Saturday, October 8, 2016

PH President Duterte - 100 days later...

PH President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(Screencap: RTVM)

Since he assumed post as the President of the Philippines since the end of June, 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the once notable Davao City Mayor at his moment in time before this, wanted to achieve a greater change Filipinos are hoping for, but with possible consequences not just here but across the globe.

One of the most noteworthy examples in President Duterte's platform is the ongoing war on drugs. Using his iron-fist approach during his three-decade career as a politician, Duterte's widespread crackdown on illegal drugs has single-handedly defined his early days in the presidency. His threats to kill criminals, even drug dealers, prompted the nation's crime rate to drop sharply and the recent survey showed by the Social Weather Station revealed that 84% of the Filipinos are happy with Duterte's performance.

Although his anti-crime and anti-drug platform, which prompted the surrender of 732,000 addicts and dealers, is proven rather well, there are some condemned to his anti-drug approach, most infamously the extra-judicial killings which, as of now, over 3,600 were killed. 1,300 of the suspects were killed by policemen while some are killed by vigilantes similar to the infamous Davao Death Squad years ago. An average of 36 killings a day since he took office on June 30. The international community have condemned this kind of killings but President Duterte lashed on those, especially the US, the European Union, and even the United Nations. He even threatened to leave the United Nations, but later told that he was sarcastic.

Another controversial remark from Duterte is he compared himself to the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who killed over a million Jews during the Second World War, and he reckons he will happily do the same on the drug addicts. Such remarks angered the Jewish community and Duterte apologized to them for such behavior.

Apart from Duterte giving the Western nations some "hellish" remarks, Duterte threatened to sever the six-and-a-half decade long alliance with the United States. From putting the end of the joint military drills to verbally damaging US President Barack Obama, it seems that the Duterte administration is doing its best to tarnish the US government's alliance with the Philippines and he may reconsider alliances with China and Russia, which are key opponents to the United States in economy and global security. Although despite Duterte's hatred to the United States, which benefitted China amidst the tribunal ruling on the South China Sea, the US has generally downplayed the effect of Duterte's comments and underscored the Filipino's decades-long ties with the USA, although some officials are concerned about where the two nations' alliances are heading to.

I'm pretty sure that Duterte's hatred to the American government, in reaction to their ugly view to the Philippines over the so-called "state-sponsored violence", won't go away but as officials trying to debunk his rhetorics, it will go on until this whole drug-induced problem is solved and I believe that his opposition against the US government was just a game just so China won't wage tensions between them in the disputed waters...or so I thought.

Although his hatred against the Western powers, mostly the US and the EU, is still a classic Duterte, I think he still has ties with other Asian countries, even Japan and the ASEAN countries, and it's kinda odd that if these Asian countries are giving Duterte what he deserved, he's going to teach them a lesson they will never forget, I presume. If he's going to sacrifice the withstanding relationship between the US and the Philippines in favor for more countries collaborating with the Philippines, even China and Russia, that could open up for more opportunities for the Duterte administration within the next six years.

In the dawn of the 20th century, the Philippines, following its win against the Spaniards, was under American control. They were enemies at that time but they became allies. The Second World War demonstrated that the US-PH ties are in full swing and with the war ended, their partnership still lingers on, although some believed that the Philippines is slowly becoming the original Vietnam for the Americans. I said "original Vietnam" because this was way before the Americans poured fire in Vietnamese soil. I wonder why Duterte strongly condemned against the American government for such purpose? To think that the Philippines is too dependent on America for its defense? Economy? That depends but whatever it is, this is something worth checking on and with the US facing a critical choice between the two possible leaders, I'm guessing Duterte still has his own views no matter which presidential candidate ended up in the White House. No matter the outcome in America, Duterte is still Duterte when it comes to the now-worsening ties following their condemnation against his war on drugs.

In terms of easing down longstanding conflicts, it seems that Duterte has done a pretty good job in his first 100 days as the new leader. His efforts to resume peace talks with communist insurgents prompted for cease-fire declarations by both sides. With the ceasefire agreement in placed alongside one of the largest Muslim rebel group under his predecessor, things are finally settling in.

Although Duterte's strategy which led the Abu Sayyaf Group freed some of its hostages, it was still a test to his counter-terrorism platform. The deadly bombing in Davao last month, which killed 15 people, is just another one of the examples that the Duterte administration is dead serious about beefing up security and being prepared for any threats it may come across.

In conclusion, when he took office last June, he wasn't really joking about "change is coming" and if I had the chance to see what is like to live in the Philippines that is now run by a powerful politician who despises the Western powers and unleashed a deadly war on drugs, it's anyone's guess because they've asked for Duterte to become their leader since the elections and they've got what they wanted; a modern-day crony who's going to be the next Ferdinand Marcos. I'd better not say more about his 100 days for now because it's going to get dirty and if I had to say to him, read my words;

Duterte can still change and even though his plans for ridding the nation from drugs and crime are proclaimed to be working, he still has to take responsibility on those extra-judicial killings that are becoming rampant. Even if he has strong hatred against the western powers for condemning his drug war campaign, which is similar to what happened to Colombia and Thailand years ago with strong liking from its citizens, he should rather tone down or face dire consequences to the international community and if things get any rough, Duterte should clean the mess he made before his term ends in the next decade, 2022 to be exact, so he can entrust the future of the Filipinos to the next generation. Seeing how defiant Duterte can be no matter how harsh the consequences will be from the international community, even the US and the European Union alike, looks like this game will go on until its over.

The real hunt is on for PDU30 and the whole world is on his back. Let's see if he can rise or fall from his presidential tenure...

Bubble Gang - October 7, 2016 #BGSwerte

On the October 7, 2016 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Talo sa sugal gags

- The Jungle Belles met another male victims to deal with...

- Opposite servings on the menu

- Oh, the perks of being an high-profile inmate...

- Istomboy, Istomboy sa Looban, Tama Po Ang Inyong Napakinggan, Kwento natin dito sa Tambayan, Tungkol sa Dalawang nag...TOMBOYAN?!!

- A man who's sober from drinking is reconsidering something...

- The little doggie's stealing the family's attention.

- Senior citizens at a job interview

- Basa-basa-pik!

Forza Horizon 3: The 6.5 million dollar waiting game

As classic car hunters know, this is a barn. And inside, there's a hidden gem that can be useful in their next races throughout the festival, but there's a catch; the barn find in question has a 6.5 million value and waiting for it to be restored during gameplay is a total nightmare! I thought it will took less than thirty minutes or so for a barn find to be restored but this one is different. The main reason why it took me several moments to wait for this hidden artifact to be restored like it was made is this...

Ladies and gents, this is the ultra-legendary Ferrari 166MM Barchetta. It isn't just more of being the first Ferrari to win Le Mans, it won the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio as well as the Spa 24 Hours, making this one of the most successful racing machines in Ferrari's history. It was named by Motor Trend magazine as one of the ten greatest Ferraris of all time because of such success it made. It uses a 2.0L V12, which is kinda small by modern standards, which produces up to 140HP of power, not that powerful by modern standards. Although not as quick by modern standards, driving an ultra-rare, which is way more cooler than super-super-rare, barn find can be an awesome experience.

Finding a barn find is easy, but waiting for a barn find to be restored is a different experience and because of its 6.5 million value, taking a lot of time to be restored compared to the other barn finds, what else did I do in such spare time?

Apart from doing other stuff such as doing Bucket List challenges (because is nigh or never for Horizon festival "producers" like you and me), I spend some time finding some other barn finds before the 166MM is restored. So, what are some barn finds I discovered during the long timeline?

The Meyers Manx is an offroad buggy made by the dream of Bruce F. Meyers in California. Based on the chassis used for the Beetle, this unique offroader conquered dune racing and shattering records, spawning road-legal models until its demise due to tax problems after Bruce F. Meyers left. It's a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive and handling one of these requires accuracy because of its understeer issues.

The R32 Skyline GT-R has been one of the best JDM cars in history apart from western speedo boys called it "Godzilla" for some point but it sure is a fun car for a barn find like this. Looking for an ideal JDM tuner from the 90's? Try this, if you're lucky to find one.

The HQ Holden Belmont Sandman Panel Van isn't more than just a car, it's an all-rounder that is a hit not just for business use but for lifestylers during its time. Although it's a favorite among outdoorsmen, surfers, campers, whatever lifestyle hits their boat, the HQ-based Sandman was once rivaled by a panel-van variant of the Ford Falcon in its time but rivalry aside, those ute-based panel vans is just one way of showing how unique the Aussies make their cars. Believe it or not, you can change the Sandman's appearance from van look to ute look, making them mistaken there are two kinds of vehicles. Hmmm...

And finally, the Jaguar Mk. II, apart from being one of the forerunners of the British touring car history, it was once a favorite getaway car for felons. As a response, policemen get a dose of the action with this car. That's car culture for you.

So, after several barn finds later, the ultra-rare 166MM Barchetta's fully restored to its former glory and I had the honorary chance to try one of the most successful Ferraris in history. That was hardcore about the waiting period, huh?

Whew, glad I am part of this kind of experience. Speaking of which, I only got two barn finds left on the map. One that doesn't take a lot of time and the other...well, you guessed it. I need a break.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Let's Do The News! (October 7, 2016)

- Troops have captured three suspects connected to the deadly bombing of a night market in Davao that killed 15 people and seized a cellphone video of the blast from them that they apparently took for propaganda purposes. The suspected Muslim extremists captured are Wendel Apostol Factura, Musali Mustapha, and TJ Tagdaya Macabalang.

- According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, he told the US military that plans for joint patrols and naval exercises in the South China Sea have been put on hold, the first concrete break in defense cooperation after months of increasingly harsh comments by President Rodrigo Duterte.

- PNP chief Director General Bato dela Rosa said that the alleged Davao death squad hitman, Edgar Matobato, will be taken under police custody.

- Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to end a five-decades-long civil war that killed over 200,000 people in the South American country. The award came just days after Colombians voted to reject the peace deal that Santos helped bring about.

- Hurricane Matthew is currently making landfall near the US East Coast state of Florida as it heads northwest with wind speeds remained at 190kph. Over 270,000 households in Florida are without power while over 3,000 people have been evacuated.

- Police in India say there was a massive scam targeting against US citizens from "call centers" set up in this country. Over 70 members of the scam ring had been arrested at a western Indian city of Mumbai. The group set up 9 fake call centers and hired about 700 people.

- Alma Moreno asks for prayers for son Mark Anthony Fernandez, who was caught using drugs. Earlier, Mark Anthony Fernandez's arraignment at Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 60 was postponed because of the motion of suspension for added investigation on the troubled actor.


Forza Horizon 3: Burnt some midnight oil to get one...

See this E36 BMW M3? I got it from a Midnight Battle, and if you're wondering what's it all about, this classic Bimmer is just one of the few cars you can win on Midnight Battle. To do this, you need to win enough Street Races to access to this duel where a prize car is at stake.

Here's what I did...

Heh, looks like I've been trying my "Vin Diesel" impression to take care of that prized Bimmer but in the end, it's always "eyes on the prize" and with such win, I finally got my hands on this sick Bimmer that can't wait to put on its cool bodykit sourced from Japan. I'm talking about Rocket Bunny, of course, and it seems odd for an German sportscar to wear such a bodykit made specifically for Japanese sportscars like the 86 and the BRZ, but what the hey? The E36 M3 is one of the best cars a speedo boy would love.

With the bodykit on, the E36 M3 it looks like if tonight's serving is a bratwurst dipped in wasabi and the beverage for the day was cerveza negra. Don't know what a cerveza negra taste like but with a unique serving and a unique lifestyle brew, the E36 M3 with the Rocket Bunny kit sure knows how to living the lifestyle after hours, unless it knows what its doing right now.

Uh-huh, perhaps it could use a little more work on the performance side that can balance both its offense and defense because this car's still on the defensive post but still, I had fun driving an E36 M3 that comes with a Rocket Bunny kit for its new kind of attitude for a classic German hi-po sportscar that has been the hallmark for every Bimmer aficionados since the first one and while I had fun driving the latest BMW M4 with the Liberty Walk look a few moments ago, it has a lot to learn from this car.

Still, this is a prized car worthy to be admired for not just for its looks, but for attitude as well...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Let's Do The News! (October 6, 2016)

- Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and alleged lover of Senator Leila de Lima failed to appear at the House Justice committee public hearing on the alleged drug trafficking operations in the New Bilibid Prison despite being summoned. Police authorities have served subpoenas to Robbie Dayan and former DOJ undersecretary Francisco Baraan III ordering them to attend the inquiry at the House on Thursday and Friday.

- A recent Social Weather Station survey said that President Rodrigo Duterte nabbed a "very good" rating and the approval of 76 percent for his first three months in service. Based on the survey, Duterte gained a +64 net satisfaction rating in the first quarter. The survey also showed that 76% of the respondents from Metro Manila, balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, are happy with Duterte's performance.

- Hurricane Matthew is approaching to southern parts of the United States, forcing residents to evacuate. The hurricane was moving northwest from the Bahamas on Wednesday afternoon, after passing through the Caribbean nations of Haiti and Cuba. As of now, Hurricane Matthew is now downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 3 hurricane on a scale up to five as it sustained winds of about 195kph.

- The United Nations has announced that the Paris Agreement on climate change will go into effect on the 4th of November. The deal takes effect 30 days after over 55 nations representing more than 55% of global greenhouse emissions have ratified it. It will happen before the UN climate change conference in Morocco takes place next month.

 - Civil and human rights groups expressed their condemnations and some cybersecurity experts urged their clients to stop using the Yahoo Mail service after report that the internet service provider had secretly scanned millions of e-mail messages on behalf of US intelligence agencies. A certain report from Reuters told that Yahoo secretly made a government-ordered email surveillance program, which continues the ongoing topic between digital privacy and national security. Yahoo said in a statement that the Reuters report is "misleading".

- Tuner Hennessey Performance plans to make the new Ford F-150 Raptor into a six-wheeled beast called the VelociRaptor 6x6, a 600HP behemoth that will cost $295,000 with the said truck as its base car. Apart from its six-wheeled monstrosity, it comes with bespoke front and rear bumpers, modified aluminum bed, and other improvements.

- There is now a Chris Redfield Nendoroid unveiled officially by Good Smile Company and the star of the very first Biohazard/Resident Evil game is yours to order starting at 4,630 Yen (plus tax) with deliveries taking place in March.

- A chibified Yellow 13 plane from Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies has been unveiled by Hasegawa Hobby Kits and with prices starting at 1,500 Yen, fans can take home and built a super-deformed take on a formidable Flanker plane flew by a formidable Erusian ace.

- A live-action adaptation on a Disney Princess classic, Mulan, will be released on Winter 2018. As of right now, Disney is launching a global casting search for a Chinese actress to play Mulan. This live-action adaptation, when out this 2018, is made to honor of the animated Disney classic's 20th anniversary. We've seen all Disney princesses gave their live-action rebirths from 2015's Cinderella to next year's Beauty and the Beast.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Let's Do The News! (October 5, 2016)

Following President Rodrigo Duterte's "hellish" remarks against US President Barack Obama and the European Union, a White House official states that Duterte's comments at odds with US-PH ties. During his speech at the opening of the joint Philippine-US military exercises, Duterte told Obama to "go to hell" and the European Union to settle for purgatory. Duterte earlier expressed his intent to end the war games between the two countries during his term.

- Groups of Marcos supporters have surpassed the one million target signatures for the petition to allow the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The signatures will be turned over to the Supreme Court on Thursday. A simple mass will be held in front of the SC prior to the turn over.

- Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo announced that their new slogan will be unveiled on the 13th of January, 2017, the day when Miss Universe contestants arrive in the country for the pageant, to make sure it gets more international exposure. Teo denied rumors that the pageant here was cancelled due to recent developments.

- Vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence sized each other for the vice-presidential debate. In an odd move, looks like Pence simply ignored the Donald Trump he familiarized with on the trail for more than a year.

- At least 11 people were killed in four countries, including Haiti and the Dominican Republic, when Hurricane Matthew wreak havoc in the Caribbean sea. US weather authorities say that this powerful storm was moving past Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday. It was classified as a category 4 storm on a scale of 5, with wind speeds as high as 216kph.

- Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was named as the second wealthiest American, following Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The US business magazine Forbes says Bezos has gone two ranks up in its survey of 400 wealthiest people in the USA. Bill Gates tops the list for the 23rd straight year with assets worth 81 billion dollars while Bezos has a net worth of 67 billion dollars because of the sharp rise of his company's share. Warren Buffet, an investor, was ranked 3rd.

- Subaru unveiled their limited-edition WRX S4 tS model, which is "tuned by STi". Although performance figures remained the same, the S4 tS model is benefitted with STi-tuned dynamics to make it handle better than the normal S4. It's priced at 4,968,000 Japanese Yen while the NBR Challenge Package costs 5,292,000 Japanese Yen. Customers in Japan have until March 12 to grab one of those.

2017 Subaru WRX S4 tS

- The Smoking Tire Car Pack for the Forza Horizon 3 XBOX One game is now available to download. In this month's car pack, there are seven new rides to try out including the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Lotus 340R, Jeep CJ-5, GTA Spano, BMW M2, Pagani Huayra BC, and the Aston Martin Vulcan. Car Pass owners can get it for free or can be purchased for $7.

- New Pokemon Sun and Moon info on the radar! The Alola starters are getting their first evolutionary stages as Rowlet becomes Dartrix, Litten becomes Torracat, and Popplio becomes Brionne! In addition, you can communicate with other players via the new Festival Plaza. You can even make Pokemon deposited on the PC do things with Poke Pelago. And, this is the part where all good trainers can sleep in their beds tonight, because Mega Evolution returns in Sun and Moon. The list remains the same but finding the Mega Stones can be obtained from certain people or by buying it at a special store. There's a special demo coming out this month featuring a Greninja from a very special someone. From the XYZ TV series, comes Ash-Greninja. A special Greninja that comes with its exclusive "Battle Bond" ability which transforms when it knocked down an opponent's Pokemon. You can even take it on the full game when it comes out as well!


Forza Horizon 3: Digging the Outback's Buried Secrets

These are the hidden gems lurking through the Australian Outback...

...and right now, I've been picking multiple notifications about barn find rumors sprawling around Australia and while this is basically a headache to me, knowing that I spend the rest of the job hosting races per festival, it's all "challenge accepted" to me.

Having ventured through the "wasteland" for the rest of my break in search for buried secrets, these are the "buried secrets" I found...

The FJ40 is by no means one of the finest offroaders Toyota has ever made and whereas all SUV becoming more city-focused and luxurious, this bare-boned old-school classic deserves some respect as what every offroad enthusiasts do most of the time and with such reputation, no other modern offroader comes close to this legendary beast that conquered through the ends of the earth. How did I find it and what I did with it?

Three years after the first Holden, the 48-215 (FX) was made in 1948, its ute derivative, the 50-2106, was launched and you maybe asking why the number codes are plated to the founding Holdens of the Australian motoring history is because when these Holdens first made, they were marketed simply as "Holden" with no model name mentioned. Although this is basically a coupe utility truck based on the first Holden ever made, it remains one of the founding fathers of the ute genre and it's a waste to see eight decades of Aussie motoring greatness faded away with nothing, but still, driving one of these founding fathers will give you a clear idea why Australia made such unique cars like this ute.

Although the XB Ford Falcon was known for scoring touring car championship wins with the legendary touring car driver Allan Moffat behind the wheel, it became a star car when it propelled to famed in the Mad Max movies and because we have the Australian Outback on our side, it won't take a matter of time before prepping up a Mad Max reference in-game using the XB Falcon as the hero of the story, if you know what I mean? With this XB Falcon, this festival belongs to the mad. WHAT A LOVELY DAY!!!

This is the first time the Forza franchise ever featured a three-wheeler and this is their first; a Reliant Supervan III. Yes, we are all familiar with this three-wheeled curiosity because we seen this car making a mess on the Mr. Bean show several times and we seen Reliants gone kaput in Top Gear during the Clarkson, Hammond, and May years so this three-wheeled oddity needs no explanation, unless you are brave enough to drive it and not to make its "famous" mistake that sends this car tumbling down the road, which, unfortunately, I did most of the times.

The HQ Holden Monaro is the second generation model of the car Holden calls it "Australia's first sports machine", and having one of these Aussie beauties set off feels like "it's going to be very Monaro" because it's the great way to move. Sorry, did I said much?

And lastly, this massive-winged classic muscle car called the Dodge Charger Daytona HEMI. Although I heard that this winged monstrosity was once used for NASCAR, little did I know that 503 of these were made while 70 of these are HEMI powered and only 20 combined comes with a 4-speed manual gearbox. Those 20 kinds of Charger Daytona are ultra rare indeed and it's so rare, it garnered an estimated auction of 800,000 to 1,000,000 US Dollars. Amazingly, it even featured on Fast and Furios 6 as one of the cars Dom drove and I managed to go with my Vin Diesel impression by recreating Dom's Daytona Charger inside and out and take it for a spin. Scary but fun.

So with all of Outback's buried secrets unearthed by me, looks like there are some more barn find rumors that need to be unearthed and I'm feeling I'm as adventurous as a world-famous treasure hunter seeking for fame and fortune. I am. For now, I'm now taking a well-deserved rest.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

F1 2016: Malaysian GP

Image: Associated Press
The Malaysian Grand Prix of the F1 2016 is a disaster for Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton following an engine failure that knocked him out of the track cold while leaving Nico Rosberg placing in third place and following such an unfortunate event, the Red Bull Racing team tasted their 1-2 finish with Daniel Ricciardo placed 1st while rookie driver Max Verstappen placed 2nd.

Following Rosberg's third placer, the gap between him and Hamilton has now increased to 23 points and with five races left in the season, there's no telling how will these two closing in for the World Champion title, and following such result that Mercedes couldn't gained the Constructor's Cup in Malaysia as predicted, there's still chance that this team will get it as the next race will be in Suzuka, Japan, on the 9th of October.

Let's Do The News! (October 4, 2016)

- The Philippines and the United States opened their what is believed to be their final joint military exercises despite President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to end the war games during his term. Last week, Duterte declared his intention to end the joint military exercise between the two countries, noting that China is not in favor of this. Duterte wants to establish ties with China for trade and commerce.

- Palace officials kept mum on the seemingly conflicting statement of President Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Last Sunday, Duterte wants a review of EDCA, noting that the agreement didn't contain the signature of the Philippine president. Yasay, however, clarified that there's no need to review the EDCA as the Supreme Court upheld its legality.

- The alleged video scandal of Senator Leila de Lima will not be shown when the House Committee on Justice resumes its inquiry on the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison on Thursday. According to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, they will not show the video of the senator and her former driver Ronnie Dayan.

- The Islamic State militants claimed responsibility behind the explosion at a Kurdish wedding in northeastern Syria, killing at least 30 people and injured 90. The Islamic State posted a message on the internet saying they're targeting against a gathering of Kurds, serving as a retaliation against the recovery in August by Kurdish forces of the strategic northern town of Manbij.

- The Turkish government will likely extend the state of emergency by three months. It was imposed following a failed coup in July. The government announced the plan on Monday as the initial three-month period will end on the 18th of October. Government officials say that more time is needed to deal with terrorist groups, even those led by the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is the alleged mastermind of the failed coup.

- Ford Motor Company officially announced that they will revive the Bronco SUV and it will be produced in Michigan alongside the next-generation Ford Ranger. This is the response from a a chairman of UAW local 900 following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's attack on Ford shifting jobs to Mexico.

- Well that was unexpected. Somewhere in Taiwan, a journalist accidentally crashed a brand new Honda NSX during a test drive. It's the first ever happened in a new car and the motoring journalist, who was involved in the crash, blamed for an incoming insect flying through the interior.

- For the first time, there are bishounen entering the Nendoroid Co-de lineup and these bishounen are from the movie "KING OF PRISM by PrettyRhythm. Kouji Mihama, Kazuki Nishina, and Hiro Hayami are now ready to order starting at 3,241 Yen (plus tax) each and deliveries will commence from March to April 2017 for each new models.

Nendoroid Code Hiro Hayami
Nendoroid Code Kazuki Nishina
Nendoroid Code Kouji Mihama

- Out tomorrow on the PS4-exclusive THE IDOLM@STER Platinum Stars game, the third DLC catalog game featuring the brand new song "Amaterasu" as well as their brand new outfit made specifically for this catalog, and other extras. Check out what's in store for this catalog!


Second Generation GMC Acadia

GMC's full-size (what it used to be) crossover has been given a full-model change as the all-new Acadia is ready to tackle everyday situations not just for drivers but for the moms and dads who got their hands full with their family businesses at home and at work. So, what's it all about the new Acadia?

2017 GMC Acadia

First and foremost, the new Acadia isn't what you called full-sized anymore because General Motors has downgraded the new Acadia from full-size to midsize thanks to either cost-cutting measures or the use on the similar platform used on the Cadillac XT5 and the Chinese-made Buick Envision. Despite its downgrade, the new Acadia still sits above the Chevy Equinox-based Terrain and with prices start at 29,995 US Dollars, it's a hard bargain for a crossover of that caliber.

Another thing that will keep you noticed about the new Acadia that it comes in three different styles to choose from; the standard Acadia, the more rugged All Terrain, and the more luxurious Denali. Whichever Acadia they can choose, it's all business for the new model.

2017 GMC Acadia interior

Another thing that catches the eye is the new interior and because it's downshifted from full-size to midsize, the new Acadia lost some of the boot space as well as its eight-seater capacity, meaning that it can now be offered as either five, six, or seven seater, depending on how many members of the family you had. While this is bad news for baby boomers, it's good news for the picky ones like me who are struggling to get through the third row seat...well, almost because having an Acadia with six seats is good but if there are three seats in the second-row seats, your worst-case scenario is that when those seats are occupied by the tyrannical child seats, you're going to resort entering the third-row seats at the back of the car just by folding one-seat and then get through just like what you faced with any other three-row seating crossovers you're familiar with. On the tech side, however, it's all business for them especially when the new Acadia's sat-nav now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Once more, you get some other high-tech features as well as safety tech such as side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear view monitor, and rear park assist. Some are optional extra, of course.

2017 GMC Acadia

Sometimes, a little sacrifice is a necessity to deliver greater results and for the new Acadia, with all that downsizing on the body style, is now 700lbs less than the previous model, similar to what surgeons did on an extra-extra large obese man at the operating theater. With all that weight loss comes greater dynamics courtesy of its refined suspension and chassis. So, it's not just better to handle, it's also quiet as well, fit enough to be called luxurious.

Engine choices, the new Acadia offers two new petrol engine choices ranging from a 2.5L that promises an estimated 28MPG on a highway for front-wheel drive models courtesy of its idling stop feature that shuts off the engine when stopped and the starts again when setting off, up to the more powerful 3.5L V6 engine that produces 310HP of power and 4,000 pounds of trailering capability with the optional towing package. Most of the engines are mated with a 6-speed automatic gearbox and an electronically controlled drive mode selector that changes how the car behaves in various conditions.

In the All Terrain variant, the rugged equivalent of those Trailhawk models from Jeep, it comes with an advanced AWD system with Active Twin Clutch, which allows this crossover to handle better in problematic road conditions, making it a decent off-roader for the adventurers looking to take a weekend on the great outdoors.

Despite its losses for greatness, the new Acadia from GMC is becoming the turning point for the crossover market and with different choices to choose from, it's all about being tailored to your personal preference and while some disliked from having a smaller boot than the original Acadia as well as a loss of just one seat for the babies, the new model is becoming a redeemable asset for the righteous of drivers.

Photo: General Motors

Monday, October 3, 2016

Let's Do The News! (October 3, 2016)

- President Rodrigo Duterte is set to grand a safe conduct on fugitive Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari so they can talk peace in Davao City. Duterte did not say when his meeting with Misuari would take place.

- Because of harsh comments from President Duterte, Brussels prompted to reconsider its scheduled royal visit to the Philippines next year. Brussels State Secretary for External Trade Cecile Jodogne wants to cancel the trade mission led by Princess Astrid to the Philippines in May 2017, according to reports. Duterte earlier compared himself to German dictator Adolf Hitler and said that he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts" but he apologized for his remark after drawing flak from the Jewish community all over the world.

- The Philippines will meet this week with over 40 other climate vulnerable countries for the first time under the Duterte administration, which vowed not to ratify the Paris Treaty. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez will attend the ministerial dialogue of his counterparts in the Vulnerable 20 Group of Nations in Washington DC on Thursday. It will also mark the turnover of the group's chairmanship from the Philippines to Ethiopia.

- SPO3 Arthur Lascanas, alleged team leader of the Davao Death Squad, denied Monday that he was part of the group, which he said does not even exist. In previous hearings of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, confessed hitman Edgar Matobato testified that Lascanas relayed orders from then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the group, which he said was originally called "Lambada Boys". Lascanas denied such existence.

- Voters in Colombia have narrowly rejected a peace deal with rebel forces aimed at ending over five decades of armed conflict. Sunday's referendum had asked people to approve the landmark accord between the government and the REvolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The civil war between the two sides has killed over 200,000 people, 50.21% of the voters were against the deal while 49.78% voted for it.

- US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is expected to step up criticism against her Republican rival Donald Trump following reports about his tax records. The New York Times reported that Trump declared a 916 million dollar loss on his 1995 income tax returns. It said the tax deduction could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years. The Clinton campaign called the report a bombshell that reveals the colossal nature of Turmp's past business failures.

- Yoshinori Osumi, a Japanese biologist, has won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Osumi sohwed how cells get rid of defective proteins or degrade unnecessary ones to generate energy. This mechanism is called autophagy and it's common to most organisms with nucleated cells.


Forza Horizon 3: Nomad's Sky

Remember this extreme offroader made by the same people behind the bewildering Ariel Atom? Yep, you'd probably saw this one from a certain Top Gear episode when Matt LeBlanc drove one to escape from the prying eyes of the paparazzi while on the hot Middle Eastern desert. While this whole stint sounds mediocre to some, although I can find that most of you never liked the recent season of Top Gear with Chris Evans in it (glad that he quit the job for such point), the Ariel Nomad is an awesome extreme offroad buggy that delivers the same thrills as the Atom, with a muddier attitude that sends this car flying like an eagle. A desert eagle.


So, what exactly is this Ariel Nomad? While the Atom became a track-toy sensation not to mention a blow to Jeremy Clarkson's face since his days as a Top Gear presenter, the new Nomad offers the same extreme performance from the Atom, only in its extreme offroad packaging that fits not just on the road and track but also on rough terrain despite its rear-wheel drive powertrain.

Like the normal Atom, the Nomad's equipped with the same Honda 2.4L i-VTEC engine producing 235BHP of power and 300Nm of torque while mated to a 6-speed close ratio gearbox. Because it weighs 670kg, its power to weight ratio is 6.25lb/hp. It will do 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and onwards to 125mph.

Couple this extreme performance with the signature Ariel structure and the Nomad is a no-frills offroader that can be enjoyed not just as an offroader but also a track toy similar to what the Atom shot to fame. It can be tailored to its customers desires.

Anyway, no time for further explanations because I was just getting warmed up to feel the thrill from Ariel's extreme offroad buggy in the same way what Matt LeBlanc did when he tried to escape the paparazzi on the desert. Since I'm still on the outback, hanging around doing my "producer" job, I found an airfield that will test the mettle of the Ariel Nomad against all kinds of buggies in store such as The Cholla, an Alumi Craft Class 10 Race Car, and a very small but unpredictable Polaris RZR. Excuse me while I'm doing my on-the-job race.

Okay, lights! Motor! Action!

Well, that was quite a challenge to master an offroad buggy like the Nomad in the first place but I managed to have a good show and a win in this event. The Nomad maybe a dirty cousin of the Atom but when it comes to enjoyment even on rough terrain, feels like I'm like the bad guy from the Mad Max movie screaming "WHAT A LOVELY DAY!" Sorry, lost my balance, but the Nomad is an awesome offroader you can drive in Forza Horizon 3. Speaking of a win...

I'd just received word that a barn find is hidden somewhere in the Outback and me and my Nomad approached to the said location. So, what kind of a barn find looks like? I'll show you later.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

The Abarth lineup is currently filled with beefed-up versions of the 500 and it's time for a change. Perhaps a Fiat 124 Spider-based model should come to the mix and enjoyment couldn't come any hairier than this with the first-ever, open-top, rear-wheel drive Abarth based on the new Fiat 124 Spider.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

The 124 Spider Abarth is the high-performance version of the Fiat 124 Spider, which is based on the fourth-generation Mazda Roadster, and judging by its performance, it will make not just owners of the normal 124 Spider but also owners of the latest Mazda Roadster the remorse they will regret having an lightweight open-top roadster that delivers a potential track-day talent some may call it "accessible".

Just how accessible is the 124 Spider Abarth? Well, with looks inspired from the 1972 Abarth 124 Spider, you can tell that this car has heritage from the legendary breed that became a talk-of-a-town when it battled fiercely though rally stages and numerous race feats, but that's just the half of the story. Under the hood lies a smaller, yet powerful 1.4L four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 170HP of power and 250Nm of torque. With this output, it will go from zero to 100kph in 6.8 seconds and onwards to 232km/h, which is very quick for a nippy little open-top sportscar with some shouty exterior design fit for the fashionable car enthusiasts. It also makes a not-so-bad noise from its exhaust as well.

Apart from the engine, the dynamics is what makes the 124 Spider Abarth very accessible, thanks to its perfect weight distribution and lightweight design, making it a new gold standard in the roadster segment. With a class-leading power-to-weight ratio, and weighing less than a Ford Fiesta, not to mention some track-honed handling, the 124 Spider Abarth can be as swift as swinging a wrecking ball with all the strength and force you can wield at and make some lava holes but living in a day-to-day basis can be somewhat challenging, that is when parallel parking on reverse is like climbing up a mountain.

Although not what you call a daily driver's car, the new 124 Spider Abarth, with its 40,000 Euro price tag, may sound expensive to own but it's a start for buyers looking for high-performance open-top rear-wheel drive roadster who believe that owning an Alfa 4C Spider or a Lotus Elise can be a costly experience. Nevertheless, the 124 Spider Abarth will make anyone's decision making a hard one choosing between a car inspired from and a car originated from. The Fiat 124-Mazda Roadster decision-making experience couldn't get even more complicating.

Photo: FIAT

Forza Horizon 3: My first week in Australia

Four days before Forza Horizon 3 went on sale on Tuesday, I got myself an early access to this game via the Ultimate Edition I pre-ordered days before it went live to the eager public like you and I but no matter the outcome, I am very happy that I spent my first week exploring the Australian scenery in this newest installment.

Man, I'm glad I've signed up to this experience. I can finally leave my Ridge Racer fantasies in Europe behind and get into the festival business in Australia for real. Wait, let me guess, I have a lot of memories regarding Australia, huh? Not in the slightest but I've seen good car commercials, mostly Japanese and Korean ones, took place in the Land Down Under, even open areas like the Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road where it looks good to drive even in strong rains. Being in the self-styled "universal automotive playground" is like a dream come true but being in charge of the Festival feels like, to put it a broad context or anything, a producer. I can think of myself as...the producer of this whole festival in Australia! That's a plus!

So, what I have done in my first week in Australia? Come on, I'm sure you guys did everything better than me on day one...


In my first day of duty as an honorary "producer" on Horizon Australia, like what every player starting their first day of the job, I've been given a choice of four cars to start with; a Shelby GT350, a Nissan Silvia S15 complete with Rocket Bunny bodykit, a BMW M4, and an HSV Gen-F Maloo GTS. I've picked the Maloo and if anyone asked me "why start your first day on a pickup truck?", I would say "This is not a pickup truck. It's a ute, and it holds significance here". Of course, my car of choice does pick significance here.

The Maloo, Aborigine for "thunder", is a high-performance version of the Commodore-based Holden Ute and in this Gen-F model, based on the Holden VF Commodore Ute, they Aussies really want to give its farewell party a big bash, given the fact that production of these machines will end within a few months. The GTS model is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine sourced from the Camaro ZL1, producing 577HP of power and 545ft-lb of torque, making it the most powerful ute in the world.

maloo (2)

Seeing this as an opportunity to try out the most powerful ute ever made by Holden's HSV, as much as anyone in the world who want to drive this ute they've been asking for, I set off on a maiden voyage to begin my career as a "producer" and despite my "pest control" look that others think they've called for a pest control hotline, the rear-wheel drive Maloo, despite nearing its end-of-life status within a year, shows what an Aussie ute can do, combining its commercial use as a business car and its fun factor as a sports car in one unique package. I drove this car at my first race and judging from its progress, looks like my road of creating a very successful festival has begun. At least it's fun to toy around than that lousy "school idol festival" they've got hooked on. Byron Bay was just the beginning because throughout this journey, players can expand their festival throughout different places across Australia and how they'll make it to the Final Showcase is up to them, even me.

rr (2) rr

Having expanded the Byron Bay site, I got myself the keys to the Range Rover and because I am growing familiar with how the Range Rover behaves, as well as its Terrain Response thing, I have summoned a familiar look from the past and yes, it's that Love Live Eli Ayase theme I made back in Europe (FH2). Europe called, Australia answered. It's back and I managed to tweak it to SVAutobiography levels while surviving cross-country trials. Having managed to survive and win another set of events in this car, I've been given a choice to pick a new route; either Surfers Paradise or the Outback. I'd pick the Surfers Paradise because that metropolitan landscape really suits my liking.

nd nd (2)

With Surfers Paradise is my next venue, I used enough funds I won on events to buy a car and to keep it simple, I've gone to the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 (Roadster). Because of the news that the Roadster has reached one million units ever made, I've even created an event made specifically for Roadsters of all generations, courtesy of the Horizon Blueprint. I made an event for all generations of Roadsters but before getting ready, I made my fourth-generation Roadster a minor tweaks to keep it competitive and for a bonus: a dab of "Yousoro!" You got me because my new Roadster is now themed after Love Live Sunshine's You Watanabe. Surprised to see a Aqours-themed car I made, huh? But still, a little "Yousoro!" goes a long way to score another win.


Following my win in a game of Mazda Roadsters, I bought myself another one and it's a BMW M4. Although I didn't picked that one in the beginning, I still managed to buy one and drive it because I had Horizon memories on this car, although the BMW M4 featured in FH3 looks something different because the BMW M4 is just one of the few car to offer bodykits for the first time. The bodykit offered for the M4 was courtesy of Liberty Walk and thanks to the Liberty Walk look, the M4 looks more of a touring car than a normal M4 itself and upon recycling my familiar design I made on this car, which is themed after THE IDOLM@STER's Yukiho Hagiwara by the way, I had fun driving this Bimmer with the Liberty Walk look round town and scored some victories. Following my wins round Surfers Paradise...

I've been notified that a Barn Find is hidden several miles away from the Surfers Paradise Festival Site. This is the first of the 15 barn finds players must find to keep it. The first barn find I found is...


...a Dino 246GT, of course, and because I got my first barn find, I returned to Surfers Paradise to host a race dedicated for this car and win. Nothing says the first car you found in the barn can be the best car you'd ever driven, especially if it lives up to the legend.


While taking a break from my Festival duties, I find something to pass the time. Whether from completing Bucket List challenges, finding beauty spots, breaking boards, nothing's better to pass the free time than taking street races not sanctioned by the Festival. Seeing this as a challenge, I took my Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III for a spin and when I get bored after winning a street race...

...I've been notified that I heard another barn find rumor hidden somewhere and when I rushed to the very location...


...I found myself a Lamborghini LM002. Believe it or not, Lamborghini made a four-door SUV that others believe that it's a treason to the Lamborghini heritage, but known to be one of the rarest of the extinct specimens and a reputation of being called the "Rambo Lambo" because of its macho looks for an sport-utility vehicle.

488 488 (2)

Don't tell me how did I got my hands on the Ferrari 488 GTB because by chance, I obtained it for free via Horizon Wheelspin (although my VIP membership will deemed to be questionable by some). I once hosted a race for V8 Ferraris like the 488 to shine and won, then took on a street race and won by flying colors, it's hard to say that the turbocharged replacement for the rather excellent 458 Italia has a long way to go but feels like it got its head in the game...for me.

With enough routes to create a championship somewhere in Surfers Paradise, I once imagine what would my first championship be like and in my Horizon Blueprint terms, I've even come up with a race made solely for VXR models. Wait, VXR?!

vxr vxr (2)

Did you mean this VXR? The Vauxhall Astra VXR? I know that this is the only VXR in the game but you should know that the four-door HSV GTS and its Maloo counterpart did sold in the United Kingdom as a Vauxhall, so that fits the qualification of a three-race championship I've came up with. Before setting off to a race, I got a first dab of the Astra VXR via a street race and despite my appreciation on how it behaves as a hot hatch, I feel a little nervous on what would it be like if a two-litre Astra VXR takes on a horde of V8 Aussie-fed VXR8s and after some major tweaks as well as making a design for my race-prepped VXR, themed after Love Live Sunshine's Hanamaru Kunikida, it's challenge accepted, zura. Did I said "zura"? No matter the outcome, I've emerged as a winner in a game of VXRs I made.

With my Festival Sites now expanded to three; with my third one opened at the Outback, there's a lot of work that needs to be done while getting on my long-and-winding road towards the Final Showcase and making my Horizon Australia a successful one if I know what my hectic schedule is.

Oh, and if you want to see my FH3 gameplay videos, CLICK HERE.
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