Category: Car Owners
From driving his dad’s owner-type jeep to taking the Eon he owns for an epic Manila-Cotabato road trip, IT professional Mackie Cirilo reveals what drives his passion.
In a time when traffic jams have become a daily struggle, it’s no longer surprising if some of us have opted to work from home or rely on Transport Network Vehicles (TNVS). Why bother spending hours on the road when you can stay put in your comfort zone?
That doesn’t fly well with 30-year-old Wilfer Marc “Mackie” Cirilo, an IT professional who originally hailed from Tiaong, Quezon. Because instead of flying to Cotabato, Mackie packed his bags, loaded them up in his Hyundai Eon, and drove from Manila for 3 consecutive days.
“Independent kasi ako eh. Pag-graduate ko kasi ng high school hindi ako kaagad nakapag-college,” Mackie reveals matter-of-factly. His “blunder years” wherein he chose to lead a “rakenrol” lifestyle as a struggling lead guitarist, isn’t something he’s ashamed of. “So kung saan-saan ako nakarating, hanggang sa nakapag-trabaho ako sa talyer—yung auto shop? Dun ako natuto mag-butingting ng sasakyan.”
Mackie admits that he’s always had a thing for tinkering with machines in order to understand how they work. In fact, he reveals being in 4th grade when he first learned how to drive, using his dad’s owner-type jeep. Through the years, his passion for further learning led to him finally buckling down and study Information Technology, serving as technical support for a pawn shop, and now, working as an IT specialist for a bank in Ortigas.
“Focused ako sa career. Sa ngayon, gusto ko talagang ma-practice talaga yung career ko, yung tinapos ko as an IT,” Mackie admits.
The one thing that sets Mackie apart from his peers is his acceptance of his weaknesses and his enthusiasm to improve through self-study. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘parang nadadaig na’ko nung mga bagong graduate ngayon...’ Yung kasing time namin, Java lang eh. Ngayon, meron ng mga PHP…hindi ko inabot yun mga ganyan, kaya naghahabol ako ngayon.”
Despite being a career-driven yuppie, Mackie’s passion for music hasn’t faltered. In fact, he even bagged the “Best Lead Guitarist” award from a battle of the bands in 2016—seven years after he last held a guitar and played for an audience. He laughs, “Sabi ko, ‘baka di ko na kaya yan kasi ang tagal ko nang hindi humahawak ng gitara.’ (My friend said), ‘Malay mo, kahit hindi tayo manalo basta makakuha tayo ng special award.’ Yun nga! Hindi kami nanalo pero nakuha ko yung special award na gustong-gusto ko noon pa. Nung 2007 kasi lumalaban din kami sa battle of the bands ‘pag wala kaming gigs, pangdagdag din…pero bihira kami manalo, siguro mga 3rd placer kami madalas. So yung ‘Best Lead Guitarist’ na award, matagal ko nang gustong award, nakuha ko na din nung 2016!”
But his passion for reaching new heights isn’t limited to music alone. Because last September, Mackie accomplished something that no one has ever dared before: driving a Hyundai Eon from Manila, all the way to Cotabato.
Last September 16, Saturday at 4 in the morning, Mackie and his girlfriend loaded up their Hyundai Eon and set off towards their journey from Manila to Cotabato. Despite many naysayers and concerned relatives who warned him about the possible dangers and hassles they might encounter on the road, Mackie didn’t let their warnings stop him. “Actually matagal na naming talagang plan yun, wala pa kaming car. Gusto ko mag-travel kahit yung bus lang, kung ano yung pakiramdam? Tapos nung nagkaroon kami ng car ng girlfriend ko, gusto ko ngang i-try kasi sabi nila maliit, hindi kaya, baka mag-overheat, delikado, zigzag na three times siguro sa hirap ng Kennon Road…pero gusto kong tingnan kung hanggang saan yung kaya ng driving skills ko, patunayan sa sarili ko na mali yung sinasabi nila sa sasakyan kasi maliit lang.”
And prove them wrong he did! Since his girlfriend doesn’t drive, he took the responsibility of stewarding their journey by driving for three consecutive days. “Inabot kami ng three days mula Makati, although sabi nila kaya naman siya ng 48 hours kung dire-dretso yung travel mo. So ginawa ko na lang nun, 4am yung start nung travel naming tapos may 15-minute break time, tapos biyahe ulit tapos lunch. Sabi nila kailangang ma-target yung Matnog, Sorsogon; dun kasi yung port para kung ‘di mo man abutan yung last trip ng barge. ‘Di namin inabot yung biyahe so kinabukasan bumiyahe kami papuntang Samar. Medyo mahaba-haba yung travel sa Visayas so hindi namin talaga siya kinaya; dun kami nagtagal at nagpalipas ng gabi kasi umuulan-ulan pa n’un…as in may bagyo! Four hours din ang nasayang bago kami nakasakay ng barko, then papunta Mindanao.”
Mackie didn’t even think that anything was special about long hours. “Parang nagtatrabaho lang, ganun. Tapos mga 6pm, magla-lodge na kami para at least makarecover yung katawan ko at makapahinga din yung sasakyan.”
Regardless of the long and crazy trip, Mackie has no regrets taking it. He even managed to joke about it. “Narealize ko na hindi tinatanong (kung kakayanin) nung Eon, ang tinatanong yung driver kung hanggang saan ang kaya nya. Sabi ko nga, ‘parang hindi nauubos yung daan!’ Ako yung sumuko!”
It’s easy to assume that Mackie is simply a wild child who’s passionate about exploring the unknown…but there’s a reason behind his every passion. If his passion for tinkering with technology satisfies his curiosity about how things work, the passion that boosted him to drive from Manila to Cotabato is his girlfriend! When asked about the most memorable thing about his trip, it wasn’t the storm, nor the towns they visited. It was the bonding session with his girlfriend of five years, who tried her best to keep him awake behind the wheel.
“Kasi totoo pala na nakakahawa yung, pag tulog yung kasama mo, aantukin ka rin? So sabi ko, ‘Sige lang, magkwento ka lang.’ Hanggang sa yung mga hindi ko pa alam sa kaniya na nangyari sa kanya dati, nasabi niya sa akin. Sabi ko, ‘Ah ok, ngayon ko lang nalaman yun. Mas maganda pala nagda-drive tayo nang matagal. Mas marami kang nakekwento sa’kin eh.’”
And to answer the question, “Why Cotabato?” Though he revealed early on that the purpose of the trip is to visit his girlfriend’s family, he later shared that it was actually a pamamanhikan—which seemed successful judging the amount of pabaon they brought back to Manila.
Indeed, Mackie Cirilo has proven that he, like the Eon, possesses a kind of toughness not often seen by strangers. His journeys—from his rocker-to-IT-specialist transition, to his Manila-to-Cotabato trip all in the name of love—are proofs that Mackie has rightfully earned his stripes…and even brought more color to his life, with his recent engagement! The long-haired rocker who thought of himself to be “too cool for school” is now an adventure-thirsty professional, willing to try new things to get more out of life.
Words by Timmi Bandian
Photo and video by Carlo Albana
Content publishing by Jeff Turla