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REVIEW | Pretty sexy in Suzuki’s Swift

Zest Magazine takes a closer look at Suzuki Swift 1.2 A/T.

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Pretty sexy may not (always) be associated with hatchbacks (HBs); but if HBs can be pretty sexy at all, Suzuki’s Swift may well be one epitome of this.

Consider the red (they “officially” refer to this shade as “Blazing Red Metallic”) unit that arrived at my doorstep in Las Piñas.

On the outside, the color is a must-mention; it isn’t at all tacky, instead, it’s of a shade that may easily remind one of… that eye-catching outfit worn by THAT “girl in the red dress” in “The Matrix”. It is also not as boxy as, say, the Wigo – a plus in my books because it gave this car a smooth(er) silhouette (instead of the seeming abrupt cuts of the former), mimicking sportier cars. It has a low hood that emphasizes the headlights that, as a pamangkin (nephew) noted, “looked like Pokemon eyes”. There’s the (more) expansive windshield – perhaps not as expansive as the Jimny’s, but definitely more than Celerio’s. And then there’re the 15-inch alloy wheels that give the car a somewhat “elevated” look (not as elevated as Jimny’s, but higher than Celerio’s).

The inside of Swift has touches that are also worth mentioning – e.g. comfy black seats that gave that sense of class (think of red trimmings on black, even on the door handles), GPS-ready touchscreen audio unit (though here, Ciaz’s Android-running capability was definitely better), brilliantly-lit gauges, high headroom (for those in front and the back), dual SRS airbags, side impact beams, and ABS.













This isn’t to say that the Swift is, well, ALL THAT; it also has (numerous) limitations. There’s the basag sound system, particularly when music is played loudly (literally, “broken”; though also referring to bad sound quality). The A/C sucks (on a hot day, expect to still sweat even if the A/C is already full blast). The leg room is a-okay in front; but at the back, it’s a tight squeeze (three can supposedly fit there, but the designers may have been thinking of people with short legs or of kids). Kulang (lacking) storage spaces – heck, there isn’t even a cup holder by the gear stick (!). And the trunk space is quite limited (perhaps typical of HBs here). On a trip outside the city, I chucked my backpack, a sling bag (with my laptop and camera in it), a pair of shoes and around six kilos of singkamas (yam bean from some vendor along the highway to La Union), and it was already full. Yes, the back seats can be folded (again, typical of HBs); but this isn’t always possible, particularly if you’ve (extra) passengers with you. And so making do with the tiny trunk is… tricky, to say the least.

But as was pointed out to me, who are we to complain when Swift – which is also available in: Pearl Metallic Arctic White, Metallic Silky Silver, Glistening Grey Metallic and Metallic Midnight Black – sells for only P678,000?











With a 1.2 liter, 4-cylinder VVT engine, the Swift is by no means a mean machine. I noticed, for instance, that the car sorta struggles revving up again once you’ve slowed down; it’s almost like the climb from 0 to 20 to 40 to 60 and so on is too taxing for the car. The Swift is also not malikot (doesn’t move a lot) even when force to speed up; nor is it noisy (driving along TPLEX, it was almost like being enclosed in a bubble).

Now, this car may be “sold” as a city car (i.e. small and all that). But we all know that (even) city cars are stretched to their limits by the owners who (still) use these cars for out-of-the-city trips. Which was what I did with a trip up north in Pangasinan (i.e. La Union) an then Ilocos Sur (i.e. Vigan).

Now…

If you think being in “tight spots” means driving in, say, Sta. Ana market during market day, or braving Divisoria’s insides on a weekend, then an alternative may be driving to a place like Marilao in Bulacan, where if you just blindly follow Waze (which I did, LOL!), you’d end up traversing cemented one-way roads right in the middle of rice paddies. Here, Swift’s small size came in extremely handy, so that the thought of a possible incoming traffic should be worrisome (for most), but not necessarily so when on Swift.

I found myself in the same tight spot (again) in a small barangay in Bauang in La Union, where – after following a tourist guide to a vineyard – Swift had to traverse a somewhat tight rough road, where the car’s size came in handy again (as much as the Hyundai Eon’s and the Mitsubishi Mirage’s also there then). Yes, the car felt out of place there (literally speaking, since I could “feel” the pebbles/rocks slip under the car); but that it fit the tight spot well was comforting, indeed.

The Swift also moved smoothly in braving curves – e.g. passing through the tricky roads that lead to/from Quirino Bridge in Ilocos Sur.

Fuel consumption in the city averaged from 10.6km/L to 11.6km/L; while outside, it went up to 12.7km/L to 13.0km/L. On the expressway, this went to 14.0km/L.

It was before entering TPLEX again (on the way back to Manila) that I felt Swift as a city “thing”. There, it was the only small car, with SUVs, 4WDs, buses, et cetera what appeared like “normal”…






Twice, Swift was mistaken for Wigo (“WHAT!?” moments for me), so this obviously pigeonholes this car with the likes of, yes, Wigo, Hyundai Eon, Kia Picanto and Mitsubishi Mirage. Suffice to say, if you’re considering a HB, then Swift definitely deserves to be given a spin.

And for me, plus points for it being pretty sexy…

M.D. dela Cruz Tan is the founder of Zest Magazine. And no, the initials (i.e. M.D.) do not make him a "medical doctor" (as many have erroneously thought in the past); he is actually a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales Australia (just don't ask when, he says). He can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (of course), shoot flicks, community-organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

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Introducing Taco Bell’s ‘Cupid’s Choice Valentine’s Special Combo’

Make every moment count with 1 Crunchy Taco Supreme, 1 Burrito Shawarma, 1 serving of Oreo Chocodilla, a side of Nachos Sprinkle, and 2 servings of Ruby Fruity Freeze for dine-in or 2 12oz. servings of soda for delivery, all for just P499!

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This season of love, Taco Bell has cooked up an irresistible offer to help you show how much you adore that special someone! You’ll be love-struck like never before with the Cupid’s Choice Valentine’s Special Combo, available for a limited only!

Make every moment count with 1 Crunchy Taco Supreme, 1 Burrito Shawarma, 1 serving of Oreo Chocodilla, a side of Nachos Sprinkle, and 2 servings of Ruby Fruity Freeze for dine-in or 2 12oz. servings of soda for delivery, all for just P499!

Enjoy an all-time Taco Bell classic with the Crunchy Taco Supreme, made with a crunchy taco shell that’s filled to the brim with perfectly seasoned Mexican-style ground beef, topped with a special sauce, and then garnished with shredded fresh lettuce, diced tomatoes, and grated cheddar cheese.

Indulge in the Middle Eastern inspired Shawarma Burrito, made with Mexican-style ground beef topped with diced onions, tomatoes, and cucumber, and generously drizzled with Taco Bell’s rich and creamy garlic sauce, all encased in a soft and tender tortilla wrap.

Stay refreshed with sips of your Ruby Fruity Fizz or soda, and munch on some Nachos Sprinkle between each bite.

Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with 2 slices of Oreo Chocodilla, a delectable treat made with gooey, melted dark chocolate, chewy marshmallows, and chunks of crushed Oreo cookies, all nestled in a lightly grilled tortilla wrap.

The Cupid’s Choice Valentine’s Special Combo will be available until February 29, 2024 only, so make sure to order today if you don’t want to miss this offer!

.Get it together with your other favorites from Taco Bell by visiting your nearest branch for dine-in and take out orders, or by calling the 8911-1111 hotline for delivery. You can also order through Taco Bell’s official delivery partners GrabFood, foodpanda, and Pickaroo (prices may vary). Never miss the latest news, offers, and deals from Taco Bell by following and giving the brand a like on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram.

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Victoria Court reveals secrets on popular themed suites for Valentine’s Day

Anyone who’s been inside these themed suites can attest that the beauty is in the details. From the Red Light, Green Light guns to the MRT train hand railings and color schemes, the rooms are designed accurately. Maybe too accurately.

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Love motels are an open secret to us, and over the years, Victoria Court has been unveiling one themed room after another. You may have heard of their Squid Room suite at the height of the show’s popularity (pandemic doom, we feel you) or their juicy and sweaty nudge to Filipino daily commute (and JAV chikan) with their MRT-inspired room.

Anyone who’s been inside these themed suites can attest that the beauty is in the details. From the Red Light, Green Light guns to the MRT train hand railings and color schemes, the rooms are designed accurately. Maybe too accurately.

After all, aren’t guests the ‘main character’ of their fantasies?

Speaking of getting into your main character era, who isn’t planning a spicy, steamy experience this Valentine’s Day? Whether we hide it or not, it’s been a long-standing tradition for Victoria Court to create an adult playground for love and intimacy this time of the year.

Victoria Court Owner Atticus King weighs in on how they’ve turned the drive-in motel chain’s themed suites from ideas into guests’ short-lived realities: “I had a professor once say, a room is a room is a room. With that in mind, we thought about how important it is to go beyond that, we wanted to give them an experience they couldn’t just get anywhere and that would make a mental mark and become a core memory. “Remember that time we went to VC…”

Yes, how could one forget a rendezvous night spent with their partner trying to live happily ever after? Victoria Court’s Ever After room in Pasig can do just the trick. The room’s jacuzzi is their biggest one yet, and you can literally float on it without touching the sides of the tub. Talk about real happy endings, right?

You’d also be surprised to know which themed rooms are well-suited to the Filipino taste. “We have the most number of suites in our Panorama Branch in Pasig. There, our top 10 busiest rooms are CLOY, Chips, Squid Room, Oval Office, Venice, Bachelor’s Pad, Moulin Rouge, Cirque, 50 Shades, and yes, Princess Jasmine,” Chief Operating Officer Sam Pineda reveals.

We’re not here to gatekeep on other steamy perks these rooms have to offer. “Aside from custom-built jacuzzis, we have rooms with playful additions like places to strap folks in. Our Homerun and Casting Couch rooms in Pasig are good examples,” Pineda adds.

Of course, behind each themed room is a story of how it came to be. “It’s a combination of looking at what is trending, what is underserved, and what we think looks fun. When we built the Oval Office room, my father [the late Archie King] said I’d end up losing my visa because it was a replica of the Oval Office but my selling point was how often can you say I’ve partied in the Oval Office? The room was a hit when we launched it and I didn’t lose my visa,” King explains, laughing.

But how exactly does the motel chain decide which fandom or Netflix show will turn into the next themed suite? “We have several recipes but to be honest, sometimes themes we think will be a big hit just do okay and others that are okay do exceptionally well. We always listen to our guests and we try to design themes to make their crazy fantasies real,” King says.

Even then, Victoria Court has moved away from its public perception of being a mere ‘biglang-liko’ or place for illicit affairs to a hotel chain that hosts (wholesome) parties and offers an award-winning food menu.

“The bigger suites are typically what end up hosting parties (and some couple stays). For couple stays, we find that while some regulars have a favorite room, others prefer not to use a room they’ve already seen – and that’s what’s beautiful about it,” Pineda explains. “You can choose or you can just go for any and be (pleasantly) surprised!”

Guests, despite being discreet, aren’t shy to offer a thought or two about these rooms. “We’ve received great feedback from either camp, with some loving the variety, while others have a favorite jacuzzi, enjoying the special effects, the tantra chair, or even something as simple as preferring rooms with more mirrors.” Pineda says.

Not all themed rooms are here to stay, though. But some rooms are classics and crowd-favorites that guests will always come back to now and then. “When we see a certain theme starting to look dated, we decide whether to reinvest to upgrade it or what we fondly like to call belo and make it fresh again or we take a vote on what new theme we can reintroduce.”

But more than rooms to play out fantasies is a vision to create an adult Disney experience for King: “I think our product will continue to evolve to serve couples looking for an experience that will bring them right to the edge of their comfort zone and inject that feeling of adventure.”

Well, folks, it’s time to head over to the nearest Victoria Court branch this Valentine’s Day and see their themed suites for yourself. You’ll never know what you’ll find there–a newfound fantasy or a tantalizing experience that will keep you on your toes, craving for more.

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Coffee with cookies? Here’s a delicious combo from two well-loved brands

Great Taste Cream-O is a delicious collaboration between two well-loved brands: Great Taste offers its signature “aromanamnam” taste, while Cream-O adds a layer of deliciousness with its real cookie crumbles. It is a unique coffee-cookie mix that’s great for those who are looking for a delicious drink to enjoy during their break time.

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Great things can come out of great collaborations. We’ve seen this in how talented artists worked together to create the songs and movies that we love. In the realm of fashion, brands also introduce unexpected collaborations to bring something new and interesting to customers.

Collaborations are just as important in our studies and jobs. When we work together, not only do we get things done faster, we motivate each other to come up with creative ideas. Of course, you should also take a break in between tasks. One way you can make this free time more enjoyable is with a new coffee blend, like Great Taste Cream-O.

Great Taste Cream-O is a delicious collaboration between two well-loved brands: Great Taste offers its signature “aromanamnam” taste, while Cream-O adds a layer of deliciousness with its real cookie crumbles. It is a unique coffee-cookie mix that’s great for those who are looking for a delicious drink to enjoy during their break time.

Great Taste Cream-O comes in a compact twin sachet pack, for only P15.00 (SRP), so you can carry a pack with you and quickly whip up a delicious drink to enjoy your break times with your classmates or colleagues.

University students enjoy breaks with Great Taste Cream-O

To give students an enjoyable experience at school, Great Taste shared its newest coffee blend to select universities in Manila. Its first stop was at the Mapua University Manila last January 23, 2024, where Great Taste Cream-O set up an exciting booth with a 360-degree photo and video booth they could visit in between classes, and make memories while enjoying Great Taste Cream-O with their blockmates. Making the moment even more enjoyable for the students, the brand collaborated with one of the University’s dance groups, and a guest influencer, to entertain guests with an energetic dance number.

For students looking to add flavor-sarap to their coffee and make their breaktimes more enjoyable, this is your chance to get your Great Taste Cream-O fix. Watch out as Great Taste might make a stop at your university in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow Great Taste Coffee on Facebook for more updates and information.

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