IN her free time, Girl Racers Club (GRC) president Ava Puti-An usually takes part in get-togethers with other car clubs, goes shopping with her clubmates and tends to her black FD Honda Civic.
But on weekdays, she puts on her teacher’s uniform and drives her Civic from her home in Quezon City to Pasay City Science High School, where she meets her high school values education classes. Despite being considered a disciplinarian, Puti-An said her students and colleagues look up to her because of her work at the helm of the country’s premier all-female car club.
“The students say, ‘Terror siya, pero OK,” she said. “When they see me on television for guestings or on YouTube taking part in GRC activities, they see an independent woman.”
Indeed, Puti-An said the best way for female motorists to assert their independence and counter the negative stereotypes hurled against them is to brush up on their defensive driving and the basics of car maintenance. She said there really shouldn’t be a “sex war” in motoring.
“You may not be able to work on cars as well as men could, but at least you can still do it,” she said. “And as long as you have the money, you can make decisions for your car.”
Puti-An said her love of cars began long before she started teaching in 2010.
“When I joined GRC in December 2005, I was just looking for friends who also liked cars,” she said. “I had just started driving and customizing my car.”
Puti-An said when she joined, she owned a Toyota Corolla. After that, she said she got an EK Honda Civic, then getting her FD three years ago.
“And I’m proud to say that all the cars I’ve owned have manual gearboxes,” she said.