tax and delivery and arrives this October.



TTFN!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

STARDOM! / Bon Bon Voyage!

STARDOM! / Bon Bon Voyage!

The second season of Aikatsu Stars sees main character Yume Nijino living her school life in the Yotsuboshi Gakuin as one of the new members of S4. Accompanied by the only existing member Yuzu Nikaido and alongside newcomers Mahiru Kasumi and Ako Saotome, Yume Nijino is facing a much stiffer competition upon the arrival of Venus Ark, a boarding school with the luxury yacht as their front, and its star student, Elza Forte. Seeing Elza as a much fiercer rival onstage, Yume is on a quest to defend the title she've coveted from the start as well as her school's reputation in the battle between the two academies.

While the little girls can't wait until Thursday nights to see more of Yume, Rola, and the gang, as well as the new rivals Elza and Kirara, and the surprise return of someone they're familiar with, the opening and closing theme song from the show's second series are out in one maxi single CD. The opening theme song is titled STARDOM! and the closing theme song is Bon Bon Voyage!, both performed by, you guessed it, AIKATSU☆STARS! You know, the group. Not the TV show in case of confusing reasons.

Did you know that for limited quantities, there's a special accessory card for use in the DATA CARDDASS AIKATSU STARS game?

Aikatsu Stars airs on TV Tokyo every Thursday nights before Pokemon Sun and Moon.

TRACK LISTINGS:

1) STARDOM!
2) Bon Bon Voyage!
3) STARDOM! (off Vocal)
4) Bon Bon Voyage! (off Vocal)

Let's Do The News! (April 27, 2017)


- The Philippine National Police's NCRPO continues its target hardening in order to ensure the security of this Saturday's ASEAN Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center. While the PNP has yet to monitor potential threats, they are confident that the PNP will do everything to ensure no attack will be made during the summit.

- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez warned that they may soon implement the ban against open pit mining. Part of their crackdown on the mining sector, the DENR suspects that the operation of some mining companies cause major effect in the environment.

- Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam has arrived in the Philippines not just to attend this Saturday's ASEAN summit, but also for a state visit. The Sultan of Brunei is the first ASEAN leader to arrive for the ASEAN meeting on Saturday, April 29 at the Philippine International Convention Center.  However, before that, Bolkiah will have a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang today.

- The disputed West Philippine Sea issue is in the country's interest to be discussed at the 30th ASEAN Summit but the government would also like to discuss the positive aspects of the said issue.

- US President Donald Trump told leaders from Canada and Mexico that he won't axe the NAFTA just yet but will move quickly to begin renegotiations, according to a White House official.

- Activision and Sledgehammer Games announced the latest installment of the Call Of Duty franchise titled Call Of Duty WWII. Bringing the franchise back to its roots, players will relive the tragic events of the Second World War while fighting their way through intense campaigns through France, Belgium, and across the Rhine into Germany. It will be released on the XBOX One and PS4 this November 3rd.


- Next month, Forza Horizon 3 goes extreme with the new Hot Wheels Expansion Pack. Included in the Expansion Pass, this new expansion brings the Hot Wheels fantasy come to life with insane high-speed stunts on miles of looping, banking, giant iconic orange Hot Wheels tracks. Players can even create their own stunt tracks with the new Stunt Swap feature as well. 10 new rides are ready including Hot Wheels icons such as the Twin Mill, the Bone Shaker, and the Rip Rod. There's also a brand new barn find waiting to be found as well.



- In case you were wandering, the producers behind BIOHAZARD 7 -resident evil- announced that the much-anticipated DLC, NOT A HERO, has been delayed until further notice. That's bad news for the fans but there's a little something that will cheer them up; Tokyo Marui made a replica of the assault shotgun to be appeared on BH7's NOT A HERO DLC; codenamed Thor's Hammer.



- The teaser trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle is out. This film is the sequel to the original Kingsman film.



TTFN!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Food City 500


Last Monday's Food City 500 race at the Bristol Motor Speedway shows that this race is a barrier-breaking experience for the best of NASCAR drivers, literally.

Reason why Monday because due to the rain occurred last Sunday, the Food City 500 race in Bristol has been delayed to Monday. Quite an inconvenience they got here, huh? But anyway, with the rain slowly disappearing with the hint of cloudy skies in Bristol, the race goes on as planned with shattering results.

There has been some wall-smackers and spin-outers as this race at Bristol is becoming as intense as the imminent summer. As Clint Bowyer might said "You'd think Jimmie would get tired of winning", and boy, he's wrong because behind all the spins and the through-the-wall collisions, the #48 nailed its second straight season win after fending off the likes of Bowyer, Truex Jr., and the others.

Anyway, the day after the race, there was a shocking announcement that the #88, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will be stepping down from the world of NASCAR after this season. As the son of the legendary NASCAR champion, Earnhardt Jr. scored 26 overall wins in his career, two Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014, and two championship wins in 1998 and 1999.

Next race is on Richmond International Raceway on the 30th.

Let's Do The News! (April 26, 2017)


- Typhoon Dante has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility in the eastern part of Southern Luzon. According to PAGASA, the storm was last spotted 1,170km east of Virac, Catanduanes, sustaining wind strength of up to 65 kph and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

- PNP Superintendent Ma. Cristina Nobleza remains under tactical interrogation. Reports told that the spokesperson for the Philippine National Police denied allegations that Nobleza is a deep penetration agent assigned to the Abu Sayyaf Group.

- The ASEAN member nations would adopt a much softer tone about the South China Sea issue on the upcoming summit happening this Saturday and exclude references to militarisation or island-building, according to a draft of the chairman’s statement.

- The People's Republic of China has launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, which will join an existing one bought second-hand amid rising tensions over North Korea and worries about Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea. Reports told that the carrier is not expected to enter service until 2020.

- A South Korean court ruled that the ride-sharing app Uber illegally used private vehicles for commercial purposes, in the latest legal setback for the US firm in Asia's fourth biggest economy. Uber’s local unit has “admitted and repented” its illegal act and resolved the issue, a judge at Seoul Central District Court said in a ruling. The company was fined 10 million won.

- A Federal Court ruling blocked US President Donald Trump's attempt to punish the so-called sanctuary cities.

- Tennis superstar Serena Williams had no intention of sharing her pregnancy to the world last week but broke her silence when she accidentally uploaded the "20 weeks" photo of herself on social media.

- Descendants 2, the sequel to the hit 2015 Disney Channel Original Movie, will air this 21st of July!

- BMW adds a Touring variant of the range-topping M550d xDrive model, based on the new 5-Series.


- THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls' Kaede Takagaki, in her white swimsuit glory, joins Wave's DreamTech range of 1/8 scale figures. She's available to order starting at 12,800 Yen plus tax and delivery and arrives this September.


TTFN!!!

Forza Horizon 3: The Princess and The Dream

This is the Bentley Bentayga and yes, I know. It was from the Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 3, I drove it last time on Blizzard Mountain, and I even decorated it with a touch of a princess from an idol school. So now why am I driving it again?



Well, there's one main reason why am I driving it again because I really liked it. I may not be used to driving an SUV made by the company behind the Continental GT but the more I drive the Bentayga, I'm starting to realize that there's more to this hunk of meat because despite being a luxury SUV built to cater against the Range Rover, the Bentayga really behaves like a sportscar and while I still have the Hime decor made by me, looks like everyone's going to upset about why a princess like her trashed the competition like it was nothing happened.







No matter how tough the opponents are, she's just minced them like marinated salisbury steak served on a fancy dinner plate at a five-star restaurant only reserved for VIPs, And if that wasn't enough, this classy SUV with the first-class comfort fit for a princess like her to take her on a ski holiday is not afraid to get her face dirty, especially when a strong cyclone hit Down Under. Yep, she really is that extraordinary for a Bentley...



She really is that good for a Bentley of that size and that Bentayga is no exception when it comes to surpass the competition with its style and performance that makes this Bentley extraordinary. Ahem, sorry about that, but that design I made for the car before is what made me fell in love with the Bentley Bentayga and for such a heavy luxo-barge, it still feels like a sportscar and it's not afraid to take on all comers.

So, the Bentayga really is like an invincible princess that stands the crowd, what's it like to take on against the one who is living the dream?



Yep, our old friend, the BMW M2. Hey, still got that Yume Nijino decor I made for that car since our first encounter! How was it then? Great? Anyway, we got two unrelated machines with two similarly themed designs and what we have here is a match between the princess and the dream. This can make a very interesting match.

For fair play, all of their upgrades have been stripped out and they can reclaim it after the match. With the upgrades stripped out and reverted back to normal, some arrangements have been made. Let's look at the stats; the Bentley Bentayga is powered by a 6.0L W12 engine producing 599HP of power and 663ft-lb of torque. It does 0-60mph in four seconds and onwards to 187 mph (301 km/h). The BMW M2 Coupe, meanwhile, is powered by a small 3.0L 6-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 365hp of power and 369ft-lb of torque. Despite producing very less than the Bentayga, has a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds and electronically limited to 155mph, it's two thousand pounds lighter than the Bentley.



Okay, let's translate these numbers into lap times and see who can make it to the Surfers Paradise Festival Site first. A standard Bentayga set the target time of 2:35.989 and the goal for the M2? BEAT THE CLOCK.

Before setting off, there's just one major confession about this stunt; with that grace and demeanor the Bentayga showed, feels like the M2 couldn't stand up to this challenge but with such confidence and optimism, this Bimmer, along with the design themed after Yume, is ready to show everything it has and without further ado, the battle between the greats has begun and I got it on the tape.



The time? 2:31.418! About four seconds faster than the mighty Bentayga! This is the moment I've been searching for! It's like Yume defeated Hime for the school's best idol and yes, you get the point. Anyway, enough about that idol trash because this shows that this isn't about size and power when it comes to competition because when you dream big, you can accomplish everything!



Man, what a night it was! Seeing a M2 defeating the Bentayga is like David pinned down Goliath and for a sportscar that is smaller than any other M car from BMW, the M2 really has a lot of ideas to share with. So, what do you say? Ready for your first day tomorrow morning? I'm looking forward to see what's next with this little M car filled with hopes and dreams for us all. Have fun.

THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS LITTLE STARS! Kira! Mankai Smile

THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS
LITTLE STARS! Kira! Mankai Smile

Have you guys had fun with the Cinderella Girls Gekijo anime shorts every Tuesday nights? If some of you did enjoy these animated shorts featuring your favorite Cinderella Girls, there's the official theme song for the Cinderella Girls Gekijo shorts that won't leave you...belittled.

The title of the Cinderella Girls Gekijo theme song is Kira! Mankai Smile and the Cinderella Girls performed this song are Uzuki Shimamura (CV: Ayaka Ohashi), Miho Kohinata (CV: Minami Tsuda), Mayu Sakuma (CV: Yui Makino), Momoka Sakurai (CV: Haruka Terui), and Anzu Futaba (CV: Hiromi Igarashi).

Not only the full version of the theme song was featured but also solo versions of the said song, each performed by the Cinderella Girls mentioned above and to top it all off, they even added a bonus track performed by Uzuki herself, just to keep your hopes up.

The Cinderella Girls Gekijo shorts air every Tuesday nights at 9:55 PM JST on Tokyo MX.

TRACK LISTINGS:
01 キラッ!満開スマイル
02 キラッ!満開スマイル 島村卯月ソロ・リミックス
03 キラッ!満開スマイル 小日向美穂ソロ・リミックス
04 キラッ!満開スマイル 佐久間まゆソロ・リミックス
05 キラッ!満開スマイル 櫻井桃華ソロ・リミックス
06 キラッ!満開スマイル 双葉杏ソロ・リミックス
07 キラッ!満開スマイル オリジナル・カラオケ
08 ぴにゃこら太絵かき歌

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: US, S. Korea warn North for provocations



Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korean policy, said he does not believe the North is ready to engage the US, Japan, and South Korea toward denuclearization.

During a meeting with senior diplomats in Tokyo, Yun said they agreed to coordinate all diplomatic, military and economic actions regarding the North. He said they will continue to work closely together and with their international partners. Yun also states that China plays a very important role and that the US, Japan, and South Korea will keep working closely with the country.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump wants the United Nations Security Council to impose harsher sanctions against the Korean Peninsula. Speaking to the meeting, Trump told that the status quo in North Korea is unacceptable, and that it is a problem to finally be solved. He stressed that the UN Security Council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions.

Source: NHK World

Let's Do The News! (April 25, 2017)


- The AFP has confirmed that four foreigners were killed in a clash against the Maute Terror Group in Lanao Del Sour. Three Indonesians and a Malaysian were killed in the clash and while their identities are being investigated the four slain foreigners were terrorists linked to the Islamic State.

- Meanwhile, another hostage was been beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu, according to the military. The remains of Sgt. Anni Siraji, were found in Barangay Tagbilis sa Upper Patikul last Sunday. He was abducted by the ASG last April 20.

- The Supreme Court withdrew the Temporary Restraining Order against the construction of Torre De Manila. During a session, a majority of the Supreme Court judges voted against the petition filed by the Knights of Rizal to tore down the "pambansang photobomber" because it allegedly ruins the sight-line of the Rizal monument in Luneta. However, with the decision to withdraw the TRO issued against the said building, there is no legal impediment prohibiting for the construction of Torre De Manila’s high rise condominium.

- Members of the Kadamay Group should pay for the housing units in Pandi, Bulacan, intended for military and police personnel, according to a lawmaker.

- Former PBA basketball star Paul Alvarez was arrested for the third time after his live-in partner in Baguio City accused him of alleged domestic violence.

- Taiwan faces a more complicated task this year in seeking to attend the UN health agency meeting than it has in the past, according to a senior official as the self-ruled island braces for another setback with China.

- Reports told US President Donald Trump told his aides to include a major corporate tax reduction in a bill to be announced on Wednesday. Trump wants the tax to be cut from the current 35 percent to 15 percent. Last week, Trump said he was planning a big announcement on tax reform.

- Mitsubishi Motors opens its Bekasi plant in Indonesia and their new facility will build their best-seller USV and a new seven-seat MPV.

- Watch a clip where the Hyundai Santa Fe conquered Antarctica.



- Another IDOLM@STER Million Live idol has been figurized, this time it's Megumi Tokoro courtesy of Phat! Available to order starting at 13,000 Japanese Yen plus tax and delivery and arrives this December.



- Former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan returns to screenwriting and directing "The Party's Just Beginning", due 2018.

TTFN!!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Xi calls for restraint over North Korea


Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke with US President Donald Trump via phone conversation that all sides will exercise restraint over North Korea.

According to the Chinese state-run media, Xi told Trump that China firmly opposes any action that runs counter to UN Security Council resolutions. He was referring for another possible nuclear test or missile launch.

It is also reported that the North Korea nuclear issue can be resolved if all sides bear the responsibilities they are supposed to bear and come together.

North Korea marks the 85th anniversary of the founding of its military on Tuesday, so there are shadow of a doubts that a possible launch or test might occur during that day.

Source: NHK World

Let's Do The News! (April 24, 2017)


- President Rodrigo Duterte should consider an "all-out war" against the Abu Sayyaf Group, according to lawmakers.

- The Philippines spent two billion pesos for security preparations on the ASEAN Summit scheduled this week in the country. More than 40,000 security and emergency prepared personnel from different agencies are on standby for the ASEAN Summit this Saturday.

- Passengers of the LRT-1 and MRT-3 suffered inconvenience due to technical problems on Monday.

- Swedish authorities arrested the second suspect linked to last month's Stockholm truck attack. The unnamed person was detained on Sunday on the order of prosecutors without going into further details on the suspected offence.

- Moving on the French presidential elections, it looks like the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and the centralist outsider Emmanuel Macron are advancing to the second round of the presidential elections this May 7th.

- Honda's new Civic Type R hatchback reclaimed the record for the fastest front-wheel drive car to lap the Nurburging from the VW GTi Clubsport S after setting a lap time of 7:43.8, three seconds faster than the hot Golf GTi.


- Following reports that voice actor Yoshimasa Hosoya will go on hiatus from his career due to health concerns, Tomoaki Maeno is replacing Hosoya for the role of Hokuto Hidaka from Ensemble Stars starting at the end of May. However, Hosoya will not be replaced on his roles from Starmyu and Strike the Blood anime series.

- Fox's rebooted TV classic, The X Files, returns for another season.

TTFN!!!

Top Gear S24 Finale


Here we are, Series 24 of BBC's Top Gear ended with a bang and the finale's all about the Russian beast, the turbocharged midship Porsche, a car yacht, and a bit of nudity involved.

Matt LeBlanc tries out Russia's 8x8 offroader, the Avtoros Shaman, in the Isle of Man, and then later, joined alongside Rory Reid to create a car yacht based on the ugliest car in the world, the Ssangyong Rodius.

Meanwhile, Chris Harris is at the track to check out the new Porsche 718 Cayman and tries to find out if this new model lacks the predecessor's magic or not.

Jay Kay guest stars in episode for a little chat about cars, odd equipment on a budget, and lap round the Top Gear track with the reasonably fast car. And to top it all off, Eddie Jordan's having a chat with former F1 tycoon, Bernie Ecclestone.

Man, what a series it was for BBC's Top Gear. It's starting to feel more promising than the previous season, which was suffered from backlash of negative comments, and this is definite proof that the show really is coming back alive and revving thanks to LeBlanc, Reid, and Harris. Anyway, that's it for the new and improved Top Gear. See you soon for more.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

As carmakers are cashing in on the SUV craze, it seems that the revitalized Alfa Romeo has fallen victim to this trend and for the company behind the ever-zealous Giulia saloon, which made us envy to drive one someday, their first SUV known as the Stelvio really means business when it comes to cashing on on the competition against luxury crossovers in its class. So what is it then, this Stelvio?

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Stelvio, named after one of the greatest driving roads in the world known as the Stelvio Pass, is based on the same underpinnings as the Giulia saloon and by the looks of it, this crossover's a real looker which is great under Alfa Romeo standards. Imagine if you turn up on a local community pool for a swim meet, you'll become the most attractive swimmer in the team and everyone around will take a picture with you, especially your teammates. Sounds sensual but the Stelvio isn't all about being the most attractive crossover of all...

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio interior
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio interior

...because on the inside, the Stelvio is all business and leisure for both the driver and passenger. Not only the interior matches the same comfort as a BMW as well as the tech fest embodied to it, its surprisingly spacious and more room for the necessities that suit your lifestyle. Yes, this is a five-seater but the Stelvio is all about having three cars in one; a saloon, a wagon, and an multipurpose passenger vehicle. Quite a unique package for a sporty crossover, don't you think?

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

In the beginning, the Stelvio will be offered with a choice of either a 2.0L petrol or a 2.2L diesel engine, mated to an automatic 8-speed transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive. Soon, they'll be adding the more powerful Quadrifoglio variant with the same 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo Petrol Engine as the hot Giulia.

It maybe a crossover but it still behaves like an Alfa Romeo thanks to its brilliant weight distribution courtesy of its ultra-lightweight materials, suspension system with exclusive Alfalink, the most direct steering ratio in its segment, and self-locking rear differential. It maybe as stylish as the Venus de Milo statue but the way it behaves for a crossover is like Murphy's Law intended and as for the brakes, the world's first Integrated Brake System really taken care of.

Oh, the Integrate Brake System is simple to explain. It's an electromechanical system that combines stability control with a traditional servo brake, which not only makes it smoother but also quick enough to brake at a shorter distance. Nice one, Alfa.

Another way to make the Stelvio driving experience even more exceptional is its new Alfa DNA selector which alters the car's behavior at three driving modes; Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. When you set it to Dynamic, the Stelvio is becoming firm and sharp like a female swimmer going freestyle on an olympic-sized pool by herself. Above all, the electronics are not going to interfere your driving pleasure when you set to this kind of setup. Again, nice one.

On the normal roads, the Stelvio isn't too bad to drive for a daily driver's car and with an array of safety tech that got the drivers' back such as Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Path Detection, and Active Cruise Control, they got nothing to worry about except for the most drastic scenarios drivers are going to watch out for.

The new Stelvio starts at 47,750 Euros and while this is more expensive than the Giulia, it is competitively priced against numerous luxury SUVs in its segment and pricing aside, the Stelvio upsets the competition with its dynamics that promises drivers that they can come back for more. It maybe a crossover but this is still an Alfa Romeo and you can really come back to them if you are pleased with it.

Photo: Alfa Romeo

Forza Horizon 3: Legendary Supercar



Look what I got from this weekend's Forzathon event, it's the supercar that started it all. Yes, it's the Porsche 959 and it's a real legend, all right.

Launched in 1986, it is known to be the most advanced and technological sports car Porsche has ever made. For instance; it comes with the adjustable suspension and a complex 4WD system that drivers can split the power between the front and the rear wheels for grip and cornering at the same pace. Notable people who had a 959 include Bill Gates, Don Johnson, Boris Becker, and a few others.

Thanks to the 2.9L twin turbo B6 engine that produces 331 kW (444 hp) of power, the top speed is 197mph, which in 1986 made it the fastest production car in the world.





I already heard the tale of the legendary 959 and how its reign as the speed king was short-lived by the Ferrari F40 a year later, but because storytelling about these two legendary supercars are a tad boring, let's give them another piece of history by battling themselves on the streets of Surfers Paradise and see who come out on top. This is going to be fun because the whole world are already familiar about these 80's supercar titans that inspired the likes of the fastest supercars of today and I'm here to witness it.



And now the results...

1987 Porsche 959* (450HP/369ft-lb/3,190lb/43%/2,849cc/A 763) - 2:26.113
1987 Ferrari F40 (478HP/424ft-lb/2,980lb/42%/2,936cc/A 776) - 2:20.374

These legends...they are always remembered for their greatness in the real world and when paced together, history is meant to be made. That's what these two are made for, establishing a new kind of war only the fastest will survive. The war we called the "speed wars" and it's been going on since the invention of the automobile. Some will win, some will lose. That's the rule all power-hungry carmakers are living right now and like they said, if you aren't speeding, you aren't living.

Doctor Who S10E02

Doctor Who S10E02

The second episode of the latest series of BBC's Doctor Who is your only experience where emojis became scary...literally, as The Doctor and Bill Potts entered a utopia from a distant future inhabited by those mysterious robots that can communicate using, you guessed it, emojis. However, the duo realized that this isn't really a paradise it supposed to be and then a string of events kicked in to uncover the truth with the robots hot on their trail.

Emojis, common for today's millennials, has now given a terrifying twist in the world of Doctor Who and while fans can call those odd-looking "emojibots" cute, terrifying is what these bots sums up, as well as the signature Doctor Who plot twist that keeps the main characters changing plans for conflicting reasons.

Now that you've witnessed today's show, here's the behind the scenes clip of the episode titled Smile, courtesy of Bill Potts herself, Pearl Mackie.



And now...a preview of next week's episode...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

60 Years of Nissan Skyline

The story of the Nissan Skyline began since the 24th of April, 1957, when the first-generation Skyline, dubbed the ALS1, came out. The year marks the 60th anniversary of the Nissan Skyline and for thirteen generations, the most iconic nameplate in Nissan history has been through numerous phases from being a family midsize saloon nothing to write home about, to the birthstones of the legendary GT-R performance variants, the iconic Godzilla that dates back from the R32 to the R34 Skyline GT-R, all the way to becoming Japan's 3-Series fighter from V35 to today's V37.

Like every other Nissan execs advising people to stop altering the Skyline Timeline, such in the case of putting the R35 GT-R to this history like you, the speedo boys, now's the time to tell the "real" SKYLINE TIMELINE in honor of the Skyline's 60th anniversary, from ALS1 to V37, but let's keep it quick but understandable to speedo boys elsewhere so they can get to know the real Skyline history.

First Generation (ALS1) - The first Skyline, known as the Prince Skyline at that moment in time, was launched on the 24th of April, 1957 and it was available as either a four-door saloon, two-door coupe, two-door cabrio, and a five-door estate. It was powered by either a 1.5L or a 1.9L petrol engine and its striking feature to the first Skyline is its de Dion tube rear suspension, which makes it handle like a sportscar.

First-generation Skyline

Second-generation (S50) - Following the 1954 merger after Fuji Precision Industries changed its name to Prince Motor Company, the second-generation Skyline was launched in September 1963 and like the first one, it's offered with either a saloon and an estate while being powered by either a 1.5L or a 2.0L petrol engine. Three years later, after Nissan-Prince merger, the car is now known as the Nissan Skyline. It once competed at the second Japanese Grand Prix against the likes of the mighty Porsche 904 GTS.

Second-generation Skyline

Third-generation (C10) - The third-generation Nissan Skyline was launched in July 1968. A year later, the performance variant we know as the Skyline GT-R was introduced. With the chassis code of KPGC10 and known by most as the Hakosuka due to its box-shaped design, the GT-R is powered by a 2.0L S20 six-cylinder DOHC engine producing 160HP of power and 180Nm and it was derived from the Prince R380 race car. It was offered as either a saloon or a coupe and believe it or not, a HakoSuka saloon scored 33 victories in less than two years while the coupe scored 17 more through 1972.



Third-generation Skyline

Fourth-generation (C110) - Launched in September 1972, the fourth-generation Skyline was nicknamed the Kenmeri Skyline because of the TV commercial that has the couple named Ken and Mary on it. The Kenmeri Skyline GT-R, meanwhile, uses the same engine as the previous one and it was the first Japanese car to have disc brakes front and rear. Although popular, it was short-lived with 197 units made after stricter exhaust regulations were introduced following the oil crisis.

Fourth-generation Skyline

Fifth-generation (C210) - The fifth-generation Nissan Skyline was launched in August 1977 and known by the advertising as "SKYLINE JAPAN" due to its Japanese engineering tinkered to this car. The biggest trump card of this generation was the L20ET petrol engine introduced in 1980. Although less than what the previous model's GT-R had, it is the most powerful engine in its range. It was sold in Europe as the Datsun 240K-GT with the 2.4L petrol engine producing 142PS of power, three less than the Japan version's L20ET engine.

Fifth-generation Skyline

Sixth-generation (R30) - Launched in August 1981, the R30 Skyline features a much striking design compared to the previous model and it saw the introduction of the 2000RS variant with some of the concessions to comfort stripped out, turning it into a potent track weapon with 1,130kg of weight while being powered by a FJ20E petrol engine producing 150PS of power and 181Nm of torque. It was later joined by a turbocharged RS variant with power up to 190PS of power, hence labeled as the most powerful Japanese production engine of its time. Paul Newman endorsed this car and it even comes with a special variant named after him.

Sixth-generation Skyline

Seventh-generation (R31) - The 7th Skyline was launched in August 1985 and they are the first Skylines to use the RB engines. It was the first car in the world to introduce the 4-wheel steering system called HICAS (High Capacity Active Steering). The most potent version of the R31 is the GTS-R variant, which was homologated for Group A Touring Car racing. It was powered by a more potent RB20DET producing 210PS of power for road use, while racing-spec versions can produce up to 430HP in Group A trim.

Seventh-generation Skyline

Eighth-generation (R32) - Launched in May 1989, the eighth-generation Skyline was the first Skyline to come with multilink suspension. Later on, the GT-R was returned with the more powerful 2.6L 6-cylinder turbo engine and full-time four-wheel drive system. When it became a Group A racer, it smashed 29 races, hence earned the nickname Godzilla.

Eighth-generation Skyline

Ninth-generation (R33) - Introduced in August 1993, the ninth-generation Skyline is slightly heavier than the previous model while retaining some of the sporty characteristics from its predecessor. It comes with the brand new Super HICAS four-wheel steering system which uses electric actuators to steer the rear, unlike the hydraulic HICAS. It even comes with an available active limited slip differential which can lock the rear differential if it senses lack of traction by one of its wheels. The GT-R was returned to the lineup in 1995, adopting the slogan "Minus 21 second roman" because of the Nurburgring lap time of 7:59:000 meaning that's 21 seconds faster than the R32's lap time of 8:20:000. With the same RB26DETT engine, the R33 got an improved ATTESSA E-TS that was called ATTESA E-TS Pro all wheel drive system, which contains LSD.

Ninth-generation Skyline

Tenth-generation (R34) - The tenth-generation Skyline was introduced in May 1998, featuring a totally new bodywork that was labeled by the advertising as "DRIVING BODY."Apart from its improvements to the chassis, suspension, and dynamics that can match through the best of Europe, the R34 Skyline comes with their most powerful brakes ever made with the stopping time from 100kph to a dead stop in three seconds. A year later, the GT-R was introduced and it was known to be the best GT-R ever made before the end of the century, with the same ATTESSA-ETS Pro and the RB26DETT engine from the R33. The Nur variants, named after the Nurburgring, of the R34 Skyline GT-R are the special final variants just before the R34 and the Skyline GT-R's demise in 2002.

Tenth-generation Skyline

Eleventh-generation (V35) - In June 2001, the eleventh-generation Nissan Skyline was launched and it's now a luxury-focused saloon that competes against the likes of BMW's 3-Series, Benz's C-Class, and Audi's A4. Using the new FM platform that would underpin its station wagon equivalent, the Stagea, and its bigger brother, the Fuga, the eleventh-generation Skyline was powered with a choice of either a 2.5L, 3.0L, and 3.5L V6 engine. It was first sold in America as the new Infiniti G35, in saloon and coupe guise.

Eleventh-generation Skyline

Twelfth-generation (V36) - The twelfth-generation Nissan Skyline was launched in Japan in November 2006. It was joined with the coupe version a year later and a crossover variant in 2009 (which was sold globally as the Infiniti EX or QX50). It features 4-way Active Steer that behaves like the predecessors' HICAS. At first, it was powered by a 3.5L V6 engine but later, it was replaced by the same 3.7L VVEL engine from the Z34 Fairlady Z while being powered by a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The coupe variant has the same Z-derived setup as well.

Twelfth-generation Skyline

Thirteenth-generation (V37) - And now, here we are, the latest-generation Skyline that went on sale to the Japanese market since February 2014. This generation has a major twist because while this car was sold globally as the brand new Infiniti Q50, this Skyline bears Infiniti badges on the front grille and the interior while the rear view bears the SKYLINE letterings on it. It has a new Direct Adaptive Steering which delivers precise handling and quickly communicates road surface feedback to the driver. There's also the Active Lane Control which uses a camera to detect direction of the vehicle based on the lane markers to help fine-tune the tire angle and steering reaction force. Also, it comes with the world's first Predictive Forward Collision Warning that detects possible collisions ahead and triggers and alert to the driver with a visual warning and audible buzzer. For now, the V37 Skyline features 3.5L V6 engine connected to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery as well as a Mercedes-Benz-derived 2.0L 4-cylinder petrol engine. There are no plans to launch the coupe version, which was sold globally as the Q60, along with its new VR30DTT petrol engine with up to 400HP of power output.

Thirteenth-generation Skyline
...and there we have it. 60 years, 13 generations, various bodystyles, one Skyline. Need to say more? Anyway, here's for another 60 years of Nissan Skyline and no matter which direction one of the most iconic nameplates is heading at, rest assured that the Skyline will long be remembered as either an average saloon from the distant past, the Godzilla that won the hearts of speedo boys, or the luxury car that battles the best of European imports.

HAPPY 60th ANNIVERSARY, SKYLINE!
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