By Kara Santos
Host and star of Ride N’ Seek Jaime Dempsey was in the Philippines recently during the History Convention 2017 to promote the hit motorcycle travel documentary airing on History Channel.
This is the fifth season of the show and the third filmed in the Philippines. Last year, Jaime immersed herself in the country’s culture including exploring Mayon’s lava trails in Albay and got inked by legendary tattoo artist Fang Od in the mountains of Buscalan, Kalinga.
“I keep coming back. I’ve made a lot of friends here. I just love it here!” said Jaime during the introduction of History Channel celebrities and the panel interview during the History Con 2017 media launch.
This time around, Jaime got to go off-the-beaten path in Mindanao, Palawan, and Batanes.
A sneak peek of Season 5 shows her paragliding, whitewater rafting, surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding and riding around the country in scenic spots likened to places like New Zealand, The Congo, Hawaii, Vietnam, Scottland, and Japan for the benefit of international audiences. However, Pinoys will recognize the destinations as Saranggani, Cagayan de Oro, Palawan, Batanes and General Santos, to name a few.
In an exclusive interview with WHEELS Magazine after the press conference, Jaime shared some highlights of filming this season, her thoughts on the bike she got to use and some adventurous exploits off camera.
Memorable rides on and off the camera
Jaime says the Philippines has a permanent place in her heart since she’s had the chance to travel around a lot of the country’s top destinations for the show. For this season, she counts Palawan, where she got to go wreck diving in Coron, cliff-climbing in El Nido and off-roading as one of her favorites.
“There were so many memorable experiences, but one of my favorites was when I got to Palawan. I got to ride a motocross track for the first time in the Sta. Monica Race Track where they hold international motocross competitions. It was the first time I’ve ever ridden on a motocross track,” said Dempsey.
Dempsey says she’s only starting to get into dirt biking, so she makes sure to undergo proper training and coaching on motorcycle safety on her own when she can.
“Every time I visit Manila, I like to visit my friend Mel Aquino (who runs an Off-Road Training Camp) and have him coach me. That helped me out when I was on the motocross track. I did some jumps, I got some air. It was such a thrill for me.”
In between shooting episodes for the show, she also went on an unexpected ride with some of the guys from the KRB Off-Road Track in Antipolo (where advanced off-roading lessons are held).
“That wasn’t even part of the show! That was on my own personal time. I tortured myself by riding with those guys,” Dempsey recounts with a laugh.
“Mel was like ‘We’re going to take you on a very easy trail, and I’m like ‘ok, ok.’ And he coached me a little bit before. We take the trail, and it was so much fun going up to Mt. Maarat. The view is super cool and we’re with a cool crew of guys and then it just starts pouring down rain and the dirt there just turns to clay! The whole way coming up I was like, ‘Oh, I love you, this is the best experience. And the whole way down, I was like, ‘Mel, I hate you, this is so hard. This is so terrible.’ But yeah that was a super fun experience. And the very next day I was flying to London with a bag full of muddy wet clothes.”
This year, Jaime’s official motorcycle for Ride N’ Seek is the Royal Enfield Himalayan, an adventure touring motorcycle known for being able to tackle the toughest terrain.
“It’s really cool because the Himalayan is not actually available in America yet, so it was really special for me to get tot try it out. I have a lot of friends back home asking me about it. For someone that’s my size, it’s a great adventure bike. It’s light, the seat height is low and it’s just easy to ride. I really loved it. I could go on and on the roads with no problem,” said Jaime.
During the History Convention, Royal Enfield Philippines offered riders a chance to get a feel of the Himalayan’s power in their Urban Assault Obstacle Course. Visitors could test ride the bike for free in a course composed of wooden planks, a bed of rocks and a makeshift water crossing.
“I’m hoping I get a chance to try that Urban Assault. I’m a litte bit nervous, but since I have some experience on the bike, I’m hoping I can do it,” added Jaime.
Aside from visiting the RE booth, Jaime also got to go on a motorcade city ride on the last day of the History Con with the Royal Enfield crew along with Barry “Butch” Wilmore – a NASA astronaut and US Navy test pilot who spent 178 days in space, which she called a “fangirl” moment.
Best Ride: Batanes
One of the stops in Ride N’ Seek this year is the northernmost province of the country, which remains a dream destination for many Filipinos: Batanes. Jaime raved about the scenery and beauty of the place that had her stopping for a lot for selfies.
Because of the logistical problems of transporting the Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle to the island (which is only accessible by air and cargo ships), she ended up “going local” and using rented motorbikes for that leg of the show, particularly a 135cc underbone and a Honda CBR 150. But like any true rider, for Jaime it’s not abot the brand of the bike, but the journey.
“I’ll ride anything they throw my way. Batanes is just amazing. The views from the cliffs are spectacular. You get to the top and you’re riding roads where you can see the ocean on both sides. You see like little goats and cows on the sides of the cliffs. That was so awesome. The roads are so tight and bendy you have to blow your horn just before you turn in. It was one of the coolest places I think I’ve ever ridden. I recommend it to all riders,” said Dempsey.
The fifth season of Ride N’ Seek: Journey to the North premieres in Southeast Asia on August 21 on HISTORY™ Channel.