Monday, November 06, 2006

In Subic, Where Another Dream Came True

Subic, November 2006, was when I witnessed a dream coming true.

Luigi was born with a passion for cars and driving. He could barely say our names when he was a toddler but he could always call out "Car!" and exclaim "Eng-eng! Eng-eng!" complete with the steering-wheel motion to show his favorite toy. He grew up watching race car drivers on cable and mastering computer games featuring virtual driving. The first time he ever rode the bump car, he was beside himself with joy. His milestones continued - first time to drive a bump car alone, first time to ride a go-kart with his dad, etc. When our family went on a short vacation to Subic last week, he hoped against all hopes that he would be allowed to drive a go-kart by himself. He felt he was tall enough.

Fortunately for him, he was deemed qualified to be a go-kart driver. Lola and lolo positioned themselves on the bleachers to watch. His mom and Tita Ella, with videocam and digicam in tow, were poised and ready to catch his every move, to be included in the family archives. His dad drove the go-kart behind him, and his brother Miko and Tito Ric trailed behind.

He was ready. For P300, he drove 10 laps with nary a scratch. He knew when to slow down - upon turning, and when to overtake. He started slowly and then at about the third lap, he stepped on it and drove smoothly. I was clicking the camera like crazy, unable to believe that the 9-year old boy was driving so perfectly. He smiled and waved everytime he passed the photographer's corner.

When it was over, he had a triumphant grin on his face. We all rushed to congratulate him. He said he was smiling inside his helmet almost all the time. I asked him how it felt to have his dream come true and he simply said that it felt good. He said, "My hobby when I grow will be go-karting!"

The next day, he was allowed to drive again, and he cut short his swimming to arrive early at the go-kart area. I asked if the first try was better than the second one. He said he liked them both. It was so cute to see him thrilled like that.

It was a relaxing weekend for all of us. We visited our relatives in Olongapo City, but we stayed at Bayfront Hotel. We walked along the boardwalk facing Subic Bay and listened to the bands playing at night. It was a safe place to be with kids, for even if people were drinking, there were a lot of policemen around the boardwalk area and entire families were eating on tables set out under the moonlit sky. Some kids danced on stage. Ice cream, hotdogs, pizza, siopao, and other fun food were laid out on stalls. I heard that the tiangge will continue up to next year.

We also witnessed fireworks in Olongapo, which only added to the excitement of our trip for the kids. Miko surprised us all when he showed us he could swim, after dropping out of swimming class last summer.

The sem break, my vacation leave, and Tito Ric's trip is over. He is back to Germany, the kids and teachers are back to school, and I'm back to work. It was a good, albeit tiring, trip back to my hometown. We'll definitely come back for more of Subic.

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