Exploring Lake Caliraya in the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak – Feature

Revisiting cars we’ve already driven is sometimes good, because it gives us an idea of how the vehicle holds up over time after it’s changed many hands. Ford is a brand known to be “Built Ford Tough”, so an invitation to step out of the normal office workday and do some day camping with the Ranger WildTrak was hard to say no to.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Lake Caliraya Drive

Drive participants were asked to meet up at the famed Starbucks drive-thru in BGC to awaken the senses with some morning snacks and coffee. On this particular day, the weather was inconsistent with very light drizzles alternating with searing sunshine. We filled up our respective bodies for the long jaunt down to what was unknown to me at the time, Lake Caliraya.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 6

Lake Caliraya is something I’ve always heard about but never been to, a man-made lake oasis developed in the 1930s that became a rest area and family retreat for Filipinos with enough money and patience to make the trek there. I took first driving duties from BGC-Lake Caliraya, and according to Waze our ETA was around 2 and a half hours, which surprised me considering how close to SLEX we already were.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 7

Ford told us that we were free to drive at our own pace and enjoy the vehicle in our own way, I elected to take the ‘chill’ approach and just coast all the way. Fortunately for me, the Ranger Wildtrak is very much a truck that can be both capable and laidback, I was reminded just how sedate the driving experience is on normal roads. I noticed first how good the NVH levels are, the hustle and bustle of the outside world barely registers in the cabin. Next up is the ride, which for a 4×4 pickup is truly class-leading in my opinion, it’s no luxury sedan but for a 4×4 it is mighty comfortable.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 2

What I also really like about the Ford Ranger Wildtrak is the plethora of features that come standard, with the most notable ones being wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, as well as a full ADAS suite with adaptive cruise control among others. The latter was much appreciated because driving south requires the most amount of patience, and with the Rangers ADAS system I was able to keep my chill the whole way.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 1

We made it to Lake Caliraya a little past 10 a.m., and all participants found our spots on the camping ground. As we all settled in, I couldn’t help but bask in the magnificent feat that is the lake itself, we’re used to seeing these types of massive lake communities in Western countries so seeing it in the Philippines is a treat. The place truly felt calm and relaxed, and we proceeded to do our tailgate party which consisted of a full picnic setup.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 3

As we all gathered around and munched we realized that idle motoring journalists have nothing interesting to do except talk about cars or gossip, which we all proceeded to do with as much fervor as any ‘Marites’. As lunchtime reared its head, the Italian restaurant down the road provided a touch of rustic class to our camping adventure. We filled up on pasta, pizza, and more stories, after we ran out of things to talk about (which was inevitable) we made our way to the shoreline of the lake to do a boat tour of this man-made marvel.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 5

However, as we were touring the beautiful lake surrounded by equally beautiful rest houses the sky began to darken and crackle. Eventually, the heavens opened and we made our way back to our campsite. We promptly got off the boat and ran towards the Ford Rangers to warm up as the rain began to intensify. It was as if the Lake was telling us that our time was up, so we took it as gospel and made our way home.

Ford Everest Wildtrak Camping Drive 8

The drive back was equally as relaxing as the journey going, to be very honest the Ford Ranger does feel like it’s built to a certain standard. Despite being a media test unit and already used and abused, it still felt solid all around. It was also nice to experience what a true Ford Ranger owner would do, which is camp and generally live an active outdoorsy lifestyle. It was the company, the venue, and the car that made this an unforgettable mini-drive.


Pablo Salapantan

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo's first word was probably "Car", and this has developed into a personal passion that has consumed his professional life as well.

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