Dedication to helping others
On June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo declared our country’s independence in Kawit, Cavite, signalling the rebirth of a nation that had been subjugated by over three centuries of Spanish rule (a short-lived freedom as the Americans stepped in less than a year later after buying us in the Treaty of Paris).
More than 117 years later, another group declared “independence” in Kawit, although this time, the sovereignty of our nation wasn’t at stake.
“Vios Pilipinas was established in July 2015 by me and a couple of friends from a previous car club that we were part of,” said the club’s president and co-founder Francis Jagolino. “We wanted to come up with our own club, which embodied what we really wanted to do. It was really a coming-together of like-minded people.”
Jagolino said they did this because they didn’t share the same ideals with their previous club.
“That club was really more about the cars, with the owners constantly outdoing each other to see who had the nicest one,” he said. “In Vios Pilipinas, we look beyond the cars because we value the camaraderie more.”
Today, Jagolino said Vios Pilipinas has around 50 members, mostly from the southern part of Metro Manila. He also said the club has members in Subic and Olongapo, as well as partnerships with several other Vios clubs in the country.
A force for good
Jagolino said what makes Vios Pilipinas different is that it focuses primarily on charity work and outreach programs (discussed in more detail in the sidebar).
“We didn’t want to be a car club that just hanged around,” he said. “We thought that there was something more that we could do. Our main ideals are that Vios Pilipinas is a force for good and that it should give back to the community.”
Jagolino said the club has been supporting a halfway house for young cancer patients in Ermita, Manila, called Bahay Aruga by taking the children out or having an activity within the house.
“We also had an activity in an orphanage in Cavite where we gave them food,” he said. “Another was a medical mission in Pampanga after a typhoon struck the area.”
Besides socially relevant activities, Jagolino said the club participates in car shows and national Toyota events like the Vios Cup, although he said it is still working on gaining an official partnership with Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation. He also said the club has bonding activities like its inter-club sports fest.
“All in all, what we try to do in Vios Pilipinas is to maintain a balanced lifestyle, which is about maintaining time for work, time for family and time for leisure,” he said.
More than what you pay for
Although the club doesn’t really prioritize the cars, Jagolino said an essential requisite to joining is to own any generation of the Toyota Vios.
“Aside from being dependable and reliable, the Vios gives you more than what you pay for,” he said. “And for people who like modifying their cars, the model is emerging with limitless aftermarket parts. It’s also very versatile because you can take it to any function you want, so it’s really a complete package.”
Jagolino said those who are interested in joining must search for Vios Pilipinas on Facebook, where they would be directed to either the club’s forum page or fan page.
“As we are still in our soft-opening phase, attending one event is enough to put you in the membership list,” he said. “The only exception is if you are coming from Visayas and Mindanao, which would mean you would get automatic membership.”
Jagolino said the perks of joining the club are the friendships and the contacts that members gain.
“Some of our members have actually done business with each other,” he said. “This would not have happened under regular circumstances. Also, members receive discounts from our sponsors.”
Reorganization in the works
Jagolino said the club is planning to reorganize soon, which will not only stipulate stricter terms of maintaining membership, but also a new organizational structure.
“Getting into the club is easy, but staying in the club requires commitment,” he said. “We are looking into a points system, where certain events will have different points. We are thinking about implementing a minimum number of points for members to maintain membership.”
After reorganizing, Jagolino said the club has plans to expand all over the country, as well as continue its numerous outreach activities this year.
“In June, we plan to have a mini-carnival for the kids at Bahay Aruga,” he said. “We will also have our first anniversary in July and a fun run to the South, which will be around August or September. We are also looking at another activity at the orphanage in Cavite in around October or November. Finally, we plan to have a charity concert near December, as a lot of our members are talented musicians, with the proceeds going to the charities that we currently support.”