Talk about fast love.
With dozens of pole positions and race wins under their belt, Mr. and Mrs. Jeff and Diane Borja is no ordinary couple. Together for almost a decade, the husband and wife team had seen their share of ups and downs, speed bumps, and crossroads.
The couple races for Darkside Racing Team (DSR Team) supported by SEAOIL since 2010, and competes in many national racing disciplines including our country’s premier event, Philippine Touring Car Championship Series, where our country’s top teams and drivers battle it out for top honors.
“Our partnership with SEAOIL has allowed us to pursue and share an activity we both love and excel at doing. Race car driving is a high-octane precision sport not for the faint-hearted, to say the very least, but it has kept us grounded and continues to teach us the values of discipline and hard work,” said Jeff.
The couple met in the early 2000s in the racing circuit. Jeff early on was fascinated by fast cars and is now into modifying and ‘pimping’ all types of vehicles. Diane grew up in a family of racers. She is also an accomplished chef and was a finalist in the Asian Food Channel’s search for the Next Celebrity Chef in 2011.
“It was definitely not love at first sight!” blurted Diane. “I found him pretty arrogant the first time I met him,” she laughingly recalled.
“We met through her uncle Chuck Montecillo. I was still an amateur racer and he was my instructor and mentor. We became so close and one day he decided to invite Diane to one of our practice sessions. I had no clue he was planning to set us up!” Jeff said.
Jeff appreciates being with someone who understands and shares the same passion he has for performance cars, racing and winning.
“I was really intimidated by her, though I tried my best not to show it. She knows a lot about engines and cars so we never run out of things to talk about,” said Jeff.
As if their love story could not get any more interesting, Jeff turned it up a notch by putting his heart on the line and proposing on national television.
It was Valentine’s Day of 2012 when a morning show brought the idea to Jeff and was given only a few hours to decide if he wants to push through with it.
They set up Diane as a guest in the show’s cooking demo and then had Jeff sneak up on her and surprise her with the proposal.
“I wanted to do something different and special for Diane, something she would never expect from me, because she always calls me predictable. I didn’t know how it would turn out and it was only after she said yes that I was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief! I never even stopped to think of how embarrassing it would be if she said no. It was one of the happiest days of my life,” shared Jeff.
“It was surreal seeing him down on one knee proposing on live TV. I could not believe it was happening. I had to pinch myself several times!” added Diane. “What was so funny was that I was up all night preparing my cupcake recipe and he wasn’t complaining at all when I was requesting him to pick up several ingredients from the grocery in the wee hours of the morning.”
Married for almost two years now and with very hectic schedules, Jeff and Diane still find time to race, attend to their respective businesses as well as raise their one-month old baby Senna Ysabel.
“Married life is both challenging and rewarding. There are everyday trials, but overall I think we’re doing pretty well. Life has been good to us and we feel very blessed,” said Jeff.
“Even if both business and racing can make our lives hectic and fast paced, we always find time for our family, especially now that we have a daughter. She is our priority. We have also learned that one of the keys to wedded bliss is listening to your partner and learning to compromise,” added Diane.
There is no stopping this power couple as they further pursue their passion for racing, which they both admit will always be their first love.
“We hope to be able to do this for many years to come, perhaps even until our daughter starts racing,” beamed Jeff.