Skechers 6 was awesome! The level of dance in the country has certainly gone up since last year's Skechers 5, and I'm very proud of the winners.
Company of Ateneo Dancers This group, otherwise known as CADS, have finally won Skechers! It's been years in the making; they have finished consistently in the top 3, but always just missing out on the top dog position. My krump brother and Skittle supporter friend, Phillip Pamintuan, a huge congratulations on this one! You guys ABSOLUTELY deserve to win the championship. When I saw your routine, it was all heart and soul, and I was very inspired and encouraged. No better winners than you guys. I may be a hardcore Green, but on that day, I was singing Blue :) Now, that's a compliment I never give! LOL. Congratulations on breaking the UP - Street invincibility.
University of the Philippines - Manila The dance group of UP - Manila, known to the dance community as Indayog, finally bagged a top 3 spot. I am very proud of these guys, especially since a lot of my Skittlez kids have danced with them a few months ago. They were all heart and soul as well, and the great thing was, one could actually see they were having lots of fun on stage. Very inspiring. To a Skittle friend, Dan Manalastas, congratulations to your crew! It was a well-deserved trophy. I am very proud that my crew has affiliations to you guys.
La Salle Dance Company - Street LSDC, even though you guys didn't bag a trophy this year unlike the previous couple of Skechers competition, I have to say that I really loved the piece this year. It was raw, energetic, and highly passionate - character traits that define a champion and would-be champions. I understand that I personally had several differences with you guys, but in the end of it all, we are all dancers dancing under one roof: our university. My fellow Lasallian dancers, this is simply a trial of fire. Remember, ignis aurum probat: gold is made purer by fire. This is a challenge, and the only way is up. Remember what happened to Skittlez last year? We didn't get the championship, even though our piece was insane. We came back this year. That's exactly what I expect of you guys. To come back, and give CADS, UP - Street, and UP - Indayog (the top 3 placers, respectively) a run for their money. I believe in you guys. Don't ever take off the Armor of God that I told you guys about. IT DOES NOT FAIL.
La Salle Green Hills Air Force Air what? AIR FORCE! Finally, champions! I am very proud of you guys as well, more so that so many Skittle boys and friends came either from LSGH and/or were members of Air Force. LSGH gave us our competition members Pau and Rocky, as well as mainstay dancers JC, Big Pao, Mickey, and Cham. The piece was sick, and it was, again, a well-deserved win. I am officially a hardcore fan of the GH dance boys aka AIR FORCE :)
Skechers 6 as a whole I was very disappointed and somewhat insulted with the battle system of Skechers. The battle system, over the few years that it has been in place, really needs an overhaul. Preferably with the advice of actual underground icons, and the Philippines is not short of them. What I witnessed was a gross disrespect of the dance battle system, the sacred cipher, and the esteemed dance icons present that night. Let me touch these three points one by one.
A dance battle is an activity of sharing. Winning is besides the point sometimes; the important thing is the dancers share with each other their best dancing abilities, and try to outdo themselves in order to improve and get stronger in their art. Now, this happens when the battlers take their art seriously. What I saw in Skechers 6 was mostly a bunch of hooligans making fools out of themselves - and indirectly, the art and culture that they represent, namely, street dance. What a disgrace.
The cipher is the battle ground. It is the venue where opposing dancers would share their skills and talent with each other, utilizing skills such as creativity, flow, musicality, and sheer talent. What happened in many of the battles were stunt performers flying and flipping - displaying utter disregard to the music playing on their particular battle. It was highly disrespectful to the dance styles certain music adhere to, and disrespectful to genuine practitioners of said style. What a disgrace.
One of the judges was the great Lenny Len. Among the audience present were two-time world champion members of the former Philippine All-Stars, funk community's Pinoy Funk'n Style, Philippines premier krump group Krumpinoy, as well as various icons in their respective styles. Hence, it was simply unacceptable that many of the dancers that battled pretty much spat on many of the dance styles by doing just one thing: gymnastics. I understand that stunts are part and parcel of dance pieces, but they do not have, as far as I know, any direct correlation to genuinely battling unless as part of a complete dance set. Horrific. What a disgrace.
My final verdict of Skechers 6 is this:
Dance crews and companies: WELL DONE
Skechers and organizers: More on street dance art and culture, less on selling your products.
I am months overdue in blogging about the really strange KitKat flavors that PJ brought for me from Japan. I didn't want to even try a couple of the flavors! LOL. A little too strange for me.
I can't read Japanese writing, so I am not sure which is which but off the top of my head, the flavors up there are butter, soy sauce, green tea, wasabi, and a couple of others that I don't quite know how to describe.
Timezone videoke session. Paranormal Activity 2 movie date. Huge lunch. White Hat dessert.
You got me trying so many things I just seriously don't do, and you got me enjoying them as well. Horror films? Seriously not my thing until you made me try several. Videoke? Never in my life, up until yesterday when you made me try it too. Pretty much a perfect day.
I experienced and witnessed my very first live-action hold-up (or robbery, for my readers outside the Philippines) a couple of nights ago.
I was in a bus, Lippad Trans, according to my ticket, commuting home to Makati. As my usual routine in a bus goes, look as bad-ass as possible. From experience, it's much better to be thought of as a bad guy rather than a good guy, especially in the public transport vehicles here in the Philippines.
The bus was a typical public bus; three-seaters on the left, and two-seaters on the right, divided by an off-center aisle. It had two entrance/exit points. My first seat that night was a little behind, on a three-seater. Someone was beside me, but we didn't really pay attention to each other. I changed seats later on, a decision that probably contributed to my being the only one who escaped the robbery.
Somewhere along the route (I forgot where, but I believe the bus was already very near Dasmarinas Village, Makati), many people went out of the bus. Total passengers at this point was definitely less than 20 people. Seeing an empty two-seater right behind the second entrance/exit door (near the back), I moved to it, so I could stretch my legs a little better. I was about 15 minutes away from reaching my drop-off point where I would take a cab. To my left, on the three-seater on the aisle seat, sat a man. He was sleeping, and had a messenger bag very similar to mine. Let us call him Sleeping Man (SM).
Two men were sitting behind him, and the one on the aisle seat - Robber 1 (R1) stood up and proceeded to sit beside SM to my left. In order to sit beside him, he had to step over the man, thus placing himself at the window-side of the three-seater. The sleeping man woke up. At this point, the accomplice behind the two of them - Robber 2 (R2) held the now-awake SM's shoulders. R1 proceeded to unzip SM's messenger bag, and methodically took out all his valuables, placing them in a worn backpack. He also patted down SM and took his mobile phone and wallet.
At this point, about one minute has passed since R1 sat beside SM. R1 and I were looking at each other. It was in that moment when I thought that, "Holy sh*t Jay, this is a true-blue hold up. Get the f*ck out of this bus, man." It wasn't easy as well. I looked for the conductor of the bus, and he was sitting beside the driver, napping. I was certain that there were only two robbers, until of course, Robber 3 (R3) proceeded to sit behind me.
R3 leaned forward, and I leaned forward as well, just in case he had something sharp that wouldn't be too healthy for me. His intentions weren't very healthy as well, obviously. At this point, I could see Magallanes MRT Station (I think it was Magallanes) coming up ahead. I know a lot of cabbies hung out around the stairs going up the station. I had to get out. When I leaned forward, R2 stood up and proceeded to open the bag of the person in front of SM. R1 was the "behind the victim backup" now. I had R3 behind me already; it doesn't take a genius to realize that I am supposed to be victim number three. Well screw that. The last time someone forcibly took something from me was in Grade 5; it wasn't happening again.
The bus had to slow down to approach the MRT station; it was a downhill slope coming from the highway. Expecting passengers, buses always open their doors prematurely when coasting to a stop, so that passengers can hop in and the bus wouldn't have lost much momentum. I decided that there's absolutely no way I could win a fight with three possibly armed and definitely ill-intentioned criminals. The point I decided I would escape the bus came about 5 minutes into the robbery. It was also when SM looked at me. That look of helplessness and cry for help will haunt me for some time, simply because I cannot do anything that would help him and help me as well. R3's hands held the back of my seat. I stood up. R1 and R2 looked at me, and I felt scared. The bus was coasting now, second entrance/exit point opening. MRT station was coming up. Two steps down to the door. I jumped.
The landing wasn't too bad; I stayed on my feet. For about two seconds, then the speed hit me. "It was still going fast, you idiot. I tripped, but something kicked in I guess, and I caught myself. The cabbies and a lady selling drinks and cigarettes shouted at me, asking if I was alright. I was shaking. Anger plus terror, and at that point? Mostly terror. But I was safe.
I was safe.
I was safe when many others in the bus were being woken up, only to find themselves being robbed blind. Life is hard enough as it is; we don't need others coveting and taking away our hard-earned or much-deserved earnings and/or items. I was safe, my instincts and quick decisions saving me my stuff, while someone like Sleeping Man will go home with nothing but an empty bag and the clothes on his back.
It felt good to have outwitted the three robbers. For about five minutes. Then the guilt of having not helped in any way sunk in. I didn't help SM. I could have. Maybe the three robbers weren't armed. Maybe I was stronger. Maybe. Maybe.
I guess I followed up what Coach JP at Elorde Boxing and I talked about during training:
Coach: Why do you box? Me: Self-defense, Coach. Coach: What is your first weapon? Me: The mind. Coach: Second weapon? Me:: Running shoes. Coach: What about boxing? Me:: Last option. Coach: Very good.
He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.
Yes, I'm trying to make myself feel better about it.