All posts by James Perez

Why Dashcams are Essential to Young Drivers

I have 3 kids who are in college. They all drive to school. As a father, one of my biggest fears is that they encounter problems while driving.

Particularly, I am worried that my kids will be subjected to unpleasant hazards while driving like:

  1. Dishonest drivers who refuse to accept responsibility for car accidents they clearly caused.
  2. Fraudsters and unscrupulous pedestrians causing their own accidents to blackmail motorists .
  3. Hot headed drivers with road rage tendencies.
  4. Corrupt policemen harassing drivers for committing unfounded “violations”.

In my over 30 years of driving in the Philippines, I’ve had my share of encounters with these hazards and often they left me stressed, angry, or depressed for several days. In those situations, it was always my word against the other party and more often than not, we end up with either a stalemate (I’m left to fix my own damage and the other party gets scot free) or worse, I lose the argument (I pay the ticket or damages or I get hurt) due to lack of evidence for my defence.

To protect my kids from these situations, I use a dashcam.


Dashboard Cameras (or dashcams) provide useable evidence to defend the driver against the other party. If a dishonest driver or a fraudster pedestrian insists that an accident is my kid’s fault, the dash cam allows me to establish otherwise. If the “road raged” driver does anything violent, the dash cam provides evidence to file complaints against him. And if a corrupt policeman tries to harass my kid, the dashcam helps prove my child’s innocence.

Continue reading Why Dashcams are Essential to Young Drivers


A few weeks ago, Chevron gave me a bottle of their newly launched product — theTechron Concentrate Plus. We tried it out on a 2002 Toyota Altis 1.6E and I am pleasantly surprised with the results.


Our test car has already run over 120,000 kms in the past 13 years and has performed quite well so far. Nevertheless, I’ve observed that it is not anymore as powerful and as fuel efficient as it used to be.

Our objective in this experiment is to find out if this Techron product does have significant effects on the performance of the car.

Sponsored Video: A Day in the Life of a Race Car Driver – Seen in 90 seconds TVC

Aside from being in the race track, what do Race Car legends do every day? Obviously, they party!

Exotic cars, high end bars, gorgeous women — just another day on the circuit. See the fun and exciting world of a race car driver in this 90 second TVC. And there’s more: get a chance to win an iPad or 32″ TV by filling out a survey about the ad.

Sponsored Video: Johnnie Walker Step Inside: Jenson Button The Ultimate Walk — A Johnnie Walker presentation featuring Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Johnnie Walker

Sponsored Video: Johnnie Walker Step Inside Singapore : Driving With Jenson

This video has two racing legends chatting inside a Mercedes while driving along the busy streets of Singapore — not much action but still quite interesting.

Johnnie Walker brought together Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button and their Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador Mika Häkkinen to take a spin around the stylish streets of Singapore to talk about all things racing, including the unique appeal of the Singapore night race. Their key trivia question: if either race car driver had to be driven by someone, who would they want to drive for them?

Curious? Watch the short video to find out.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Johnnie Walker

Question from a Reader: Is Cleaning Just the Car Aircon’s Evaporator Enough?

In the last post, I talked about the alternative way of having your aircon cleaned without “pulling down” the evaporator.

Some readers asked me if “cleaning the evaporator” is enough to “clean the aircon”. Apparently, experts from the “aircon shop next door” told them that aside from the evaporator, the rest of the aircon system (i.e. refrigerant lines, etc.) should also be cleaned.


As I am not an expert on aircons myself, I referred the question to a friend of mine, Mr. Ferman Lao, the “auto guru”. In one of his articles in Top Gear, he talked extensively about this concern. This is what he has to say: Continue reading Question from a Reader: Is Cleaning Just the Car Aircon’s Evaporator Enough?

Breakthrough Service: Cleaning Your Car Aircon Without “Pull down”

Pop quiz: Can the aircon of the Toyota Altis be cleaned without removing the dashboard?
Almost everybody, including experts from Toyota Service Centers, would say “No“.
But the correct answer is: “Yes” — if you use the B-Quick system.


I learned about B-Quick just today.

My Altis, whose aircon is religiously cleaned every year (via the traditional “pull-down evaporator” method), experienced it’s first “B-Quick treatment” in a shop located in Mindanao Avenue today.

At first I was skeptical. So I asked their Service Manager, a very nice guy named Marcial, a barrage of questions; and these are the highlights:

Continue reading Breakthrough Service: Cleaning Your Car Aircon Without “Pull down”

Sponsored Video: Volvo’s new line of trucks made for Asia

Do you know of a truck brand called “UD Trucks”?
No? How about Volvo?

UD Trucks is owned by Volvo and they make light, medium and heavy duty trucks in Japan. They sold more than 21,000 vehicles in 2012.

Just recently, in Bangkok, they launched the Quester – a new heavy duty truck range developed for Asia and is perfect for the Philippines.

Interested? Check out their introductory video here:


Quester will have a wide range of applications, from long-haulage and distribution to construction and mining. Quester brings together the best of three worlds: Japanese craftsmanship and customer care from UD; breakthrough technology from Volvo Group; and cost efficiency from local manufacturing and sourcing.

Launching in major Asian markets later this year, UD Trucks will also provide extensive customer service and support packages in several countries. Strategically-located authorized and owned UD Trucks dealerships and importer networks are preparing for an offer based on minimal operational costs, maximum fuel efficiency and uptime.

“UD Trucks will be the first Japanese brand to offer a wide range of variants developed to meet the different needs of Asia and other growth markets with one common platform at affordable prices,” says Taizo Matsuo, Vice President of UD Trucks Product Management.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Volvo Trucks

Best Anti-Drunk Driving Campaign: A Great Way to Get Sober Fast

A popular bar/restaurant in India wanted to promote responsible driving to its clients. Particularly, they don’t want drunk people to drive. But instead of just giving out fliers or putting up posters, they did something much better — they literally scared the people into becoming a bit more sober right before driving.

In India, of the many supernatural beings they believe in, apparently the most fearsome being is the Hindu diety named Yama, the God of Death. Imagine him paying you a visit in your car right before you drive off… now, that’s scary.

A Youtube video shows the reactions of the many party-goers (i.e. “victims”) who had a close encounter with “death himself”. In the end, the scene looks like a gag or practical joke. But I guess it drove home a good point.

To see the video, click here >>.

If we did something like this here in the Philippines, a hooded guy in a black cloak holding a sythe may have a similar impact. But if the “victim” is way too drunk to appreciate the joke, our hooded guy might just end up badly beaten up by the same person he is trying to save.

Photo credits:

By afroboof / Driver’s Seat [Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)] on Flickr

and By Rob Boudon / Grim Reaper From Guitar Hero – Halloween (2006) [Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)] on Flickr.

Must see event: 9th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS)

Here’s something to look forward to this April… the 9th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS). If you have already attended this event in the past years, you know that this event gets even better year to year.

Here is the official press release for the event:

9th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) Revving  towards INNOVATION and TECHNOLOGY

In its practice of arranging world class events, Worldbex Services International (WSI) is once again ready to start another exciting project as it uncovers the 9th Manila International Auto Show – MIAS 2013 gearing towards the theme “INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY”. Dubbed as the Philippines’ biggest driving and motoring event, MIAS will be held at the World Trade Center Manila and Philippine Trade Training Center this April 4-7, 2013 from 10AM to 10PM. As in any events organized by WSI expect MIAS 2013 to be filled with first rate highlights such as in depth number of car displays, car launches, the most up to date collection of car parts, gadgets  and supplies, professional precision driving and test driving activities.

As MIAS 2013 anticipates over 88,000 visitors before 500 participating companies, the show promises to defend its title of upholding the ingenuity of the country’s car sector. For this year, MIAS 2013 have seen the carmakers desire for innovation, leading to technological advancement of car product’s contents and capabilities. Overtime, cars have transformed into rolling computer platforms with improving pocket features such as back up assist, automatic parking, stability control and phone integration. The innovation and integration of technology have nevertheless aided and even exceeded the needs of the present and future car owners. Because of this leap, cars have become a whole lot safer, sophisticated and enjoyable to drive,   MIAS 2013 takes the whole industry to better understand this transformation through the theme “INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY”. Continue reading Must see event: 9th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS)

Road Hazard — Maybe Even Worse Than Texting While Driving: Surfing While Driving

There’s something even worse than texting while driving… it’s surfing while driving. Yes, more and more people are actually browsing the web while behind the wheel. A study was conducted in the U.S. a few weeks back polling 4,000 drivers aged 18 and older about their web surfing habits while driving (“webbing”). An alarming 48% of those between 18 to 29 years old admitted to this practice. In the older set (above 29 years old), 21% admitted to doing the same.

Photo credit: By Lord Jim / Stefan Kloo [Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)]

The growing trend seems to be caused by the proliferation (and combination) of smartphones + internet everywhere + social media. Though social-media remain as one of the biggest distractions, motorists may also “surf while driving” to view maps, find directions, research local business,  and even send urgent emails.

Though the study only covers the U.S., I feel this trend may already be quickly spreading in the Philippines as well. With the proliferation of wireless broadband services from local networks, coupled with millions of internet-capable mobile phones in the country, the Philippine motorists face even more distractions while on the road.

The main advice I can give to both motorists and pedestrians is to be even more careful while on the road. For motorists, drive even more defensively. It is not enough that you are obediently following the traffic lights and signs. The other motorist may not necessarily be paying attention to these things since he may be busy sending a tweet or reading a post. As for pedestrians, before crossing the road, don’t just look at the oncoming cars — look closely at each driver and try to see if they are distracted or actually paying attention to the road. Being on the pedestrian walk doesn’t ensure that you are already seen by oncoming traffic. Make sure you catch the driver’s attention before stepping in front of his car.

Credits: Jennifer Geiger, “Study: More people surfing Web while driving” USA Nov. 21, 2012 Dec. 23, 2012 <>