- The calm before the storm.


Getting your car to gallop all its horses after a long time is not a bad feeling

9w ago

I never really had the privilege of working from home. Since the lockdown began here in the Philippines in March of last year, I had to physically report to work.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s all fine with me as I still get to enjoy the simple act of driving myself to the office on a regular basis. It helps that a modicum of normal has been retained in my life despite the craziness of the pandemic going on.

That being said, when I do get to have a break from work, like what I had this past week, it is all the more special. The travel time reserved from Bacoor to Alabang, usually a 30-minute drive can be further extended into longer drives just like last Wednesday night. The country went on lockdown again March of this year so this ride is the first proper trip I had in over three months.

Night drives are the best drives, in my opinion. The sweet spot for me is between 10 in the evening til at least 3:30 the morning after. In that time frame you can surely squeeze a couple of hundred miles in. And the target location for this trip is Lucena, Quezon Province, which is around 150 kilometres south of the capital Manila.

The first 60 kilometres melt away like cheese, the routes are pretty elementary to me having traversed the same roads for as long as I can remember. But once I get past Sto Tomas, Batangas, about 55 kms south of Bacoor when the area gets relatively rural, it becomes a little more interesting. Lucky for me I had a fellow traveler on the road with a black Nissan Navara making his best Charles Leclerc impression. Without disclosing how fast we were going, I was matching him with each gap he tried to shoot as and when they appeared.

The speed game got a bit stale after about 30 kilometres so I slowed back down and let him pull away for good. At this point, my companions on the road were the extended patches of backroad potholes and the endless line of 18-wheeler trucks scattered along the thoroughfare.

Ah, the good 'ol dirt streaks.

Ah, the good 'ol dirt streaks.

So I got there at midnight, and as expected, nothing was open. Most cities in the country shut up shop by 8pm since this all started and while it’s justifiable, still is quite annoying. When I do these trips, I usually just grab a quick meal or coffee when I get there so I was looking for store that was still open by chance.

After about 10 minutes of rummaging the streets I finally found a joint. 7-11 almost never fails me. It was on a gas station too, so a quick refill may be had. I took the time to contemplate over cup noodles and a bottle of iced coffee what a year it has been.

I’ve had a few pocket night drives over the last few months but not like this. The last decent night drive I had, the road got so flooded in patches that I actually lost my car plate after. I mistakingly thought that the three-foot pool of stagnant rainwater was just a puddle and I ploughed right through at about 80km/h. Good times.

Looking at my watch it was about quarter to 2am. Given the jolt of caffeine I just got, I decided to drive back home hoping I could still make it before dawn. I made it back just as the clock struck 4am, in time before the sunrise or else it would have been a rough time trying to catch sleep.

All is well in the end, I guess.

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