Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Dance and Fear

What enables a dancer to freestyle? What opens up a dancer's mind to a limitless sky of creativity and a never-ending well of move after move after move? After spending almost four years dancing, and learning so much from so many people, I suppose I have some semblance of an answer.

Not a care in the world.

The Mind/Heart Killer
Fear, not just in dance, kills the ability of the heart and mind to act in unison. Everything that we do passionately, I'd like to believe that it is because we consciously love doing and learning it (the mind) and we will subconsciously feel incomplete and dissatisfied without it at all (the heart). Fear brings doubts, and doubts raises self-consciousness to such a level that a dancer feels s/he "needs to impress" and "look good" in a session. Fear of negative comments, laughter, and getting labeled as 'wack' creates a dancer that thinks too much of rejection and 'not being good enough'. Fear's essential impact is preventing a dancer from sharing his/her entire being (feelings, emotions, skills, etc.) on the dance floor. In other words, a dancer who feels s/he must prove something to someone ends up not being able to freestyle with a limitless mind and a sharing heart.

The Opposite of Fear
In the book Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (which, by the way, is my favorite book of all time), the Spartan general Dienekes (of "We'll fight in the shade" fame) teaches his young warrior-squire Alexandros the meaning of fear and its opposite. While defending Thermopylae (of "300" fame), Alexandros - exposed to the horrors of war at the young age of 18 - eventually discovers the opposite of fear. It is also the exact same answer that I've learned from several individuals I respect highly in the Filipino dance community. The opposite of fear is love.

Love doesn't judge; it doesn't have an opinion. All it does is be. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. When a dancer loves his/her art so much that the world ceases to exist around him/her, something magical happens. A dancer in love with everything about the art will not care  S/he hits every single beat every single time, moves that flow into each other materializes one after the other smoothly, and best of all, a story is told. Freestyle is considered by some to be somewhat of 'a test' on whether or not a street dancer can really dance. No practice, no choreography, no pre-sets. Just the music and the moment. Love for the art, love for one's inspiration(s) (be it one's Faith, a life-changing moment, or someone important), and love for one's self all brings out the dancer in his/her best form. A dancer just dances. Love doesn't care who wins or loses, who's amazing or who's wack, and it definitely doesn't have a standard of 'good' or 'bad'.

Just dance.
Out with the fear, in with the love.
One love, chyeah.


This post is inspired by my experiences with my beloved Skittlez Crew, a group of friends that have grown into a huge family that inspires many Lasallians. Also much inspiration came from my dance mentor Michael 'Decky' Decano, first Papi of Skittlez and a leader not just in the crew but of people as well. Many thanks go to Phillip Pamintuan aka Adrum the Warrior of Murda Fam and Krumpinoy, a titan in faith and in the dance community. I have so much love and respect for crews that freestyle out of love: Unschooled, Krumpinoy, UPM Indayog, and Bandila Fusion, among others.

Picture courtesy of morethanastance.com; retrieved on January 31, 2012.

"Just Dance" quote courtesy of Phillip Pamintuan, 2012.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Rainbow Run - Result

Congratulations to the organizers, Pep Squad, for an amazingly fun event!

5k in 29:00, bib #0922

One thing I enjoyed about this run was the fact that it wasn't very crowded. The gun-start of the different distance classes were spaced very evenly and this ensured - for the most part - that runners weren't ending up in big, crowded clusters. There were also a ton of water stations all along the route, which I'm sure many runners appreciated. McKinley Hills' intense elevation variations drained a lot of the participants - I heard a lot of groaning and complaining at uphill approaches! - but it was a great challenge for me, especially as I was very ill on that day. As this run was for the LGBTF (the F stood for "and Friends") community, I invited my former gymnastics coach, Coach Ajjie, to join me. We've been running buddies all month, and this was his first race of the year. We posted a pretty good placing (I was #32, he was #33) considering we started a whole five minutes behind the 5k gun-start!

All in all, Rainbow Run was a great race. The pick-up-as-you-go-along system for the Finisher's Kit/Goodie Bag was also a nifty idea, and we went home with nice loot.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

DLSU Back in the Day

I saw these great pictures of my Alma Mater, De La Salle University, on my Facebook updates a little earlier. DLSU is situated smack in the heartland of the capital city, and it's quite a different sight now. 

Pictures are all courtesy of Lasallian alumnus Mr. Bibera, from his photo album "Nostalgia Manila".

Circa 1925.

Circa 1930s.

Post-Second World War.

St. La Salle Hall, circa 1970s.

St. La Salle Hall aerial view, circa 1970s.

Taft Avenue, home of DLSU, early 1980s. No LRT island yet.

St. La Salle Hall, circa 1980s.

Aside from being a beautiful school (we're quite famous for featuring Neoclassical architecture on our halls), the images above depict Manila at its finest, in my opinion. Note the clear, blue skies and the visible sky. Currently, there are almost a dozen condominiums surrounding De La Salle University (I live in one) and the skies are grayish-blue at best due to all the pollution. It's my dream that the Green Zone project* may help bring back Taft Avenue to its glory days as a gorgeous, sexy campus.

A hundred years on, and we're moving for a clean, modern look with the Centennial Hall, expected to rise by June 15, 2012. That's another blog post, though.

I cannot thank Mr. Bibera enough for these images and making them publicly available. Animo La Salle! Pictures retrieved on January 28, 2012 from photo album "Nostalgia Manila". 

De La Salle University was known as De La Salle College when these images were taken. The creation of De La Salle - College of St. Benilde paved the way for DLS College to be DLS University. Just some info :)

*The Green Zone is an institutionalized project to turn Taft Avenue (from V. Cruz LRT 1 station to Quirino LRT 1 station, respectively) from the most polluted place in the Philippines (in terms of air quality) to the cleanest. Launched on January 18, 2012. Expected results between 2017 to 2022.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Lotay Yang - Big Brother to the World

I've been a 'big brother', kuya (Filipino), and abang (Malay) to so many people in my 23 years. I see the lack of siblings as a blessing; I get to treat all my friends as my brothers and sisters, and for the younger ones, I feel especially accountable to and for.

Having said that, it's nice to have a big brother for a change. Not a kuya in the sense that I have someone to simply consider asking advice from or someone who guides me through tough times. No, not like that at all. I am blessed with having met a friend who is genuinely caring and compassionate, and one who provides spiritual support, guidance, and wisdom in both words and in actions. A true big brother, in every sense of the word. That man is Lotay Yang.

L-R: Clement Yeung, Ruhani Rabin, Gerry Belardo, Jenny Cruz, me, Lotay Yang.

I met him through another friend (whom I met through social media), Ruhani Rabin, and on first impressions, I could already tell Lotay was someone who would be a big brother to the whole world, if he could. He exuded this aura of encouragement; it's impossible to be negative around him. He told me that his inspiration to do good and be a man who lives by his inspirational words was to honor his father, a man of exceeding goodness as well. Our similarities began here, as both of us have suffered the pain and loss of our fathers. 

The more I learn about Lotay, the more astounded I become. He has inspired countless men and women, and his life is a testament to the unconditional good the human spirit is capable of. I am humbled that a man who dreams to 'bring the love and hope of Jesus to a hurting world' would treat me as a younger brother.

Some of the most uplifting words from the man:
"Be a good son. You become a good son when you make your mother happy."

"Who's in charge of your life?"

"Pride makes a single mistake worse."

"Love doesn't judge; love simply loves."

"Happiness is giving without strings attached."

Your life is an open book, and the world, its readers. Will you be an inspirational book, guiding others to do good and challenging themselves to be better? It's up to you. Who's in charge of your life?


Lotay Yang is the founder of Black Card Circle, a group of trusted influential individuals, and Black Card Circle Foundation, a non-profit organization. Follow him on Twitter and be inspired.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

40 Little Ways to Share

I am inspired by zenhabits.net with its list of 34 Little Ways to Share with the World, and I've created my own, Philippine-friendly list. It's a little more, because Filipinos are - I believe - a very friendly and warm people, capable of compassionate acts and greener actions, given the chance. In no particular order:

  1. Greet the security guard back.
  2. Smile at the teller/cashier/barista.
  3. Donate unused clothes and/or canned goods to a local charity*
  4. Press an elevator button for someone who can't reach it.
  5. Give up your MRT/LRT seat to someone.
  6. Say 'thank you' to someone.
  7. Teach a kid a coin trick.
  8. Give used books to a school library.
  9. Dispose of trash properly.
  10. Deposit coins and change to Bantay Bata collection cans.
  11. Join a fun run for a charitable/environmental cause.
  12. Skip the car a couple of times a week.
  13. Give free rides (if you have a car) once in a while.
  14. Bake/get some cookies/pastries and share them with a neighbor.
  15. Volunteer at a fund-raiser/charitable organization.
  16. Tip the pedicab driver.
  17. Tip the waiter/server.
  18. Hold a potluck.
  19. Pay for someone's jeep ride.
  20. Put in a good word for someone.
  21. Give a friend a call - just to say hi.
  22. Fix something for free.
  23. Share an inspiring quote on Twitter or Facebook.
  24. Write an instructional blog post on something you're good at.
  25. Snacks for the office mates.
  26. Babysit.
  27. Ask the boss how's he doing.
  28. Re-post funny pictures and/or videos.
  29. Spot for a gym newbie.
  30. Buy fresh and buy local.
  31. Walk and take the stairs whenever possible.
  32. Pick up trash before the janitor does.
  33. Rack someone else' weight plates.
  34. Baon lunch to share.
  35. Sign up for paperless billing.
  36. Blog and/or tweet great, money-saving deals.
  37. Help a friend move.
  38. Be someone's kuya (big brother) or ate (big sister).
  39. Learn a new skill and teach it to friends.
  40. Allow someone to go first when lining up.
*De La Salle University (South Gate) is a depository for donations to Typhoon Sendong victims. Local 7/11 branches accept cash donations as well. 

Good luck, and always remember that sharing follows the Golden Rule.
"Treat others how you would like to be treated."


One Reason Why Fast Food is Bad

It's just not normal.

From Mr. Jerome Morgan, Jr.'s Facebook picture below, the fast food item has been out of refrigeration or any sort of preservation for quite a while (understatement) and yet it's still visually - and eerily - similar to one cooked moments before. 

Try not to gag.

Not quite the 'happy meal'.

Another interesting Facebook page to those who still cannot be swayed from the unhealthiness of fast food can check out this page, where the author will attempt to eat that McMuffin after a year.

Really. Try not to gag.


Picture retrieved from here on January 26, 2012.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

My Green Dream

The picture says it all :)
Taken on Day 2 of the first ever Green Leaders Conference, hosted by De La Salle University.

Good air = good runs :)
What's YOUR Green Dream?



Hi there! You made it, you found my blog again.

I've decided to do a little 're-branding' of sorts, and to unify my social media account names. Since I've been using "jsncruz" for Twitter ever since I signed up for that, I thought that it's a good idea to 'link' that name to my blog as well.

Out with the long, draggy blog name and in with the compact, condensed one!

I hope to continue producing content that gets better and better, and of course, thank you for visiting. Readers inspire me to write. 

Follow me on Twitter!


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

5 Worst Post-Workout Food

I've been at this losing-weight-working-out thing for a couple of years now, and I've had some pretty good wins against flab. A major part of losing weight (and keeping it off!) is the food we eat right after burning calories. What saddens me is the mentality of "hey, I worked out pretty hard and burned a lot, so I deserve some fast food". It doesn't work like that. That's wasting all the sweat and pain you've gone through, and sets your fitness goal calendar way back. With all the sights and smells of Manila food, make this your guide of things to avoid right after your run at CCP or a weights session at the gym. While these are all convenient food items, they will really mess up your gains.

And really mess up your tight shirts.

French Fries
Really. While the fast food chains all around the country offer this convenient snack, it's probably one of the worst things you can eat for weight-loss. The small, thin slices have so much surface area for oil-absorption you might as well guzzle the liquid fat. The salt won't do you any favors either, even if you just ran a 21k. This goes for the flat mojos too.

Street Food
You're tired and hungry, and the manong at the local corner street grill have some tasty chicken- and pork isaw (innards/guts) for sale. Pass on it. Animal innards have some of the highest caloric contents in an animal (it's really fatty, if you haven't noticed from the taste) and the thick, sugary sauce brushed on them aren't helping either. Even worse are the breaded, deep-fried ones. Avoid at all costs.

Soft Drinks / Iced Tea
I have noticed from my morning runs that it seems like every block around any town has a vendor (on foot or on a make-shift stall) selling drinks. I bring my own water when I run so I don't buy from these vendors, but I have noticed people guzzling down soft drinks or iced tea for hydration. Aside from the obvious unnecessary calories, the caffeine in both drinks act as a diuretic (makes you pee) when you should be hydrating.

For me, there are no healthy burgers, especially in Manila. The basic ingredients pretty much spell out a disastrous post-workout meal: fried (burgers are rarely grilled here) processed meat patty in-between two halves of a white, fluffy bun. And that's not even considering the ketchup, barbecue sauce, or mayo you're about to request on it. Additional pain if you opt for the processed cheese slice too.

Extra Rice
A popular 'bonus' in many eateries in Manila are the offerings of "unlimited rice" or a cheaper order of extra rice. Aren't you working out to lose weight in the first place? No, you do not need the extra empty calories from the white stuff. No, it's not 'free' either, because you're paying for it with inches on your waistline. Stick with one serving, and cut even that out if you can.

It's not all gloom-and-doom though. I personally like a cup of taho after a run. It's offered usually in the mornings everywhere (just listen for a booming shout of "ta-hoooooooooo" on your way home). Opt for half the usual serving of syrup, and what you'll get is a warm and tasty snack packed with protein from the tofu. There are also peanut vendors all around, and a serving of steamed peanuts (usually about a cup, with shells) gives a good amount of muscle-building protein and some fiber too.

And always, always drink plenty of water :)


Picture retrieved from this website, Jan 24, 2012.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Timex Run - Result

Not one of the races I enjoyed :)

5k in 29:29, bib #6447

Back from the Dead Like a Makavelli..

I apologize for the silent stretch. I've been busy with De La Salle University's first Environment Week. A blog post on the week is in order! Stay tuned.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

One Green Future

From January 16, 2012 to January 21, 2012, De La Salle University will be having its very first Environment Week. All week, various booths and exhibits will showcase the many ways we can all contribute to a better and greener environment. Also, there will be tours on De La Salle University's sustainable facilities as well as a two-day conference to cap everything off. 
Let us all join together for ONE GREEN FUTURE.

Greener than ever!

We hope to set the bar on sustainable development both within a campus setting and our neighboring communities. Our environment - especially the area of Taft Avenue, Manila - needs us more than ever. Dreams can come true. We Dream Green.


Go Natural 2012 - Result

RunRio Go Natural 2012 personal race result:

5k in 29:05, bib #3871
K1 - K2 - K3: 17:13
K4: 4:59
K5: 6:51

This race is dedicated to my mum, who's always there with a prayer when running the race of life gets a little hectic.

I didn't really enjoy this particular run. I came a bit late (only 5 minutes before gun-start!) as C5 road from Jupiter St., Makati, was closed for the 21km route. I had to reroute and it took me a while to reach BGC. Upon reaching the Start Line, there were over a thousand runners for the 5k. To make things worse, those with special baller wristbands (not too sure how to get those; I believe first 1000 registrants?) get to be in front of the pack. I pretty much spent the first 2km weaving in and out of traffic. Obstacles were also a bit of a problem - the human kind. I never really figured out why there are those who attend running events all dolled up to take pictures at every darn km marker. Had to weave in between these photo-packs as well. My last km was pretty slow - and I'm no speed demon - because our 5k pack merged with the 3k pack for the finish. It was like navigating a busy market! On a positive note, I finally won a one-on-one sprint to the finish with some random runner in the last 100m or so. The rush after? Priceless.

Next week's Timex 2012 might very well be my last 5k. My conditioning program is looking pretty promising, and a 10k by March shouldn't be too dreamy. Maybe even a half-mary by the last quarter of this year. Who knows :)


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Todo Responde - Result

Todo Responde personal race result:

5k in 27:51, bib #0349

Set my 2012 PR! What a way to start the year :)

K1: 5:11
K2: 5:14
K3 - K4: 11:49
K5: 5:35


Thursday, 12 January 2012

2012 Prep 6

K1: 6:27
K2: 6:30
K3: 6:15
K4: 6:26
K5:  5:46
K6: 5:50

6k in 37:13


The Rooms - A Short Story

It began not too long ago. A young man was getting to know how life went outside the safety, familiarity, and comfort of the world he was used to. He was about to enter a scary, yet unexplored world. The supposed world of 'real'.

It began well. A window of opportunity opened, and he quickly clambered through it. In that place, the room beckoned; he will be well, he will be treated well. He was indeed treated grandly, a first among peers one may even say. In a short while, the window closed and a door opened; this room promised to be even more rewarding, even more fulfilling. And for a while, it was.

He went away for a while, and things were never the same again. His spirit and belief in the promises first of the window, and then the door were shattered in the worst way imaginable. His trust and his faith were both shaken, and he had all the right in the world to not only run out of the room, but to take the house down for what they did to him.

He decided to keep quiet, for the most part. He loved the rooms so much, for the happiness and pride he has received from these rooms that he promised to try - as much as possible - to keep the status quo. He will stay silent on the failings of the rooms, and turn a blind eye to the wrongs even as his own soul suffered. The rooms were in silent cooperation.

He went away again, for a while, to clear his head even as he has already made up his mind to give the betrayal a no-look and to stay in the rooms. He even closed the windows and doors all around. He had faith. One day, it all came crashing down; he woke up to find that the world he knew hated his name, attached it to unspeakable things. He was more than a black sheep, he was a pariah in the domain of the rooms with the windows and doors shut closed. The grand treatment was gone; in its place there was scheming, stonewalling, and most painful of all, vicious lies. 

His world crumbled around him.

Is crumbling around him.

The wish was to lay down, to pretend things will be okay. The windows and the doors have become smaller. The rooms themselves look set to wither him away to nothingness. He cannot seem to escape, to find a way out. One thing is for sure though. He will not lay down and wish for things to be okay. 

He must fight. He must fight.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

2012 Prep 5

K1: 7:08
K2: 6:31
K3: 6:22
K4: 6:14
K5: 6:00
K6: 5:58

6k in 38:15


More Fun Maker

Interested to make your own It's More Fun in the Philippines posters? 

Look no further! This site is awesome!
Upload your picture, your caption, and your name as author (optional) and voila!

More Fun in the Philippines! :D


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

It's More Fun in the Philippines - Work Commute

Air-conditioning, level: Asian.
 This is a picture of rural Filipinos going to their workplaces. As the place is pretty remote, rides are few and far in between.. so might as well make the trip 'worth it' and jam as many people in - and on - the vehicle. 


Image retrieved on January 10, 2012 from yanidel.net via Google.com.

Monday, 9 January 2012

It's More Fun in the Philippines - Fliptop

The illest. Check the YouTube videos. Millions of views, yo.
Fliptop is, according to their very slogan, is "the very first Filipino rap battle league". I've been following their YouTube-posted battles for a while now, and some are real mic monsters. They bring pride to hip-hop culture. Check 'em out.


It's More Fun in the Philippines - Chicken Isaw

In line with the Department of Tourism's "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign, here is my contribution in honor of the little street food that could.

This is how we do chicken!

To my non-Filipino readers, 'isaw' means 'guts', and yes, those are intestines. The thin ones (pictured) are chicken; the thicker versions are pork. Happy dining!


Sunday, 8 January 2012

2012 Prep 4

K1: 6:05
K2: 6:18
K3: 6:10
K4: 6:06
K5: 6:15

5k in 30:56


Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 Prep 3

5km in 32:30

CCP - Coconut Palace - Star City - CCP (4 rounds)


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Greetings 2012, I Come in Peace


It's a new calendar year, and for many of us, a new beginning - or at least the chance to start again on something. Let us all make the coming year 365 days' worth of awesomeness and blessings!

Special Mention:
Thank you, my regular readers. If you do not consistently follow and read my blog, there's very little for me to write on and about. Thank you for inspiring me as well. I enter 2012 knowing that this is my sixth year in the bloggosphere! It's been quite a journey, and looking back, I've improved so much. Thank you, and Happy New Year!