Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven !

Not really what you think it's all about.  It's a book I came across  the same night "Chapter 37" started to unfold.  Prior to that night's musings, I dropped by the bookstore to look for a good read.  I wandered past the "New Arrivals" section but decided to walk back and pick up this cool looking book with the most provocative cover and title !  It could have been the naked hottie covering herself up with her backpack or the title . . . but it was really the witty writing inside that really got me hooked.  The cover by the way was indeed awesome ! I got a paperback copy of that one and it most certainly cost a small fortune.  Today I was lucky to pass by an old bookstore and there it was again. This time though it's hardcover.  I've this insane preference over hardbound books over paper backs !  The sweetest thing though, it was selling for 1/10th of the original price ! So… history… I got the book and walked out smiling!

I've been traveling in an out of China through Hong Kong for the last decade.  There isn't a year that passes that I don't find myself walking through Mong Kok or checking in those backpacker's inns.  During my earlier travels, planes through Hong Kong land at the old airport located almost within arms reach from the tall buildings or at least that's what it looked like from the window seat.  I've also visited some of China during a time when their tourism was just taking off.  I've made good friends within that big country.  Memories flood through in the mere mention of China.

The story told by Susan Jane Gilman takes place in old China.  Traveling takes two girls fresh from college as far as Yangshuo and Guilin !  Been there and so it was fortunate that when I browsed the book I came across those two names most synonymous to today's climbing.  I simply just have to read on.  I had to get the book ! It's got references to the Bataan Death March and loads of vivid descriptions of some of the places I've already been to.  No mention of Getu Valley but I feel it could be a destination that still has a place in unmarked territories which may indeed be a setting for good stories !

Now I'm looking for more travel books like these.  It's a difficult selection and maybe rare.

In the meantime check out the The Stangie Travelogue for more to-date travels through China and then some !  One night of TsingTao = new friends, one night of more than 5 TsingTaos = lots of new friends!

Pagayon Bros. at work !

Presenting a video by the Pagayon Bros. featuring Joey Cuerdo of Power-UP Climbing Gym.  Working towards more climbing , more climbing gyms and continued presence in global climbing.  Climbing, climbing, climbing … write it down !  More to come this year !  I am so psyched !  More Miyagi Style dojo training wax-on, wax-off !  The death board is up and ready inside that hot box ! 

Hope to be working with you bros. soon for some wicked climbing clips.  "Diamond Head", we're going after you soon!  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Milestone 1.0

Another milestone … While it may not actually sound too impressive, I still think it's a huge step, 4 flights of steps actually.  I just came from a meeting with none other than Commissioner Akiko Thomson-Guevara.  She's the Philippine Sports Commission's (PSC) cluster head in which Sport Climbing falls  under.  Sounds huge already? For a sports fan like me it is definitely bigger than what I'm used to.  Meeting and spending 30 minutes in conversation with a pinoy sports icon and discuss the near future of sport climbing in the Philippines . . . what can beat that ?  Refresher . . . She held the women’s 200-meter backstroke that clocked at 2:16.76 during the SeaGames in 1995. Only last year did it got broken, the new  record at 2:15.73.  

I was almost late for the appointment.  I was catching my breath when I got to the 4th floor.  The long corridor's polished granite and the hushed library feel as I walked to the commissioner's office reminded me to compose myself.  It's almost like composure before sending a route or a problem but not all chalked up all over.  I greeted Atty. Jay Alano and the secretary a good morning.  The rosy cheeks and sweat beads rolling down my neck  perhaps gave it away when they asked if I needed time to relax.  HA !  So, "Yes, please. I'll just  catch my breath for a minute", was my response. I sat down to lower the heartbeat.  I waited for the secretary's nod before proceeding into the office. 

Akiko stood tall at the handshake.  Her smile, reassuring as the sunrise.  She offered coffee, tea, … the apparent parched throat said "water please."  We met before but only in brief passing, during the Philippine National Games in Bacolod, May 2011.  Close to a year already.  It's a pleasure to get reacquainted again.  Only a day before did I get the call for the meeting.  It's almost too sudden that I found myself in her office.  Starstruck much !!!???  You bet !   

Her office sat on the fourth floor of the newly refurbished PSC office at the old Rizal Memorial Coliseum.  The glaring midday sun highlighted the main track oval. The view was framed over by drapes and the full glass windows behind her desk.  She didn't stay behind the desk, she greeted me by the doorway.  The gesture to me was a very welcoming one.  It felt as though there is already kinship even before we met.  Maybe it's the kind of ties athletes share.  It felt like the kinship climbers share all over the world.  I felt at home.    

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miyagi Style !!!

Training and home improvement are just about everything I do at the moment.  I'm definitely getting stronger, the team is getting stronger, the spirit is high and the outlook, nothing but positive.  Nothing to report from the frontlines though.  I haven't seen outdoor action for weeks!  Everything that has been going on has been happening within the confines of Power-UP TS.  Interval training, campus training, system board training . . . all the good stuff !  I'm a believer in these things !  

While home improvement has also taken much of my time, it also benefits my physical conditioning.  Mr. Miyagi would be so proud!  Wax-on, wax-off!!!  The constant up-down, left-right motion on relatively low resistance, ultra-high repetition motion I've been getting from wood work finishing has been very good for the shoulders and forearms.  Half a day working on woodwork burns so much calorie stores! It's the carpenter's workout!! The only drawback comes from the fumes.  Turpentine, lacquer and all those volatile fumes gets to me like vodka on a cold day!  Lesson - hydrate well when dealing with those things!  I think I lose 5 lbs. of sweat for 4 hours work !!!  I also feel extremely hungry by lunch time!  

If you fancy,  you can drop by the house and do some "training"!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Power-Up !!!

Power Up Center for Climbing & Fitness
Address: 690 Tandang Sora Avenue, Old Balara, Quezon City
(+632) 932-7273
It might have begun here . . . or maybe in some other space time when I dreamt about climbing.  But it's definitely where to go if you want your 1st dose of intoxicating energy you just can't let go ( that includes climbing ! )  They now have these cool offers which I think will be great to start your Dragon!  (and I'm not saying these because I climb there for free).  Truth be told !  Power-Up TS has been around for the longest time and though changes in the facilities progress in a snail's pace, the energy inside that box is tremendously viral !  It can infect you before you can say . . . before you can say . . . like I said, before you can say anything !!!  You go there for the energy !  It's priceless !!!

Check them out !

Word of CAUTION:

PARTY yourself into shape is not limited to the ZUMBA Class !!!  Ask the counter for details !!!