You Are Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea
This life is filled with people who no matter what you do, no matter what you try, will simply not like you. They say you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches. But what some fail to grasp about life is that it’s also filled with those who will love you fiercely.
The ones who are with you in the good times and stay with you in the bad.
The ones who laugh first before picking you up from the mud.
The ones who don’t get offended when you insult them but smile and call you something even more offensive.
The ones who make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a bit crazier.
The ones who love you: they are Your People.
Unexpected friendships are the best ones. And that’s exactly how we started – unexpected. And exactly what we are now – the best one. I can no longer pinpoint the exact time our friendship clicked. We tried out restaurants trying to figure out the best place to hang out. We traveled places to fulfill our bucket lists. We spent hours just talking. And then one day, it just sank in. These are My People.
This is a tribute to more than a decade of friendship and all the good stuff and drama that came with it. We’ve been friends for so long I can’t remember which one of us is the bad influence. Maybe each of us became one at some point? Haha. Still, I am grateful for this bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Harry Potter fan
“I’m surrounded by all things Harry Potter! From drinking butterbeer, trying out Hogwarts robes, to waving a replica of Harry’s wand, it’s everything I could ask for, for my 16th birthday. I’m so glad that my parents decided to bring me to The Nook. I first heard about it in Instagram and after that I couldn’t hide my excitement and I just had to beg my mom that we go and visit. It isn’t very easy to do especially when dad was still abroad and it was just me and mom. Now I’m here and I just love it! I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and show them my pictures of the place. But what I especially love is that I get to be here and enjoy all this with my parents.”
“Klaire wanted a mountain bike for her 16th birthday. We couldn’t afford one so we told her to think of something else that wasn’t so expensive. She’s a big fan of Harry Potter and she’d gone on and on for days on end of going to this cute Harry Potter-themed café in the city called The Nook. We live in Laguna, you see, and her dad had just arrived from Saudi Arabia for a vacation. So we thought, what better way to spend her birthday than a family bonding drive to the city where she could visit The Nook and get immersed in Harry Potter world. Klaire’s an only child and she’s a shy girl so we try to let her know everyday how much we support her. We’re happy that she loves books and that she’s trying to come out of her shell by trying out new things. We feel very blessed this year because we’re expecting a new addition to our little family. And we hope he or she’s going to be as sweet and smart as our dear Klaire.”
“I made this long board myself. I shaped the wood into just the right size and curve then sanded it to make it smooth. Painting the wood with bright colors doesn’t last long especially when you use the surfboard everyday. The waves will gradually chip the paint off and you’ll be left with a worn-off looking board. So my fellow surfers and I had this crazy idea – FOAMS. We used half-inch thick industrial foams that were strong enough to absorb pressure but not bruise surfers if they hit themselves with it. We dye the foams with bright, catchy colors then glue them to the wood. And Voila! A beautiful, colorful long board that a lot of tourists would ask to take pictures with when they are here in Baler. Some board owners ask tourists to pay for borrowing their surfboards for pictures but I don’t. It would be nice to have my boards featured in various photos. With how social media is now, those photos could be seen by the whole world. Who knows? Some people may just visit Baler just to marvel and try my surfboards. This is my favorite surfboard. The red and blue colors stand for my support to our current president. I voted for President Duterte and I appreciate the plans he has for our country. He is very resilient in his views no matter how much garbage some people throw at him. Sadly, some of those people are Filipinos. I hope he remains strong. I hope he doesn’t crumble under whatever pressure he is in right now. And I hope he makes good in those plans so that I can witness the country become a great place to live in, in my lifetime.”
Finding My Home
“Over the years, I’ve realized that my two greatest passions are people and travelling. I would always enjoy staying in hostels. I met some friends who I still keep in touch with to this day and some even became my very best friends. I would always tell myself I can’t keep on travelling forever but I want to capture that vibe, that ambience so I thought why not a hostel. It’s perfect. I decided that I was gonna build a hostel for sure. I didn’t even care what it would be at that point. I just wanted to build a hostel like, anywhere. One time I was sitting in front of my computer having a glass of wine. I was reading about Siargao because my brother, a few years ago had been talking about how much he enjoyed it here. I saw a part of land that was posted online. I sent my aunt to check it out. She didn’t like it. And then somebody told her about this other piece of land. She said it was smaller, a little more pricey but it was a great location. She told me that if I trusted her we’ll buy this one and so we did. Here we are, three years later. I would constantly have to pinch myself over the past couple of weeks. Me and my friends would talk about how it feels like we’re just playing house. We still could not believe that we’re running an actual hostel. That this is all real. It still feels like we’re just messing around. It’s fun, a lot of fun. I’d like to think that I’m a good judge of character so when I meet somebody I think worth being a friend I just open up to them instantly. So I get fairly attached very quickly. It doesn’t take a long time to grow close to people because hostels are designed to be very social. Keeping up the facilities like cleaning up and making sure the guests have what they need is the easy part. Having to constantly say goodbye every few days is the hard part. We’ve had some tearful goodbyes here. And I was wondering if I’m ever gonna get used to it because I think that really is the hardest part.”
That Time I Tried Hiking to Mt. Babag
“If travelling was free, you’d never see me again.”
“I simply love the mountains.”
Three friends out for a hike to the mountains with those quotes plastered on their shirts and you’d think they’re out to make that day an adventure kind of day.
Michael, Mohan and I met at Guadalupe Church at 10AM, which was the usual jump-off point for hikers going up the mountain. Mt. Babag is the highest point of the mountain range across the Cebu City background. Peaking at 752 meters above sea level, it is where most of the province’s communication towers are erected. It’s also host to several hiking trails that local climbers use for practice climbs to prep for the major ones. Before going up, we stopped by a man selling buttered chicken and puso (hanging rice) and bought our lunch provisions.
This was my first hike up a mountain after a camping stint in Osmeña Peak a few years back. Turns out, Mohan and Michael hadn’t done much hiking lately either so we were all really hyped up for the day’s adventure. Michael had summited Mt. Babag six times several years ago so he became our designated guide.
We were already sweating bullets by the time we reached Napo. Good thing we had comfortable, cotton shirts on courtesy of KAI. KAI (Facebook page here) is a clothing line founded by a group of friends who are outdoor enthusiasts. They are based in Cebu and are starting to make a name in unique, trendy clothing apparel. They specialize in dry-fits and cotton shirts that are light and comfortable to wear. Mine fit very well and felt comfortable even though I was sweating a lot from the hike. What really enticed me with these shirts were the catchy quotes they have printed on them which were different from the ones already in the market today. While those bank on humor and jokes, KAI relates deeply to a person’s adventurer heart.
The terrain to Mt. Babag definitely didn’t disappoint. We were switching from concrete trails, to gravel, through muddy trails, to grass. My legs had their workout from the steep uphill angles while my knees got the brunt work when we go downhill.
We savored the view of rolling hills, the river, the communication towers, and the city landscape. The panoramic view was picturesque!
We also happened upon a really huge ant that I had first thought to be a black, praying mantis. The two immature boys I was hiking with teased me to bits for the better of two minutes because I didn’t recognize the critter for what it is.
We would meet locals hauling up bags of charcoal or vegetables on their bags, making their way to Guadalupe to sell their produce at the market. They’d look up, smile at us and greet us a good morning. Some kids would wave at us too. We were plowing through tall grass that had sharp leaf blades making me regret wearing short shorts for the hike. At first it just seemed like my legs felt itchy so I didn’t really thought about it. But when we stopped to rest for a bit, it was when I realized what the red streaks on my legs were. They were from the grass cutting through my skin.
Before getting to the summit, we happened upon a house selling softdrinks with a table propped up outside. We took our lunch there while enjoying the scenic view.
We were only a few meters from the towers and the trail towards the summit wasn’t as hard as the ones we’ve been earlier. Plus, two chicken wings, puso, and a bottle of coke have energized us. We were set!
Touchdown! The towers were so tall and imposing. After that entire steep ascent, the huffing and puffing, the leg cuts and almost getting lost, finally seeing the towers that close was a great fulfillment. We then followed the road downhill, which would lead us to Veteran’s Road. From there, the road would lead to Mountain View where one can ride a jeepney going to JY Square and to the city.
Well you’d think that’s it. I thought that was it too but we saw Chalet Hills on the way and we just had to have our pictures taken with that amazing backdrop. And capoeiristas that we are, smiling in front of the camera wasn’t enough.
I went home exhausted (with battle scars) and spent. I’ve done some hiking before but I couldn’t remember ever hiking that long and ever feeling that tired. There had been moments when the climb was so steep or slippery I’d second-guess making it through. There have been times when I wanted to just drop down and stop. But I kept thinking – I had my friends who believed I could make it and going back is not an option. And in the end, you see a breath-taking view that makes it all worth it.
So when you think about it, that’s what makes life THE best adventure. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes life throws lemons. All we have to do is push forward because the view at the top? It’s gonna be worth it.
That Time I Tried Capoeira
I was watching some guys play Tekken on an Xbox console and one player had this martial arts girl as his character. She had long, braided hair, had these silver pants on and a purple cord as a belt. Her outfit wasn’t the one that got me interested in watching the game though. It was her badass moves. So maybe the guy playing the console was pretty decent at the game, but I was just caught up looking at this female character’s fighting style. She looked fluid as she swayed continuously evading her opponent’s onslaught. She looked powerful as she combined kicks and spins to smack her opponent down. I began to think I wanted to learn whatever fighting style I was watching her execute. And as it turns out, Christie in Tekken does Capoeira.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that is slowly gaining popularity across the whole world today. African slaves who were brought to Brazil during the Colonial era combined elements of music, dance and acrobatics to disguise a capoeirista’s ability to deliver kicks and sweeps that could knockout anyone on the receiving end to the ground.
Like most martial arts, it is fast and versatile. It involves power, flexibility and speed. The fighting style emphasizes the use of the lower body to kick, sweep and take down while the upper body supports execution of those movements. It showcases a blend of feints, dodges, and decisive strikes which gives it the perceived fluidity, unpredictability, and choreographed-like style.
They say you never forget your first and I never did. I started Capoeira two years ago. The Capoeira school, Associaçao de Capoeira Cordão de Contas holds classes in Metro Sports Center during Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7PM. I was able to drag two of my workmates with me to start Capoeira and our first lesson was the fundamental movement in Capoeira – the ginga. Ginga means “to sway or rock back and forth”. It is essential in Capoeira because it keeps one in a state of constant motion, which makes it tough for the opponent to target. My first thought when I was looking at Monitor Cabeludo demonstrate it was, “Uhm yeah I can do that.” But I tell you, to ginga for even just a minute is a cardio workout! I was huffing and puffing in no time.
Next thing we learned was a basic kick called meia lua de frente, which is Portuguese for a half moon frontal kick. We had to start from a ginga position and were given the step-by-step on how to complete the move. Now I’m a fan of learning stuff from Youtube videos but learning Capoeira through a legitimate school is way better because the coaches can simplify a routine in a step-by-step process, demonstrate it, have you do it on your own and then provide feedback on how you can do better.
Next up, defense. The defense in Capoeira is based on the principle of non-resistance, which intends to avoid an attack using evasive moves instead of blocking it. These evasive maneuvers are called esquivas, which combine squats and lunges that allow you to go lower and close to the ground while still maintaining your stability in preparation for a counterattack. This is also another cardio and muscle strengthening workout and it really got us sweating in no time.
When you see capoeiristas performing routine demos, what really gets the oohhs and aahhs of the audience are the acrobatics – cartwheels, handstands, you name it. The basic acrobatic move taught to us that day was aù or the cartwheel. Everyone was asked to do it in turns and the other tenured students lost no time in cartwheeling across the court. It seemed a pretty natural thing to do for them. But I still remember how I whispered to my workmate, Jelica how there was no way I was doing it because it looked really hard and scary. Turns out, our coach, Instrutor Rabo heard what I said. He stood there smiling and told us, “Oh you ARE doing it because I’m going to show you how easy it is.” And you bet all three of us had no choice but do it. Yes, I completed my first lopsided aù then. And to this day, I can still recall the exhilarating feeling of being able to do something you’re initially scared to do.
And it was like that ever since. Our coach would teach us a move. I’d second-guess myself. And then I take a breath and end up doing it no matter how challenging. Because who was I kidding? It was what I came in every training session for: to learn Capoeira and believe that I could do it.
That Christie game scene may have sparked my interest in this martial art but how I came to love Capoeira is a whole different story.
Capoeira gave way to a stronger, fitter me. It encouraged me to hydrate more – almost always finishing 3L of water daily. The acrobatics, kick routines and stretches gets my heart pumping and gets me sweating buckets so I naturally chug up water during breaks. Drinking more water than I was used to have now become a habit and I’ve seen how hydration regulated my body weight, allowed my skin to detoxify and minimized my allergies. I felt like I was glowing with positive energy.
Capoeira gave me new friends to cherish, to sweat with, to laugh with, to be frustrated with, to be inspired with. I never thought I’d share a bond with individuals I spend only 3 hours a week with but I did. I mean who wouldn’t? We are people of different walks of life sharing the same passion. Each training day, we’d shake hands, ask how our day went, then hold each other up on partner push-ups, and laugh when we twist our tongues on Portuguese songs. We’d all get scared with doing backflips, get aggravated with flawed moves and be smug when we did great. And when training’s done and were all lined up to close the class, I look up to these people and feel proud of my accomplishments and theirs because at some point we had stopped being students and became one family. Minha família capoeira.
Somebody asked me when it would all end. When would I stop learning Capoeira? Does it end when you’re already perfect at it? And I gazed at that person and smiled. When you love what you do, you wouldn’t want it to end at all. You would strive to learn. And when you think you’ve learned everything there is to learn, you learn some more. Because the thing is, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change happens. I was a positive, driven, self-confident, badass girl before I did Capoeira. Now, I’m still that girl – just way better. There were loads of times when I would second-guess myself but I learned to suck up my fear and just try again and again and again. That quote where you fall seven times and stand up eight? Well let’s just say I’ve fallen too many times than I can count but you’ll still see me practicing my handstands.
So what do I say to anyone who asks me about Capoeira? It won’t be easy but it will totally be worth it.
“It’s been my dream to be a doctor when I was a kid. I’d watch movies and TV shows and I’d see them walk up looking all hero-like in their scrubs, white coats and stethoscopes. Doctors looked neat and professional in their whites. There’d be this kid in the movie dying from massive blood loss and the doctor would rush to the room, fix him up and save his life. He’d be with his family a little while longer. Doctors are heroes. Sadly, my parents couldn’t afford to send me to med school. A few years back my nanay got diagnosed with ovarian tumor. She died a few years later. The doctors couldn’t save her. Then my sister and I lost our tatay too. I became an orphan at 16 years old. Our relatives tried to help us out by having my sister live with one of my aunts in Bacolod. Me, I worked through college and graduated with a degree in HRM. I stopped hoping I’ll be a doctor a long time ago. I live alone in Cebu. It’s lonely and it’s tough being alone if you think about it but I try not to. I keep telling myself I’ll be with my sister someday. We’ll have a great life together. I’m saving up money so I can fly to Hong Kong and get a better-paying job there. And then in a year, if everything works out well, I hope I can fly to the United States with my sister. My uncle and his family is living there you see. And it would be wonderful to be with family again.”
Point of View
“I lived most of my life in Europe but I’ve stayed in the Philippines with my wife and daughter for 6 years now. I love this country with its scenic beaches and breath-taking landscapes. Yet this place is not all sugar and spice. It has its imperfections too. The strangest for me is not the corruption but the diversity amongst Filipinos. They have numerous beliefs, ideas and opinions that they try to push into each other’s minds – never relenting, never compromising – only to find themselves fighting among each other. One group calls for peace in their god’s name but wages war with their fellow countrymen. Another urges others to “prepare for the coming of the Lord”. They think that their god will fix this whole mess for them when He arrives but they don’t really know when that time comes. All they do is wait and wait. And so, there is little to no change happening. Some will agree with me and most may argue, but I think all Filipinos should come as one and lose the archipelagic mindset. They are not their provinces. They are not their barangays. They are this one magnificent country, Philippines.”
That Time I went to Baler, Philippines
The Philippines boasts of jaw-dropping destinations for locals and tourists alike. One of the things the country is famous for is its magnificent beaches that showcase everything a wanderlust could wish for. Beach for surfing, rocky shorelines or if one just wants to sit back and enjoy the sunset, all of these you will find in the Philippines.
One very famous beach is located in Baler, Aurora in the northern part of the Philippines. Ampere beach boasts of a unique shoreline because instead of the usual white, powder sand; it is full of smooth, dark rocks and pebbles. Framed with mountains, fronted by the Pacific ocean, illuminated by a breath-taking sunrise, this is one travel location you cannot just let pass.
Do you want to know more about Ampere beach and how to get there? Curious about how my first time went and why I still want to go back there?
My first paid travel post has recently been published by travelicious.world
You’ll know about how to go there from Manila, what to ask from the trike tour guide, the best time to visit the place, and what famous film the landscape reminded me of.
Click below for more!
That Time I Tried Bouldering
Bouldering is a form of low-level rock climbing on boulders, small rock formations or artificial walls usually measuring up to 30 feet. It does not require a harness or ropework and the focus is on movement rather than getting to the top.
There is a growing community of boulderers in Cebu and I got to experience my first bouldering session with them. Tiki Allado (we call him Master Tiki), Neo Legaspi and some friends decided to have an indoor bouldering wall built so they could indulge in the sport while also sharing their experience to newbies like me. For a beginner’s fee of 125Php (25Php for Beginner Seminar, 25Php for use of rock shoes, 75Php for wall maintenance), one can already enjoy a 3-4 hour session of Indoor Bouldering. And I’ve got to say; it was a cool, fun way to spend my Saturday.
The “Red Chili” wall is about 15 feet high with numerous artificial rock holds bolted on it. I think it looked pretty badass especially with the “tiki” (lizard) logo on it. The rocks had several stickers plastered beside them, which I would later learn would be the indicators of the different bouldering problems. Problems? Yup, more on that in a bit.
We started off with a short course on the history of bouldering, how it differs with rock climbing, its benefits and the different equipment needed.
Master Tiki said that when rock climbers scale a cliff for the first time, they would sometimes encounter a certain part of the mountain that is just tough to get past at. They call this the crux. It’s the most pivotal part of the climb because it’s where the natural obstacle is the hardest but when overcome, it becomes the most fulfilling.
It can take even the most experienced climbers hours, even days, to figure out the best way to overcome the crux. So they’d memorize the rock terrain, climb down, go home and simulate how the rocks were positioned on an artificial climbing wall. This allowed them to rehearse specific moves to get through the obstacle. This became what is now an emerging sport called Bouldering.
It needs very minimal equipment. No harness, carabiners, helmets or ropes! All you need is a pair of climbing shoes to protect your feet and to help you gain a good foothold. Chalk is used to absorb sweat and keep your hands dry. A crash pad is also positioned near the wall for a softer landing. Plus, one never climbs without a spotter (another person who stands by and redirects you to the crash pad to help you land safely).
Bouldering is not about getting to the top but using specific moves to traverse from one point to another. The route a climber takes on the bouldering wall is called a problem. Problems are determined through the stickers plastered beside the rock holds. Rock holds with the same sticker color and symbol signify the only holds one is allowed to use to “solve” a problem. Master Tiki and the others spend several hours coming up with new bouldering problems for everyone.
I’m not scared of heights but I felt really hesitant to try this. I wasn’t feeling very confident that I was strong enough to pull myself up on the holds. After the beginner’s seminar, I kept staring at the wall with my heart pounding.
But I got to solve my first bouldering problem, Nonami, easy, hehe. I had to take note of the holds with the stickers for the Nonami route first because those were the only ones I could use. And then I started and the next thing I know I was about to finish and solve the route. It was an exhilarating feeling hanging on both hands on the last rock of the route with background cheering and clapping from everyone. Everyone was really supportive of each other. I was thinking, “Okay, so maybe I can actually do this!”
Second T0 problem was Santosima. The level of difficulty in Bouldering problems is graded in international standards using the V scale. In Payag Bouldering House, T(stands for “tiki”) scale is used. T0 routes are the easiest ones while the T8 routes are the toughest. I was using my legs and arms but my arms were the ones starting to hurt. Master Tiki kept reminding us to shake them from time to time to prevent muscle spasms. He said that ones the forearm muscles spasm, it will be next to impossible to continue through the session because you’d lose your grip on the rocks easily. So rest in between routes is important. Plus, it helps to keep yourself hydrated.
Kalayaan was my third. It was also the last T0 problem I needed to solve so I could get an orange band. An orange band is given when one completes 3 T0 problems. You get a black band if you solve 3 T8 routes. I finished Kalayaan without any hitch! Woohoo!
My friends and I took turns conquering the wall. I’m mighty proud of everyone because they’re really good at it. It’s a great way to bond among each other. We were cheering, clapping, even sharing ideas on which holds or moves to do next.
And then, L sword.
This was where I got stuck. Somehow I just couldn’t maintain my hold on the last rock of the route. It was frustrating as hell. I must have tried it 5 times then ended up failing to grab hold of the last rock. Urgh!
I didn’t give up on L-sword until I felt that I had already lost most of the strength from my arms. It was hard enough holding up my water bottle. It was even harder to hold a pen and write. Master Tiki told us to write the problems we were able to solve on his journal and this is what happened:
I never knew my handwriting could get any worse! Haha!
Because we got to solve all 3 T0 problems, we get to have our orange bands. Yey!
Tired but determined, we ended the session with a group picture. I had to have a picture with the master too.
I had a great time. It was the first time I got to try Bouldering and I loved it. And then I bonded with friends and made new ones. I got to meet Master Tiki and learned the ropes (no pun intended) of bouldering from him. I also met a new friend, Rhye, whose hobby is mountain climbing. It was Apple’s first session back after a 2-month hiatus. Rabo and Touro came back from their previous sessions to solve the routes they had difficulty completing before. I’m definitely going back for L sword (grudge mode hihi) and maybe have my own black band someday.
Bouldering: Crossed off the Bucket List!
“What I wished for my birthday is for everyone in my life to be happy and contented. Cliché? Of course it is. But I think people should be happy, period. We don’t need to put a name to a day and then celebrate. Why can’t we just celebrate each day that we’re here? Each day that we get to wake up, hug our mom and dad, laugh around with our friends, buy that dress we’ve always gushed about at the mall or upload the photos from our last get-away trip are reasons to smile and feel good. I admit I’m not always the happy pill everybody thinks I am. I get sad and frustrated too. I’ve cried a bit, and then some, and then maybe a little bit more. Sometimes you just really end up at a dead end, turn around and then there’s Life, all poised up to throw a bucket of lemons at you. But I think that’s the beauty of our existence in this world. We always have a choice whether to give up or suck it up and smile. Well I’m smiling. I choose to be happy and maybe share a bit of my sunshine to everyone around me.”
“We’d get out of the house and meet up on this one common street in our town. Our parents happened to be neighbors so there wasn’t much of a choice but to live next to each other and become playmates. We’ve spent countless summer days together. We’d go from biking to picking mangoes from our neighbors’ yards without asking. We would even act like the Power Rangers and scare the hell out of other kids that would pass by our block. During rainy days we would play Tag-You’re It! under the rain and would swim in our favorite mini pool, the drainage canal. On summer nights we would talk about ghosts and would hurry home looking scared. And in the morning, we’d talk about our nightmares from last night and start our day playing any games we could think of. Christmas week would see us huddled singing carols for some change. That’s food for our make-shift Christmas Party. On New Years , we would jump for joy because finally we can make as much noise as we want and not get annoyed stares from the old folks. We’ve known each other all our lives. And our childhood memories were so much more than we could have ever asked for. Now, with life going on around us, we still get out of the house and meet on that same street. We still make time to hang out. We still go biking and talk about heartbreaks. We still pick mangoes and shout our frustrations out at the beach. We still play in the rain. We still play tag. And we talk about how life scares the hell out of us. But, we were the cool kids then, Power Rangers and all, and we’re not about to change that are we?”
“I started Capoeira way back April 2, 2013 in Metrosports. I went up to the group together with my dad. I was holding his arm real tight, trying to hide behind him. I was nervous. I was very shy then because I didn’t know anyone. I also didn’t see anyone my age. All of them were older than me. One girl approached me and said her name is Arame. I thought that was her real name but turns out in Capoeira, you get baptized with an ‘apelido’ or a Capoeira name. She was super kind. She introduced me to everybody and I gave them a shy ‘Hello.’ Everybody was really nice. They were all smiling at me, even the coach. I was taught the basics on how to ginga and esquiva. It needed some getting used to but I got the hang of it eventually. Basic kicks and acrobatics came next. It was wearisome but I enjoyed the whole hour of training. After training, I told my parents I really wanted to play Capoeira and so, I’ve been training eversince. I love Capoeira. My fellow capoeiristas are my 2nd family. Oh and I got my own Capoeira name too – Mascotinha. It means ‘little mascot’.”
“My parents and I saw this Capoeira group having a show at the mall. They were amazing! There was music, dance and martial arts happening all at once. I enjoyed watching them but I didn’t say anything to my parents because I was already doing ballet then. But then my dad looked at me and asked if I wanted to try it out. I smiled. Yes, of course!”
“When you’re young and adventurous, you think you’re invincible! When I was 15 years old, I’d get up early on weekends and run from my house to the seawall to breathe in the morning fresh air. Way back then, the place wasn’t as dirty and smelly as it is now. It’s where my friends and I used to hang out and take turns doing somersaults in the water until our moms are yelling at us about danger, and drowning, how it’s not safe, blah blah. But it was our version of a backyard swimming pool! It was the coolest thing ever. One morning, I went for a swim alone. The water was cold and refreshing and I was just enjoying the alone time when suddenly this big wave slammed into me. I had barely surfaced when another wave pushed me under water again. I was disoriented. I couldn’t breathe. My eyes burned from the seawater. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I remembered thinking – I was going to die. For what seemed like eternity, I saw a fuzzy figure somewhere above me and then a water gallon container splashed a few inches away. I grabbed for it and hauled myself up, coughing seawater and gasping for air. It turns out there was a ship passing by that caused some big waves to crash to the sea wall. The guy who threw the water container saw me thrashing amidst the waves and thought I was drowning. He was right and he saved my life. It was the dumbest, craziest thing I ever did. It had almost cost me my very existence. But crazy as it is, it still didn’t stop me from going back the next weekend to have another swim.”
“I am once again out in the street, not playing but approaching each people to ask for a little amount for my allowance. I don’t mind the danger in the streets and I always pack all my guts just to have money for school. I really wanted to study and learn lessons in school. But my mother, who sells cigarettes and candies, uptown, couldn’t afford to send me to school. With my 2 other siblings also working their ways to complete their schoolworks. And I no longer have a father. I even skip classes just to get money for my allowance and get through all the school assignments. It is always my dream to finish college and be a professional someday. So I can help my family financially. I am still in 3rd grade and I still got a long way to that dream.”
“We were in the same training class for a BPO company. I knew immediately that she was a kind, friendly person when she first introduced herself in front of everybody – Rhelyn. She’s always smiling and very soft-spoken. She made new friends without any hitch. Me, I’m the introvert, awkward guy who found it extremely hard to make friends. I am the silent guy in conversations. And because of that, I have always felt distant from everyone else. But somehow, I never felt that with her. Spending time with her made me happy. I was excited to attend training because I knew I’d see her. It was very easy to talk to her. When we were away from each other, I’d send her a chat and invite her to play Dragonbound with me. I finally summoned the courage to ask her out on a movie date. I was so worried she would refuse. She’s special to me.”
“We were in the same training class for a BPO company. I thought he was a loner and a snob when he said his name in front of class – Justin. He barely talked to anybody and when he did, you would only get a word or two from him. He had that serious, brooding look on his face. But somehow, it wasn’t like that when we were hanging out together. He seemed happier, smiling. He wouldn’t run out of things for us to talk about. We’d exchange chat messages and he’d come up with 2-player games we could play together. Then he invited me to a movie date, just the two of us. He made me feel special.”
“I was at the 7th floor lobby of the building when the trembling started. I was the Head Security on duty then and there were already several people milling around ready to go home. A sharp sudden jolt, then violent shaking. There was screaming everywhere and I couldn’t even get up from my chair. But instinct and adrenaline kicked in. I yelled at everyone to stay down while everything around us was shaking. Looking back, I was thankful for all the earthquake drills we’ve had in the past because my body kicked into gear even before my brain did. After the quake, I had the emergency exit doors opened and herded everyone to leave the building. I checked the locker room, the sleeping lounge, pantry and operations area, making sure no one has been left behind. I was the last one to exit. While the shaking was terrifying, the actual fear doesn’t really start until the ordeal is over. While it was happening, I didn’t have the luxury to feel afraid. I had a responsibility to keep everyone safe. But the fear does come though, especially when you’re away from your family and you have no way of finding out how they fared through the earthquake. I left my phone in the office and for several hours I didn’t know if my daughters were all right. Maybe it isn’t the same for everyone, but for me, the fear for your family was far scarier than the earthquake itself.”