Tuesday, May 12, 2015

***Going On Break***

Hello, reader! I'm going on a quick break to take care of some personal stuff - and to recharge, too. I'll be back as soon as my life is less chaotic. :) In the mean time, feel free to read through my old posts. :)


Monday, May 11, 2015

GVM / The definition of success

So says a great man.
(image from the internet)
Have a great week ahead, folks. :)


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Teacher, sister

Back in college, I was part of an organization that advocated education - Alay Ni Ignacio, or ANI. As a volunteer teacher, I handled a class of about 30 public high school students. Because of this experience, I wanted to be a teacher straight out of college (those closest to me know this). But I couldn't ignore the reality that teaching was a dream I couldn't afford at the time, so I pursued another path, which I'm just as passionate about.

Seeing my students do well really gives me the best feeling in the world - it's as if their achievements are mine, too.  A lot of my former students are my Facebook friends, and it makes me incredibly happy to see them living the lives they didn't even dare dream of when they were still in public high schools, struggling to make the grade while helping keep their families afloat. I couldn't be prouder.

It's not easy being a teacher, but man, it's definitely one of the most rewarding things that I've done in my lifetime. I like to think that at a certain point, I became more than just a teacher - a part of me hopes that I've become their friend, too.

There are some days when I find myself still thinking about the former dream teaching. I guess the Universe can hear my desire, no matter how faint its voice is, because now I'm a teacher! Well, sort of - I don't handle an entire class. In fact, I only have one student - my friends' daughter, Summer, a brilliant and quirky 10-year-old girl. I know it's not the same as standing in front of 30 pupils, but teaching is teaching, and I'll take it.
Glad to be this girl's teacher / Ate
Summer couldn't have come into my life at a better time than now. I was a bit hesitant to accept her parents' invitation to have me as her full-time tutor because I've never really handled kids before. My ANI students were incoming high school juniors and seniors; Summer is only ten. I have absolutely no training in elementary education, so I don't know if I were actually going to be any good.

But Summer is a wonderful kid, and being her teacher has been a breeze. She reminds me of my younger self, actually, and I think that's why I like spending time with her - she takes me back to my own childhood (and in doing so, she's keeping me young, haha!). In this regard, she's teaching me more than I am teaching her.

At 10, Summer is at the stage of her life where she's transitioning from being a child to being a young adult, and like everyone her age, she's struggling a little. I've never had younger siblings (my mother had a miscarriage when I was 11), and I guess Summer is my chance to be a big sister - to hold her hand through the process the same way my older brother held mine. I really hope I'm a good enough example for her.


Friday, May 08, 2015

FTF / Unpretentious coffee

When I dropped by Tesoros a couple of months back, I was pleasantly surprised to see a coffee shop inside - Tommy's! If you've been following this blog, you would know that I am a coffee lover, and every new place that isn't Starbucks is a delight for me. (No offense to Starbucks - I have great respect for it as a business, but the coffee isn't great. I would much rather brew a fresh cup at home than spend money there.)
They have decaf!
For the munchies
For the munchies part 2
Tommy's Coffee is owned by hubby and wife team, Tommy and Mia. I met them on my visit, and they shared with me the uncomplicated story behind their business: they both love coffee, and they got their start at Salcedo Weekend Market. That's actually why, aside from coffee, they also sell other goodies like tapa flakes, pickled tinapa fillet, bacon crisps, to name a few - these other products are from the other participating vendors at Salcedo.
Come right in.
The two don't consider themselves connoisseurs; according to them, they are coffee lovers. They don't have encyclopaedic knowledge of the beverage, but they know enough to develop signature roasts that they personally like. I like how Mia said it: "We're not pretending to be more than what we are. We sell coffee we like, simple as that." I respect that. :)

Aside from the one in Tesoros along Pasay Road in Makati, you can find Tommy's Coffee along Kalayaan Avenue, also in Makati. Drop by for your dose of caffeine! :)


Thursday, May 07, 2015

LT / Shifting reading

When I bought a copy of BJ Penn's "Why I Fight," I didn't think that that was the beginning of a gradual shift in my reading preferences. Most of my adult life, I have been partial to philosophy books. Lately, however, I've been reading more and more books on martial arts and fighting. After Why I Fight, I started reading Sam Sheridan's "A Fighter's Heart." But I didn't stop there.
Geeking out
I also picked up Jiu-Jitsu University, written by Saulo Ribeiro with Kevin Howell. Although it's more a textbook of the Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu system, the introduction of the book is actually quite inspirational, and even lyrical. My instructor, Joel, lent me The Path to the Black Belt, written by Rodrigo Gracie and Kid Peligro, which is another textbook, but still a good read. I have to go through these books slowly, though - since they show techniques, this white belt can only absorb so much.

"A Fighter's Mind" is next on my non-textbook fighting books, and I'm also looking for copies of "The Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi, and "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. I've actually read the latter back in college for Asian History, but I lost my old copy after moving dorms and houses one too many times.

I've changed so much since I made the decision to embark on this journey. Martial arts really has seeped in to every aspect of my life now, and there's really no point to resist anymore. After all, I'm in this for the long haul.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

MW / Asia's Nightingale indeed

I was never really a fan of birit music. Don't get me wrong - I respect the singers who can really belt out high notes, like Charice Pempengco, Nina, Sarah Geronimo, and the likes; I'm just not a fan of their music and/or their genre. For this reason, I don't really go out of my way to catch their performances, whether live or on television.

When Lendro, my boss and friend, briefed me about an Acer event he wanted me to write the script for, I got more excited about getting to watch ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra (under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga - I've followed Gerard Salonga's work since his first concert with his sister, Lea) live than I was about Lani Misalucha singing.
At the event, however, I found myself as mesmerized with her as I was of the orchestra. I've always known she was a great singer - she wouldn't have earned the moniker "Asia's Nightingale" if she weren't - but hearing her live really gave me goosebumps. And with the ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying her, the whole performance just left me awestruck.

But even before she performed, I was already amazed with Lani because of her sterling work ethic. She was on time for rehearsals, and she was very hands-on with the sound mixing. Someone of her stature in the industry can totally afford to be a diva, but she is not one at all! She's very warm (she even agreed to sing Happy Birthday for our friend Miggy during rehearsals), and she's very professional.

I'm looking forward to hear her sing again, hopefully in the near future. :)


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

HFT / #AchievementUnlocked: Headstand!

Here's the story behind it: One of our warm-up drills for jiu-jitsu is the bridge. To the unfamiliar, the bridge is a variation of the forward roll - the difference is that before you complete the roll forward, you have to stop halfway on a headstand. This drill activates your core before class/sparring.

I didn't know how to do it when I was new, and I was so paranoid about breaking my neck that it took me a while before I mustered the courage to even give it a try. And although I didn't break my neck, I hurt my back on my landing the first few times I attempted the move. What made it worse was our assembly-line type of warm-up - I felt pressured to keep the queue moving.

When I went on my first jiu-jitsu field trip to Tagaytay with some of the folks from Deftac Makati, I begged them to teach me how to do a proper bridge. Omai and Aris took me through the process step-by-step, and before the afternoon was over, I could already do it! My execution was far from perfect, but what's important is that I get to land properly so I don't hurt my back (I had just returned from injury at the time and I didn't want another).
Achievement unlocked!
(photo by Khaela de Leon)
The following Monday, I went to the gym early to practice. Yes, I'm that person! Haha! I really obsessed over it until I could really do it properly. I even did other exercises like sit-ups and planks to get stronger - to raise your legs over your head without putting strain on your neck and your arms, you really need to use your core. And now, it has become my favorite warm-up drill! :)

Let me take a page from my instructor Joel's book and share with you my takeaways from learning how to do a headstand. One is persistence - despite several awkward/awful landings, I kept trying to do it. I asked my teammates for help and I'm lucky that they were very accommodating. :)

Two is letting go of fear. There will always be that possibility that I might hurt myself in training, but I can't let that keep me from trying. Sometimes, this fear would even be the cause of injuries - in the split second that you hesitate, especially when you're already halfway through a move, is when you could get get injured. To do anything, you have to start with the mindset that you can do it.

Now that I've unlocked that achievement, I'm going to learn the handstand next. Wish me luck! :)