España Boulevard in Manila is typically besieged by gridlock on a regular day.
This is the effect of hundreds of thousands of commuters rushing in and out of the nation’s former capital to its larger neighbor, Quezon City.
They begrudgingly traverse its beaten and uneven roads – by car, bus, jeep, FX, taxi or even pedicab – where they pass by structures built in Manila’s heyday, but have sadly been ravaged by decades of neglect.
España is also where the University of Santo Tomas (UST) has been standing since 1927, although it had been in the country since the early 1600s.
On April 26, the country’s oldest Catholic university had a ‘roaring traffic jam’ of its own, but in celebration of the four-wheeled machines that typically make driving in Manila so difficult.
‘Roar of the Braves,’ held at the UST Practice Covered Court, is the first ‘major’ car show that the university has hosted.
“UST has had smaller car shows before, usually with a couple of cars. But we call this one ‘major’ since it’s open to the public,” said Paul De Vera, head coach for the high-school UST Judo Varsity, which organized the event.
De Vera said more than 200 guests attended the show, where around 90 cars competed in 138 categories.
“Most of the categories are generally based on brand. But the most prestigious award is the ‘UST Car of the Year.’ For this, the judges, who include Anthony Llave from Atoy Customs, will pick the best yellow car in the show.”
Notable entries include a classic, beige Datsun 1200 pickup; a red, first-generation Mazda MX-5 that has been stanced; a black Toyota Avanza that doubles as a rolling nightclub with its flashing strobe lights and loud party music from its numerous speakers; and the gatling-gun-packing Mitsubishi Pajero that also appeared at the La Salle ‘Automized’ car show on March 15.
All the proceeds of the ‘Roar of the Braves’ will be used to buy goods for the missionary-run Hospicio de San Jose in Manila.
“It is a family tradition,” said event co-organizer Jacobe Bernardo.
“My grandmother is adopted. As such, her heart is for adopted children. It’s been her tradition every year or every Christmas or every time she has extra money to share with the hospice, which is one of the oldest in the Philippines.”
Although the hospice does not serve only children, Bernardo said their focus is on the kids.
“They have a future, a potential. They’re very high-spirited.”