Text by Rica Sison
Times have changed especially in the motorcycle industry. Gone are the days where only men could ride a bike and women were put in the back seat. Today, more women are opting for two-wheeled motor vehicles than ever before, and this untapped and most overlooked market is ready to take the lead.
From dresses to riding pants, high heels to riding shoes, luxury bags to riding helmets, these ladies have changed their shopping preferences. Meet the all-women riding group, LAQWACHICAS.
Borne out of awe at adventures to be had on two wheels. A lockdown-baby of 2020, LAQWACHICAS was a response from being confined within the four walls of our homes. It was a time we all realized what truly matters – a life lived with joy. Uncaged and unafraid, these women stepped up and took the challenge of riding a motorcycle.
The founding members, if not all 25 ladies, first learned how to ride a motorcycle in a scooter. Some started riding when they were young but others started with zero knowledge.
Considering the height and built of a woman, adapting to the motorcycle’s weight and height is the most challenging part they had to face. However, after a few trips and falls and more saddle time, these ladies have gained enough confidence to take it to the next level – riding a big bike.
So either for work or leisure, these ladies have different reasons why they ride.
Rica ‘Ms. Congeniality’ Sison – Yours truly! I’m your typical athletic and adventurous type of girl. Being friends with mostly guys rather than girls exposed me to a lot of not-so-girly hobbies, including bicycles and motorcycles. I guess my love for two wheels was inevitable.
For me, riding is all about being imperfectly perfect. You can be whoever you want to be, go wherever you want to go, nobody is in control but you, no pretension, just you being you.
Morning ‘The Manager’ Madrid – Working as a manager in a fast-paced environment and handling daily operations will put you in some high-stress situations. While others prefer to go to the spa for a soothing massage, for Morning, it’s riding, “I ride to destress.”
In the past, she has gone as a pillion passenger on her husband’s bike. It was he who encouraged her to finally try motorcycle riding by her to Zero2Podium Motorcycle Riding School and Honda Safety Driving Center.
Now, Morning and Regan have weekly date rides in separate big bikes.
KQ ‘Ms. Itchy Feet’ Quiray – Riding while working. Unlike Morning, KQ’s schedule is more flexible. Managing her own business, The Hungry Cow Manila, an online store of premium food products, allows her to enjoy both worlds. A week won’t pass without a ride, may it be in a scooter or a big bike, whenever her feet are itchy, she will go in for a ride. Enjoying breakfast in Marilaque has become her daily ritual.
Being a rock climber and outdoor enthusiast, now a motorcycle rider, KQ’s goal is “To see the beauty of the Philippines on 2 wheels!”
Rhea ‘All-Rounder’ Gulle – She is everyone’s go-to person. Being one of the most experienced riders in the group, Rhea is always ready with a helping hand when needed.
“It is the uncaged freedom that I get when riding,” shares Rhea.
She adds, “I open the map, choose a destination, gear up, and go. No matter where, motorbikes get me there. Through superhighways, over mountains, along the coast, and across rivers— I go. Nothing beats the thrill of exploring God’s creation for the amazing playground it is. Riding makes me feel gloriously alive— AND deeply grateful”
DJamillah ‘The Spokesperson’ Maria Abaya – Working in the BPO industry for 18 solid years has made Djamillah an expert on finding the balance between life and career. Pre-riding days, she would spend her free time watching movies, trying new restaurants, working out and joining races with her husband, and spending time with her four kids.
Now, Djamillah adds motorcycle riding to her lifestyle, “Riding takes away my stress. It allows me to relax but at the same time gives me a thrill and lets me have the feeling of courage and control”, she adds. Aside from rides with the LAQWACHICAS, she also has weekly rides with her husband, Lester, who is one of the leaders of the RE North group of riders in out of town places both north and south.
Wonder why we call her “The Spokesperson”? With English as her second language, we would always tease her to talk on behalf of the group.
Cindy ‘Cindy Lauper’ Burdette – She can dance, she can ride, and she also manages a company. Yes, that’s our Cindy! This multi-faceted person handles her time very well. When she is not riding, Cindy spends most of her time managing ALLCARE, an employee benefits company she founded.
“Being a CEO requires me to make major decisions. And stress is one of the constants in my life. Riding clears/resets my mind and lets me see problems differently.”
Che ‘The Mayora’ Cruz – Like a city mayor, Che always looks after the group. Whenever she can ride with us, she makes sure that everything is taken-cared of, from the meet-up point to the destination, she coordinates.
Admittedly a late bloomer on motorcycle riding, Che started riding scooters when she was in high school but fell in love with riding when she bought a Vespa last January 2020 and started riding again. She never tried a manual bike prior.
Her reason for riding, “I ride to take my mind off from work and enjoy weekends. Riding made me discover a whole new different culture I didn’t realize exist. It also gives one a surprisingly amazing and different perspective to experience the road you take to get you to your every destination.”
Paulette ‘Supermodel’ Quinto – Paui started modelling at the age of 17. Born with a pretty face and excellent physique, this 5’11 lady is bound to be in the limelight. After a few gigs, she became a member of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP), a prestigious organization models run my models themselves.
From modelling to motorcycle riding. Seeing different types of motorcycles in their garage is a normal sight to be seen in their Paranaque house. Paui’s dad, a bike enthusiast influenced her to ride. It was the Honda CBR 1000 that she immediately fell in love with.
“I ride because it pumps up the blood in my veins, excites my heart, and fires up my brain,” the model shares.
Ann ‘Chief Investigator’ Edillon – Looking back, Ann shares “I started riding at the age of 18. My dad is a big motorcycle person so he would lend me his bike when I was younger.” She stopped riding for quite some time and just back to rediscover a sleeping passion in November last year.
As a Lawyer and Director of the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL), an attached agency of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), Ann’s schedule can really be hectic. But no matter how busy she gets she will find time to ride for his dad.
“At the age of 72, my dad can still ride a motorcycle. And, I would like to create more riding memories as much as possible.”
Dot ‘Kapusod’ Omido – “I ride to relieve stress,” Dot points out. Spending the last five years as an IT Specialist for Globe Telecom is causing her an absurd amount of stress. Dealing with multiple projects daily can be very exhausting.
She may be the youngest in the group, but she’s one tough lady. You’ll never miss her in our photos, often her wearing her signature look, skinny jeans, and crop top.
Sheryl ‘Ms. Universe’ Vicente – The past one and a half years on lockdown have drastically changed everyone’s lives including mine. Pre-pandemic, I was heavily invested in running my own business as a fashion designer, personally making sure that my clients received the best treatment we could offer. Now, in order to cope with the changing circumstances, I happily hold the fort at home and ensure that my kids are provided with the love and support they need during this time.
This new normal comes with its own set of challenges but I’m still thankful because it has taught me the value of having a community. I’ve had the privilege of meeting the Vespa Lady Riders and enjoying our morning rides to wherever our hearts take us. So, while the era of physical isolation and social distancing has been difficult, to say the least, I feel hopeful and supported by the strong and empowered women who ride alongside me,” She shared.
Amicaa aka ‘Happy Pill’ Ngo – Owning three businesses all at the same time entails a lot of commitment and time. Amicaa, divides her day managing Clean Patrol, cleaning services, and 1931 & Co, management services and ECAS Consultants Philippines, Building Information Modeling (BIM), an outsourcing firm.
Wonder how she finds time to ride a motorcycle? Whenever she does her store/office rounds and/or attends meetings, she brings her big bike instead of driving a car, which could be as frequent as one to three time a week.
Cheerful Amicaa rides “To decompress, refocus on myself and the great outdoors. Also, to meet new friends!”
Ross aka ‘Ms. Explorer’ Navarro
“What happens in Siargao, stays in Siargao.” Well, not for all. Ross reminisces about her first scooter ride on the island in 2018. “I felt so happy that you could go to places on just two wheels.” After which, she decided to ride again, but this time, in Palawan where she got her first bike fall. But that didn’t stop her from riding, it actually made her even more excited to ride more often. When she came back to Manila, she immediately enrolled in Honda Driving School to learn more about her newfound love.
At present, Ross rides “For the excitement, adrenaline, and discipline. It also gives me a break from being a new mom and not losing myself in the process.”
Pauline aka ‘Chief of Happiness’ de Guzman – Owning a business is stressful, and you can’t escape it. For Pauline, managing a construction site is harder than she imagined. “What stresses me most are site visits and stubborn workforce”.
She turned to motorcycle riding not only to destress but also to prove something to herself,
“Trying new and exciting activities during the pandemic was one of the reasons why I wanted to learn how to ride. Now, the main reason I ride is to prove to myself that I can do new things that scare me and eventually overcome them thru saddle time.”
While the LAQWACHICAS are able to ride, admittedly, they are still not confident in taking tight and sharp curves, downhills, and up-hills, among others. Riding is a continuous learning process but these independent, empowered and risk-taker LAQWACHICAS can surely master it over time with some knowledge and practice.
Right now, they are just taking one step at a time. Enjoying every ride and the memories they create as a group.