Thursday, September 26, 2013

ezkrima: fencing lessons in manila

Thursday, September 26, 2013

my son, cole, began taking up fencing lessons in ezkrima this year. i did not know much about fencing until he decided that he wanted to give it a try. so, your kid gets into a new sport or a new hobby and you end up googling about it like a maniac. agree?

my son took lessons from vier tajonera who was a gold medalist in the southeast asian games. coach vier and his team gave me more than enough reason to be happy with the decision that we made about fencing. you see, it’s a new path of discovery for my 11-year-old and we wanted to make sure that we sent him to the right people. there could be no better person than the one who had been out there and who already has conquered the world of saber fencing.
saber fencing coach vier tajonera
my son knew right away on his first tries that fencing was a sport that he’d want to take up seriously. i found so much joy on the fact that he has chosen not to chase a ball back and forth the court for a sport. i don’t think anyone in the family (and by anyone i mean including our ancestors) had ever developed the moxie for…well, chasing balls.

his fencing lessons were sweetly interrupted by our overextended stay here in boracay. there are no fencing lessons being offered on the island so that would have to wait until we go back home after summer of next year.
out with the fencing gear, in with the skim board
time flies like crazy even when you’re in a quiet place where time is supposed to stand still. so for now we’re just enjoying the island as much as we can. the rains only stopped today, a welcome blessing for our guest from new york. it’s been more than a week since the last time we went swimming. sun, come. just come.

if you are interested in letting your kids take up fencing lessons, all that you need to know is here.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

friday the 13th

Friday, September 20, 2013

have you ever had a couple of neighbors come knocking on your front door, and who gladly step inside as soon as you open the door, help themselves in without even saying “hello” and mysteriously see past through you? yes you, sam wheat. you.
if that is not weird enough, they start knocking on your walls and floors.  being the earthling that you are, you let out a scream: “what on earth are you two doing?!” then you realize only your imaginary friend hears that because you’re too polite to give two old people a heart attack. 

you stand there, first amused, then upset. then something tells you this is not an episode of punk’d. you wait. they move up to one of your room upstairs and once again start knocking. you notice the floors are the particular interest for this trip. you look down and congratulate yourself for a job well done on floors that speak well of your germaphobia.

yes, you open the door because they’re the harmless people next door…next to those coconut trees and bushes anyway. the old man speaks with an accent that’s too strange for a white guy. his wife, who is filipina,  has an equally strange accent. you don’t know how they’re talking but they’re talking and you’re not sure if they’re even speaking the same language. you pray, “oh god, i have not prepped this house for their coming.”

they leave without saying a word. no “thank you” and “you’re welcome” are exchanged between their party and yours. then, you sit and wait for UFOs to come flying over your house.
as of this writing, I still am not sure what are in our walls and floors that warrant the knocking of our alien neighbors.

followed by the number 6
so the dreaded number “6” follows me around on friday the 13th. lucky me, huh? when i opened my mail first thing in the morning, i was cordially informed that i had 6666 unread emails. i thought, if they say 666 is the devil’s number then could an extra 6 mean i’ve gone past the devil and will win the lottery? 

in the afternoon, i was writing a major article. at around five o’clock, i checked my word count and it said 666. to me that only meant i was 134 words to completion. for my superstitious friends, it could mean bad luck. or worse, a huge zit could come sitting on top of my nose on saturday...the 14th.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013


Saturday, September 14, 2013

my friend, gigi, recently got a new ink on her wrist. the tattoo (by a multi-awarded filipino tattoo artist) is nothing too detailed nor too fantastic. as a matter of fact, it’s just a word. one word. it says “gratitude”. what an  excellent choice for a tattoo. whenever she’d go through a hump, she’d look at her wrist and it would give her back her balance. this is a visual aid for life that works wonders.
one thing that i learned over the years is that gratitude is an innate power that fritters away because we forget to say “thank you” and mean it. i may not be the kind to remember to say “thank you” the moment i wake up (the very first thing that i have to respond to in every waking moment is the emergency call for milk.) but i believe that i have become better in appreciating all that the universe has showered my family and me with. we don’t have a fat bank account, not even a chubby one,  and we’re not keeping land titles in our drawers. but we have each other — to laugh with; to cry with; to give to; to take from if we need a hug, a kiss, a piece of rainbow cake… and everything is for free. well, except for the cake. 
 currently, we have the sea, the sand, the sun — oh, what a pesky cliché! but yes, those are our wealth… and we have fresh seafood delivered to us everyday at a very cheap price. (notice how food always manages to squeeze itself in between these lines?) we are free to make choices for our own lives, which others simply cannot afford to do because they are limited by life’s circumstances or by the execrable dictates of culture (think about very young yemeni girls married to men four times their age), or simply by arrogance (think about people who have acquired too much money that they have forgotten what life really is about.)
it may not sound much to some because what i just described as our wealth does not come with an exorbitant price tag. that is exactly what’s challenging yet rewarding in this whole thing. if you removed all the hefty material things from your life, would you still be able to attach the word “happiness” to your name? get a cup of coffee, sit down and think. we need to do this kind of exercise once in a while because it leads us to only one road — gratitude. even if we had nothing, we would always have the people who matter to us. so yes, say “thank you”, and since the word “love” functions correctly as a verb,i don’t think a shiny new car is capable of giving you that.
i am a grateful person, i know, but not grateful enough. i will never be rhonda byrne. my goodness, i will never even be the most grateful person in this tiny town we’re in now. but i keep working hard on it. the universe hears me, i know. 
the universe hears you, too. 

the constant reminder on my friend’s wrist must have opened up the channels to the universe and it heard her. on the month that she got inked, a bundle came with it. something that she has longed for especially since my goddaughter, ally, is turning three this month. gigi is on the family way, again, finally. 

cheers to life!


kenneth iwarat is a multi-awarded filipino tattoo artist. his kilometric clientele list, which includes celebrities, local tattoo aficionados and foreigners, speaks well about him.
his shop is “get inked custom tattoo” located at the 3rd floor, diamond arcade, cubao, manila, philippines
contact him at +639498979452

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