Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 retrospective.

It's nearing the end of another year, so it's high time for another year-end post. And yes, I know I've been quite the blogging delinquent these past few months, but please let me make it up to you as I sum up the year 2013.


I was well into taking both Lebran dance fitness and their technique classes as well, after having endured a medals exam the month before. I was already taking both Latin and standard ballroom, and to my surprise, I was told that I didn't have to pay for the extra classes that I was attending in the evening.

I also took a brief return trip to acting this month, as a few young friends from school got me to act for a thesis film. It was a great opportunity to see if I can still act, and it was pretty emotionally and physically challenging for me. But I actually did it, so a good pat on the back there.

It was this month when I also realized that when I like someone, the most simple gestures win me over, and my katorpehan moments began once again. How teeny-bopper of me.


After one 2-hour standard ballroom class in the evening, I was encouraged by Teacher B to join PDTA's 2nd syllabus competition, with Myrone as my partner. I was thrilled, but also overwhelmed and anxious because I only had 3 weeks to train under her and Myrone. Despite the fact that I had so little confidence in my technique, I was grateful for that opportunity as Teacher B had waived her professional fee for our training, and I got to learn so much from her and my partner.

I was still being smitten by that guy, especially since we were spending so much time together, but I was still afraid to admit anything to anyone.


The main highlight of this month was joining PDTA's Syllabus Competition. 3 weeks of training, hard work, polishing, peppered with some bickering with my partner was put to the test on the dance floor. We ended up placing 4th both in the waltz (4th out of 6 couples) and the tango (4th out of 4). Well, not bad for my first ever competition, with only 3 weeks of training. I told myself that I can easily set the bar higher for next time.


As I was still smitten over the same guy, I had summed up the courage to tell him that I liked him. And for the second time in a row, I immediately got friendzoned, hahaha. What was good about it was nothing really felt awkward, even when we saw each other and went out together on our own a few days after I told him. He never made me feel awkward at all, actually, and made sure we stayed good friends as we were in constant communication and company of each other. With that, I considered him one of my best friends.

This was also the time when I became a scholar under Lebran. It was a big weight off my shoulders to not have to pay for any of my classes anymore. I started attending classes everyday, and even got to learn the man's part in certain classes when there weren't enough male scholars available. I also became part of the core group, which was mainly comprised of Sir Brando, Mommy Val, Myrone, and me. Pretty overwhelming for a brand new scholar who was new to the business, but I took it as a challenge.


Most of this month was dedicated to preparing for the I-Dance show, called Step Up To Freedom. Other than Latin and standard ballroom routines, we learned how to dance the Polynesian hula, plus a few cultural folk dances. It was actually fun learning dances from different genres. And even though I wasn't dancing in some numbers, I still got to learn them as I always got to stand in whenever someone was absent.


This month's highlight was Step Up To Freedom. It was my first ever real show as a dancer, and despite the late nights we had rehearsing for the show, I still had so much fun.


This month marked the beginning of the more challenging half of the year. Due to certain circumstances, I somewhat ruined the friendship I had forged with my best friend on the team. When he started liking someone else, I felt I was being pushed away without meaning to, though I knew he was being careful with his actions toward everyone, including me. It was somewhat my fault for holding on a bit too close to something I could never get. This was also when I got the chance to talk with Mommy Val (for a full day, no less!) about what I was feeling toward the situation, plus we also got to talk about my life's direction, as to where I'm now headed. I loved all her advice, as it was my first time ever to actually have a decent heart-to-heart talk with her.


This month gave way to more challenges for myself. Other than our regular classes, we were also attending a contemporary jazz class under Sir Roy. I had to learn to face my fears of heights and falling in the least amount of time during his classes, and it felt great to pull off what he was teaching us while conquering these fears.

After another counseling session with Mommy Val, I was encouraged to take the first ever Lebran teachers' certification exam along with a bunch of the other scholars who were already tenured in teaching Lebran. After practicing a few times, I went with it, and actually passed the exam.

I told myself that everyday is a new challenge, and with every milestone I reach is a little victory for myself.


Mostly focused on building my confidence in teaching this month. Lebran had opened up more venues other than in Makati Cinema Square, so we had to be more organized in dispatching the teachers in the different venues. I sometimes had to learn to teach a class on my own, which was another accomplishment for me.

I was also named one of the top agents in our part-time account in CVG, and one of the perks we got was an outing to Fontana Resort in Pampanga. I got to spend 2 days with my fellow part-time agents, and it was a good opportunity to bond with my friends plus the other agents that I don't usually interact with.


Because Lebran has no other way to go but up, we were also on our way to having an official website. To make things  special, we decided to make it into an event, so we were prepping up for that. We made arrangements for everything--the venue, the program, the dance repertoire itself, etcetera.

The challenge we had to endure this month was that we were one teacher down. In the middle of the month, Myrone got primary spontaneous pneumothorax and had to be rushed to the hospital. Because he underwent an operation and needed 6 weeks to heal, we had to fix everyone's schedules again for others to take over his classes.  We were lucky enough to have new trainees so male partners in technique classes weren't much of a problem.

I was pretty grateful that he was immediately out of the woods. It did take a while, though, for him to return to classes.

And somehow, after things were good again before this month, we started fighting again due to my clingy nature, and it felt like I was losing my best friend in him all over again.


This month was mostly focused on preparing for Lebran's first ever big event. It served 3 purposes--to launch the official Lebran website, to introduce its pool of newly-certified teachers called the Lebran Shapers, and to showcase the students in a mini-recital. Everyday was busy day.

Of course, there were some things that some (or most) people have noticed, so we had to learn to talk and settle certain issues, even if just for the sake of the team, and for the sake of the upcoming event. And of course, for the sake of ourselves, even though I already knew that things will never be the same again.

Near the end of the month gave way to a new challenge, which was learning to choose between doing the right thing for everyone, and doing the thing that most people deem favorable. I learned that in empowering and disciplining the younger scholars may cost a lot, especially if you make one stupid move, such being their least favorite person, to the point that the team was noticeably divided and some of them were not speaking to me at all in anger.


The big event of the month was when Kuya Bryan got married to Joan. We had to travel all the way to Alaminos, Pangasinan for the wedding. When I was first invited to the wedding (several times, by different people, no less), I was looking forward to it. But due to certain things that had happened, I was having second thoughts about going, knowing that after what had happened before the month began, things and people will be making things awkward for me. But I still went, nonetheless,  because it was mainly for Kuya Bryan and Joan's special day.

I was trying my best efforts to resolve things, but I knew that things won't improve unless both parties make the effort, so I decided to just say my piece for one last time and leave the ball in their court. And the timing couldn't be better. Beginning on the first hour of my birthday, things were starting to look up. And it also helped a lot that I had my one-on-one counseling session with Mommy Val and Sir Brando on the exact day of my birthday. I learned a lot about myself, plus what I needed to improve in in the upcoming year, and what better time to start with all new changes after that talk.

In one year-end post, I wrote down quotable quotes that made my year that time. In another, I posted photos of highlights from that year. I thought I'd do something different for this entry.

Mommy Val always reiterated that we should always be grateful--for the people we encounter, for every challenge God gives us, and for the small victories we make when we surpass these hurdles we come across. So I'd like to acknowledge the people that I've learned so much from this year.

First, of course, is Mommy Val. Even when I was still a paying student, she always imparts so much wisdom and knowledge, not just for me, but for the other scholars and the rest of the people in our Lebran family. She always helps us keep our feet on the ground and our attitudes in check. She knows the right thing to say, and always tells us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. I look up to her not just as a mentor but also as a mother, and I'm glad she always has our backs, I sure do hope I get to be as good a mentor and mother as her.

Of course, there's also Sir Brando. I admire his patience and his selflessness in training us, and giving us all the best training we could have. He also taught us that the learning is always continuous, that we never stop learning, even him. Teachability is a big factor in becoming a great teacher, and we all learn from each other.

I have to include Myrone for this. He was the first friend I became close with in Lebran,  even when I was still a paying student. I learned a lot from him beginning from when he became my one-time partner for competition. I also look up to him for his patience, for knowing when to be serious for work and when to wack out. He's pretty mature for his age,  and I admire him for that. He's quite the gentleman, and hates having to hurt anyone, so I understand when he chooses to be quiet whenever I insist on talking when we fight or merely disagree. He may not know this, but he became my voice of reason when I act immature or do something out of line. Which was why I considered him my best friend on the team, though he may not think the same of me. I don't know if we could be better friends again after everything that had happened, but for now, I'm just grateful for the friendship we once had.

Abby is like a sister I grew to love. Another person who's wise beyond her years, I admire her for her spunk and her talent. Every bonding moment with her is never boring, and she became my confidante in so many ways.

Meeting Ags wasn't pure coincidence. I knew there had to be a reason why I met her. Despite her young age, I do believe she's more mature than I am in more ways than one. During the times when we were in constant communication with each other, I sometimes feel sorry for her whenever I would rant, especially about people who are are both close to our hearts. Her patience is immeasurable, and her understanding as well. I learned a lot from her, especially with her tact, understanding, honesty, and trustworthiness. Even though she once told me to fight for what I may think is supposedly mine, I think it was still a decent choice for me not to do so, for the sake of someone's choice. After everything she's been going through, I'm glad she's somewhat happier now, and she deserves it.

I cannot exclude Kuya Bryan from this list. Even if it was just for a time, his advice in his long text messages really struck me hard. He is another person who puts it bluntly, but the sound advice he gives still gives you a somewhat soothing and comforting effect.

There are still so many people I'm grateful for this year, but these people are the one who gave so much impact. 2013 was a very challenging year for me to shape up in terms of physical and in terms of my attitude, and these people helped me with that. Thank you, and I love you guys for being there.

"So many changes in one year... wonder what next year will bring." - Brett, Children's Letters to God.

I bid 2013 a farewell with a happy heart, and move on. With this, I'm excited to begin the new year with new opportunities and new adventures.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It had already been a year since then? Wow.

My goodness, I never got to blog during the entire month of October. The month had been so crazy, and I will elaborate on that later.

When I looked back at my blog entries from October of last year, I realized that as of October 17th, it had been exactly a year since I attended my first Lebran class. Woah, I can't believe a year had already passed since then. To once again quote the character Brett from Children's Letters to God, "So many changes in one year... Wonder what next year will bring."

How apt for me to be included this year in a pictorial of Lebran Shapers (teachers) a few days after that exact date. It sort of celebrated my first year in Lebran.

It's been a pretty amazing one year for me. Upon the discovery of Lebran, a lot of things had happened and it was due to my perseverance to keep taking classes. OK, I'm not really proud of it, but I managed to attend my first level of classes because of a silent sponsor who was willing to pay for them. In addition to that, I also had to attend the Lebran dance fitness class as well. It took a lot of effort to come up with the money to pay for all those plus my other expenses while just keeping a part-time job. Imagine my surprise when I was allowed to attend the evening classes (I just attend the mornings) without any extra payment because I was told I had potential.

Imagine my surprise even more when I was encouraged to join the syllabus competition alongside the other scholars. Training with them was a great learning experience, as it was a good way to get to know and bond with them.

As surprises go, after helping out at one mini-event, I was suddenly called in one time after a class, and that was when they announced that they finally took me in as a new scholar. It was such a big relief on my part because I didn't have to pay for classes anymore. I could take all the classes I want for free.

Apart from being a scholar, I was also part of the Lebran team's core group alone with Sir Brando, Mommy Val, and Myrone. We are the ones who basically keep the business running smoothly, setting schedules, handling marketing and publicity, etc. When I got counseled by Mommy Val, she advised me to draw up a five-year plan to give my life some direction, then encouraged me to take the Lebran teachers certification exam. And I couldn't believe I actually passed.

Challenges keep coming at every class we attend, especially on my part. Due to scarcity of gentleman scholars that serve as partners for female students, I was tasked to learn the gentleman's part as well to help out. Then because of all the new accounts coming up, our schedules keep getting busier. Every time a Lebran teacher would be late in the morning (well, basically it's just Myrone and Jayson), I would have to fill in, so it was pretty good practice to teach.

The biggest challenge of all was during last month (October). During the middle of the month, Myrone had to be taken to the hospital due to primary spontaneous pneumothorax. With one Lebran teacher down (and our highest earner!) and having a new hectic schedule, we had to move things around. I had to learn to keep at least one class, and we were so glad that there were new male partners being trained, so we didn't have much problem with the technique classes. Thankfully it was also the college students' semestral break, so Abby could fill in for some of the classes that Myrone had. He's finally out of the woods now, and even went straight to our Lebran pictorial once he got out of the hospital. Heck, even though he's not allowed to dance for at least 6 weeks, he's been going out a lot. Crazy man.

So now, we're gearing up for our next big event. This month, on the 24th, Lebran Dance Fitness Experts will be launching its official website. Along with it, we will be introducing our newly-certified Lebran Shapers, plus showcasing our students in a mini-recital. Will keep you guys posted for that one, as we are selling pretty limited tickets.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

An update before this month ends.

I haven't blogged in almost a month? Wow. Am I that busy? Well, sort of.

So I've been dedicating more time with Lebran these past several weeks. We've expanded and have more venues right now, as we had opened up classes in Metrowalk's Ultimate Fitness Gym, and at the dance studio in one of the residences in South Forbes Park. Aside from keeping our current corporate accounts, we're also trying to get hold of more to expand our client base.

And with that, I keep learning to build my confidence in teaching, after being certified as a Lebran teacher last month. Whenever Myrone or Jayson come in late for their assigned morning classes, I had to learn to cover for them by beginning the class with a few dances, and sometimes I even complete the 1st half of the class. There was even a time when I was challenged to do the entire class when Myrone came in late one morning, and asked me to do the second half as well because his foot was sore. It happened again when he called in sick, so I was tasked to cover for his assigned evening class. I have to admit, I actually surprised myself for somewhat surviving those classes, because there were times when he and Jayson would push me to complete the whole class, but I would always decline, claiming that I'm tired when I'm actually afraid to do the whole thing, afraid to make a mistake.

Leading those classes for the entire full hour was a little victory for me, a good sense of accomplishment, to show that I can actually teach a class on my own without having anyone else to bat for me.

Now that Lebran is expanding, especially with us new certified teachers, we've been wearing "official" vests and jackets for classes. We started small, like purchasing vests and jackets in our corporate colors of blue, fuschia and green, then having the Lebran name embroidered on the back. I ended up getting this pretty hot pink Nike jacket that nearly everyone wanted, plus a nice blue jacket with sequins on them.

One Saturday, during our lecture time, Mommy Val and Sir Brando were telling us about the distribution of jackets and vests among us certified teachers, and someone (I think it was Abby) noticed that I was wearing the pink jacket. Mommy then said that my good attitude was what got me the jacket, because she said that I was very unassuming. While everyone was eyeing the good vests and jackets, including that pink one, I just held back and let everyone pick while I waited what was for me.

I just had to blush when Mommy Val went on about me, telling the entire team that I actually do more than what they think I do, because even during the first Lebran pictorial, I was there helping them out.

In other news, I was one of the top agents that were the "Best of the Best" in our account at CVG. In line with that, we got to go to an overnight outing in Fontana in Clark, Pampanga just this past weekend.

I was glad to have a change of scenery for a while. It didn't really bother me much that it was also raining so much in Pampanga. I actually enjoyed my stay because I got to bond with fellow part-time agents that I don't even get to talk to whenever I'm in the office.

There really wasn't much to do when we were there. After lunch during that first day, we retired to our rooms and just spend the rest of the afternoon holed up inside our villas watching TV. I shared a room with Kat, Mae and Mitch, and because of the lazy rainy weather, we sometimes said out loud that we wish we didn't have to go to the awarding and recognition event that evening. But of course, we still had to dress up and go.

After breakfast the next day was the most eventful, and it wasn't even part of the itinerary. After taking the bus back to our villa, my roomies and I went to the villa where our other fellow CAS agents were staying, and basically just hung out there. We began just by talking, and then when we gathered a small group along with the boys (staying in the next villa), we ended up playing Pinoy Henyo, charades, cards and even hide and seek plus a crazy little relay game. We kept at it until we were told to pack up and get ready to be picked up for check-out.

It was so ironic that the sun started shining when we were leaving Pampanga. The sun stayed until we arrived in Makati, but then eventually gave up and it started raining again by the evening. But at least we still got a few hours of sun during these crazy rainy days.

Back to life again tomorrow. A new month is coming up the day after. I wonder what the new month will bring? We'll see.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I needed this.

Late yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from Nicco. We had a short and brief text exchange earlier that afternoon when I had asked how he was, and I was surprised that he called me.

Knowing Nicco, I wasn't surprised that he would go on and on about himself when I had simply asked about the recent goings-on in his life. What surprised me was that he eagerly listened when I told him about my own updates. We haven't seen each other in almost 2 years (yes, believe it, baby bro), so I told him about the latest, especially about the big change in my life, which was quitting theater to pursue dancing, something that I was actually not at all confident doing. About having to face someone everyday despite certain given circumstances, plus having to face not just one, but three of my fears in just one day.

When I was done telling him all of that, Nicco had told me, "Kailangan mo rin yan eh." ("You needed that.") At first, I didn't really quite understand it. What even made him say that? I mean, we haven't hung out in ages, so how would he think that I needed to do this?

Nicco then explained that I needed this because I was always doing things where I'm always comfortable, and I'm always playing it safe, afraid to take risks and face my fears. He said that he didn't think that I was completely happy with anything that I was doing back then when I was still in theater. Dancing was something I always felt like I couldn't do as well as others, until I decided to pursue ballroom. And judging from the photos and posts I made that he had seen, it was those moments when I was completely happy with what I was doing.

I was so surprised when he said that, because upon realization, Nicco was actually right. I learned to take risks, and even face my fears. I was amazed how he was so spot on, how he knows me, probably even more than I do myself, that I welled up with tears right there outside the studio while I was talking to him on the phone.

After that phone conversation, I learned how to appreciate my friends even more. It's the way they just know a person, regardless of how often you see and communicate with each other. And they always tell you as it is, no sugar coating necessary, telling you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Facing little fears.

I never really had that much confidence in myself. I may show an optimistic facade, but I'm really more of a pessimist.

This past week, I had to learn to face some of my fears. It was a personal challenge I took on for my own good.

But let's backtrack a bit, shall we?

After I had shown my 5-year plan to Mommy Val, she gave me a little personal objective for myself that I could accomplish (if I wanted to) by the end of the year. Part of it required me to take the recently announced Lebran teacher certification exam. Yikes. Yes, I have to learn to teach a class much sooner than I had expected, because we need more teachers to go around.

It was announced two Saturdays ago that the exam would take place the following Monday and Tuesday, so it was be in two batches.

I decided to take the exam on Monday just so I can get it over and done with right away. But before that, I had to survive the day first. For Lebran, Lenny and I had decided to use the first half of the class to practice for the routine part of the exam. Because it was Myrone's class, we let him take a breather during the first half, let him grab a bite to eat and relax, before he took over for the second half.

Then of course, there was Sir Roy's contemporary jazz class. Now, I had already attended one class the week before, so I was looking forward to the class no matter how hard the movements can be. But my goodness, things were taken to the next level. I had to learn to face two of my fears during that one hour class.

After some barre work (where we even ended up doing splits, yikes), we had to do some combinations. Then some choreography. My first fear was tested. As an acrophobic, I was afraid to be lifted up on one shoulder of my partner. Eep. It took a while, but I did manage to get over it. Then I realized that after being up in the air, we girls had to flip over while our legs are still hooked around the guys' right shoulder. Fear number two: fear of falling. I had to flip over, having my legs up in the air and my head possibly hitting the floor. Ack, When I first tried it, my legs still held on for dear life even though we were supposed to let go. But when I tried it again, I learned to take the rise and let go of my leg. In the end, Sir Roy actually liked how I made a split (or at least a semblance of it, anyway) when I released my legs before settling on the floor (quite clumsily, I might add).

Then after spending the afternoon in Magallanes, it was time for the exam after the evening's Lebran class. My goodness, I was more nervous about the routine part of the exam. I can do away with the oral and written exams. But even with that, I was nervous as heck. When it was my turn, my timing was a bit off, and even more when I changed figures. Arg. But at least the other parts of the exam were pretty easy. 

When I had texted Mommy Val the morning after, reminding her to bring a book that Myrone had recommended I read, she replied that she will, then added: "Morning Ms. CLT. Certified Lebran Teacher. You were great last night. Congrats for picking up the challenge! Proud of you Tin!"


I had just started reading the book I borrowed. Here's a good quote from the very first chapter.

"Believe in yourself and good things do start happening." - The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

It's about time that I should learn to believe in myself. Every day is a new challenge. Facing my trivial fears of heights, falling and teaching a class in the span of one day was some sort of a milestone. I'm really grateful to come across those situations, and to take on those challenges, as each accomplishment (such as facing those fears) is a small victory for me.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The past crazy week in retrospect.

One of my most recent posts on Facebook today said, "Sunday. Glad that the previous week is over. But I'm also grateful for everything that had transpired, both good and bad. Salamat din to those involved, as you've helped a whole lot. Lessons learned. One day, we can all look back at this and laugh."

In my last blog post earlier last week, a bunch of us were at the Magallanes house, and we all had to sit through Mommy Val's lecture on relationships.

And of course, I just had to blog about it right away after the talk. I have to admit, when I was writing that previous blog entry, I wasn't really giving it much thought. In hindsight, I think I was blogging merely as an initial reaction to what I had observed that day.

A text conversation that night didn't help one bit. I was being a bit pushy, I admit, so I then found out that he (yes, I'll just refer to him in pronouns) is now liking someone else. His own predicament was that he might have to choose between his feelings for the girl and the team. It didn't really make much sense to me that time, having to choose one over the other, but I still played the good friend card and offered advice. He did say that he appreciated my efforts to please him, but I know that it will just be that. And then he said that he had already made his decision, and that certain people will just have to understand that. He chose her. And I said that the conversation suddenly grew awkward. He admitted that he had nothing else to say (sending me frowning emoticons instead) because he knew that I was merely pretending to be okay. We ended the text conversation with that.

Eventually, I found out who the girl was, sooner than I had expected. During Lebran class on Wednesday evening, I saw him bringing in a balloon (a smiley face on one side, "I'm sorry" on the other). I simply asked if it was for a date. He said it was for Carmela, who was angry at him. But why would anyone go through all that effort to apologize? While we were waiting for the rest to arrive at MCS from Rustan's, I observed him talking softly with Jayson on the other side of the room. That's when I realized that Carmela was the girl that he likes.

Interesting turn of events, though. When he presented the balloon to Carmela, she got really upset. She didn't accept the balloon, avoided him, and took off...all the way home. Abby and I were pretty surprised at what had happened that we had to ask him about it. We went to Chikitita for dinner, and as he was about to tell us, Alvin (who also likes Carmela, but we know will never make a move) joined us. So he ended up just showing us this long text message that he had once sent Carmela about his feelings for her despite the 7-year age gap between them. That's when I asked him if that was what he was talking about when we were texting about choosing between his feelings and the team, and he nodded.

They were all heading to Sir Brando's house after dinner to drink to celebrate Jayson's birthday that day, but because I had to work really early the next morning, I declined the invite to join them.

The two of us ended up having a text conversation that night until 1 in the morning about what had happened, about how he is and all that jazz. I was just glad that we just kept a decent conversation going where he didn't blow me off.

He didn't come to work the following day, because he said that his shoulder still hurts after injuring it in Lebran class the morning before. Because Sir Brando had an errand to run and Jayson had to go home, I ended up going with Mommy Val alone to Rockwell. And that's how I got my chance to open everything up to her. It already started during the ride from MCS, and things just started pouring out. What was so cool about Mommy Val was that she already knew what was going to happen when we had started out. She already knew what was going on the whole time. I was trying to laugh at the situation, but Mommy Val just listened intently. She gave the simplest and best advice--to simply be a friend to him, and just know that I'm always there. In the end, maybe that will be the one that will prevail. I sure do hope so, Mommy.

We kept the conversation going when we were just sitting around in the Guico unit in Rockwell. She listened to all my anecdotes and how I felt during those times, she gave me advice on how to deal with him and others regarding these situations, and actually commended me on how I had already dealt with these during those times. When we were done with the heart-to-heart, we then discussed my life's direction, especially now that I'm already at this age. I admitted to her that when I shifted career paths, I felt even more lost than ever. That's when she said that I really never had direction even before I started dancing, which is what I have to do now. She gave me an assignment to put down in writing my 5-year plan. She commended me again about my conversational skills in admin work for Lebran, but I still have to face my stage fright and learn to teach a class.

After a trip to pick up a couple of Mommy Val's gowns, we went to Greenfield District to check out Pump Juice Bar for an upcoming event next month before we headed back to MCS. And well, what do you know, because Jayson didn't return to the studio, I was the one who had to begin the class even though Kimmy and Carmela had arrived. Yikes. After the waltz, the bachata and the Piel Morena salsa, I turned back and asked Carmela to take over. But hey, at least I managed to lead 3 dances, right? Getting there.

On Friday in Magallanes, it was just Mommy Val, Sir Brando, Myrone, and me. After lunch, Mommy Val went on to talk about Lebran, and then smoothly segued into our own issues. She even commended Myrone for not blowing me off and for not ignoring me, unlike the way Carmela had reacted to his own advances. Oh welp.

On Saturday, after Lebran and lunch, Mommy Val began her lecture, which was a continuation on discussion of relationships. She gave a short intro, and then she asked all of us one by one to share a recent experience on relationships this past week. The kids talked about relationships with friends, classmates (both old and new, as some had moved to new schools), siblings, and parents. When I was called to share, I braced myself. Because some of them aren't really aware of what was up with me, I first gave a little background on what had happened in a previous work situation with an ex, before I started with my experience this week (or these past few weeks). But I decided not to disclose anyone's identity and basically just said work, or coming to wherever everyday. I mentioned staying professional despite the fact that I have issues with someone in the same circle. When it was his turn, he mentioned a relationship with a love interest, and became a little more specific than I was, even though he also didn't mention Carmela's name, as the others also weren't aware of the situation. He talked about unconditional love, plus quoted what he posted on Facebook that I had noticed, which was "Love is acceptance of one another regardless of flaws or anything else. Then as an addendum, mentioned the next that he posted, that one of the best feelings is being wanted, that knowing there is someone who cares for you, and lets you know that.

Well, I'm not sure that I'm the one he was talking about in that last part, and it's quite a big possibility that I'm not the one, but I sure do hope he knows that I'm one of those people who really does care for him, no matter how many times he blows me off.

In another text conversation last night, he reiterated again that he doesn't want me to get used again to being too close to him, and I should know the reasons why (that he doesn't want me to keep hoping, and that he likes someone else). And he even wanted me to promise to just be friends. Hard promise to make, but I will try my best.

I just had to apologize for ruining our friendship like this. And even though we're still friends right now, I know that in reality, I have to face the facts that things are very different between us now.

That's the way the cookie crumbles.

Monday, July 15, 2013

An appropriate (?) spur-of-the-moment lecture.

Typing this on the desktop of the Magallanes house while the rest are scattered around the living room.

I had meant to blog about our performances these past couple of weekends, plus when I had watched TP's Sandosenang Sapatos at the CCP yesterday, but this afternoon had just inspired a (sort of) brand new blog entry.

When we were still just waiting around last Saturday afternoon before we had to perform at UA&P, Mommy Val decided to take advantage of the time to continue her long overdue lecture from way, way back. Interestingly enough, it was about relationships of all sorts and all ages. At first she started off with the younger kids, the teenagers... and then when we were to move on the the next age bracket, we were suddenly called to go on stage for our stage adjustment. I couldn't help but laugh at the funny timing because there's a couple of kids who could be put on the spot regarding their shared situation.

Well, surprise, surprise, I'm here at the Magallanes house right now with Mommy Val, Myrone, Carmela, Alvin and Joms, and after a short snack, I started arguing with the boys about not watching Evil Dead, then Mommy Val suddenly decided to continue her lecture on relationships.

I don't know if it was because it was the combination of the company present or what, but it was hilarious that it was us. Mommy Val talked about respect in relationships, be it romantic or professional and all that jazz. Then she mentioned that she may know our present situations, even if we tell her or not.

Now that got me thinking. What the heck does she know about me? And curious that I am, what does she know about him? And if neither one of us had told her anything, what does she notice about the two of us?

Anyway, I liked all of her points about respect for the other person, and for being professional. Regardless if you like the other person or not, you must respect him or her because you will never know that there may be at time that will come when you need to come to that person for something or anything.

Very interesting, indeed.

I do have my own issues with the other person, and I admit that. But sometimes it annoys the hell out of me that he makes it seem that I'm always the one in the wrong, that he himself is not doing anything wrong at all. Dude, you also have your own issues, and even the simple gesture of not greeting me as you greet everyone else in the room is a sign of disrespect of me. But I guess that's you own way of dealing with the situation. And I guess I have to respect that, jeez.

And I don't know if that was just a joke or what... But did I just hear the words love triangle? Who was Mommy Val trying to pinpoint?

Oh well, I guess we all have to learn to deal with all our little issues with each other because we all still have to work together.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Step Up To Freedom

It's the first time this year that I had lost my voice. I usually lose my voice at least 3 times a year. Oh welp.

So Step Up To Freedom was a great success. Sure, I had to sacrifice a lot of hours of sleep, but it was all worth it.

Before the weekend began, we coordinated all of our schedules for the Friday evening DTR, and for the day of the actual show on Saturday.

I had a huge feeling that I was about to lose my voice on Thursday evening, so I didn't even bother to dilly-dally with the others after rehearsal. On Friday morning, I was losing my voice by the hour at work. My voice had already changed at the end of my 4-hour shift. By the time Lebran class had rolled around, my voice had gotten worse. Thank goodness the Argentine Tango class got cancelled, so we spent the entire vacant time just hanging out in the studio to rest before we had to leave for Treston at 3pm. Myrone and Joms then took advantage of the time and the wifi to check out the Spurs-Heat game. After lunch, I just couldn't resist the super cold temperature so I snuggled into my jacket and just dozed off on one of the benches in the studio.

Our first batch (Sir Brando, Mommy Val, Myrone, Joms, Ate Deth, Baby Yo, and me) left at around 4pm for Treston. Then when we got to the venue, we started organizing the holding room for assigned dressing areas, hung wires where we can put our hangers on, distributed the costumes to each dancer's dressing area, and all that jazz.

I can only sum up that evening in a few words. Long wait. The DTR was supposed to begin at 8pm, right after setup was finished. But because setup got way too delayed, what time did we begin the DTR? Past midnight. And we ended at around 3 in the morning. My goodness, we ran through all the dances, WITHOUT air conditioning in the venue, but we all managed to barrel through everything. Some were already feeling nervous, and this was just the DTR. I told them that it's better to feel nervous now than during the actual show.

Tired, sweaty, and sleepy, we hauled ourselves back home. Thank goodness I easily managed to get a ride after Kuya Arnold had dropped me off at the EDSA-Ayala.

Because we had cancelled the Saturday morning Lebran class, we had a little more time to rest up before the big day. Our call time at Treston was at around 2pm, so we had agreed to meet up at MCS at around noon. Eventually it got extended to 12:30, hahaha.

The Nestle wives were already there at the holding room when we had arrived, having their hair and makeup already done by Ate Deth and Abby's mom. After settling in, we all got ready ourselves. I was still fixing my stuff to get ready when Abby had asked me how I was going to do my hair. As I already have my wig for the Bali Ha'i number, I would just put my hair up in a bun for the rest of the performance. But I had no idea how to properly do it, so thank goodness Abby had offered to help. So thank you so much, Abby girl. The bun stayed in place under my wig, and even until I got home.

Next, time for makeup. We occupied the big corner of counters in the ladies' room and got to work.

Now, I don't really hold a big collection of makeup as I'm not really that much of a kikay girl, but I did bring everything I can. And as expected, the girls dove into my makeup bags like some of them had already done when we were getting ready for the Dutch event last month. I was really particular about people using my makeup, because of the use of my own brushes and sponges. Thank goodness I came prepared and brought extra sponges, and let the girls also use the sponges in the compacts because I use my brushes instead. But this time, I kept a close eye on everything, in case I lose something, or even the whole bag (like what happened at the syllabus competition).

The time flew by when we were in the holding room, just getting ready, adding final touches, and all that stuff. Soon we were asked to go "backstage" to our quick change area, bringing along our costumes for the rest of the first part of the show. I had everything already set on the lid of my wig box, so I just carried that plus my costume.

I had no idea what time the actual show began. I was just suddenly aware that the invocation had already started playing, and we were all standing outside the door, ready to make our first entrance. Amazingly, I wasn't feeling even the tiniest bit nervous. Not even the night before. Is this normal?

During the first part of the show, I was actually enjoying the time on the floor. It felt different from my other performances in theater. Before, I was always nervous, I kept barreling through everything, and wanted to get everything over and done with, even though I had just started. But this time, it was the total opposite. I loved being out there with the other scholars.

There were videos shown all throughout the show. One was a video from last year's IDance event, and another of the interviews of some of our tenured scholars (Abby, Kim, Joms, Myrone, Alvin, Carmela, and Mark), plus footage of all of us in rehearsals, featuring each and every one of us. It was so amusing and surprising to see it, and I had to laugh when my name was spelled wrong (it's Christine, not Kristine).

The first part of the show ended with a bang, all due to that really good Latin number by most of the scholars.

The second part featured the cultural segment of the show. The rest of us who weren't part of Carinosa (the Viennese Waltz) had to stand by on the other side of the floor, as we had to enter from there for Aray, which was the next dance. While "waiting in the wings," I got to watch the Viennese waltz in amusement. It was beautiful, and the ladies' costumes (though not a fan of orange, I loved the design) moved so prettily that it was one of the few reasons I somehow wanted to dance in it.

After Aray was Mommy Val's Paseo de Iloilo dance with Sir Brando, Kuya Mauw and Mark. And immediately after that, Mommy Val went up onstage to give an inspirational message about the scholars. She called us to walk back onto the floor, and gave such a heartfelt message that brought tears to everyone's eyes. I swear, I'm not a crier, and most especially in public, but her message telling us that we were her heroes really touched me, and it took so much effort to keep my tears from spilling.

Our last dance numbers were back-to-back performances of the sayaw sa bangko and the tinikling, then the subli. From the very start, everyone had so much energy. Even though there was at least one minor fall in the first dance, the whole thing was almost perfect, and there was ample time for the 6 dancers to get into position for the final pose. And as for the tinikling, I remember Jayson and I had discussed the timing and positions with Myrone several times before the show because we had flubbed up the entire routine along with the dancers during the DTR the night before. Amazingly, the whole routine was perfect, right down to when we had to raise the bamboo poles over the dancers before the dance ended. Awesome! Even in the subli, even though I almost lost my footing near the end, I do believe I still gave it my all.

After the Magandang Gabi curtain call was our Lebran finale, and even though the whole thing was over, I never felt myself losing any amount of energy (despite the fact that I was still lacking sleep for about 2 weeks).

And just like that, the show was finally over.

By the way, super thank you to Erik and Josh who came to watch the show! Thanks for the awesome support and for hanging out with me at Starbucks until Erik was ready to crash.

I enjoyed this entire experience, as this is my first real show ever as a dancer. Even after losing so many hours of sleep, I'm so glad our hard work had finally paid off. I'm so grateful to IDance Foundation and Lebran Dance Fitness Experts for this awesome opportunity. And another good part about this? Unlike in theater, there are no withdrawal symptoms or separation anxiety, because I know I will still see these dancers every day.

Mommy Val's message to us during the show was so touching, as she had told us that we were her heroes. Mommy Val, I'd like to think otherwise. You, Sir Brando, and the rest of the Lebran team are my own heroes. I never could have kept on pursuing dance without you guys. Everyone's so supportive of each other that I've grown to love everyone. Here's to Lebran DFX and more shows to come.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gearing up for Saturday's show.

There's only less than a week to go before our show. This is actually my first official show as a scholar, and I'm actually excited. We've been rehearsing, practicing and polishing our dances, and I don't really mind all the late nights, even if I still have to go to work early in the morning.

Before we had to leave the Guico unit at the Grove during our outing a couple of weekends ago, Mommy Val had asked us to write about our core-giftedness and dreams, as it will be included in the show's souvenir program.

I got to read all of my fellow scholars write-ups when I was tasked to photocopy them for Ma'am Ying. I realized that I was still somewhat well-off compared to them, and I really should consider myself lucky and be grateful at that. I may not have a sob story to tell unlike some of them, but what was similar among all of us is our passion to dance, and that somehow this avenue gave all of us some direction in our lives, regardless of how young or old we all are.

I remember certain reasons why I decided to keep on pursuing ballroom dancing. I loved my work in theater as an assistant stage manager, yet I don't think I would want to cut it as an actual stage manager in a big production. And of course, there's also that feeling that I forget everything that I've been thinking and worrying about when I dance, even just for one hour a day. And yes, one of those trivial things that I shouldn't even be thinking about involved an old flame. So I then used dancing as a means of escape, until I eventually fell in love with it completely.

Anyway, let's go back to the present, shall we?

We were told to rehearse our 3-minute costume change on Friday evening's rehearsal, and because our first number was Bali Ha'i (the Polynesian hula dance), we needed to rehearse fixing our hair from wearing it down to putting it up in a bun. Because I was still growing out my super short hair, I was thinking of getting either extensions or a wig from Landmark. When I told this to Mommy Val, she offered to bring her extensions, but because it has a different hair coloring, she said that I might have to color my own hair. It's a big no-no for me because I don't want to color my hair while I'm growing it out. But thanks to Roan, she gave me a really great tip off.

So that was how I ended up at the toycon at the Megatrade hall, and got a really nice wig at a discounted price. Super thanks, Roan and Lynelle House of Hair Fashion!

Yesterday was a pretty long day. We were first divided into 2 groups during the morning. Some of the more tenured scholars were taken to Rockwell to be interviewed for the show by Miguel (one of Mommy Val's twin sons) and Kerstin, while the rest of us stayed in the studio to polish our dances. When we were all together in the afternoon, it took 2 trips to Treston College for our dress rehearsal that evening, as we also had to transport the wooden benches (for the sayaw sa bangko) and the bamboo poles (for the tinikling).

We were taken to the big holding area upon arrival, and once we all had settled in and the costumes were organized, we all picked out our respective places and started getting ready for the dress rehearsal. Thank goodness I came prepared with dance shorts, because our costumes for the Bali Ha'i number were simple wraparound pieces of cloth, so it was easy to take a peek even though the fabric was already pinned together.

Anyway, after we were dressed, most of the time was spent just camwhoring and such. Miguel and Kerstin were just there, taking photos and videos of us prepping up, practicing certain dances and stuff.

The dress rehearsal began a little past 8 in the evening, and we ran through the entire part 1 of the program with little adjustment. It's nice how we all easily managed to pull off the quick changes. We didn't take a break anymore in between the two parts of the program, and went straight to part 2. After our first couple of dance numbers, we all ended up changing costumes immediately until I had remembered that we weren't supposed to change costumes just yet, and reminded the others about it. Thank goodness Sir Brando just noted it and kept going. Maybe we'll rehearse it in the dress tech next Friday anyway. The cultural folk dances seemed a little more tricky, but I was pretty grateful that we had polished those dances earlier that day.

After the entire dress rehearsal was done, we got to eat our late dinner outside the venue, then headed back to the holding area to fix all of our stuff before we called it a day.

So this is will be my first official performance as a dancer, and it would be very nice if some of you guys would come watch.

The event is a fundraiser under Idance Foundation, called Step Up To Freedom. It will be on Saturday, June 22nd, at Treston International College in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Cocktails will be served at 4:30pm, show proper will begin at 6:00pm. If you're interested to buy tickets, just text me or leave me a message on my Facebook.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back from a month-long blogging hiatus.

My goodness, I haven't updated this blog in a month. Was I that busy? Yes, actually. Other than my part-time job in the early morning, I've been spending most of my waking hours at the dance studio 6 days a week.

I had mentioned in my previous blog post that we've been prepping up for a show under the I-Dance foundation, which will be coming up on the 22nd. There will be a Latin routine, a couple of standard routines, plus a Polynesian hula dance and even some cultural folk dances. So yes, despite the fact that we scholars are ballroom dancers, we had to learn to dance the Polynesian hula plus some had to do some local folk dances.

There were a few times when there was a missing female dancer either in the Viennese waltz, and even the salsa, that I had to fill in for that person. I had no problem dancing the salsa, because it's one of my favorite social dances, plus I've been to every practice session. It's the Viennese waltz that I had a little problem with because I never got to watch or sit in during their practices, so every time I had to fill in for someone who wasn't there, I always had a hard time to keep up with the steps, even if my partner for that day did all his best to lead me.

One time, I had told Abby I hoped that they will be complete on one upcoming Saturday. She, in turn, told me that I shouldn't be complaining about filling in for anyone because it's a good opportunity to learn all these dances to hone my dancing skills. She did have a point, but I wasn't really complaining. I guess I just didn't want to look like a fool during practice, and even more, make my partner look like a bigger fool of himself.

Other than that, I'm having fun despite the long hours of staying in vicinity of Makati Cinema Square, inside and outside the dance studio. It's been pretty fun hanging out and bonding with the people I'm always with, regardless of their age.

To cap the summer, a bunch of us planned a swimming outing. Initially, we had planned to take a day trip to Sea Breeze, but one day, Abby had brought it up with Mommy Val, and after we had hung out at Mommy Val's unit in Rockwell, plans had changed and Mommy had suggested a different plan, which was an overnight outing, this time at The Grove.

So after our Saturday practices, we all headed to Magallanes to hear the anticipated mass, then we were off to The Grove. We spent the evening crammed in the Guico apartment, eating, drinking and watching TV until the wee hours of morning. Then after breakfast the following morning, we headed off downstairs to the pool for a day of swimming.

If you know me well, you know that I'm not very comfortable baring my skin. I'm very insecure when it comes to my body. Especially when this group had started teasing me by calling me "crispy pata" due to my thunder thighs that's not proportional to the rest of my body. But even with that, I guess there's no other choice because everyone was baring it with their swimwear, so I had to deal with it.

Speaking of dealing with it, it's a perfect segue to my next topic. So I recently got friendzoned again. And yes, it was the same guy I was talking about in a blog post a couple of months ago. So yes, I have to deal with seeing him and working with him practically every day of the week, and with the fact that he knows that I like him doesn't make it much easier because he believes that avoidance is the easy way to keep the teasing at bay.

Seriously? Avoiding me? How can we possibly work together with that? To avoid the teasing, I do my own share of trying as much as possible to be far away from him as I can, but sometimes I feel offended because even though it can be a possible resolution to lessen all that teasing, it's like he's not even respecting me as a person anymore due to his actions. Turning his back to me when I try to talk to him, being the only person in the room not being greeted by him, and saying out loud that we will never get along.

As I had said on Facebook, when you keep saying that we will never get along, it's like you're already concluding that we will never get along, ever. Deny it all you want, but avoidance is not a resolution, but a way of not even trying to get along.

Oh welp, I just have to learn to deal with this. But he has to know that he has to learn to deal with this better, too.

So how are you, guys? Yes, you reading this blog. Feel free to comment.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Busy, but updating.

I'm the type of person who can honestly say that I can't dance to save my life. I never saw myself as a dancer, and I moved in frustration during dance and choreo days of musical theater workshops.

Contrary to that, I can't believe that I've been dancing ballroom for a year now. And a scholar at that.

It's almost been a month now since I've become the newest scholar under Lebran Dance Fitness Experts. Sir Brando and Mommy Val had also put me in the core group along with Myrone and Joemari, as I've already been helping them out with promoting Lebran as much as I can.

So instead of just attending my Tuesday-Thursday morning classes from before, I've been going to the studio everyday, attending as much classes as I can, including Lebran, and sometimes I even learn and dance the gentleman's part if there isn't enough male scholars to be paired off with the female students.

I also got to dance with the scholars for the first time a couple of Saturdays ago. It was just a little show that served as a proposal for the Latin ball. Due to that, I had put in extra hours in the studio to practice for that performance.

I've realized that being here really requires so much commitment and passion, probably even much more that where I was before. I don't really mind, actually. I'm learning to love ballroom dancing much, much more than I had expected, and I love the fact that I'm learning so much from my mentors, and even from my fellow younger scholars.

I've also been told during my first core group meeting that eventually, I really will be handling my own Lebran classes. Oh my.

So what else have I been up to? Last Tuesday evening, a bunch of us (plus Sir Brando and Mommy Val) were invited by the Dutch ambassador's wife to execute a flash mob at their event at the Manila Peninsula Hotel (to celebrate the inauguration for the new king of the Netherlands).

Now we're currently prepping up for the IDance show next month. So far, a group has been practicing a Viennese waltz twice a week, Sir Brando is practicing with a boys for a rumba number every afternoon, while Mommy Val is teaching us girls the hula for another number.

My goodness, the hula. It's actually amusing that we're learning another genre of dance.

Anyway, so I've been spending so much time in the studio with the scholars than with anyone else lately. The younger scholars are all pretty talented, and pretty fun to be with during class as well as outside, but sometimes I feel as if I need to to isolate myself, as I feel saturated being with kids almost all the time. Sometimes their hype and their attitudes can be a little too overbearing. I honestly don't have time for any bull, as I'm too old for that, so I need to isolate myself. Don't get me wrong, I do love every one of them to bits. And other than that, I love being where I am now.

So what about you, dear reader of this blog, how are you? Feel free to comment.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A quote on new friends.

While I was checking my blog stats a couple of days ago, I noticed that people had been viewing my old blog entries. Then I saw one familiar entry where I quoted a character from a web series that a friend of mine was in. The quote felt appropriate for me now.

"Kahit gaano ka pa kilala ng mga pinakamatalik mong kaibigan, minsan may mga darating pa na ibang tao na magpapakita sa iyo na ang bago tungkol sa sarili mo. Maaaring sila ang magpapakita sa iyo kung saan ka magaling, at kung gaano ka kagaling. Pero sila din ang magsasabi sa iyo na may mga bagay ka pa na pwede mong ayusin. Dahil hindi pa sila nakakahon sa mga inaakala mong limitasyon mo. Dahil sa totoo lang, yan ang rason kung bakit tayo nakikipagkaibigan. At kahit matatalik mong kaibigan ang mga nakakakilala kung sino ka ngayon, minsan ang bago mong kaibigan ang magpapakita sa iyo kung anong kaya mong maging."

It definitely sums up this interesting chapter right now. When I took a big risk and resigned from one freelance job last year, I had no idea where I was going, as I was starting from again from square one.

I remember that I would always say that I could never dance to save my life. But here I am now, a little over 2 weeks as a scholar, dancing ballroom with 16 other scholars, all ranging from ages 11-26 (well, 31, now that I'm one of them). And the funny part is that here, no one knew who I was before I came into their world. No one knows who Hogi is. They only know of this crazy person named Christine who suddenly barged into their world.

As I'm still getting to know each and every one of them, the quote above really sums up everything. Anyway, despite how big the age range is in this group, I've grown to love all of them, as if I've gained a whole bunch of talented younger brothers and sisters with their own crazy quirks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A new scholar in the house.

After yesterday morning's technique class, I got a little happy surprise as the LeBran team officially welcomed me as their newest scholar! It felt really great to finally be one of them, and it's good plus to not worry about expenses for classes anymore (which was always a huge factor for me because lessons are pretty pricey).

How appropriate for it to happen on that particular day. Exactly last year, also on April 9th, I was sending a confirmation email about sampling a ballroom class before I had to consider taking it seriously for the first time.

Mommy Val had said that it's always important to be grateful, which I am to them. I always appreciate everything they had done for me, beginning from day one when I had first met them and was warmly welcomed to their classes.

Once again, I give my heartfelt thanks to our teachers, Sir Brando and Teacher Belinda, plus Kuya Mauw, for imparting every bit of knowledge they offer to all their scholars and students, and also to Mommy Val for keeping all of us in check, for everything else and for simply being a great mom to all of us. Thanks as well to all of the scholars, those that I've danced with in every class and hung out with outside class hours and beyond. Every class is never boring with you guys always around. You've become awesome friends and adopted siblings to me. Sorry guys, wala sa budget ko na mailibre kayong lahat to celebrate, hahaha.

Thank you for this opportunity and for believing in me. It inspires me to do even better.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Now what?

The last time I had liked a guy, I decided for the first time to take the risk and tell him that I liked him. I got friend-zoned within minutes.

It didn't really bother me all that much, because I already expected that to happen. Plus knowing he's been a good friend for several years already prior to liking him, there's a big possibility to wreck the friendship with that, especially when he had admitted that he's not looking for a serious relationship, and I wasn't as well.

Moving on to the next guy. Which is actually the current one what I was so torpe with all this time. I was smitten, and very torpe. I chose not to say anything due to professional reasons. And a lot of other reasons. Plus the big factor that I will probably be friend-zoned again.

I've been noticing that we've been teased a lot because we hang out a lot together. I don't know if I was already being pretty obvious, or they're just basing it on the fact that I'm always with him more often than the others. We joke around a lot, up to the point that when he teases me a lot, I would tell him that I hated him. And he would quip that it never fails that when a girl tells that to him, she would end up falling for him. Ugh. A bit egotistical, so I decided not to tell him how close he was to the truth.

Then I couldn't help it. I finally decided to tell him (via text like the last guy) on a day before the Holy Week weekend so I didn't have to face him right away in case things got awkward. He laughed and said that he said that he knew he was right about what he said before about any girl telling him that she hated him. Wow, confidence levels are sailing all the way to the top, aren't they?

So I guess he didn't mind that I liked him. But that was it. Nothing else. He didn't even say anything about how he felt or thought about it, only that he knew that it was going to happen.

So now he knows.

Now what?


Then there was a small event this past Saturday. He was one of the performers and I was just there to help out, just to give back to the teachers who have been so generous in teaching me everything they know, and to the others who have been there with me as well. During the event's closing remarks, we heard the subtle quip of him being in a relationship. Everyone chuckled, while I was sitting in the corner, avoiding any eye contact.

Later that day, I found out that he was annoyed about that comment. It may be far from the truth, but he didn't like it.

I don't get it. So what if it wasn't true? Why are you so affected by it? I mean, you're the only one who really knows I like you. The others are just assuming things.

I doubt he'll read this. He claims he's a lazy reader. But we'll see.

The only thing I like about this whole situation is that nothing's awkward between us. I appreciate it that you still let me bug you in my times of boredom.

But that's it.

Now what?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snippets, episode 032513.

"We talked about our voices as writers--how we are strong and brave but how as people we are wimps. This is what creates our craziness. The chasm between the great love we feel for the world when we sit and write about it and the disregard we give it in our own human lives." - Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones (Freeing The Writer Within)

I got that book quote from Ian when we were hanging out with Betty at the Filvadro a little over a week ago. I can so relate to that.

And with that, more snippets.

"Ma'am, wala ka ba kahit konting pagtingin kay _____?"
[Feigns "meh" expression.]
"Pero kung manligaw kaya siya, papayag ka?"
[Maintains the same expression] "I'm open to it."

[While looking at fist] "Malaki pala puso ko."
"Pano nagkasya diyan si _____?"

[Overhearing a conversation about the disadvantages of dating a partner.]
"Bakit parang may natatamaan diyan?"

"Magde-date lang kayo eh."
(Believe me, if we were dating, you guys would be the first ones who would know.)

Yes, I'm a wimp. But it's mostly just because of certain given circumstances that, if things happen to develop, there would probably come to a point where I have to choose between two things.

Oh, the trivialities of a torpe girl.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On my first syllabus competition.

Two Saturdays ago, I joined the Philippine Dance Teachers Association's (PDTA) Syllabus Competition. My first ballroom competition ever.

Ever since I had agreed to join the syllabus competition, I had been coming to the dance studio every weekday to train with my partner, Myrone, and then worked as an usher for a show (which had just closed a couple of weeks ago) during the weekends.

There were so many days when I start doubting myself, that I'm not pushing myself enough to what was expected of me. There were even times that I felt that I was getting worse instead of better, and I kept asking myself if I had improved at all because of all the endless notes from my teachers, and even from my partner (and sometimes from the other scholars). Heck, there was even one night that I broke down and cried while having a conversation with Myrone via text because of all the frustration, stress and pressure that I was feeling, plus the fear that I might end up disappointing our teachers, and even him as my partner, who had put so much time and effort to help me. And to add to that, I started having trouble with the arch of my right foot, which kept hurting whenever I stand on the ball of that foot. I think it got strained or something. Mommy Val had said it was because it was the first time I was actually using the technique, and my feet just weren't used to it. During simulations of the competition during the evenings, I somehow kept flubbing every other figure, so Myrone had to keep stopping and we had to start all over again. When Sir Brando had noticed this, he told us to just keep dancing all the figures without stopping, as there's not much time left to keep polishing my technique. Eep.

I have to say, props to my partner for being a total professional. He loves to wack out and joke around outside the studio and outside class hours, but was so serious and strict with me when it's time to practice.

The day before the competition, I finally had my costume altered and ready, and we were allowed to leave the studio early after practicing so we could get some rest before the big day. I recall that I was a major bundle of nerves because I was anticipating everything that could possibly happen during the competition, but I didn't dare show it to anyone.

Mommy Val had offered her van to pick us up at Makati Cinema Square early on Saturday morning. I was the first one there, and once Myrone had arrived, we had breakfast in KFC, and Kuya Ed and Jayson caught up with us while the others were in McDonald's. We all piled up in the van once Mommy Val had arrived, though we had to wait for a while until Carmela had arrived. After picking up Alvin in Guadalupe, it was straight on to the Meralco multipurpose hall.

We were practically the first ones there, so we got first dibs on the tables and chairs in one corner of the holding area and started getting ready. It was quite an effort to put my short hair up, so Mommy Val helped me. I can't wait for my hair to grow back long again. Touched up my makeup and finally got dressed, and then we started warming up.

Mark and Abby were there to coach us, so when Myrone and I started practicing on the actual dance floor every time the waltz and tango music played, Mark was the one who observed us and gave us notes after each run. But every time I see the other participants dancing, my almost non-existent confidence level dropped even more. But there was no turning back now. I guess I just had to wing it.

When Myrone had claimed our kit (that contained our number, our certificates of participation, plus the order of the events in the competition), my eyes bugged out when I saw that "Adult 1-dance waltz" was the very first event. Holy kamote. Standard category was up first, waltz then tango then the rest. Then I noticed that that first event said it was only the semifinals. From 9 couples, we were to be cut down to 6. Will we make it with my sloppy technique? I was afraid to show how nervous I was, so I decided to put that nervous energy to use by latching on to the nearest familiar person's arm and put pressure on it like a stress ball. My apologies to those people's arms, hahaha.

Supposedly, the competition was to start at 9am, but due to so many glitches and whatnot, it kept delaying that I even had to apologize to Aris and Karla who had come all the way to watch. When it was announced at noon that the program would start at 1pm, I had heard that Mommy Val had spoken to the PDTA people that if we didn't start right away, our entire team would pull out from the competition. My goodness, what's with all the disorganization, anyway?

We started lining up for the parade. We were supposed to line up following a specific order, but because our entire group has a banner representing a whole team, we got group together. Haha, yes, Team Le Bran has a pretty blue banner. When we were all out on the floor during the invocation until the opening remarks, I somehow found myself flexing and pointing my feet for a final warm-up before the actual competition began.

I knew that my performance in the semifinal round of the waltz was bad. No connection at all. But I was grateful that my right foot never failed on me when it came to compression so I never collapsed. I wasn't optimistic about getting into the finals, but Myrone just said na babawi na lang kami sa tango. That did it. I froze. My nervous energy came out differently. Ugh. I tried to make up for it by keeping in character.

To my relief, we were called out again to the floor for the final round of the waltz. We actually made it? Wow. Game on!

I have to say, when working in the office, 5 minutes feels so quick, especially when we're conducting surveys with people. During this competition was the first time I felt how long a minute and 30 seconds can be. Amazingly, my right foot almost never gave me any problem. But once I had taken off my shoes and settled into my flipflops, there came the pain. Ugh. Parang pinagbigyan lang ako para makasayaw sa competition. I guess that's still a good thing, right?

Because all my events were done, I could finally relax and watch the rest of the competition. I cheered on and supported the other members of our team. We chuckled at how the solo male events were almost all composed of team Le Bran, what with those blue long-sleeved shirts both in standard and Latin, ahahaha. We laughed at the "extra adjudicator" (Kuya Ed) that turned up during the Argentine tango events, and joked at how it somehow bored us (no offense to those who love the Argentine tango). During a lot of "petiks" moments, I went back inside the holding area for any remaining food I could get my hands on.

Because the competition started pretty late, the whole program ended pretty late. The boys had to leave by 8pm to make it in time for a booking, while the rest of us stayed until the end so we can receive the awards, plus the boys' awards on their behalf.

Myrone and I placed 4th both in the waltz (4th out of 6 couples) and the tango (4th out of 4 couples). We didn't even make it to 3rd. I was somewhat disappointed, but I didn't really mind that much because it was only my first competition. I had started studying the standard discipline only 2 months ago,  and had only 3 weeks of training for the competition, so being ranked fourth wasn't so bad. It only means that I can still do a whole lot better for when the next competition comes around.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Sir Brando, Teacher Belinda and Mommy Val for encouraging me to push myself to keep going, and for all the knowledge that you had imparted and had kept sharing in class as well as during training for the competition. Thank you as well to my partner, Myrone, whose patience had most likely been pushed to its limits when it came to helping me out with my technique, for pushing me to do endless drills, for all the notes and even the side comments that I had to take, the additional lectures during our walks after class, for bearing with my frequent pessimism, for lifting my spirits up when it's time to just wack out, and for driving me crazy during the most random times by picking on me and for driving me crazy just by being his annoying self (wahahaha). I also extend my thanks to the other scholars who gave additional notes when they're there just so they can help me as well.

This was an entirely awesome, yet tiring experience. But I know it won't just stop here. It's time to set the bar a little higher.