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REVIEW| Time for Suzuki Ertiga’s close-up

Zest Magazine reviews the Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 GLX AT.

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That it’s a long-ish vehicle was my first impression of Ertiga, what may well be Suzuki’s take on Chevrolet Spin or Toyota Innova or Toyota Avanza or Honda Mobilio (among others), people-carrier multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) that ALMOST look like extended hatchbacks (and in some ways are “packaged” as such). And I suppose in many ways this is the very appeal of Ertiga – i.e. that it “looks” like a family (or at least a big group) car without looking staid (say, like a van).

On the outside, the Ertiga reminded me of Suzuki’s own Swift – albeit this one seemed extended (in the middle). Both the front and the back of Ertiga has Swift’s pretty sexy contours (i.e. not boxy), so that it appears like the hatchback’s bigger brother/sister (particularly notable when looking at Ertiga from the side).

Though using 15″ alloy wheels, Ertiga isn’t at all tall, particularly when placed beside Innova, Avanza, Mobilio, et cetera. And this is even if it is in the same league as the others length-wise.

Inside, the Ertiga was repeatedly described to me as “like a hotel”. Perhaps because, to begin with, the seats look lounge-y. With the fabric upholstery of the seats, the inside of the Ertiga actually also reminded me of an airline, so that being inside this car was somewhat akin to being inside a plane.

But while the inside appears somewhat classy, I’m sorta critical of the fabric used – i.e. dirt COULD stick on them easily. Entering the car after swimming in a beach in Laiya, Batangas, all I could think of was, “Stains! Stains!” Don’t get me started with having kids come onboard…

There are must-mention features inside Ertiga, i.e.: keyless push start system, electronically adjustable side mirrors and audio unit running on Android OS with mirror link capability (similar to Ciaz), reverse parking sensors (no video; just that loud and consistent BEEP-BEEPing), large windows (NOT as large as Jimny’s, but still big enough), dual airbags, and rear airconditioning.

The latter (i.e. airconditioning) is worth mentioning because, for a somewhat big car, the A/C works extremely well on this one.















As mentioned, this is a big group car (Because if not, then what’re the seven seats for?), and as such, it means frequent utilizing for out-of-town trips. And so the Ertiga unit received was tested on: Las Piñas to Lucban (via Nagcarlan to Lucban, then via Pansol to Las Piñas); and Lobo, Batangas (specifically Malabrigo Lighthouse), then Laiya, Batangas before heading back to Las Piñas.

On the road, Ertiga is somewhat malikot (moves a lot). This is particularly true when there are only two or three people in the car. BUT – this is just as important to highlight – when there are more than five people in the car, it gets steady, even if it also sorts of drag, like it’s nahihirapan (having a hard time). This is not to mention two related issues:

  1. If you use the third row for the 6th and 7th sets, you’d have less space for luggage; and
  2. Those who are at the back (6th and 7th passengers) complain that being there was like being in a roller-coaster ride; maalon ang feeling (it feels wavy).

For me, sticking with five passengers (driver included) hits the right spot with Ertiga. But that’s just me…

Sticking with five people inside also makes more sense power-wise and trunk-wise. On the former, this car only has a 1.4 liter, 4 cylinder VVT engine capable of 95hp and 130Nm of torque. On the latter, this is because Ertiga doesn’t have a lot of luggage space; the third row with the 6th and 7th seats may be used as seats, or folded as trunk space. Meaning, you’d have to forego one over the other…

I can’t fault the other “spaces” – i.e. legroom and headspace – as there was enough room for everyone to move (friends can even do Madonna’s “Vogue” – LOL!).



This car is also “brave”. For instance, it can climb steep roads – e.g. on the way to Malabrigo Lighthouse, right before the factory of Fortune Cement, there is a one way “road” (if it can be called that at all) that leads to a one-way bridge, and then the end of that bridge forces one to immediately make a steep climb uphill via a WINDING/CURVED road. I must say that the Ertiga didn’t choke. I thought that the car wasn’t gonna make it; but then it revved up, and… zoomed.

Curves were handled well (again, particularly when the car has more load). For instance, and again while heading to Malabrigo, it is “normal” to encounter roads shaped like “S” and double “S”, and “J” and “U” and other weird permutations. Bituka ng manok (Chicken intestines) is an apt description here; and the Ertiga was able to handle these well…

Fuel consumption was… acceptable. Two full tanks had me cover 835 kms.







Particularly on the outside, the Ertiga is by no means a showstopper. But – get this – this provides a cross between a HB (for city driving, since the car may appear long, but it was still able to squeeze in tight spots while city driving) and a (somewhat) big group vehicle. If this is what’s being considered, then this car is definitely worth checking out (not only because of its under-P1 million price tag, but also because of the somewhat classy inside).

Selling for P918,000, Ertiga is available in Snow White Pearl, Silky Silver Metallic, Graphite Grey Pearl Metallic, Cool Black Pearl Metallic, Radiant Red Pearl and Burgundy Red Pearl.


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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