Say hello to your Top Gear PH team

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Car Cultutre -

your job is amaz­ing! You must be liv­ing the dream!”

If I had a peso for ev­ery in­stance I heard those lines, there would be an MX-5 or an FJ Cruiser in my garage right now. Hon­estly, the truth is like what the boy said to the girl when he found out she reads and re­posts fake news, and then she asks if they’re an item: “Babe, it’s com­pli­cated.”

On one hand, yes, there are amaz­ing as­pects to this line of work. I’ve been in con­fer­ence rooms with cap­tains of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, and glimpsed into the minds of busi­ness ge­niuses. I’ve driven su­per­cars and con­cept ve­hi­cles that (maybe) no Filipino has driven be­fore. I’ve seen places around the world that would make a travel blog­ger en­vi­ous. I’ve peered into the un­der­bel­lies of car-mak­ing op­er­a­tions, and I’ve wit­nessed how Fer­raris and Toy­otas are made.

But if there’s one les­son I’ve learned all th­ese years, it’s that there’s al­ways a flip side. Ev­ery ar­ti­cle, photo, and lay­out you see on th­ese pages—and from all our is­sues since we started—came from some­one’s sweat, eye­bags, and maybe even some tears. In fact, this shoot you see here is the clos­est thing we have to an easy pic­to­rial.

And as our hum­ble brand grew over the years, so did the work. It wasn’t just a photo shoot any­more; now there’s a video shoot that re­quires ad­di­tional time on lo­ca­tion. And the pic­tures aren’t just for the mag­a­zine, we have to al­lo­cate a few choice pics for so­cial me­dia.

A lot has changed since we came out with our first is­sue in 2004. I was with that pioneer crew, and I re­call that there were only three of us clos­ing the mag­a­zine: the ed­i­tor, art di­rec­tor, and my­self. And if you’re won­der­ing how we did it then, let’s just say we knew the numbers to 24hour food de­liv­er­ies by heart, and our stom­achs can at­test to that.

I came in at a time when dig­i­tal usu­ally meant photos. Film was still pre­dom­i­nantly in use then, and I still remember that one of my tasks as staff writer was to fill out an in­ter­nal of­fice form so that the photos could be de­vel­oped. We even had a lit­tle mag­ni­fy­ing ‘mon­o­cle’ that we used to view film neg­a­tives. But even then, times were chang­ing. The In­ter­net was pick­ing up steam, and so­cial me­dia sites were sprouting up and dy­ing (remember tes­ti­mo­ni­als?).

Nowa­days, film is a look and ‘feel’ that peo­ple try to recre­ate us­ing In­sta­gram fil­ters. My tasks are now done via com­puter, via e-mail, Google forms, and soft­ware called Slack that al­lows team mem­bers to com­mu­ni­cate. You might think that Slack means slack­ing off, be­cause how lazy are we to use a com­mu­ni­ca­tion app if we all sit in one aisle? But this ap­pli­ca­tion is nec­es­sary to do the work we do. We don’t have mag­ni­fy­ing glasses any­more, but our fail­ing eye­sight has forced many of us to grad­u­ate to real eye­glasses.

From a trio in 2004, a time when the most pop­u­lar gad­get was the iPod, Top Gear Philip­pines is now an 11-mem­ber team. And this is just for the full-time staff. Out there are our con­trib­u­tors and pho­tog­ra­phers with full-time jobs of their own, and we couldn’t do this with­out them.

Be­cause if you ask me what makes Top Gear PH spe­cial, I’d re­ply with two words—the peo­ple. It’s not just be­cause of tal­ent, although

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