Honda Club of the Philippines on their passion for those high-revving machines
Honda Cars has built its reputation by making reliable and practical economy cars for sensible drivers.
But as many a car enthusiast would know, every Honda has a hidden personality that can only be unleashed by those who are willing to ride it hard and make it scream. Put in a less provocative way, Hondas equipped with the Japanese carmaker’s venerable Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control or VTEC system are sensible city cars on one hand and screaming banshees on the other, revving up to 9,000 revolutions per minute in some models.
Indeed, it is this compelling duality that makes Hondas the subjects of adoration of the Honda Club of the Philippines (HCP).
“Honda is a very flexible vehicle that owners have fun modifying,” said HCP president Pia Traje. “No Honda has ever been a taxi here in the Philippines and VTEC has definitely set a standard for performance in the car industry. We believe that the Honda brand has established a great reputation in the automobile world.”
From forum to car club
Traje said HCP was born online over 15 years ago.
“The club was founded on June 18, 2001 by Carlo ‘BC’ De Guzman,” she said. “It started with a group of Honda car owners who were ‘forumers’ with kotse.com who then decided to put up their own forum called hondaclub.com.ph.”
Starting with less than 30 members, Traje said the club now has over 800 bona fide members who are divided into 14 subgroups. However, she said the bigger size and the changing times have made running HCP more challenging.
“Because we are now a bigger club, people don’t know everyone,” she said. “Also, a key factor in getting more participation from the members is through the support of their subgroup head. However, due to busy schedules and other priorities, it can also be a challenge to keep all of the subgroup leaders engaged. Lastly, with the onset of the social media age, our online forum is already becoming obsolete, so there’s a need for us to adapt and explore other communication channels that are more suitable for our members during these changing times.”
Bevy of activities
Traje said despite the club’s size, the members strive to regularly meet and bond.
“We have our monthly grand eyeball [GEB] that normally includes activities like parking lot get-togethers (GTs) and being able to check out each other’s modifications,” she said. “We also partner with other car-related events and hold Halloween and year-end parties, swap meets, yearly outreach programs, car shows and fun runs. We also hold an annual team building and strategic planning session for our officers and subgroup leaders.”
Besides these, Traje said members hold informal gatherings, as well as pit against each other in the club’s basketball league (discussed further in the sidebar).
From greenhorn to graduation
Traje said becoming a bona fide member of HCP requires aspirants to not only own a Honda, but also to undergo a rigorous application process.
“The starting point is join one of HCP’s subgroups,” she said. “The subgroup head would then endorse the member to the HCP officers. Once the endorsement is accepted, the aspirant needs to fill out a signature sheet so that he or she gets to know the senior members, as well as attend at least five GEBs.”
Once he or she accomplishes all these and pays the P1,000 membership fee, the aspirant “graduates” in a ceremony every December. However, Traje said there’s a special twist in every graduation. “The ceremony includes an initiation called the ‘pole dance,’ where graduates have to do a sexy dance using a pole at the event,” she said.
Despite the rigors that one has to go through to graduate, Traje said bona fide members receive numerous benefits.
“The primary perk would be the widening of one’s network in the Honda car-owner community,” she said. “This means accessing good deals on parts and services, gaining new friends, garnering a bigger market [if you’re a seller]and bagging benefits awarded by partner shops and establishments.”
15 years of Honda passion
For 2016, Traje said the club will be celebrating a major milestone.
“We will be holding our 15th anniversary celebration where we will be acknowledging members who gave valuable contributions to the club, along with awarding the winners of our recently concluded HCP basketball league,” she said.
In addition, Traje said HCP will hold numerous events until the year’s end.
“We will still have our monthly GEBs, our park-and-sell bazaar this September, our yearly Halloween costume party this October, our yearly outreach program this November, and of course, our Christmas and graduation parties in December,” she said.