Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dancing

I love and I enjoy dancing. It is my means of exercise. I easily sway with music and move with rhythm. I hate to boast, although I am not the best but I do dance pretty well.

When I was in my early 20's, I enrolled in Hawaiian dancing with Mrs. Carmen Hoffer. I was one of her early students. I learned easily. In no time at all, I could shake my hips and swayed my grass skirt correctly and gracefully. During my first dance recital at Tocao residence, proudly, I was able to clinch a solo act and some important numbers. Regretfully though, for the grander and much acclaimed second recital that was shown at Cotabato Theater, I was unable to join because I was already married and pregnant with my first child. But up until now, I can say, I still know my Hawaiian and Tahitian steps.

My love affair with dance had not diminished. I continued to dance even after marriage. With disco dancing, I got myself immersed at discotheque with friends and relatives. It had to be a good, classy, reputable place though for I tend to be paranoid in crowded area. When I danced among a good crowd of people, I got entranced moving fluidly (but not scandalously). Loving those dizzy dazzling crazy lights and the very loud music, I could dance nonstop for hours unending in one spot.

My husband, knowing that I love dancing, began to take lessons. Together with his friend James Yap, he would practice with his friend and instructor Mr. Pete Capocao weekly on Saturday night at Mr. Yap's residence. The missis Siolan and I acted as dance aides. It took my husband Lucas two years to learn cha cha and master the pivotal turning of the steps. He persisted though and now both of us can dance in full style. hahaha.

When ballroom dancing became a craze, the Saturday night session that used to be done in the Yap residence was transferred to my home for want of a bigger space. This time the crowd of enthusiasts grew bigger, composed mostly of older girls and a few gentlemen. I learned the swing, boogie, tango, reggae, rumba, samba from all those Saturday dance sessions at home. I got to love dancing with those skillful dance instructors too (they were mostly gays) who challenged my dancing ability to certain heights.

As a teacher, I taught students to dance and perform for convocations and school presentations. I sought help from younger teachers, I learned new hiphop movements, I further improvised and created dance routines suitable to school children's age and theme. In so doing, I made myself physically flexible despite my size and age too.

And even now that I am retired from teaching, I haven't retired myself from dancing. Upon request, once a week, our store young lady employees come to my house to teach me two popular dance moves: the gangnam style and the Wakawaka (correct spelling?) by Shakira. Hahaha. I am now able to perform with memorization the gangnam craze, and I am also almost finished with Wakawaka. A few more days of practice and most likely, I can do all of them on my own, and teach others as well.

By the way, I also do Tai Chi every Sunday with my husband which we learned from Bobby Ang. For me, doing Tai Chi is like doing a slow-motion martial art dance. I am not the perfect dancer as you might imagine me to be. No, I am not. I just simply love to sway with good rhythmic music. No hard work for me there. Hehehe. It keeps me fit and young at heart :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Night Fares at Home

Saturday night dance session.... so I prepare my home for my dancing friends:


 Decorate my house with a few potted plants for a fresher and better look.


Bananas from my backyard plot for healthy snacks in between dances.


More fruits.....

For those who are not satisfied with bananas, I also serve chicken macaroni salad.


And of course water/ bottled water.......


Happy dancing everyone!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Books

I used to be a teacher, hence I am supposed to have read a lot of books; yet compared to my children Roy and Emil, I have read less books than they. I have quite a few books on the shelves of which at some point, I thought of reading but never did. Until now, they are still there gathering dust. What a shame! I have committed a grave sin as a teacher by by-passing these classics: Anne of the Green Gable, the Crucible, War and Peace, Garland for Girls, the Grapes of Wrath, Peyton Place, Sense and Sensibility, Catch 22, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Les Miserables etc........

During the 60's and 70's, I was so much into Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner mystery cases. Back then, I preferred to read detective stories rather than love stories from Mills and Boons. I did not also like very much those popular novels of Harold Robins but I read some.

Then my husband Lucas introduced me to best selling authors, the likes of Irving Wallace, James A Michener, John Grisham, Ken Follet, Leon Uris, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Tom Clancy etc.

Later,  from trying to catch up with what my voracious children were reading, I read The Little Prince, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Nick Bantock 3 chronicle books of Griffin & Sabine, the Harry Potter complete series, the Catcher in the Rye, Memoirs of a Geisha, Stardusts etc....... I can say my children have good reading habits and good taste too.

My all time favorites though are:
1. Heidi - my first novel ever; I was in first year high school. During that time it was the practice of the school to give freshmen students the privilege of owning a library card. I was so thrilled. I went to the cozy library to borrow a book even though it was not a reading requirement. I chose the book mainly from a title that sounded similar to my name. It turned out to be an awesome read. I finished the book in less than one week, in fact I think 3 days. I soon began to develop the habit and the passion of reading books.
2. The Rosary - It was an old hardbound book given to one of my aunts as gift. But they left Cotabato and also the book behind. My eldest sister Imelda read it and I heard her tell the story to my mom. Curiously I picked it up. I was greatly touched by the romantic plot of the book. I can still remember the story line until now. Although some people may claim it as the most boring book ever, but my heart continues to believe in such an enduring love story.
3. The Empress of China by Pearl S. Buck - It is a historically based novel and I am greatly intrigued by the old grandeur of China and the cunning moves of the girl Tzu Tsi to power. This was a book bought and owned by my brother Jun. I did not know if he was able to read it but my sister Helen did. We lost the book to the 1976 earthquake in Cotabato. I have been looking for a copy of this book ever since. Sadly I never get to find one until now.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird - One summer when I was still in high school, my sister Jeannette came home for a vacation from Manila. She was holding and reading this book entitled To Kill a Mockingbird which became a blockbuster movie starring Gregory Peck but to which I was not able to see. I was however more curious about the book she was carrying from time to time the whole summer through but unable to finish. "Maybe it was extremely boring" I concluded. But after many years, one night for wanting of something to read, I curiously picked it up. Wallah, from the beginning I was transfixed and captured. I did not put the book down until I had finished. I reread this book more than 3 times. I also highly recommended it to my children when I presumed they had already reached a more matured reading age.They all read and loved it too.
5. Dream of the Red Chamber - An ancient forbidden romantic book in olden times but the love story was circulated in every old and/or new Chinese literary household. In the 60's, it was transformed into a Chinese musical movie produced by Run Run Shaw. The big movie hit was played by my then favorite HongKong actress Loh Teh.  One day, I saw this book in English translation when I visited the National Library in Manila. I partially read it. I was taken by the entwining of myth from the start of the narration, so I further followed it up from the main library of the University of Santo Thomas. I read this book more than twice when I found out my sister-in-law Jean had a copy of that English version too. 
6. The Good Earth - This is a book from my husband's collection. Every kid of Chinese descent should read it to relate to the virtues of enduring hardship, love, dignity of labor, hard work, filial love, respect and many others. Somehow, you would feel proud by relating to it as a Chinese.
7. Gone With the Wind - I watched the movie twice and I loved it; I read the book and loved it more!
8. & 9.  Hawaii by James A Michener and QB Seven by Leon Uris. These were the books that my husband read and I love them tremendously!!!
10. Lord of the Rings - My son Roy bought a complete set of hardbound copies. He brought them to Cotabato. The tales were written even before I was born but how come I heard of them only recently. I guessed the book was popularized more by the 21st century nerds. Haha. The book was so exciting. I followed  the stories by intermittently going through the map illustration inside the cover. I was so fearful of  the fates of the heroes. It was even more thrilling than watching the epic movie. 
11. Mama Mary and Her Children ( true stories of real people ) - This is the latest book I am reading, written by the late Father James B. Reuter, S.J. Of late my eyes are not as sharp and strong enough to burn the midnight oil, peering through small texts and heavy books. I resort to light materials instead such as comics and magazines. Sometimes though I am inspired to read a few Catholic publications, so I bought a few during my last visit to Manila. This book I am reading now, I find it so honest and inspiring. It's been a long time since I have stayed awake until past one o'clock in the morning reading a book. Father Reuter is such a good story teller. Kudos to him indeed. I concur with his narrations as I have often times experienced the love and joy and fulfillment of my heart desires from a loving God and the intervention of his Blessed Mother!!!!! Thank you so much!

I hope to continue reading more books............

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Election Day

Tomorrow May 13, 2013 is both national and local election day in the Philippines. I have already prepared my list. I sincerely pray for a peaceful and honest and orderly election. I want my hometown to revert back to peace and progress. I hope the people of Cotabato knows whom to vote for, unless they are the bad elements who want the city to plunge into darkness and degeneration. I have advised our store employees not to sell their votes. " If you sell your vote, you're tantamount to selling your soul to the devil " I told them. "What is P1,000.00 in exchanged for 3 years of wayward criminal activities in the city. You don't get rich anyway on a thousand pesos, yet you put your life and the lives of your love ones in constant danger in exchange for it." I hope they get to know what I am driving at. People earning an honest living, really don't need to sell their votes. But sometimes, they are carried away by mass hysteria or the hype of grabbing some freebies. Hey, where are your dignity people?! You have a responsibility towards your beloved hometown. Vote for the those who can make our streets safer and better. Do not vote for those evil and bad influential  politicians.
Oh God, please help the good people of Cotabato do the right thing, that well soon enough we shall get rid of the evil scourge that has been plaguing our place. Please make Cotabato City a better and safer place to stay. Graciously hear our prayers, O God.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cool Things I Did in Manila

My husband and I went to Manila last April 14 for purposes of medical check ups. Aside from the check-ups, we got to repair some of our second home fixtures too: like the garage gate, toilet, etc. I also had my small gardens restored. People may think what a tedious time we had. But no.....

The first weekend in Manila, my children brought us to Tagaytay. The whole family including the nannies stayed at Kimberly Hotel. The hotel site did not have a panoramic view of Taal lake and the volcano, but no matter because we got to get a good glimpse of the famous view anywhere, like while eating lunch at Josephines (their fried tawilis was really good), while on the road and when we took our lunch again at Army Navy. At night, after a full supper at Bag of Beans, we went to SM carnival beside Taal Vista Lodge. At the carnival, my grandchildren enjoyed the kiddie rides, while we adults enjoyed a good, cool and relaxing evening atmosphere by walking about and mingling with the gaiety of the merry rides and booths and company.

In between seeing our doctors, my husband and I watched three movies:
1. Oblivion - At the Gateway with 30% senior citizen's discount. We watched the movie at night with Emil, Martha and Marion. My mind was kind of challenged by the futuristic view of the concept of alien-domination, computer controlling system and cloning of human beings and other outcomes.
2. Olympus is Taken - Lucas and I watched it with my high school chums Anita, Corazon, Imelda and her husband Arthuro on a designated free senior's citizens' movie day which was a Tuesday afternoon at Robinson's Magnolia. But  a few of us forgot to bring our free movie booklets. We haggled awhile with the cinema personnel to get in without them, but eventually we still had to get the passes from Quezon City Hall. Thankfully though, it was a blessing in disguised because Lucas was able to replace his lost id with a new one and subsequently got all his discount privileges too. The movie Olympus was more of an action/thriller, but a no brainer. I like Oblivion better.
3. Iron Man 3 - My son Emil had Ayala free movie tickets for the whole family including one for my sister Helen on my second Saturday weekend morning at Glorietta.  Free tickets also came with free snacks composed of Wendy's cheese burger and Lays chips and dalandan juice. I enjoyed this movie tremendously as you can see from my previous posting :)

After the Iron Man 3 movie date with my family; Lucas, Helen, Martha, Marion and I met with my friends in the afternoon at Magnolia Robinsons and together we attended a lumpia party at my brother Wilson's house. My brother generously hosted the party for me and my my high school girlfriends. My sisters Imelda and  Jeannette also came along. We had fun listening to my brother's long playing music collection. We danced tirelessly too and ate a well prepared hearty meal with all the side dishes and sweets and cold treats. It was also a memorable day for catching up with old Cotabato stories and memories. Many thanks to my brother Wilson for the hospitality.

The next Monday, Imelda, Arthuro, Lucas and I went on a double date to watch Abbamania concert at Resorts World. We were all excited. We took pictures of ourselves and the beautiful area. We had fun with the photo opt. Excitedly, we arrived the theater early and took more pictures. When the concert began, I so wanted to stand up and sway and dance with the music. But the audience were old and kind of reserved, so I just moved and swayed on my seat except for that time when the singers told us to get up on our feet. Hahaha!

Not contented with ourselves, my friends Anita, Imelda and I (except for corazon) and our better halves met again on Friday. Imelda and Arthuro treated us to a merienda at QC Sports Center. They were (still are) members of the sports facility. I ordered palabok and maiz con yelo. They're good. Yumm...remembering the delicious snacks makes me drool all over! Then we went to Rustan's Gateway to shop.We tried on several clothes. Imelda took pictures of us. We posed with the boutique apparel, pretending to be models. We had quite a blast laughing at our own expense and some of the funny dresses too; while the husbands patiently chatted and waited for us girls to finish. At the end I bought two blouses and a pair of shoes while my picky friends did not buy anything. We had a late supper at nine pm at Mu Noodle Bar at Wilson Street, San Juan. Imelda took more pictures and posted them on her facebook account.

The next day, Saturday, I left with my daughter Marion for the 87th birthday party of Mr. Chua Cheng Piao at the Chua's family resort at Tagaytay (Tagaytay again!) Lucas stayed home to rest. He was getting sleepless, unaccustomed to the many hectic activities. So my daughter Marion and I, we hitched with sister Helen and her boys to MH Resort at Alfonso, Cavite. I met my aunts Josefina, Araceli, Violeta at the party. Several cousins were there too: Gina, Joanne, Boyet and Ferdinand. At dusk, a beautiful soprano/tenor concert was held at the living room. There were two sopranos, 2 tenors and a pianist. Their voices were more powerful than the last chamber concert we attended there.They had also a a better line-up of repertoire, but regretfully one of the sopranos committed a major mistake. Yet, it was a nice show altogether though. After the concert, special Japanese food were served to very hungry guests, prepared by chefs from shangrila hotel. My brother Wilson arrived with 4 special delicious Cebu lechons (all the way from Cebu). It was a night to remember but how I wish I could have spent two nights instead of one to enjoy the beautiful Chua's family resort entirely. Sorry, I was not able to take pictures to capture the moments spent together with my siblings and our other relatives and our amiable hosts, the Chua's family members.

So you see, after all, I did have a grand vacation in Manila! And thank God that my husband and I emerged to be in good health too!!! Until my next escapade again...............see you soon............