Monday, April 07, 2008

I Am A Guiness World Record Holder

We Did It !

After months of planning and hard work, the Volkswagen Club of the Philippines (VWCP) managed to do the unthinkable! The VWCP attempted to set a Guinness World Record to parade the biggest gathering of VW vehicles in one site. What started out only as an idea in the fertile mind of Doy Bondoc, past VWCP President and die-hard Volkswagen afficionado, the club took this initial concept and ran with it. His idea to bring the largest gathering of Volkswagen cars was a monumental undertaking. But Doy was steadfast in the belief that no other car club in this part of the world would do this but the VWCP. As daunting as the challenge was, Doy was determined to make the event happen for the glory of the Philippines, if not for anything else. Almost a year in planning, the club overcame enormous challenges and obstacles which finally bore fruit last Sunday.
More that 800 Volkswagens assembled at the Quezon City Hall on bright and sunny morning of April 6, 2008. Beetles, SuperBeetles, Convertibles, Kombis, Sambas, Campers, Pickups, Notchbacks, Fastbacks, Squarebacks, Karmann Ghias, Brazilias, Sakbayans, Rabbits, Golfs, Jettas, Passats, Boras, Scirrocos, Corrados and other types of Volkswagens and even the oddities which included a Volkswagen-powered jeep joined the historic, once-in-a-lifetime event.

It was a sea of beetles. Like some ancient code imprinted in the VW DNA urged these vehicles to return to their spawning grounds, hundreds of VWs literally swamped the Quezon City Hall. Delegates started arriving and camped at the site even from the night before the big event.

The Quezon City local Government led by Mayor Sonny Belmonte gamely supported the event by hosting it at the city hall grounds. Mayor Belmonte who had four volkswagen vehicles was quite familiar with these cars and personally offered his vast resources in full support of this event. Also, we wish to thank Congresswoman Nanette Castelo Daza, and Noel Daza, long-time VWCP members, along with Congressmen Defensor who have Volkswagens, for their support. The VWCP Board of Directors, with Attorney Sam Baldado, President at the helm, the VWCP members, along with FIREWIRE Events Management (Ethel, Jean, Kathy, Sarah and the others) did an outstanding job.
We initially planned to start the parade at 8AM but we were surprised to see the long lines of VW cars still coming in, wanting to join. To make everyone happy, the start of time was moved back an hour. But even then, by the start of the parade at 9AM, we could still see some more participants still coming in through the City Hall entrance. As it turned out, we decided to start at 9AM sharp with Mayor Belmonte flagging us off. My Herbie was car number 9 and I was pleasantly surprised that by the time we got back to the Quezon City Hall, there were still cars exiting the starting gate. The single line convoy was so long that the tail end of the parade was still lined up in the city hall area while we (the VWCP board and organizers) were already nearing the end of the parade.
Traffic was also a huge mess, which we expected because people were ogling at all the cars. Never have I seen so many cellphones stuck out of windows taking pictures/videos. When i was young, we used to play pendong (slap the head) everytime we see a beetle. I guess everybody would be knocked out cold if you played that game last Sunday. The traffic management teams did a fantastic job considering the number of cars in single-file, the usual Manila traffic, and the sheer number of onlookers. It was hot and dusty but people managed to keep cooler heads during the event. Part of this might simply because we have not seen this thing before.

The parade route itself was quite short. . . From the Quezon City Hall, the cars proceeded around the Quezon Memorial Circle towards Commonwealth Avenue. The cars took the Tandang Sora U-Turn back to the Quezon Circle. We turned into Quezon Avenue, passing by the Wildlife park and proceeded via the EDSA underpass. Past that, we took another U-Turn slot near Parco to head back towards the Quezon Circle, passing the Lung Center. It was a short run from Quezon Avenue to the entranmce of the City Hall where the cars again parked for the final signing and distribution of the commemorative stickers and Guiness certificates.

Looking for that hard to find VW part to complete your restoration or just to buy a commemorative souveneir, there were loads of concessionaires eager to feed the minds and stomachs of the thousands of people in attendance. This was the place if you were a serious collector or even a young VW fan. The Quezon City walkway served as a volkswagen swap meet and tiangge of parts and parephernalia. Rare Volkswagen mag wheels, headlights, or steering wheels intermixed with hot dogs, hamburgers, fish balls, sodas and iced Ts. Even the halo-halo vendor had some Beetle toys for sale. Amid the umbrellas, T-Shirts, key chains, slippers and tumblers, great deals were found in pistons, camshafts and other "go-fast" Volkswagen goodies. The corporate sponsors, Pepsi Max, Petron, Timex, Pascual Labs,and Castrol proudly displayed their products in their respective booths.

As a final note, this event would be nothing if not for the support of the Pinoy Volkswagen fans. On behalf of the VWCP, Manila Chapter, I would like to thank all the chapters for their undying support. VWCP chapters from Manila, Baguio, Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Iloilo, Isabela, Subic, and Santiago were all here. My sincere and utmost thanks. A big round of thanks to ALL Pinoy VW Lovers of all affiliations who came to Quezon City to join us for this unique celebration of the Volkswagen - a true people’s car. This feat sets a new Guiness World Record that we all can be very proud of. I congratulate all of you that made this event so successful…. you made your country proud. Salamat!