OK, this post is really, really late.
I was reminded to make this post while going through pictures I shot at the Manila Car Show because today (April 23rd) is my sister's birthday and she likes cars. So does my brother, who just had his birthday a few weeks ago, but the car show took place after his birthday. He reads this blog anyway, so he'll enjoy it all the same.
So, happy birthday Shari Krems! (Now you can Google yourself and this post will be included in the results. I know. You're thrilled.)
Anyway, at the beginning of April my friend Allan (you remember, the bodybuilder?) texted me asking if I wanted to go to the Car Show in Manila on the fifth.
Sure, I replied. (Pretty wordy of me, huh?)
So on the afternoon of Saturday, April 5th I found myself with Allan at the World Trade Center (It's a convention center in Manila) checking out what an auto show is like in the Philippines. Edson stayed at home to get some work done on his dissertation.
I've been to my fair share of auto shows in the states. Sometimes just to wander around. Sometimes to acquaint myself with the new offerings in the event I would have to buy a car to replace mine. Sometimes to help a friend get a hands-on look at different car choices without having to drive all over to see them.
It is said first impressions are everything. My first impression was that the World Trade Center was awfully small for a convention center in a city of over twelve million people...the country's capital city at that! What greeted me upon entering the center was the enormous exhibit of Chery, the Chinese car manufacturer.
And their cars, like this very, very narrow and tall minivan with little structural support and a gas tank located below the driver's seat. Yikes!
Subaru had women in black outfits with high-cut skirts to grab everyone's attention.
Another company had this girl in an unfortunate-looking silver outfit, also with the skirt cut very high.
She was attempting to get people to notice her so she could sell them that forklift behind her. It didn't seem to be working. No matter how high the cut of the skirt is, you're either looking for a forklift or you aren't. Skirts really don't matter a whole lot in that industry. Kudos to her and the agency who put her there if she was what sold a forklift that weekend!
At the Ford exhibit they displayed lots of SUVs and the Focus. One Focus, as a rally car, was popular so people could have their picture taken as a rally car driver alongside. Allan, sporting his new look (a.k.a. shaved head) is the model here.
GM had a Chevy display that looked as if it had seen every auto show in Manila since the Marcos era. (If anyone from GM is reading this, YOU NEED A NEW DISPLAY!!!) I decided not to photograph it as I only took my compact camera and the lighting back in that corner of the hall was so dim it couldn't take a good picture, not that that would have been possible under any light.
Chrysler showed off their Jeeps and the ever-popular 300 series, likely popular here due to its bold styling and presence in Bree's driveway on Desperate Housewives, which is as popular here as in the states.
There were also a handful of manufacturers from Korea and China I'd never heard of before showing products I'd never seen, even here.
Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda had pretty ho-hum exhibits consisting of little more than the cars themselves. Honda had a continuously-running video countdown of every innovation the company has ever made, played at a volume loud enough for you to hear it wherever you were on that side of the center.
Nearby was a single guy overseeing a trio of motorcycles situated around a giant sign advertising what I presume to be the Filipino equivalent of Discovery Channel'sAmerican Chopper.
What was most interesting at the show wasn't what was in the main room, though. It was what was in the temporary annex outside. (The annex, I must note, is about half the size of the main building. Although its tent-like construction makes it look quite temporary, I can only assume by its appearance that it has been, and will continue to be, around for quite some time.)
Real cars. Boy, was I surprised to see these here!
Cars made out of lots of things like metal, instead of "composite materials".
Cars from when you could feel and hear the horsepower (and there was lots of it!).
Cars from a time before seat belts (you know, like school bus or a jeepney).
Cars you wouldn't dare drive around in today's traffic-snarled streets of inconsiderate idiots.