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We had gone from Balintawak to Ortigas to Pasig to Ortigas to Quezon City—all during morning rush hour—to Clark, Pampanga and gone around the former US air base for two days on just half a tank. Granted that the tank held 80 liters of diesel, but check out the odometer in the photo. I took that photo as we were leaving Angeles City.

And check out how big our ride was. It was the 14-seater JAC Sunray. (The model we brought was expanded to seat 17.) The Sunray has a high pseudo-bubble top and reclining seats that give even the most claustrophobic commuter enough chill room to enjoy the view—or, with drawn blinds, to enjoy some shuteye.

Our six-foot-tall reporter Paulo could stand everywhere inside the coach without having to duck. As with all tall folk, it was the first thing he noticed.

Why It’s JAC’s Hottest Seller
The JAC Sunray turned heads on NLEX because of two things: its hefty size and exterior design. It is swankier and roomier than other coaches in its class.

I have a visualization exercise for you. Picture the most popular van or coach you know of. I bet you’re picturing the hottest selling van in the Philippines, right? The JAC Sunray is 15% longer, 90% wider, and has a headroom over 70% higher than that van you’re picturing. Compare the specs and I’ll buy you a Venti Mocha Frap if I’m off by more than 3%.

Rosita Sy, EVP at JAC Motors Philippines, says that Sunray units were flying out of their Balintawak showroom since before the start of the campaign season for the May 2013 elections. Ah, Philippine politics.

Lie Down
The Sunray does not offer the smoothest ride in its class if I’m being honest. But buckling up and tilting your seat all the way back should fix things. The Sunray actually gave me the soundest sleep I’ve ever had in a moving vehicle. I was so knocked out that I didn’t even hear the snores coming to a crescendo inside the cabin. I learned about the snoring later. Apparently, every single one of us slept soundly.

I only regained consciousness a few minutes away from the hotel in Clark. It was almost like falling asleep in first class.

While at Clark we met the CEO of Clark International Airport, Victor Luciano. Looking out the window of his anteroom at our ride he remarked, “Ayan ba? Ang ganda pala, ano?” (Is that your ride? Nice, isn’t it?)

On the way back to Manila a couple of days later, I just had to chuckle that we continued to turn heads. They probably thought it was a Mercedes- Benz Sprinter on steroids.

Print ed: 05/13

 

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