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For a few days last week, I had the chance to drive Isuzu Philippines’ latest souped-up 4×4 pick-up the 3-liter D-Max Boondock in Cosmic Black Mica and manual transmission, complete with the black steel stepboards, enhanced bed rails and the humongous side and front decals depicting Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak.

But apart from making the necessary rounds to the groceries and drugstores and safely ferrying some members of my household to places where they needed to go at the height of the devastating typhoon Ulysses, I wasn’t able to take this Boondock to its true “natural habitat” in the wild outdoors. I could imagine, in responsible and learned hands, the Boondock would make child’s play of the offroading scene.

Maybe I don’t need to imagine anymore, seeing someone like Jeru C. Bravo use his own Boondock not just to make a living, but even to help people in dire need during calamities.

I got to know Jeru, a 31-year-old businessman and antique furniture collector, when I browsed the D-Max Boondock Club Philippines Facebook page (Yes, I also let my fingers do some “offroading” when bad weather doesn’t allow for the real one). He gladly shared his memorable experience as an owner of a 2019 model of the Boondock.

Jeru, who set up the FB group page, promptly volunteered his time and his pick-up to help victims of typhoon Ulysses. His posts on the page showed him readying the supplies as well as his ride for the relief drive.

“Grocery time para sa mga kababayan nating nasalanta (for our countrymen who fell victim to the typhoon). Prayers for everyone. Sana kasya lahat sa Boondock (Hope everything fits in the Boondock)!”, he posted. Those came with pictures of him with 10 large grocery carts filled with bread, drinking water, boxes of coffee and toiletries—all bound for evacuees in Rodriguez town in Rizal, right at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Early this year, Jeru and his Boondock—which he nicknamed “Boondowitee”—had also delivered relief goods to victims of the Taal volcano eruption.

“I gave it a real funny name, but it’s a real badass,” Jeru messaged me.

A self-confessed car tinkerer, Jeru told me that he wanted to make his Boondock look tougher and more intimidating. So, he changed the front grille, steel bumper, mags, tires, and exhaust system, and stiffened up the suspension (presumably to carry heavier loads). Plus, he added a carbon sticker on the hood, and installed some electronics on the step boards.

All else he left untouched, because he said he “loved” what Isuzu did to the 4×4 pick-up, especially the height (“a two-inch lift”), the price (“not as painful to the pocket as other pick-ups”) and the performance (“the hatak (torque) and the ride comfort”).

Jeru explained that there were only two “tall” pickups that he had to choose from: The Boondock and the Ford Raptor. “I chose the Boondock because it was tried and tested by long-time Isuzu pick-up users.”

Apart from looking and being tough, the Boondock has proven to be economical and fuel efficient. “Even without being modified yet into the Boondock, the D-Max has proven to be more economical,” Jeru stressed.

Jeru’s line of work also reinforced his decision to buy the Boondock. “My business needed a pickup for loading heavy stuff. My friend suggested a pick-up. Instead of borrowing my father’s truck, I decided to buy my own. I asked some enthusiasts for suggestions, and the predominant brand mentioned had always been Isuzu. Then my friends suggested the Boondock, since it was a limited edition, and I love rare automobiles and vehicles,” he narrated.

With his tough and dependable Boondowitee at his beck and call, Jeru not only saves antiques, but lives as well; a big heart driving a powerful machine.

Speaking of big hearts, Isuzu Philippines Corp (IPC) has opened its caring doors to all Isuzu brand owners whose vehicles (regardless of year model) were submerged by the recent floods.

In a press statement, IPC is extending full assistance and support to all owners of IPC-manufactured and distributed Isuzu vehicles through the Isuzu Typhoon Assistance Program, which is ongoing until December 15, 2020. All IPC dealerships in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will offer discounts on general repairs and periodic maintenance services (PMS) on all Isuzu-branded light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and commercial vehicles (CVs), regardless of year model.

Isuzu owners can avail a 30-percent discount on general repairs and 20-percent discount on PMS for both parts and labor. A 15-percent discount will be applied on general repairs (parts and labor) for insurance charged jobs. Furthermore, Isuzu Crosswind and CV models will receive a free one-liter Isuzu Genuine Motor Oil-XTRM while Isuzu Alterra, Trooper, D-MAX, and mu-X units will receive a free one-liter Isuzu Genuine Motor Oil Multi-Z.

IPC also advises all affected vehicle owners to book an appointment with their nearest Isuzu dealers the soonest possible in order to provide them the prompt and adequate repair and maintenance service to get their vehicles running in good condition once more.

Yes, the assistance extends even to Boondock owners like Jeru. Big-hearted beasts also need their TLCs after a thorough dunking.

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