Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), the automobile business unit of Honda Motor Company in the Philippines, is celebrating its 30th year of operations in the country this month of October. Since its entry into the automotive industry in 1990, HCPI has become one of the top industry players in the Philippine automotive scene. From legacy models like the Civic, City, Accord, and CR-V, to newer innovations like the Mobilio, BR-V, and Civic Type R, HCPI has constantly and consistently moved forward and upheld the highest quality in all of their vehicles throughout the years.
1990 Honda Civic Hatchback
2018 Honda Civic Type R
2019 Honda Brio RS
2019 Honda Jazz RS
2019 Honda CR-V
2020 Honda HR-V
2020 Honda BR-V
To commemorate this milestone, HCPI held a small, but intimate online gathering with its media friends and partners. The gathering served not only as HCPI’s thanksgiving celebration for the unwavering support that their friends and partners from the media had given them but also as the first official introduction of HCPI President Masahiko Nakamura, who assumed office just last April 2020, during the height of the pandemic. Other notable attendees during the virtual event included Executive Vice President Ryohei Adachi, Assistant Vice President Koki Hattori, and the official company spokesperson, Atty. Louie Soriano.
HCPI President Masahiko Nakamura
HCPI announced that the 30th anniversary commemorative book, which will given exclusively to their media partners, celebrates and honors the many achievements and milestones that the company has had since 1990. HCPI has always been at the forefront of various media events, local drives, international trips, and motorsports competition that not only promotes the car brand, but imparts valuable lessons in competition driving, fuel economy, and tourism as well as espousing camaraderie among media practitioners. Here are some of my most memorable personal experiences with Honda Philippines since I started working as a motoring journalist in 2001:
The very first road test article I wrote for Business Motoring Section of The Philippine STAR was a review of the 2001 Honda Civic LX.
My rally driving skills were honed in the 2001 Honda Media Challenge, where I finally met and got to work with my local racing idol, the late, great Pocholo Ramirez.
I was privileged to be among the participants of the CR-V Drive to Eagle Ridge, Cavite in 2002.
Our team composed of Ferdie Baja, Kap Maceda Aguila, and myself won the championship for our division in the 2002 Honda Media Challenge, using the Honda City.
Our HCPI and media contingent that watched the Australian Grand Prix Formula One races at Albert Park, Melbourne in 2003…
… and I got to go to the BAR Honda Formula One Team paddocks and meet Jensen Button.
My wife’s brother Jericho (beside Asimo) and my then 3-year-old daughter Vette (in white-and-pink shirt) got to have a meet-and-greet with Honda’s famous robot in 2003.
The 2003 Honda Media Challenge was the most memorable year for me…
… because we had to represent our respective publications and The Philippine STAR was ably represented by Andy Leuterio, Manny delos Reyes, Brian Afuang (not in photo) and myself.
The races were tightly contested between teams from The Philippine STAR, C! Magazine and Manila Bulletin…
… with our team, The Philippine STAR, clinching the 2003 championship in the final round.
The “STAR Boys”, as Andy, Brian, Manny and I were called, became unbeatable in the succeeding Honda Media Challenge races.
In October 2003, I went to the Honda Collection Hall inside the Twin Ring Motegi for the first time to pay homage to Ayrton Senna’s McLaren Honda MP4/4…
… and John Surtees’ Honda RA 300 Grand Prix race cars.
In November 2003, HCPI took us to the highest point in Luzon using the Honda CR-V…
… and then booked us at the Manor inside Camp John Hay in Baguio City.
In January 2007, Jeff Reyes and I represented Team Philippine STAR in the Petron Xtra Mile Challenge Media Edition using the Honda Jazz, and won 2nd Place.
2007 was the last year I joined the Honda Media Challenge.
On our way to the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show in October, HCPI first took us to Hakone where we experienced authentic Japanese living…
… and then took us to their test track to sample the hot 2007 Civic Type R in the wet…
… and the Honda FCX fuel cell concept car.
Wow, the tail pipe emits water and no harmful pollutants. Can I go again, please?
HCPI took us to the Honda Active Safety Driving Center inside the Twin Ring Motegi…
… then toured us around the Honda Collection Hall. This was my second time to be in the car collection hall.
Jeff Reyes and I teamed up again for the 2008 Petron Xtra Mile Challenge Championship Edition. Using a Honda Jazz, we again finished in 2nd Place.
Later that year, I was quite pampered along with my media colleagues during the Honda Accord Executive Drive to Baguio City.
The 2012 launch of the Honda Odyssey passenger van and Honda Pilot SUV placed HCPI is a higher realm in the local car market.
When I went to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, I passed by the Honda pavilion and saw the new Honda Accord (hint, hint)…
… the latest Honda NSX sports car…
… the all-new Honda Fit/Jazz that’ll be coming soon to our shores…
… and the cute Honda e electric vehicle concept.
After the Tokyo Motor Show, I went back to the Honda Collection Hall and stopped to admire the race car with a Curtiss OX-5 aircraft engine that was built in 1924 by Art Shokai employees Shinichi Sakakibara, Ikuzo and a dreamy 18-year-old aspiring mechanic named Soichiro Honda.
“The Power of Dreams” has been the motto of the Honda Motor Company and for their 30th Anniversary in the Philippines, their tag line is “The Dream Lives On“. Congratulations, Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI) on 30 years of bringing the dreams of Filipino car enthusiasts into reality. Thank you for allowing me to live my dreams through our drives, trips and travels together for the past 20 years! Here’s looking at the next 30! Domo arigato gozaimas tah!