Cover Girl

My title might lead you to believe I’ve landed on the cover of some magazine. I intended it to be a bit misleading. Ü I have been teaching a lot of BodyBalance classes, covering for the regular instructors who for one reason or another couldn’t teach them. In local parlance I’m called a “reliever.”

Last week was the first time I experienced the lifestyle of a full-time freelance group exercise instructor: dashing from gym to gym, doing more than one class in a day, and spending dead time in between classes eating or searching for something to do. (Of course, since I’m juggling three freelance jobs now — I have a mosaic career, so some people call it — none of that dead time is really spent idle. I’m usually on my laptop writing drafts for Living Asia or encoding updates for the Genesis websites.) Most of the BodyBalance and yoga instructors with regular classes were away being trained for yoga certification, and there are only a few of us who can cover classes during the off hours of the day, i.e., any time between 9am to 6pm. So a lot of their classes fell into my lap. Imagine just last week I did two classes on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, two on Thursday, and three on Friday. Then, today I had two classes thirty minutes apart in two different gyms. Whew!

I can say, it is a tough life relying just on classes to make ends meet. In my case, I’m blessed that I have parents who are supporting me as I try to explore all the avenues opening to me (both in group exercise and in mass media). Doing BodyBalance classes isn’t just about the paycheck to me, since to pay back training I taught 32 classes for free. But if I can get paid to sweat and do something I love, why not?

I do envy those people who teach two or more programs (especially those who can teach freestyle classes) because they have some variety. Right now I can’t wait to start mixing between BodyBalance releases, probably for the reasons that the Standing Strengths and Core Abs tracks for release 37 take a lot out of me.

Great news, though: In less than two weeks, I’m getting a regular class of my own. Yep, that’s right; after four months of paying back the cost of my Les Mills training by covering other instructors’ classes, I now have four classes a month guaranteed. Wednesdays 7:30am at Fitness First Libis (Eastwood). Booyah!

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Thank God It’s Friday

I had a very interesting day today.

08:35am Just finished a ripper of a BodyJam class by Gelli. She’s agonizing over some choreo blips, but I had a great workout and that’s what’s important, right?

09:00am Got out of the shower and realized I brought the wrong bra. This isn’t mine, it’s Mama’s! I know because it’s too small for me. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wear the Nike top I brought. At least it has a built-in bra.

09:01am Why is the elastic of the built-in bra separating from the top? Oh. Am I having a bad day now?

09:03am I forgot to bring a belt for my pants. Can’t wear them now unless I want to moon everyone on the MRT. I have to wear my yoga pants. *sigh* I was planning to save them for the class I’m team-teaching with James later at The Fort, too.

09:30am Walking to the MRT station. Wait a minute, is it drizzling?

09:31am It’s drizzling. I’ll have to open my umbrella. Drat.

09:45am At least I’m on the MRT now, where it’s dry. I’ll make it to Ayala Station just in time for the malls to open so I can buy a bra and some tank tops. And a belt.

10:15am Time to get myself to The Fort. I can take the bus from Ayala Station.

10:19am No bus in sight. The class is at 11am! Maybe I should hoof it.

10:55am Drenched in sweat. Walked from Ayala Station all the way here to The Fort. Made it here just in time! James is about to start the class.

12:45pm Have told James about my morning. He says it’s Friday the 13th. Hah. I don’t really believe in that sort of thing. Funny morning anyway.

01:00pm Having lunch with James and Doni at Som’s near Rockwell. It’s a Thai canteen with some tables and umbrellas outdoors. Dining al fresco because it’s too warm inside.

01:30pm Mmm! Really good food. But why is the sky so dark?

01:43pm Drizzling. But we’re fine under this umbrella.

01:44pm We’re no longer fine. Somebody get us out of here!

02:18pm Rain has stopped and we’re driving to James’s house. Am feeling really bummed, but we look out the window and I see a store named “PRAISE GOD”. I feel a little shamed because I haven’t done that. I should count my blessings. At least I’m with people I enjoy being with.

03:18pm Have just received a text message asking me to cover a BodyBalance class tonight. This is definitely good news.

07:30pm Will be starting class. Doni is excited he’s attending a full class of mine for the first time. Hoping for no choreo blips.

08:36pm Am staying on for the last BodyJam class tonight. Dancing gives me endorphins!

10:00pm The parents have picked me up. Am getting a Big Mac and fries — yum! It’s been a long day but in the end think I had a great day. And it’s given me something to write about. Ü Praise God!

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.” — Hebrews 13:15

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Carless

I recently bought some shoes. Now, normally I don’t wear out the soles before I’ve tired of the shoe itself, but this morning I took a good look at them and realized the heel of the left shoe has been worn down smooth. I guess it’s because I’ve been walking everywhere and taken to using the MRT commuting to and from work. This isn’t something really remarkable (most people use public transportation) until I realize that I only started doing this four weeks ago.

For most of my life I’ve been driven places I needed or wanted to go, and for the past five years I’ve been the one doing the driving. You can chalk this up to the parents feeling not just a little protective of me, as public transportation does have its share of unsavory characters. They’d rather I ride by myself in a ton of metal propelled by an engine running on miniature explosions of flammable liquid.

It’s meant a change of lifestyle for me. I’ve always been a light packer, but now I have to carry everything I need in one bag to minimize the risk of losing or forgetting baggage. I can’t wear anything impractical either, like skirts or low-cut tops, lest I attract the attentions of aforementioned unsavory characters. And I now have to deal with rubbing shoulders with masses of strangers (some washed and some unwashed). The last time I went through that was in my third undergraduate year in UP.

There are perks to this “whole commuting thing” though (do I sound Valley Girl enough yet?). The savings are great. Yeah I don’t pay for gasoline, but at least my parents’ pockets don’t have to contend with the fuel-sucking vacuum that is Makati at rush hour. I also don’t have to worry about finding a parking space and paying for it at Makati’s exorbitant rates. And I get a great workout just walking from Ayala Station to Salcedo Village — that’s easily 15 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity.

So, expect me to keep wearing my shoes out this way. Ü

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A Very Happy Birthday

For the past few years I’ve celebrated the actual day of my birthday quietly with just myself and a few friends, and this year was no different. I consider it one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a while, though. Or maybe it’s because it was one of the best days I’ve had in a while, period. I woke up loving who I am and who my family and friends are, and feeling thankful for everything I have. รœ

Thanks, Papa, for letting me spend the day how I want, and thanks, Mama, for always keeping me in your thoughts even though you were off on a trip. Thank you to all the people who spent time with me — Marielle and Clark; the nice baristas at Gloria Jean’s Megamall who let me use their WiFi for 6 hours straight; my Genesis family who really love when I order pizza for them; Gelli and Laqui and R.A.; Susan, Blanche, Mitch and the squad of BodyBalance Challenge attendees; and James and Doni for having dinner with me (I know the free meal had something to do with it รœ).

I hope next year’s is even better!

UPDATE, JULY 7:I held my birthday party on July 7 with my family and friends. While not all the people I invited were able to come, I’m glad that the ones who are important to me came. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are some pictures.

Happy Birthday to me!
Here I am ecstatic that people started showing up.

Boxes!
You know I love gifts.

friends from UP
With Ralph, Gem, and Don, my friends from my second stint at UP

Wining and Dining
Holding wine bottles with my sister Marielle Louise

Body Balance and Beach buddies
With Tin, James, and Doni, my buddies from Body Balance and Boracay (remember them?)

striking a pose with the girls
Striking my best bombshell pose with my wholesome friends Ellaine and Vanessa ๐Ÿ˜€

oldest and dearest friends
These are three of my oldest and dearest friends: Julia, Rachel, and Paolo

feeding the starving dancers
With two of my favorite couples from Fitness First: hubby-and-wifey team Menchu and Brian, and Ethel and Clark

It was a great way to end my birthday week. I hope the time between now and next year will be filled with many such happy moments. God has really blessed me with so much, and I’m thankful.

La Vida Living Asia: Central Luzon Trip

Tanned I took home a lot of things with me last weekend: a tan, a killer back-ache, and some new stories to tell! Ü It was my first production outing with the Living Asia team, and we made the rounds of three provinces in Central Luzon: Pampanga, Zambales, and Bataan. We, meaning my sister and myself. We were doing a show called “Gone for the Weekend” and the format called for two people to go off on a weekend and see places and do things.

I’d never been on a working trip before, so everything was new to me: being on cam not for a family video but for a real show, traveling insane distances in bumpy circumstances just to get a shot of a required location, sleeping in a different place every night and at some point not having a shower to come home to… But it was so much fun!

Bacolor Church Window Our first stop was Bacolor Church in Pampanga. It’s famous for being half-buried in lahar flows, and only the dedication of the Bacolor community saved it from being junked and abandoned. They excavated the gold-leaf encrusted retablos and still use the building for Sunday mass.

memorizing a script In the evening, we found ourselves at Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales, where the staff accommodated us for the night. We took the opportunity to shoot a short segment reading fan mail to Living Asia. I never realized VJ-ing (which is what this was akin to) was hard until I got my own paws on the script and my tongue kept stumbling on the words! I had two more similar opportunities later on the trip and I think I showed some improvement. Ü

hang loose! The next morning, we took the resort manager’s invitation and learned to surf. I found out that when it comes to surfing stance, I’m a natural footer (right foot behind) and my sister is a goofy footer (left foot behind). We learned the positions on shore, and then they took us out onto the water using long and thick boards so we could have an easier time learning. To our surprise we picked it up quickly. The crew even got a money shot of me surfing — standing on the board!

We had to leave all too soon to head for Bataan, but we kept our spirits up with our own brand of wacky humor.

BatAAN Crime Lab
Abbreviations are a dangerous thing. To the Bat Crime Lab, Robin!

a present!
One of the places we went to was an inland resort, so people were running around in their bathing suits. Someone left something on the way out of the change room.

Tuyo for everyone!
Parting a sea of tuyo (dried fish) at a fish processing plant.

Night fell soon, and before we knew it, another day had gone by.

gonna rough itOur last day on the trip, we headed for an undeveloped spot called Lumutan Falls. We endured a 45-minute ride in a truck over rocky trails, then trekked 30 minutes down to an ice-cold stream and its source, an 18-foot-high waterfall. I took a short dip for the benefit of the camera, then we had to come back the way we came. All I could say about that was “Whew!”

The rest of our last day was tame. We spent a few hours viewing relocated Spanish colonial houses at Ciudad Acuzar. It’s owned by a private businessman and isn’t open to the public, so we were privileged to see what very few people outside Bataan have seen.

Stand-UpperOur last stop, like the first one, was a church. It amazes me how much a part of each town’s culture and heritage these buildings are. The townfolk reckoned the eras of their settlement by the age of the church that’s been standing there since the town was built and by the improvements and renovations done to the churches due to time and the whimsy of the town occupants.

I did my last fan mail reading. Then we packed up and started heading for home. I was tired, smelly, but excited for the next trip — wherever it takes me.

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