Let’s Do Launch

It’s April, which means one thing for Fitness First Philippines: it’s the season for launching new Les Mills choreography and music for group exercise programs. Since I’m new at this and still wide-eyed, fresh-faced, and eager, I decided to go for a place on one of the launch teams for BodyBalance. This means that on the very first day the new stuff is given to members as a class, we’re the people conducting the class.

BodyBalance Launch: Ortigas, 11 April 2007 I initially thought I would only be launching at my home branch, FF Ortigas, but as other branches began launching the week after the Ortigas launch, I found myself recruited to launch at Eastwood and ABS-CBN as well. I attended the Greenhills launch just to kill time that Saturday before a meeting for my other job (the executive assistant position).

BodyBalance Launch: Greenhills 14 April 2007 I find teaching this program really addictive. Sure it’s not dance cardio like what I’ve been raving about on this journal since last July, but BodyBalance has its own charms. It’s almost like slow dancing and ballet, and I just love it when I get that smile from participants when they’ve gotten a move or pose correctly, or when I realize that hey, these people are listening to what I’m saying and it’s my job to make sure they have a great experience with each workout.

I’ve also kept learning new things about myself as I’ve come out of my shell. Meanwhile, the people I’ve met within this program have really enriched my life. We share a common passion and I think that’s a great thing to have in a group of friends. Particularly when you all strike upon the same goofy ideas.

Flower ChildrenLes Mills comes to life LOLSeducing a Gay Man

I can’t wait to do it again!

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Let me tell you about my new best friend, who accompanies me everywhere I go, at times whispering soft words into my ear, other times rocking out and making me dance. This companion commiserates with me when I feel down, helps me learn new things, and is always there for me.

Noelle's iPod I’d like to introduce Prissy, my new iPod video. Ü Sure, she may be heftier than Kermit, my previous iPod (shuffle), but she also packs way more. I’ve currently loaded more than a thousand songs, about 20 videos, and about 300 photos — and I’ve got 50 gigabytes left on her. (Kermit has been adopted by my sister, by the way.) I’m currently paying my parents about P1,750 a month for 12 months, since they helped me get the iPod through a 0% interest plan on their credit card.

I wasn’t originally going to get one until a few months down the road, but now I’m glad I have it. It’s one of the little things that make my life easier. Now that I’m a BodyBalance instructor, I have to learn new choreography every three months (we’ve just started another cycle, but more on that in a later post) as well as refresh my brain with previous choreography. Having the video function means I can watch my instructional videos wherever I am and whenever I need to. Also, I don’t need to bring my audio CDs anymore when I teach a class (although I keep some CDs in the car just in case), so I can just plug Prissy in, create a custom playlist of BodyBalance tracks, then Push Play and Go.

BodyBalance aside, I usually listen to my own favorite music while at the office. I don’t know what it is with my officemates, but let’s just say they and I don’t share the same musical tastes. Also, I hate most radio stations and really can’t listen for too long (commercials, overtalking DJs, and some songs playing at least 100,000 times a day), so Prissy and I end up being lost in our own little auditory world. Ü Now excuse me while I go download some full albums. Hahaha. If I like them enough I’ll buy the CDs, don’t worry, Big Brother RIAA.


El Nido, Palawan

Palawan March 30, 2007: Flight
It was practically a spur-of-the-moment trip planned by my mom, so I barely had two weeks to inform people at the office that I would be taking a pre-Holy Week vacation (which I think I very much needed anyway). So, very early on March 30 (a Friday), I found myself with my mom, my dad, and my sister at a small charter company waiting for our plane to El Nido, Palawan. We took a 19-seater (?) airplane with propellers (!!!) and landed in El Nido Airport some time around 9am.

Palawan March 30, 2007: Boat Ride
We had been booked on Miniloc Island, but since check-in was at 2pm, we opted to take a day trip to sister resort island Lagen, which boasted, among other things, of a saltwater pool. We were welcomed to the strains of a little jingle about Palawan, then had the first of our many buffet meals. Our package included three buffet meals a day, and to my waistline’s regret I think we overindulged. Ü

Palawan March 30, 2007: Sunbather
Most of our first day had been spent traveling in the air and on the water, so I was glad when I got the chance to relax on one of Miniloc Island’s beach lounge chairs. Sun exposure was limited in the afternoon since the beach faces east, so I didn’t get a chance to work on getting a tan that day. Instead, my sister and I perfected our kayaking technique, which would come in handy for the next day’s island-hopping tour.

Palawan March 31, 2007: Celebrate
We were first taken to some caves, where I would have loved to go bouldering and caving — but it’s pretty hard to do that when all you’re dressed in is a bikini!

We then proceeded to Snake Island. There aren’t actually any snakes on the island, which is named after its sandbar, which stretches out from the island’s foundations and zigzags for what seems like a few kilometers before ending several yards away from another nearby island. Palawan March 31, 2007: Explorer
Although the sand was still powder-fine on Miniloc, the beach there had some pretty bumpy coral and shell fragments, so it was a relief to walk on Snake Island and wade offshore for a bit without worrying about injuring my feet.
The next destination on our itinerary was Entalula Island. Despite the numerous jellyfish which had washed up on shore after the night’s high tide, we found that the waters around the island were perfect for swimming. Entalula was not as developed as Miniloc or Lagen, and I think that was part of its charm for us. We definitely felt like the island was solely ours for the enjoying.

Palawan March 31, 2007: Pose

The last stops on our tour were the Big and Small Lagoons. We took kayaks through a small gap in the rocks which led into an eerily quiet lagoon (this was the Small Lagoon). The water was enclosed on all sides by towering rock, and the water was so deep that we couldn’t see the bottom. We were able to take a speedboat through the Big Lagoon, where we were shown a small platform where weddings and other occasions were sometimes performed. Our guide explained that thousands of years ago, the lagoons had been underneath a rock ceiling and were limestone caverns that had eventually fallen in.

Palawan March 31, 2007: Kayaking
After returning to Miniloc, my sister and I still found some energy to go snorkeling and kayaking, this time using solo kayaks. On our last day we took our kayaks past Miniloc Island’s breakwater and stared in awe at the reef beneath us. The water was so clear we could see where the reef ended and dropped off into the ocean depths. In the distance we could see a beach we could very easily reach by rowing, but we decided not to brave open water. Instead, we did a few more rounds disturbing the floating pink jellyfish and making small slow ripples on the water’s glasslike surface before returning to our cottage and packing up.

Palawan April 1, 2007: Breakwater

Palawan April 1, 2007: Cliff Cottage View
There were some activities arranged by the resort staff we didn’t get to do during our stay, such as the sunset cocktail cruise, rock climbing, bottom-fishing, or introduction to diving, but I think that gives us something to look forward to on our next visit. And maybe next time I can really laze in the sun and work on my tan, too; I used an SPF 50 sunblock and barely gained any color in my cheeks!