Every journey should start and finish well; for one to truly matter, it should be enjoyable all throughout with people that matter to us. Our friends from Isuzu are no strangers to journeys promoting local tourism to uncommon destinations and their trinity product range. For their latest Isuzu Alterra Urban Cruiser variant, they creatively planned for us a luxurious journey which started with a sumptuous breakfast at The Bayleaf, a new hotel inside the historic "walled city" Intramuros in Manila. It was also an opportunity for me to try the Isuzu Alterra for the very first time as I've not driven one myself (would you believe?).

As we prepared to head out, we programmed the "I-Navi" GPS Navigation systems (dealer option) of our vehicles for a "Caltex Experience" pitstop at Caltex Balintawak to fuel up and buy some snacks, refreshments, and some travel necessities inside their Mini Mart using the Php1000 Star Cash cards provided to us. Our sojourn itinerary was to head to the yacht club in Subic Bay for a leisurely sailing activity followed by a luscious Asian lunch at Segara Villas, relax with a massage at the Ritz Tropical Spa and finish off with a cowboy style dinner at Texas Joe's before heading home.

After loading up we headed out for Subic Bay through the NLEx (North Luzon Expressway) and the SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) following the "I-Navi" to make sure we stay within the legal speed limit and to find out how far we are from our destination. We busily entertained ourselves with the numerous functions of the multimedia system of the Alterra which features 7-inch front LCD monitor and dual headrest mounted 7-inch LCD monitors, 5.1-Surround sound, DVD/MP3/WMA playback, iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth phone connectivity, SD card slot, and an RDS-capable radio.

Outside, aesthetic improvements come in the form of front and rear chin spoilers, a new "Urban Cruiser" badge to differentiate the trim and new sophisticated paint finishes in the form of Nautilus Blue, Mineral Gray, Silky Pearl White, Sterling Silver and Starry Black.

Under the hood is the Isuzu 4JJ1-TC iTEQ 3.0-liter CRDi turbocharged engine capable of 146 PS of power and 294 Newton-meters of torque which is mated to a well-geared 5-speed stick shifter. On highway cruising, it provided adequate power and pull to weave through traffic and is built with Isuzu's long-lasting diesel engine heritage as evidenced by its current "Isuzu Dare" highest odometer mileage campaign. Keeping it smooth is the "Flex Ride" suspension system which allows the Alterra to comfortably cruise through roads be they rough or smooth as personally experienced on this road trip.

In these changing times where new models are released; the Dmax pickup which recently debuted in Thailand being one of them. Isuzu has once again offered an altered perception of its Alterra which it still believes is a product worthy of your daily journeys that truly matter.