Since Petron Corporation came out with an opportunity to match Pocholo Ramirez' 1114 kilometers-on-a-full-tank fuel economy run, many have answered the Xtra Mile Challenge call. But with stringent rules governing the contest, twelve were chosen as possible record-matchers or record-breakers.

The petroleum company recently introduced the six teams (with two members per team) that will be competing in the May 31-June 2, 2006, Pagudpud-to-Bicol region Petron Xtra Mile Challenge (Petron XMC). Two teams represented Metro Manila, two teams represented Northern Luzon, one team represented Southern Luzon and one team hailed from the Visayas area.

Urban eco warriors

A young married couple (billed as Team de Perio) and two friends will be taking on the much-heralded Pagudpud-to-Bicol route to test the fuel mileage abilities of Petron XTra Unleaded. The former are Mark Jim de Perio and wife Romina de Perio, a young married couple who hold office in Makati and recently purchased a Honda City as their daily driver.

The latter are billed as Team R and have been good friends for a long time. This tandem of Raymond Young (an information technology professional and a moonlighting motoring journalist) and Randolph Mencias (a dental technician) are fuel economy run (econo-run or eco-run) enthusiasts and veterans, most noteworthy of which was last year's Honda Amazing Eco-run. Young served as navigator to 2004 Co-Driver of the Year Aris Ilagan (using a 2005 a/t or automatic transmission Honda City) in dominating the media class of the Taguig-to-Petron Star Tollway (Batangas) leg of the 2005 Honda Amazing Eco-run. On the other hand, Mencias teamed up with his father in the consumer class of the aforementioned event.

Northern exposure

Representing Northern Luzon are two teams with considerable experience in eco-runs, the 37th Team and Team AR. The former is composed of husband-and-wife tandem Michael Asuncion and Mary Grace Asuncion, who achieved a 37.14 kilometers/liter consumption rate (using their manual transmission Honda Jazz 1300 cc) in an eco-run challenge they joined earlier in the year. The latter are composed of AutoReview producer-host (and eco-run veteran) Ron de los Reyes and AutoReview segment host Julienne Cruz, with their weapon of choice Cruz' 1300cc a/t Honda Jazz. Cruz was very happy at the fact that they will be making news instead of covering it, and added a pre-birthday wish for the event. "Just to let all of you know, it's enough for me that I will be part of this big event together with my boss, Sir Ron de los Reyes. It would be a quick twist of fate because we have been used to delivering motoring news. And now, we will be a part of it and a big one at that. This will be a once in a lifetime experience. I will be celebrating my 23rd birthday on May 28 in a rather weird way. As a pre-birthday wish, let's all have a safe trip, greet one another good luck and Godspeed, in an eco-run speed rate," said Cruz on a blog about the Petron XMC on (the official site of the Petron Xtra Mile Challenge)

Representing the dirty south

Although one slot was originally slated for a team from Mindanao, the applicants did not meet the final screening requirements and the open slot was instead given to a second team from Northern Luzon. The lack of a Mindanao representative did not dampen the spirits of the two teams from the south, specifically from Southern Luzon and the Visayas region.

It can be said that Team South Luzon (known better as Team Eco Run) is basically a Honda team, for both members work for Honda car dealerships. Joanna Antonio is a human resource officer from Honda Cars Makati, while Randy Ravenna is a sales executive at Honda Cars Shaw. The former traces her roots to Bacoor (Cavite), thus making the team a Southern Luzon representative.

The second team to represent the south (specifically, the Visayas area) are the Zayco brothers of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. Emilio and Emmanuel Zayco (better known as Team F) are 4x4 enthusiasts who wish to test their driving discipline by joining the Petron XMC. "The first time I was able to get behind a car was a wild race to nowhere, complete with 90-degree turns and all the squeaking and screeching noises you can imagine! This sort of driving went on for about three years or so. As I grew older, I had to face the reality of paying for the gas in my car and being responsible for my actions on the road. Sadly, I learned that speed equals fuel consumption," said Emmanuel Zayco in a blog about the Petron XMC on

Cheer, cheer, for all twelve names

The public will also have a chance to cheer for their favorite teams through a "Vote For Your Team" text-in raffle promo. At stake are six 3G enabled phones from Smart Communications and six free PLDT myDSL connections for six months. All one has to do is log on to for more details.

The Petron Xtra Mile Challenge is designed to show how far a well maintained and skillfully-driven vehicle can travel on one full tank of Petron XTra Unleaded gasoline, in varying conditions over a representative selection of Philippine roads (specifically in Luzon). The event will start along the Petron station in Pagudpud, and will end when all the competition vehicles run out of one full tank of fuel, possibly in the Bicol region. 11 vehicles and several marshals will serve as backup (courtesy of the Applied Leisure in Sales and Operations or ALSO Group) in case trouble develops. Stopovers will only be held during the night (for rest purposes), while teams will take a break for relief every two to three hours, and all vehicles will use Petron Xtra Unleaded fuel obtained from Petron service stations along the route.