If the Shoe Fits

I love shoes and wear ’em to bits, so from time to time I find myself shopping for new ones. I don’t really like buying shoes in boutiques or department stores, though (I only make exceptions for athletic footwear), since shoes that are sold at tiangge sales (bazaars) are usually 100 to 300 pesos cheaper.

However, has anyone else noticed that half-sizes are–more often than not–unavailable? I’m not sure whether it’s because the world’s shoe producers have decided by fiat that they will no longer make half-sizes, or if it’s because the people importing these shoes for sale don’t acquire the half-sizes. It’s the consumer who’s on the losing end here because she will either need to squeeze her tootsies into a pair that’s too small, or pad out a larger pair with shoe corks and additional insoles. And if your feet are alanganin (in between sizes), it can be murder trying to find a pair of shoes that don’t cut into your feet with every step or threaten to fall off if you so much as move your toes wrong. Ü

I hope this trend reverses itself; even though each person has individual differences in foot shape and size, having a lot of options regarding shoe fit helps people acquire a shoe in the size that fits.

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Progress Report

I’ve been thinking about progression and process for the past few days. Some people would simply like to get to their goals and get results as quickly as possible; others savor the journey towards the goals. I’m not saying a person can be exclusively one or the other, of course. However, there are milestones in every process and to be able to show progress, we have to be able to say, “Look, I’ve accomplished such-and-such so far” or “This is what I’m currently doing.”

Basically this entry is about how I am so far.

WORK-WISE: I’m coming up for review at my job, and my immediate supervisor has said she’ll recommend I get regularized. However, she has also asked me to start sending weekly accomplishment reports and to show her my timetable and plans for the projects I’m handling. Apparently, they’ve been expecting things to move along faster than they have been, and since most of the developments have been in the back end of things rather than on display, externally it looks like I’m not getting any work done. 🙁 In this case, it’s truly important for me to show those results as soon as possible.

It’s been a process of adjustment over the past six months, and I’m still having trouble being just on the administrative side of things. I’m a very hands-on kind of person (I’m a kinesthetic learner) and it’s hard for me not to want to do it all myself or at least demonstrate how it’s done. Because the people I administer on these projects are not physically in the office, it’s hard for me to keep tabs on what they’re doing or how they’re progressing. All I have are emails and text messages and sometimes they don’t get back to me for weeks! Le sigh…

PLAY-WISE: If only work were more like play, eh? Then I’d be doing more work, and enjoying it. I’m referring to my burgeoning sideline as a BodyBalance instructor. So far I’ve done four classes team-teaching, and I’m reasonably overconfident that I can handle covering a class or two sometime soon. Right now I’m enjoying getting familiar with teaching the program and becoming/being an instructor instead of just acting like one.

I find that the more I do classes (whether as instructor or participant), the easier it is for me to verbalize instructions and show how it’s done. Technique and choreography issues also get worked out in the process. I’m feeling very good about this.

POLITICS-WISE: I’ve basically become very blase when it comes to Philippine politics (I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to vote in the upcoming elections), but a friend of mine is working with Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s re-election campaign. Now as most people should know by now, Sen. Kiko is running as an independent, and so they’re using innovative ways to campaign. One of these is an online reality series called “K! Tubed“, which shows the senator on the campaign trail and at home. Interesting concept, really. I hope I start caring about who runs this country soon…


I just want things to get better. Getting all of these written down helps me get a clearer picture of where I am, and I know there’s still a-ways to go.

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BodyBalance Buzz

BodyBalance logo (c) Les MillsI’m sitting here typing this smiling inside with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. You might ask why, since it’s so early in the morning. Well, for the first time, I team-taught a BodyBalance class this morning at Fitness First ABS-CBN.

Because I passed the BodyBalance audition last month, I underwent training (Modules 1 and 2) over last weekend from Saturday to Monday at Fitness First Manila. My general impression of those three days was that it was like another reality. For one thing, that was the first time I’d ever been to the Manila branch. Another thing is because those three days were packed full of activities to do and information to digest, my world was the gym, the trainers Mr. Frank Drew and Ms. Peewee Sanchez, and my fellow trainees.

We trainees were a motley crew of instructors of other group exercise programs, BodyBalance fanatics, and inexperienced but talented newbies (ahem, ahem, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor there Ü). On the first day we were welcomed into the whole Les Mills culture, were given our training manuals and CDs, and then did a master class and an in-depth technique session. At the end of the day we were all assigned a track to master from the release we were training on (BodyBalance 35). I was given Track 4 “Breathe” by Sia to learn in time for presenting the next morning. It’s a balance track with moves like Tree Pose, Eagle Pose, Dancer’s Pose, and Warrior III, and I had to cue them properly for participants while keeping in time with the music and showing role model technique myself.

We presented twice on Day 2: after the first one in the morning (after a nice ice-breaking yoga session with Peewee — I love Lion Pose!) we were given constructive feedback to integrate into our second presentation which ended the day. By then we’d pretty much begun to understand the essence of the program and our role in giving participants not just a workout, but an experience in itself.

At the end of Day 2 we were each given another track to present twice on Day 3. Track 5 “No Worries” by Simon Webbe is a hip-opening track, which I think is one of my strengths. It was easier for me to master the choreography, perform with correct technique, and coach participants through the poses. This gave me enough mental space to start connecting with class members and really enjoy the whole thing. Our final presentation was make-or-break and would determine whether we’d be cleared to instruct or to shadow.

We were all assembled in the members’ lounge waiting for each of us to be called to a one-on-one meeting with Ms. Peewee. She’d already told me during Day 3’s first presentation that I had shown more than what was necessary to pass this initial training, but as I sat down in front of her I was still apprehensive.

Peewee: O, why is your face like that?
Noelle: (embarrassed) I’m just really tired?
Peewee: OK. (pause) You know, you were a surprise. Mader Fhe was right to send you to audition because she saw something in you.

Peewee went on to tell me that I had fulfilled what they were looking for (what stuck with me is she said I looked and moved like an instructor). So, she marked me as “Cleared to Instruct.”

I seriously did not know how to react. I wanted to hug her and start skipping around, but the rest of my batchmates who hadn’t yet been told their fates would be offended. So I thanked her, got up, and sat with the rest of the group as I wrote down some short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals in my training manual. I tried not to give anything away, but Frank let the cat out of the bag by giving me my certificate and other walking papers while he congratulated me in front of everyone else. I felt abashed and could only let out a strangled “Wow” and a smile as he told me what I could start doing.

I still have to script and prep the rest of the tracks on the current release as well as start on those for release 36 (which we’ll be launching next month for sure). I attended a Balance class last night at FF Ortigas taught by Arnold Warren (also one of the program trainers for BodyJam here in the Philippines), and he gave me some advice on how I could get started as an instructor. And then this morning AG and my fellow trainee newbie Balance instructor CJ invited me up on stage with them, and I got to do the entire class from the instructor’s side as well as present the balance track. Ü

I really do enjoy this and I hope I excel at this new endeavor. I may be an instructor of a group exercise program that’s supposed to leave you calm and centered, but I am definitely buzzed about it!

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Nike Rockstar Hiphop/Dancehall Showdown

Twins ?
I guess we weren’t content with the Nike Rockstar Workout Bollywood competition, because my friend Vanessa and I and our NRSW instructor Ken competed in the Nike Rockstar Hiphop/Dancehall Showdown at Fitness First Ortigas on February 28.

The rehearsals weren’t as backbreaking as those we did for Bollywood since it was a shorter routine and we decided not to add too much complexity to it since we were supposed to present it primarily as a workout and only secondarily as a performance. We started practicing last Thursday night, did a double on Saturday and Sunday, then had our last two rehearsals on Tuesday.

Nike Tribe
Six teams competed on the day itself: they were led, respectively, by instructors Rio, Olive, Brian, Ken (our team), Erwin, and Mong. Gelli hosted the event, which was in celebration of FF Ortigas’s 2nd anniversary. To make a long story short, we started at 8pm and ended at about 10:30pm when Ms. Peewee Sanchez, Group Exercise Coordinator for Fitness First, announced the winners amid the cheers of the people who had stuck the evening out.

    2nd Runner-Up

  • instructor: Kenneth Bertumen
  • members: Vanessa and Noelle
    1st Runner-Up

  • instructor: Mong Puro
  • members: Jing, Joy, and Icel

  • instructor: Brian Peralta
  • members: Jun, Ness, and Nino

We got goodie bags containing stuff from the event’s sponsors, which included a nice Nike yoga cover-up top for me and some Love, Your Body Post-Its. Vanessa got a sleeveless Nike yoga top with built-in shelf bra, and it fits her perfectly.

After the competition most of us participants and group exercise instructors proceeded to the Rockwell area where a Nike event was simultaneously occurring. Well, not really because we got there too late and the event was over. By that time we were all starving so we proceeded to North Park where I downed a big bowl of noodles and listened to the instructors regale us with tales of their way of life.

It was a nice way to spend a few days living a different routine from home-work-home. I’ll end this entry with a video of our performance of which I’m very, very proud. I’ve also got some more photos and two videos on Multiply. Ü

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