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 told fondly of how he took his 500cc BMW motorcycle up and down the roads of Baguio with his wife on the side car and I could imagine how people looked with admiration since such a thing is rare to be seen then. He recalled with a guilty smirk of how he would hide his new car from his wife when he added another one to his collection without telling her beforehand. 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 was happy to share his collection with his three sons. Often times though, he’d get a call for them because the cars would break down in the middle of the road or wouldn’t start, not because they were too old to use but because such vehicles required a different kind of handling. I think such times allowed them to share memories of the father coming to the rescue and the son learning how to make an old car purr to life once again.
His son, my blockmate Enzo, used to bring vintage cars to Ateneo. One of the most memorable ones was a European-made, two-seater, green vintage sports car, which I was lucky to have ridden. It was a thrilling ride 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 me back to the memories of the VW Convertible Beetle that I rode with Enzo late in the evening in La Vista (Q.C.) with music on the radio and cool air from the big trees of the village. We decided to get off the side of the road when we saw fireflies among the trees there. They were so many and so close that I could almost touch them–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. We ended up in a Siopao place in Marikina and consumed 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–I believe brings back wonderful feelings of joy for 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, the memories attached to them never fade.