Among the highlights of our visit to Bale Matua was a personal tour of Sergio Naguiat’s garage of vintage cars and motorcycles. I’m not a car person nor a collector but when Tito Sergio tells each of the car’s stories, something lights up within him that gives colour to the already banged up and dusty remnants of his once glorious toys.
He would tell of how he took his BMW up and down the roads of Baguio with his wife on the side car and I could imagine how people would look with admiration since such a thing is rare to be seen then. He would tell with a guilty smirk of how he would hide his car from his wife when he added another one to his collection. I asked him which among them is his favourite and I wish I had brought my phone with me so I could have taken down notes–a ’58 Porsche–which model I wasn’t able to remember (maybe 358 Speedster?).
Tito Sergio told me that he allowed his three sons to use his toys. Often times though, he’d get a call for them because the cars would break down or wouldn’t start, not because they were too old to use but because such vehicles required a different kind of handling.
His son, my blockmate Enzo, used to bring vintage cars to Ateneo and I was among the lucky ones to have ridden in this Europe-made, two-seater, green vintage sports car. It was thrilling to ride on because of the loud throttle, lack of suspension, and partly because I had a huge crush on Enzo at that time. Haha.
Tito’s stories brought back memories of the VW convertible Beetle that I rode with Enzo in a village in Quezon City (probably La Vista) which was the first time I’ve ever seen fireflies–it felt like magic. I remember riding with Enzo, Nescy, and Aldy in that car with the top down on a random night on the weekend ending up in a Siopao place in Marikina and consuming all the siopao our college allowance could afford, which was not very much. Those were the days–we laughed our hearts out, we fell in love with our friends, we ate however much we wanted with no regret and our only problem was our homework.
When we look back on those memories, that to Tito Sergion are attached to his cars, it brings back wonderful feelings of joy to both of us. And I am sure that is why he keeps his cars with him, old and banged up as they may be now.