As early as 2008, rumors about an elite group of JDM enthusiasts began surfacing among my peers in the car community. Supposedly this group is very nitpicky about who they let in, and that the cars that join them truly ought to bear some choice parts from the land of the rising sun. Much as details were scarce, we only knew two things about this group. The first – and perhaps most telling – being cars and folk that run with this group all bear a unique bright pink sticker on their vehicles’ backglasses that reads JDMUnderground in fancy script. The second is that they meet regularly on Friday nights near the Krispy Kreme and McDonalds in Greenhills – an event that would become known as Yabangan Nights (YN). With this group being secretive, a good number of us became all too curious – but getting in certainly isn’t easy.
You see, back in 2008 social media as we know it was barely in its infancy; We were all just beginning to figure out Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter was barely a medium of choice. It wasn’t as easy as searching ‘JDMUnderground’ on any platform like it is today. In the early 2000’s, any respectable car club would have something we call ‘Messaging Boards’, or ‘Forums’ to discuss anything relevant. Everything from meet details, technical vehicle specs, and ‘How’s your day’ kind of threads would be available for your perusal. And as ancient and jurassic as it sounds, JDMUnderground calls these boards their home; a place to segregate the Facebook Car Enthusiast from truly dedicated enthusiasts of Japanese tuning culture.
Make yourself known in their boards – and prove your build is worthy – and you will be treated to a wealth of information about your chosen platform; Not to mention the details about the next upcoming YN. In this case, JDMUnderground (JDMU) have held their 10th Anniversary meet at the new multi-level carpark inside Ortigas Home Depot. Considering Autoindustriya’s head honcho Brent Co also conveniently runs in the area, we’ve helped secure the venue and provided sumptuous bowls of Ramen to go with the Japanese theme these folks have pushed since day one.
With the way these guys have filtered their members and how secretive they’ve been with event details, only choice vehicles with respectable taste and parts have attended the 10th year meet. Filling up roughly three floors of the carpark were a heavy sampling of cars modified with distinct japanese styling.
If there is one thing you need to know about JDMU, it’s that these folks have a very strong affinity towards the H badge. Back then majority of the members would have an EG or EK civic that has catalogs worth of parts from Mugen, Spoon, Honda Access, Feel’s, and many other specialty Honda tuning shops. It reached a point where the name of the game for most builds in the group would be creating a distinct theme about their vehicles – thus making for some of the most detailed Honda builds in the country.
Having had a decade pass since their first gathering, some of the senior members have graduated into faster and more expensive machinery yet still maintaining that level of detail they’ve become used to. That said, while majority of members still drive Hondas, a good number have made the switch to Subarus, GTRs, and even a few off-roaders here and there.
Subarus – much like Hondas – can mix, match, and share various parts across generations and platforms. It was then a natural choice for some guys to make the switch to a turbocharged Boxer. WRX STIs of various generations have since become a staple in JDMU meets as well over the past few years. Lancer Evolutions were pretty much the same story, with some preferring the almighty 4G63 as their weapon of choice.
With Honda being the marque of choice in these circles, some folks have decided to stick to their roots but up the game with bigger budgets altogether. The meet saw several FK8 Civic Type Rs in attendance, but despite being mostly stock some already had Honda Access bits and one even rolled in wearing a set of Advan GTs.
Toyotas, while few in number compared to the Hondas in attendance, had just as much level of detail as the cars from the opposite camp. Variety came by way of Sprinter-kitted big body Corollas, several generations of the Starlet, and the odd Fortuner here and there.
From a small, discreet gathering of likeminded japanese tuning enthusiasts all the way to filling a multi-storey carpark with dedicated members, JDMUnderground have truly established themselves as the standard for tuning in the local car community. And while a good number of lackluster enthusiasts may think that members of JDMU are too uptight and closed-off, that just means they value taste and dedication to a build more than increasing their numbers. As they say afterall, Yabang is forever.