Members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association-Manila (Photo: Christian Bikers Online)
It’s Thursday night and about 20 leather-clad, tattooed, beefy motorcycle-riding men roar off to the Fort in Taguig City. After parking their bikes at a gas station, they go into a huddle; not for a war against a rival chopper gang, but for another evening of prayer, Bible reading and listening to life-changing testimonies.
They are members of the fledgling ecumenical Christian Motorcyclists Association-Manila
who found that motorcycles can be one of the best vehicles for spreading God’s word.
Danny Salonga established CMA-Manila in 2002 after returning home from the US. While on holiday there, he joined CMA-USA and the experience inspired him to start a similar group back home.
“I was its lone member in Manila," he says. "Then in January 2009 I met another Christian biker, Mark Chuidian. Mark was the founder of Faith Riders, and the collaboration gave birth to forming a Motorcycle Ministry of Faith Riders under CMA-Manila.”
“It’s our personal mission to evangelize, using our motorcycles as an effective tool to reach out.”
The CMA’s mission also includes building its members up in the faith, organizing activities such as tambays
(hanging out), open rides, fellowships, Bible studies, retreat camps and rides for causes that glorify God, while at the same time having fun.
“Above all,” Salonga says, “CMA aims to unite all Christian and non-Christian motorcycle groups under one God and one backpatch.”
The backpatch, or insignia, on the back of the CMA members’ jackets is a Bible and Cross. This goes a long way towards dispelling any fears that they may be thugs, but the group is doing even more to win the hearts of the public.
“We have members who are tattooed, with long hair and moustaches, muscled and tanned, but people see us pray, testify and share testimonies,” Salonga says.
“We use our motorcycles as tools and our riding passion as a means to reach out to bikers who would want to know Jesus Christ. God doesn’t see us in our leathers. He sees through us. He sees our hearts.”
CMA-Manila is still in its infancy, with eight board members currently headed by Salonga himself, who also represents the group in the CMA-USA. Under its wing are the Faith Riders Motorcycle Ministry and Bulacan ROAR. For its tambays
and retreats, it welcomes riders from various groups like the Boulevard Boys, Pasig Riders, Ridus Adictus, Kawasaki Riders and Suzuki Troop, to name a few, as well as individual bikers.
“We are inviting all Christian motorcyclists to come meet with us and maybe join in our quest to establish possibly the most influential motorcyclist group in terms of changing lives through a deep relationship with God,” says Salonga.
“Our members will not stop at just having fun or riding or hanging out. They have vowed to make an impact in the lives of all who join, in all they do, say, think and feel,” he adds.
“Like all bikers, we too are human and will never be perfect. But unlike many men, CMA members can be led by other bikers in the ways of the Lord to have the fullness of life He promised to all.”
“Our number may be small, but if we are respected, then our voice will be heard.”