Lomo Series: The Road and I
“And the road becomes my bride”
——Metallica (Wherever I may Roam)
Its nearing 13 years ago since I set foot in Baguio. I was only 7 the last time I came. Now, the long wait is over.
Well, the Baguio I saw is still the Baguio I had in my memory. Nice climate, beautiful parks, a very relaxing atmosphere… everything.
But the story began on our way back to Manila. May 8, 2pm, it was departure time from Baguio heading to Manila. We were running at a constant speed of not lower than the 60km/h, a relatively good drive—For the first three hours that is.
5pm, We reached Tarlac. It was the end of the glorious run. The car suddenly stopped. No signs of letting up showed all throughout the first hours but it somehow stopped all of a sudden and guess what? It doesn’t want to start again.
We asked the locals if there is anyway we could get a mechanic. The locals lead us to the house of Mang Julio, an old man who once was a mechanic. He admitted to us that he is no longer familiar with the newer car models since they no longer have the spark plugs he used to know. Mang Julio was kind enough to help us find another mechanic. He asked his grandson named Romnick to go fetch a mechanic to rescue us from the brink of being stuck in Tarlac. The mechanic came and said that he would need to call his electrician friend to determine the problem of the car.
My dad already had the idea that no electricity was running to the car. Though discarding the worst case off his mind, the electrician gave us the bad news. It was the fanning belt that was broken.
We had no choice but for the car to be towed. May it be a wrecker or another vehicle, we need to drag the car back home in Manila. The wrecker would cost at about 10 thousand pesos. That is a hell of a price. We have another choice though: To ask the good Samaritans to drag us to Manila (For a bit lesser price that is).
They agreed to take us to Manila. The plan: use a towing rod to keep us from hitting them from the back and drag the car via the provincial roads going to Mc Arthur Highway all the way to Manila. It was 8pm already when we sailed.
My and my brother stayed on the towing vehicle to lead the directions while our parents stayed in the car. Not far from where we stopped, two punk guys approached the towing vehicle. The one having spikes on his jacket on a summer night and the other one having a Ramones T-shirt. “Papunta kayong Laguna Sir?(Are you going to Laguna, Sir)”. The driver and his friend replied that we’re heading to Manila.. As a means of farewell, the punks thanked us and said: “Mabuhay ang mga Punks ng Tarlac (Long live the punks of Tarlac) “.
The driver and his friend were laughing from what they heard and said that there is nothing free in this world anymore so don’t expect to hitchhike anytime soon.
30 minutes elapsed from all the dragging. It seems that we will reach Manila in no time. Though running under 40kms/hr, at least we were moving. It was just that bad luck was really on our side that night. Next thing we know, the towing rod fell apart.
They had no choice but to find an open welding shop to have it fixed. We on the other hand had no choice but to wait and hope for the best. They returned with a “fixed” towing rod at around 9:30.
We installed it again.
From exit of Tarlac all the way to Angeles, Pampanga, it was no less than 8 times that we stopped and spent a 15 minute or so to fix the rod’s installation to the car.
Move under 40 km/hr-Fix the rod-get back in. That was the routine we did.
It was in San Fernando that all efforts of rescuing the rod is useless. Around 11pm-12 midnight, with no welding shops open to fix the rod, it was time to sink the facts and realities to our systems. We were stuck in Pampanga….
We decided to stay in Pampanga. We asked the “towing team” if its okay that we pay them half since we didn’t reach Manila. They were so kind to agree with our offer..
Thank God that we have relatives in Pampanga. We asked them if we could stay for the night. We decided to get the car fixed in Pampanga. It was a lot better than traveling all the way to Manila with a vehicle refusing to run.
At around 10:30 am of the next day, we’re back in the road to go to Manila, this time on a bus (while the car is getting fixed). At exactly 1pm, we finally reached home.. The end of the 23 hour unforgettable experience of going back to Manila.