No Rubber Was Burned

Sunday, September 10, 2017


The spark of city lights was a welcome reprieve from the gloom of Hacienda Luisita. Our time in the Aquino Center and Museum, while informative and insightful, had caused old questions to resurface and had spawned more. Who betrayed whom? Was martial law necessary? Why do good men turn evil? Is evil relative? What truly is goodness? I peered beyond the tinted window of our van, past the huddle of raindrops that had clung to the glass, and into the busy streets of the city. Tonight was not the night for such jarring questions. 
The luminescent sapphire glow of the letters K, C, and T stood out in the dark of that evening. Resting among a circle of greens, surrounded by a puddle of rainwater, it was the first thing we saw.
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Buoyed by the prospect of karting, the questions that clouded my thoughts receded. I skipped up the wet, stone steps, pausing to ask Mai for a piece of gum. All that thinking made me hungry. 

We proceeded to walk through a  shed. A glimpse of the deserted race track to our right. 

"Nice," I heard Billy say. 

He had his face up, admiring something at the ceiling.

I stepped beside him. "What is?"

"Look at the signs," pointing to a rectangular piece of signage over us. 

At first, I didn't get what he meant. I squinted and saw that the signage was fashioned just like highway markers and road signs. Very apt. 
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I nodded appreciatively. 

After taking some more photos, we followed the rest of our companions. "The Game Room" said a sign in lights. We entered a pair of glass doors and was greeted by two billiard tables and a vibe I used to only get from movies like "21". 

The sound of cue sticks connecting mingled with the ineligible words of the basketball commentators from the widescreen TV over our heads permeated the room. The soft, yellowish lights made me sleepy. 

We were then told we wouldn't be allowed to ride a go-kart because the tracks were all flooded. A collective "Awwww" filled the air. Deflated, I sat down and looked for something to eat.

I glazed over the menu and let my companions do the ordering. After placing our orders, we were informed that we could still go out into the track and get on the karts, but only for photos. We won't actually get to drive it. Better than nothing, I guess. 

After we had our meal, we headed out to the tracks and saw it come to life. The spotlights beamed and illuminated the wet pavement. Stacks of tires painted red and white flanked the sides. A trio of karts were rolled from their parking spots for us to inspect.
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Billy and Microtel's Sir Roy carefully sat themselves in the karts, posing for photos. Mai, too. It would've been great if we'd gotten to drive them, but we didn't insist. Better safe than sorry. 
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I was actually impressed by how serious about safety the people at Kart City were. Looking closer at the winding tracks, I could only imagine how challenging it was to navigate it. What more if the road was slippery? 

We didn't get to ride that night. No rubbers were burned nor were there anyone left in the dust. One more reason to go back to Tarlac.

Storytime is a series of  stories about my most memorable travel experiences. Read more here.

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