We all need time to get away from it all. Whether it's from work, family, or a rocky relationship, there are times that we just have to break free from it, relax, and clear our minds. That's what actually happened to me late last year.
With the holidays fast approaching, there were deadlines to catch, news to be posted, as well as personal matters to attend to. This is on top of remembering which gifts to buy, and ordering food for both Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.
Clearly, I was drowning in work. So when Ford invited us for a ride-and-drive of the Ford Territory through the twisty roads of Rizal, I jumped on the chance to escape with the Blue Oval (pun not intended).
The drive itself seemed straightforward, get from point A to point B, enjoy some rest & relaxation (R&R), and snap some cool photos of the place we went to, Viewscape Nature's Park. But that would have been too predictable.
Instead, Ford decided to change it up. We first get to spend the night at Thunderbird Resorts in Binangonan and then head to Viewscape the next day. Sounds good right? Only they arranged for us to start our journey at 3:00 AM.
While the drive itself only took about 1 hour and 30 mins from Thunderbird, Ford wanted us to catch the sunrise just before 5:30 AM. Admittedly I wasn't so keen on driving that early in the morning. But when I finally got behind the wheel of the Territory just before “the witching hour”, I understood the message Ford wanted to convey.
Sure, the Territory was designed for the urban setting, but Ford also wanted to show that it can be a good road companion, particularly on road trips and camping. With its wide array of features, light steering, punchy turbocharged engine, leather seats, and power sunroof, I was curious to see just how the Territory would fare.
Alone in the car, I had all the time to familiarize myself with the Territory. That gave me the chance to really enjoy the vehicle because this is what I liked doing during my 'me time', driving to far-flung destinations all by myself.
When we left Thunderbird at around 3:15 AM, there were so few cars on the road. With all of us driving convoy and at (almost) the same speeds, it actually felt relaxing and peaceful. Combined with the Territory's light steering, I was able to carve through zigzag roads and take on tight corners with ease. I wish the steering had more feedback, but given our leisurely drive through the countryside and mountain roads, I was actually enjoying the easy drive of the Territory.
The 'me time' gave me a chance to familiarize myself with the touchscreen infotainment system. It might not have SYNC, but it does come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With my smartphone hooked up, I was easily able to set up and choose my playlist without having to look at my phone.
I was also able to use Waze, which was good because some of us got lost and needed to get back with the group. And thanks to the system's massive 10-inch screen, it was easy to see where I was going, as well as switching between other apps.
I also liked the Territory's automatic climate control system that's available only on the top-spec Titanium+. It worked too well because despite putting it at the highest setting, I was still cold in the cabin. In the end, I just decided to turn the A/C off and slightly opened the windows for some fresh air.
After more than 2 hours of driving through mountain roads, we finally arrived at our destination in Tanay, Rizal. But before we could get to our campsite, we had to trek through some uneven terrain.
The Territory is not a 4x4 SUV, which is why it only has 180mm of ground clearance. But despite that, we easily negotiated dirt roads, gravel, as well as some muddy puddles of water. Nothing serious, of course; for that, maybe you should look at an Everest. I was even able to use the 360-degree camera system which acted as an extra pair of eyes. We didn't have spotters but the cameras helped us get through some rocky roads and avoid some deep potholes.
At around 5:30 AM, we finally made it to the campsite. With a view overlooking the surrounding mountains of Tanay and Metro Manila, waking up just before 2:00 AM was well worth it. Sure, I might have lost several hours of sleep, but it's moments like these that make me enjoy escaping the hectic workweek.
They say that the journey is more important than the destination. While some of us were eager to get to our destination as quickly as possible, some forgot that getting there was an equally important process. Sure you might have gotten to where you needed to be really fast, but did you actually enjoy it?
After driving the Ford Territory through Rizal and back, I was once again reminded about the importance of the journey itself. I was actually having so much fun behind the wheel I actually forgot we were going somewhere.
It was also during that brief but fulfilling moment that I managed to forget all the worries that clouded my mind. We can sometimes become so lost in planning out our future that we forget to enjoy the present.
If you're thinking of going on a road trip with the Ford Territory, you'll be happy to know that it will be a great road companion. It was to me.