Street dreams are made of these


Members of the Miata Club of the Philippines are all smiles before rolling out for the parade.

There is an easy-to-follow surefire recipe for causing absolute (pleasant) pandemonium in a busy shopping district on a weekend afternoon, and yours truly was more than a willing ingredient in it.

The much-anticipated annual Binibining Pilipinas Grand Parade of Beauties happened last Saturday at the Araneta Center.

Forty out of the 41 candidates made it, and were driven in and around the complex on individual Mazda Miatas and MX5s courtesy of the Miata Club and Mazda Philippines.

The statuesque pageant beauties were dressed in festive headdresses and swimsuits, and each one boarded either a Mazda Miata or a Miata MX5 driven by a member of the Miata Club of the Philippines, who was more than happy to oblige.

A handful of Motoring journalists were able to drive for them too, with MX5s provided by Mazda Philippines.

Privilege of popularity

This year included, the Miata Club has been driving for the Binibining Pilipinas Parade of Beauties for 13 consecutive years, so not only has the parade become an awaited annual tradition for the pageant, the Miata—the cute little convertible roadster—has become somewhat of an icon for the event.

Of course, there have also been convertibles from other marques, and they’ve tried to partake of the privilege, but they couldn’t quite put together at least 40 of them for a single event, let alone assembling that much from a single car club.

The Miata Club of the Philippines just celebrated its 20th year last year, and the solid camaraderie within the club kept the members together throughout the two decades and several iterations.

Impressive line-up of Mazda Miatas and MX-5s for the parade

Mazda Philippines, of course, has been providing generous support to them.

Built for fun

The Mazda Miata has always been a practical and “realistic” sports car, with its first generation released in 1989 equipped with a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine.

It had very compact dimensions and weighed just about a ton. With a weight distribution of nearly 50:50, its handling characteristics—easy to coax—endeared it to many driving enthusiasts.

Lightweight, agile, responsive, and relatively cheap to maintain, the Miata is one of the most favored cars by those starting out in motorsports.

It’s also a great daily driver if you can get away with having room for just one passenger.

The car has been called MX-5 from its second generation onwards, all the way to its fourth and latest (model code ND).

The latest iteration of the MX-5 is, of course, the most striking, bearing a much more aggressive engineering technology.

I was pretty stoked to have been issued the exceedingly handsome Mazda MX-5 RF with the automatically retractable hardtop to drive in the parade.

It’s equipped with a 2.0-liter Inline-4 DOHC gasoline engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, rated at 160 ps and 200 Nm of torque.

Pageant candidate Catriona Gray looking very comfy in the Mazda MX-5

While the numbers aren’t exactly astounding, one has to get behind the wheel to understand how the MX-5 (especially with the top down) rewards its driver with such an exhilarating and engaging driving experience.

I’ve driven the fourth-gen MX-5 in regular and spirited situations before, so no I’m not referring to my driving experience with the most popular Binibining Pilipinas candidate as my passenger.

A sight to behold

I didn’t quite understand all the congratulatory handshakes I got from the Miata Club members when they found out I was driving candidate #20 in the parade, until I had to open the door of my passenger seat for her amidst a crowd chanting her name loudly.

Catriona Grey easily appears to be the most favored candidate in the pageant. With a statuesque 5-foot-10-inch height (that’s without her heels), a gorgeous face, and such an amicable and bubbly personality, it’s easy to see why.

I’m glad my MX-5 had an automatic transmission as we inched through thousands of photographs taken and a few marriage proposals yelled through car windows during the parade.

I never thought being a chauffeur could be so exciting. Driving what is probably the most popular roadster/convertible to date, with one of the most beautiful women in the world, street dreams are definitely made of these.

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