Jericho Rosales hardly needs an introduction. But here we are getting to know him once more, this time as he talks about his passion for biking. What started out as something that piqued his fascination turned into an advocacy. After half a day’s shoot, he talked animatedly about the Brap Pack, his group of friends whom he rides with and how they promote road safety and caution. But in between serious moments, he mixes in a bit of humor. “It’s the sound of the bike. Brap. Brap. Brap. It’s all we seem to do.”
The biker identity, though something that’s always been with him through his father’s influence, has also given him anonymity. On our way back to Manila, we managed to catch up with Jericho at a gas station, full helmet and mask on. He’s just another person on a journey back home. No one stops him for a selfie and there’s no need to be too conscious about his environment or his status. Just like everyone else, he’s just another person on a motorcycle, making his way around the chaos.
How did you fall in love with motorcycles?
When I was little, my parents gave me a motorcycle toy. It was in die-cast metal and had a key that you would pull [so it would run.] Basically, that’s when I started becoming fascinated with motorcycles. I was an imaginative and creative child, so as a grown-up, [riding what is practically] a rocket and having my own license [to ride it] are amazing.
Why does biking mean more than just transportation for anyone who rides?
Any ride transports you not just to any location but to a different state of mind, a different perspective, a different condition. [On a motorcycle,] you’re one with your surroundings. You feel the natural condition of your surroundings. You hear sounds and you get closer to people. Motorcycling is nice because even if it’s a single-seater or [even if you’re just alone on your bike], it brings people together because of the experience it gives every rider.
What’s the best thing about getting on your bike and going on a trip?
The small freedom, definitely. You are wearing a helmet and a mask, and even though you’re out there, people don’t know it’s you [underneath the protective gear]. Just having that feeling that nobody knows who you are and you’re free to move like a normal person is great. Nobody gives you false respect. But with motorcycling, you’re just like the others. There’s none of that crazy adoration or starstruck factor. You’re just a normal person when you’re on a bike.
Why is it still important for you to have this sense of yourself outside showbiz?
Everyone should feel they are special and unique, so you shouldn’t feel as if you’re extra special—that’s what the bike gives me. If something goes wrong with the bike, I pull over myself. Something goes wrong with traffic, I’m stuck with everyone else on the road. It’s a great equalizer. [When you’re on a bike,] you’re living in the moment. I even think riding is some sort of mediation [that flows] outward. It makes me aware of my surroundings—conscious and aware. Isn’t that some sort of meditation?
[blockquote] “There is some sort of excitement when you ride a bike, and also when you interact with people. There’s always a story to tell.” [/blockquote]
You did a tribute ride recently for your dad. Tell us why you did it.
I was going through his photographs and then I saw a picture of him, riding down the San Juanico Bridge. I told myself, I will replicate this photograph. It was something I needed to do, not necessarily to feel closer to him, but definitely I felt as if he were close [during the ride]. It helped me come to terms with the fact that he’s gone. I think that was my way of mourning and my way of release. It helped me understand what kind of person he was [and why he loved adventure]. It helped me understand myself [better].
What did you learn from that long trip?
That you have to prepare for every ride, physically and mentally. It took 72 hours and 1,200 kilometers. It was three days long and we had just three to four hours of sleep. On the way back, somewhere in Nueva Ejica, I started palpitating. I still had 100 kilometers to go, but I had to stop and let the boys go ahead. But stuff like that gives you an idea of your capabilities.
Why do motorcycle bikers identify as more than just motorists?
Because there is a sense of always conquering something aside from traffic. A car driver [uses a car] more for utility. But with a rider, there’s a sense of fulfillment in being able to balance. There is some sort of excitement when you ride a bike, and also when you interact with people. There’s always a story to tell.
STYLING David Milan
GROOMING EJ Caro
This story originally appeared in Northern Living, Nov. 2017.
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Writer: OLIVIA SYLVIA ESTRADA
PHOTOGRAPHY JAKE VERZOSA