[PH Travel] The ride of her life

Jeehan V. Fernandez

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A mother and doctor from Iloilo shows us how to be cool and hot at the same time

IT'S JUST ONE OF those things she does on her 'spare' time. Photo from Alfred Hofilena

MANILA, Philippines – The motorcycle. It is normally regarded as a “toy for the big boy,” perfect for daredevils and thrillseekers — normally men.

But Ilongga doctor Vicky Uy-Hofileña challenges this notion. She is in her early 30s, a cool and lovely mom to a pre-school kid. 

“I’m just a rookie (for now) since I got my bike in 2010,” says Vicky. “My husband, Alfred Hofileña, is the motorcycle enthusiast. He has been riding motorcycles since he was 4 years old. Motorcycles are his passion and it has just been infectious,” she notes.

“I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle so that I’d understand. We were going to get a scooter but he wouldn’t let me ride street, so we decided on a dirt bike,” Vicky continues.

“We got this sweet 2008 Suzuki RM 85L from a guy named Brian Pine of Dumaguete. I named my bike ‘Yuki.’ I’ve learned to ride and I’m still learning the sport,” she adds.

A little bit of courage

“I fall and eat dirt, but I can (already) do some tricks. I can do the tiny jumps now,” Vicky says, laughing. “And every time I get it without falling, I’d want to do it over and over.”

Vicky says that, being a rookie, there’s a thrill to every trick she learns; leaving her wanting to do more. This is also her way of spending quantity and quality time with her husband while relieving her own stress. “Seeing (my husband) enjoy the sport is priceless,” she says. 

“I have yet to enter a race but I will at one point, I hope,” Vicky enthuses. “I don’t have to win. I just need a little bit more courage.” 

Vicky admits that she finds motocross intimidating, and that she’s aware people may find it a bit unusual for a girl to be involved in. 

“But it’s 2012 and there’s no telling what a girl can or cannot do, right?” she asserts. “Women who ride motorcycles radiate confidence, and that kind of confidence is always hot.”

VICKY AS PHOTOGRAPHED BY her supportive husband. Check out the look in her eyes. Photo from Alfred Hofilena

All in the family

“My husband is sporting a 2006 Kawasaki KX250F,” says Vicky with a smile. “He is my coach and pit crew — we’d practice together. He makes sure that my bike is in good shape and I have the proper gear,” she says.

Vicky says that their whole family was excited when she got her bike. One time, they went on a trail ride in Guimbal with her brother-in-law Charlie and bike-riding group.

“We had to go across a stream and over muddy trails and terrain,” she recalls. “That was a little too much for me, though.”

Vicky says that a community of Motocross riders exists in Iloilo, and the sport is growing. “There’s this 9-year-old little guy named Christian,” she says. “He can jump as high as the older guys and it’s amazing to watch him!”

This Ilonggo motocross group fixed an old motocross track near Plazuela in Mandurriao District, Iloilo City, and every Sunday there’s a crowd that practices there. “It’s like a playground,” says Vicky. “Everybody knows everybody and it almost feels like a family.” 

Iloilo as motocross haven

There are a number of Motocross tracks in Iloilo today, found in the towns of Sta. Barbara, Leon, Maasin and Ajuy. Motocross races are usually sponsored by the towns during fiestas.

“There are several categories like mopeds, enduro, beginner, novice and pro open. Each category has a series of qualifying runs and a final run with a corresponding number of laps for each category,” Vicky explains. “Points are then earned wherein the race officials base the selection of winners.” 

Other sports

When Alfred and Vicky were in college, Alfred’s family had a boat and one of his brothers, Mike, brought home a wake board. They would go to neighboring Guimaras Island during weekends to wakeboard.

“At first I was hesitant but then I figured (that) the worse that could happen is that you fall into water and it wouldn’t really hurt,” says Vicky. “But it actually hurts as much as falling on dirt. But it’s fun — really fun.” 

She has also taken kiteboarding lessons in Boracay. “I have the kiteboarder card and gear but I don’t have the time, sayang. Kiteboarding is a really cool sport.”

And as if motocross, wakeboarding and kiteboarding are not enough, Vicky adds, “I also go scuba-diving.”

Family time

As an Anesthesiology resident, Vicky says that she doesn’t often get the luxury of “me” time, needing to be in the hospital almost every day including weekends and holidays. So when she does get to spend time at home, she devotes it all to family.

“At home, I’m a mom. I take care of Alfred and (our daughter) Summer, do groceries, a little cooking,” she says. “Breastfeeding is one of the pure joys of motherhood, and I’m proud to say that Summer was exclusively breastfed for over a year.”

Extra time at home allows Vicky to do sewing and crocheting. “I would make little dresses for my baby girl, too,” Vicky says tenderly. “It’s rare to get a weekend off. But when I do, I usually have it planned out,” she adds.

“Time management is the key,” says Vicky, when asked how she manages to do all this. “It is possible to create balance within your family’s everyday life.”

“Another important factor is prayer. I pray to God to help me be the best wife and mom, a good doctor, and a better person as a whole,” she adds.

Dreaming and living

Vicky lives by the words of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

“If you want to sing or dance or play football or baseball or basketball or boxing or motocross, just do it. Don’t hesitate,” she advises. “And start while you’re still young.”

“I promise myself that before I turn 35, I will learn how to snow board,” she says with a smile. “My ultimate dream is to learn how to sail my own boat.”

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with courage, for a life with no regrets. Photo from Alfred Hofilena

“Nothing is impossible, right? And there’s no harm in dreaming. When I’m older, I’d look back and I can proudly say that I have lived my life,” Vicky ends. – Rappler.com

(Read more travel stories from the author in his blog. All photos courtesy of Alfredo Agustin Hofileña’s Facebook account.

PH Travel is the home of wanderlusts constantly discovering the beauty of the Philippines through a shared love for recreation, food, sports, shopping, traveling, or the environment. This is where communities come together to share their stories and adventures — whether they’re into surfing, diving, yoga, mountaineering, hiking, rock-climbing, sailing, eating, cooking, responsible tourism. You name it, you can share it. Send us your stories, photos, and videos with subject heading PH TRAVEL to desk@rappler.com.)

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