Heavy-Duty R&R

from Kalibo to...?After attending the Les Mills 2nd Quarterly Workshop on Saturday, four of my friends and I boarded the earliest Cebu Pacific flight to Kalibo, Panay Island on Sunday morning. Why would we fly to Panay? That’s a rhetorical question; I think you already know the final destination. From Kalibo, an hour’s van ride took us to Caticlan, gateway to the island of Boracay.

Yes, Boracay. I was there a little over a year ago with my family and spent three glorious days chilling out in celebration of finally finishing my master’s degree. This year I meant to do precisely the same thing in celebration of making a clean break from the past. (Those of you who have been reading this journal regularly can deduce what this “past” is. Ü)

trike rideMany things had changed in that one year between my visits to the island. Instead of taking 30 minutes to make a beach landing, our boat ride from Caticlan took us in 15 minutes to Boracay’s jetty port on the side of Boracay nearest Panay. From there, we took a tricycle (the island’s main form of transportation) to get to our rented place behind D’Talipapa, the wet and dry market between Station 2 and 3.

with my dear friend TrondzIt was a long walk from there to the beachfront, and an even longer walk to Station 2’s D’Mall where we had our lunch, and I met up with one of the friends I had made during the last visit. Trondz Cheng owns the pioneer glitter tattoo stand on Boracay as well as the Ice Monster franchise in D’Mall, and I hadn’t seen him in a while because he had been living on the island for almost six months straight. He was about as close to a native guide as we got (hee hee), but since Boracay is very much commercialized, my friends and I were able to get around without a lot of help.

Boracay water choked by algaeBoracay, when compared with the nearly unspoilt islands of El Nido, is a big disappointment. The heavy influx of tourists uneducated in environmental conservation ensures that the beach is always littered with human-produced trash every morning. I must confess I was glad I had friends around and I could enjoy being with them instead of bemoaning how much Boracay had deteriorated in the span of one year.

Kristel, Noelle, TinTin, Doni, James Thinking back on the trip, most of it is a blur composed of a lot of laughing, camwhoring, lazing about on the beach and in the water, drinking milkshakes (and maybe not just milkshakes?), being cheapskates and enjoying chicken butts on a stick at Mang Inasal, splurging on Italian food and junk food alike, and letting it all hang out. We didn’t do anything touristy like go island-hopping or get on a banana boat; we were just happy to be around each other and have no work on our minds.

BodyBalance instructors share passion for the program I felt recharged and energized upon our return to Manila, like I’d left a big load behind on that island. Laughter (and a hefty dose of smiling for the camera) is great medicine for what ails the heart and mind. It was our last hurrah for the summer, and it was a great big emphatic HURRAH! at that. It was Rest & Recreation indeed.

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Blazing My Own Trail

When I said I was going through a transition, I wasn’t being overly dramatic. Last September I trumpeted getting my first job; two months later I had come to the painful realization that I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing. Maybe it’s the fact that after nearly a decade of freedom in managing my own time, I suddenly had to get my head around a 9-to-6 job that had me sitting at one desk most of the day. I didn’t get a frequent change of scenery, which I’d been so used to during my years in UP. There was no variety in my daily schedule.

Now, recognizing there’s a problem is half the battle; the other half means solving the problem. I hate to say it, but for the past few months I’ve been coasting along feeling as if I’d come to a dead end sooner or later. So, when an opportunity to travel and write for a cable television channel came up, I felt a strong attraction to the nature of the work, despite its freelance and per-project basis. At least it’s directly in the field I studied, and if I work quickly enough it will also allow me time to pursue other interests, like teaching group exercise classes and engaging in sports. Also I secretly hope one day to work on Globe Trekker. I want Ian Wright’s job. Ü

Next week is my last week in Genesis. After that, I’m going into unknown territory to blaze my own trail. Figuratively speaking, of course, but if the project demands it, I would be willing to wield a bolo and hack away at the jungle overgrowth. Ü I think it’s gonna be a great trip.


Sorry I haven’t written in 12 days. There has been a lot of stuff going on in meatspace — personal and work issues. I’ve been stressed out and sickly and don’t really have my head on straight. I’ll be back this coming Wednesday to tell you all about it. Thanks for bearing with me.

Dancing Up a Storm

Sometimes you do things for fun, most times you do things for work. But I really love it when I can get paid for doing something I love, and dancing is one of them.

Solar Sports Summer Training Camp: BodyJamLast Sunday I had an opportunity to join Gelli and four BodyJam instructors in Robinsons Place Dasmarinas (Cavite) to present some BodyJam hiphop blocks. This was part of Solar Sports’ Summer Training Camp: a free program held in Robinsons Malls to get people moving their bodies and engaging in sports and other like activities, dance aerobics being one of them (in a promotional tie-up with Fitness First Ortigas).

hanging out at RX with GelliOur meeting point was at the RX 93.1 station, where Gelli was boarding for HIP 21 from 8 to 11am. I arrived there around 9:30am just in time to watch her train Bea (from Radio One) on how to program music, commercials, and stingers. I sat there watching them and trying to learn through osmosis (always take the opportunity to learn new things!) while answering crossword puzzles, reading Hollywood gossip magazines, and listening to some really great R&B; and hiphop music. The time went swiftly by and soon the other instructors Brian and Menchu Peralta and Clark Amaba had arrived. We were on our way.

pre-showWe got to the venue in an hour and had some time to grab food for fuel. I ended up eating a burger, a strawberry sundae, and a bag of chips. That might not possibly have been enough to keep me going, because I found myself dancing for the next two hours!

We did an opening number composed of the steps from Jam 37, 35, 36, and 34. Then Gelli, Menchu, and I warmed the assembled crowd up to “Tamale/Move Ya Body” from Jam 37. Clark, Brian, and Gelli took to the stage next and did “I’m Really Hot/Like I Love You/Lose My Breath” from Jam 33 and proceeded to the “King of the Dancehall” tracks from Jam 35. I joined the people down on the floor since I was more familiar with the routine from the participant’s side. I hope I was able to lift the crowd and encourage them to keep going.

Backup BabesWe segued into Jam 36’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” block led by Brian, then gave the crowd a breather via “My Love”, the recovery track from Jam 40. Then it was back on stage for me and Menchu as we backed Gelli up for Jam 34. I had my doubts whether I could actually pull off the instructor’s side of that routine, but thankfully it was believable enough and I took some performance opportunities trying to hype the watching bystanders up as well.

All of us stayed onstage for our final groovedown: “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” from Jam 40. I didn’t feel exhausted and probably might have carried on dancing if given the chance. Once offstage, however, the sweat started pouring out from every pore. I found it quite embarrassing that the audience had us sign their giveaway fans in the “Sports Celebrity Autograph” box. Sure I signed a few, but I managed to pimp Brian and Clark, since Brian does international and national gymnastics and sports aerobics tournaments and is even a SEA Games medalist, and Clark is one of BodyJam’s presenters in the Philippines.

Security escort? OMG!Post-event we wanted to make a quiet exit, but to our surprise five of the mall’s guards accompanied us to the parking lot as a security escort! We must really have made a positive impression. Or maybe because we looked so gangsta that they wanted to make sure we left the mall without doing any damage to property? I’m kidding, of course. The last time I was in a mall with a security escort, I was part of an entourage. This time around, I was one of the people security was protecting/escorting. It made us all feel really good about what we did.

with the security escort

I totally smashed myself that day, and on our way home I started coming down from the endorphin high. It was great seeing all those smiles on the faces of the people watching and working out. This is why I love being a group exercise instructor: it’s knowing that in some way for maybe even just an hour, I’m giving the people attending my class a great experience. It’s worth the exhaustion from all that effort.

Solar Sports Summer Training Camp: After

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