Fitness First

At the launch of Pinoy Biggest Loser, I thought to myself, “My God, they’re so fat. They can’t be thin.” All of the contestants were obese. It would be very hard for them to get rid off those extra fat deposits in their bodies.

But the camp began with its extraneous physical activities and strict diet. Then I remembered the summer before I turned third year high school when I was at the height of my chubbiness. As I’ve mentioned, I was so skinny and frail when I was still a kid because I was a picky eater. But when I was in high school, I developed this big appetite for any food being served.

Every summer, we went to Mommy Becky’s place for vacation at Lipa City, Batangas. Being a doctor without a child at that time, she could afford to give all of us, her nephews and nieces what we wanted. The number one thing she would always provide us was food. The refrigerator was always full and she regularly brought us to Jollibee, Mc Donald’s, Shakey’s, Pizza Hut, Goldilocks, Max’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. (these fast food chains were not yet in Ozamiz during those years).

Day after day of that summer, I became fatter and fatter. All I did was ate and ate, making the most of the opportunity of having all the foods I liked. Until one day, I became dizzy and suddenly collapsed. Nobody was there with me but I came into my senses again and stood up. I didn’t pay any attention to what happened to me. The following day, I collapsed again. This time, I was on the floor for quite a while and I began to worry. So I told my aunt of what happened. She then took my blood pressure. She was surprised because it was too high. She immediately gave me a drug to lower it down. From then on, she controlled my food intake. One cup of rice each meal with a moderate amount of viand, no junk foods, no soft drinks, and no pork at all. She also told me to exercise a bit. So I did obey her because I was scared. Hypertension runs in our family’s blood.

When we went home, the diet and the exercise vanished. I went back to my old ways. Despite my negligence, the hypertension also vanished. Thank God! I was happy eating the foods I wanted then. But when I reached college, I started to feel insecure with my body. I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted. We didn’t have a school uniform and we could freely wear whatever we pleased. The other girls were in fashionable clothes while I was on my T-shirt and worn-out jeans. Just luckily for me, I was in the College of Engineering so I had an excuse.

However, fourth year college came and we had to have our JS Prom. We had to be in our best guise for we only had one chance of having a Prom in the State University. Months before our Prom, me and my boardmates decided to trim down so we could wear sexy gowns. Thank goodness, I had company in my quest to be fit!

So we started out hiking. We would wake up at four o’clock in the morning and walk from our boarding house in Tibanga to Iligan’s city proper. It was quite a distance but we sacrificed. On contrary for me, I enjoyed it! I could see the houses’ and buildings’ structures up close, I could observe details of the road that I interpreted as art, and I could be able to meet some people.

Days of hiking were good but we were not contented so we decided to jog. According to statistics, we can burn more fats through jogging and we did it. Too bad for me, I always have short breaths so I had it as alternate – jogging, hiking, jogging, hiking….Moreover, we paired our exercise with diet. We just had oatmeal for breakfast, a cup of rice and a little viand for lunch, and another bowl of oatmeal for supper. We were very successful in our journey thus we had triumphed in wearing our revealing gowns for the Prom!

DSC00560College JS Prom

After the Prom, I went back to my old ways again – more foods and no exercise. This time, I didn’t get chubby as I had. I didn’t know why but I guess it was because of the very tedious training at MSU-IIT.

After college, I became chubby again when I had my job in Cebu. My Mama Dita fed me a lot for I stayed in their house for seven months! She always cooked sumptuous meaty dishes and if I won’t eat, she would beat me. So, I was back to my baby-fat figure. Hehe…

By the time I came back home, I was introduced to an organization. It was Junior Chamber International (JCI). My first impression of the group was “always partying”! I belonged to the Ozamiz Red Rose chapter therefore, we had to always wear red – red gowns, red dresses, and red sexy blouses. How could I wear all of those if I’m fat? And with the advent of Facebook, I had to always look good in pictures. So, I had to be fit and fab, lean and sexy!

Then I went dieting. I cut in my food intake. I am very self-disciplined so I was successful with this one but I started a teaching career. My brain couldn’t function well without food. Then I ate again. I got to burn the calories with all the activities I was doing anyway.

After quitting Chinese School (MUHS), I had the luxury of time to cook again. I only had a few units at Medina College and the foods I ate were on my waist again. Luckily, I had my fitness buddies to help me!

They were my former co-teachers at MUHS. Yieldeza “Yeye” Ebale who’s living at San Antonio would wake up at 4 in the morning to fetch Charelle Joy “Cha” Macalisang in RS Tan Village, Maningcol. After that, they would meet with Cheryl “Che” Singuran at City Hall and they would hike/jog to fetch me in Malindang Lodge, Annex. Then together, we would hike/jog to Cotta Beach.

At Cotta, we would perform morning exercises that were taught to us by Lao Shi Jack Chen, former PE teacher at Chinese School. The exercises were as good as warm-up and stretching for the next activities that we were going to do.

Then we would have Tai Chi. T’ai Chi Ch’uan as its full term means “Supreme Ultimate Fist.” ( It is a Chinese martial art that depicts slow, soft, and graceful movements. It is a moving form of yoga and meditation combined! Everytime we perform this, I could feel my body in rhythm with the sea breeze at Cotta. It’s so relaxing while imagining a tranquil world with the benefit of toning your muscles! You gotta try this one!

tai chiSome Tai Chi Steps

After Tai Chi, we would have Wushu. Wushu comes from two words wu meaning “martial” or “military” and shu meaning “discipline” or “skill” or “method”. ( The whole word literally means “martial art”. Chinese martial arts are referred to as wushu or kung fu. On the other way around, wushu and kung fu are Chinese martial arts. No matter what the term is, they are just the same.

Wushu depicts fighting styles inspired by the natural movements of animals and birds. It was born in ancient China because of the need for self-defense, hunting techniques, and military training. Hand-to-hand combat practice was important in training Chinese soldiers in ancient times. Opposite to Tai Chi, its movements are quick and snappy. Wushu nowadays had become a sport that is one of the events of the annual Olympics.


wushuWushu Steps

After our exercises at Cotta, we would have puto maya (sweetened sticky rice) and sekwate (old-fashioned chocolate drink) for breakfast at Nang Kading’s. Her puto marks an Ozamiz trademark for it already exists before I was born. I can recall our song when I was in elementary “Puto ni Kading tag siwewen (50 centavos)…” at the tune of The Mighty Ducks’ We Will Rock You.

In the afternoon, we would go swimming at Regina’s Swimming Pool for we believed that having ten swimming lapses at their not-so-Olympic-sized pool would burn a bar of Cloud 9. Quite the opposite, we would still eat, eat, and eat. Well at least we do some physical activities to burn what we’re eating.


etcetcetera, etcetera…

At home, my sister June Ann and I would do Zumba. It is the newest fad in the fitness world! It is a dance exercise that originates from Colombia. ( It is so good that you don’t just exercise but you may also learn how to dance plus it makes your body graceful. All in all, you can do samba, salsa, chacha, etc. It is full of fun and lets you move to the beat of Latin music!

In closing, being fat or thin, chubby or lean does matter a lot. Like the Pinoy Biggest Loser aspirants, we have to do our best to be fit. Fitness is always a must so we have to make it first in our priority. Just take a walk once a day, jog in a while, swim at least once a month, and dance whenever you feel the urge. And if you have enough time, do take chances in learning Tai Chi and Wushu. You may join us every Saturday at 5 AM at Cotta Beach.:)


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