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Climb every mountain

Ford Everest at Thunderbird Resort in San Fernando, La Union

When the legendary Broadway duo Rodgers and Hammerstein composed “Climb Every Mountain” in the well-loved “Sound of Music,” they may have been prophesying the advent of a multi-role sport utility vehicle capable of doing just that.

It’s an amusing coincidence, but the song’s lyrics vividly describes the attributes of the Ford Everest:

Climb every mountain, Search high and low,

Follow every highway, Every path you know,

Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow,

Till you find your dream.”

With the Next Generation edition, this seven-seater beauty and beast has done these and more, making it a sought-after vehicle for business, adventure, family cruising, and everything in between.

True to its claim, it is indeed “tough on the outside, sanctuary on the inside” as we climbed every mountain, so to speak, aboard the Titanium+ 4 x 2 variant across the Ilocos Region before supertyphoon “Egay” struck.

Ford Everest at Playa Tropical in Currimao, Ilocos Norte

Pit Stop 1: La Union. The gateway to the Ilocos and Cordillera regions, it has become like Manila’s next-door neighbor with the connectivity of the NLEX, SCTEX, and TPLEX. With the Titanium’s 2.0 L turbo engine, and maximum power of 170 PS and Torque of 405 Nm, plus its state-of-the-art safety features, these tollways can all be covered in speed and style in under three hours.

The province’s claim to fame is San Juan’s “El Yu” surfing and party place with its hip resorts, restaurants, and bars.

San Fernando City is the provincial capital, the regional center, and commercial hive. The playground for business and leisure in this bustling urban hub is Thunderbird Resort and Casino which is nestled on a scenic 100-foot cliff at the highest point of Poro Point Peninsula which is akin to the iconic Mediterranean city of Santorini.

The 65-hectare luxury enclave not only looks Greek, but also tastes one, as it has captured the flavors of the ancient civilization, and jazzed up regional cuisine into gourmet delights.

Its nine-hole Cliff Golf Course by the panoramic West Philippine Sea can pump your adrenaline and your drive in the fairways and on the road.

Ford Everest at Villa Vitalis in Santiago, Ilocos Sur

Pit Stop 2: Ilocos Sur. Dubbed as a “heritage province” because of its well-preserved century-old houses and churches, many of which are situated in the capital city of Vigan, a tourism poster image in the pre-internet era.

The province is the Ilocandia’s most mountainous with 36 identified peaks, 11 highland municipalities on the Cordillera ranges, and includes historic battle sites of Bessang Pass and Tirad Pass. With the Ford Everest’s 223 mm ground clearance and 2,900 mm wheelbase, climbing every mountain road is a breeze.

Along the highway towns, an exciting place to spend the night is the opulent Vitalis Villas in Santiago which best matches Ford Everest’s standout traits. Stacked on cliffside of the tranquil Santiago Cove, it recreates a Hellenic seaside village, with motifs in every corner, including the famed Parthenon temple and an Orthodox-themed Catholic chapel, as if transporting you to Greece itself.

A stone’s throw away is its sister boutique resort, Vitalis White Sands where you can bask in the sea, sun and sand, engage in aquasports, and feast on its delectable Boodle Feast consisting of northern dishes.

Not to be missed are the Sta. Maria de Assunta Church, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Narvacan town which prides itself of having the best-tasting bagnet, the signature Ilocano delicacy.

Pit Stop 3: Ilocos Norte. Mainland Luzon’s charming northernmost frontier, it is every traveler’s dream destination as this earns him the bragging right of having passed through seven provinces. Levity aside, it is a quintessential objective as every town has an intriguing story to tell or attraction to be proud of.

An exotic homebase is Playa Tropical Resort in Currimao, which has four villas, 30 rooms, an infinity pool, a gazebo, dining cabanas on stilts, a game room, and an al fresco resto.

And while the Balinese theme is dominant, it incorporates indigenous motifs such as fisherfolk stuff, local paintings, and the massive buttress of Paoay’s St. Augustine Church.

Its location is enviable as it is away from the madding crowd, and yet just a few heartbeats away from the tourist magnets, most notably Paoay, which is home to the magnificent Unesco World Heritage church, Malacañang of the North by the placid Lake, and the Sand Dunes.

With the Ford’s fuel efficiency, you can bask in the eclectic vibe of Laoag City, Cape Bojeador, and Kapurpurawan Rocks of Burgos, the mesmerizing Wind Farm of Bangui, and the picturesque Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpud.

Worry not if there are still traces of supertyphoon “Egay’s” wrath, Everest can climb every proverbial mountain, till you find your dream.