Archive for February, 2015

Ankle training Part 1

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Recovering from Injuries

Ankle sprains are common especially in the physically active population. A survey showed that as much as 73% of athletes in Hong Kong (from recreational to competitive and elite level athletes) had recurrent ankle sprains. The good thing is that this type of injury can be mitigated through training. Described below are some exercises that can be used as a warm up routine while at the same time they serve as a prophylactic exercise against common injuries like ankle sprains. It is hitting a lot of targets with a single routine.


There are an endless types of exercises that can be used to prepare the ankles to absorb forces. Here are some exercises which would strengthen the leg muscles whose tendons cross the ankles. Aside from being very good exercises for dynamic warm-up for the whole body, these exercises also train proprioception in the ankle joints and also increase the tensile strength of the tendons and ligaments around the ankle joint. They can be used in your warm up or as assistive exercises. Mark two points on the ground which are around 5 meters away from each other. Travel the distance with the following exercises. Walk back to the starting position after each exercise. Repeat each exercise 3 to 5 times before moving on to the next exercise.

1. Knee hugs tip toe

Stand straight, be as tall as you can. Pull back your shoulder blades. Lift one knee as high as you can while pointing the toe of this leg as high as you can. With your arms, hug your knee as close as you can while pushing the ground with the toe of the other leg. Try to be as tall as you can. Maintain the position for 2 to 3 seconds before taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Note that standing on your toes is an important part of this exercise.


Front View of the Knee Hugs to tip toe:valstrengthtrainingkneehugfrontvw

2. Flying T

Start with the same starting position as the knee hugs tip toe. Instead of hugging the knee extend your leg backwards as if you want to reach something behind you with your leg. Do not tip toe. Keep looking forward, not on the ground. Spread your arms to the side to form a letter T. Maintain the torso and “reaching” leg in a straight line and almost perpendicular to the standing leg. Stay on this position for 2 to 3 seconds before pulling in the reaching leg and stepping forward. Repeat the movement with the other leg.


Front View of the Flying T:


3. Knee Hugs to Lunge Stretch

The starting position is the same as the Knee Hugs tip toe. This time after hugging the knee, and standing on the toe, lower yourself on the other foot to a lunge position. Lunge as long and as low as you can without losing balance. Keep both arms directly overhead and keep your elbows as straight as you can, with each of your biceps touching the ear on the same side.


Front View of the Knee Hugs to Lunge Stretch:


Using these exercises for warm-up saves a lot of time since they address a lot of issues in one go instead of doing a lot of exercises to address balance, flexibility, and ankle stability. It also serves to increase body temperature and heart rate prior to doing your main training. This can be used prior to your Strength Training or prior to running or trail running. Runners and trail runners would benefit from these when it comes to ankle stability. There are other exercises that can be done outdoors to for stronger legs and general strength too.

Click here if you want to learn about an unusual, overlooked, but very effective strength training method. 

With good preparation, the incidence of sports related injuries can be lowered. And if an injury does happen, the severity most likely would be lesser and the recovery time would be faster. This is a big return of investment and it shortens training time while increasing quality of training. Train Better, Live Better!

Read Ankle Training Part 2

Sometimes new trainees are apprehensive of starting a strength training program. Some of their fears come from remarks commonly heard from other people whose mouth is too fast for their own good. They usually say that “If you start weight training, you will become tight.” For some athletes, flexibility is very important. So it is normal that they will hesitate to do something which will affect their flexibility in a negative way. Flexibility is one fitness component that affects performance in sports or leisure and activities of daily living (ADL). And so is strength. Both should complement each other.


So does strength training make you less flexible? A quick answer is a big NO! To back up this answer, here are some facts about the relationship of Strength Training and Flexibility based on normal physiologic reactions, research, and observations from actual experiences:

1. Tightness associated with Strength Training is normal and temporary

When people first start training, they will always undergo the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). This is true even for athletes who have stopped training for a few weeks. And also for some of those who are training but are going to start a different type of training. The body’s initial reaction is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The muscles are sore after 24 hours or more after starting with the new training routine. When you move a sore part of your body, you would feel the soreness or pain. Of course you would not want to move so much so as to avoid pain. And if you are reaching for something, like in stretching, this pain may increase. Pain inhibits movement and causes the muscles to tighten up a bit so as to protect the painful area. This is felt as tightness. So, initially, Strength Training can make you tight and this is normal and more importantly- TEMPORARY. Depending on the severity of discomfort, the training intensity and/or volume can be reduced or would just proceed as usual so as to ease through this process. The important thing is to continue training. This helps to resolve the soreness faster than not training at all. After a few days, the normal Range of Motion (ROM) will return as the soreness and stiffness abates.

2. Strength Training actually improves Range of Motion

Here is a summary of two studies involving Strength training conducted for 10 to 11 weeks. Sometime ago in 1987, there was a research to determine the effects of weight training on the Range of Motion (ROM) of the ankles, trunk, and shoulder joints. The subjects, male college students, underwent an 11 week weight training program which made them train three times a week. Range of Motion was measured was measured before they started training and after the 11 week program. Data showed that there was significant increase in the Range of Motion of the joints measured which leads to the conclusion that a weight training program aimed to develop muscular strength would not impair flexibility but might increase it. In a similar study conducted in 2008, sedentary middle aged women underwent a 10 week strength training program. Measurements of the ROM of major joints were done before and after the 10 week strength training program. Results showed that the ROM of their joints improved (flexibility improved).

From the above examples, one can infer that the effect of Strength Training on Flexibility is positive for both men and women as long as training is done consistently long enough (10-11 weeks).

3.  Compound movements, when done in sufficient ROM, improves flexibility of relatively tight individualsN.¼¤¿POª    1992 O¤YM¦IAKOI A¡¿NEª.BAPKE¤¿NH 92.¦YPPOª ¢HMAª.

Compound movements are movements that involve the major joints of the body- the shoulder girdle, the torso, the hip, knees, and ankles. Examples are the deadlift, squat,  and bench press. There are a lot more examples of compound lifts but these three are good to start with for someone who has not trained much. Athletes who are new to Strength Training may or may not have a good fitness foundation. Some are more skilled than fit, while some, depending on the nature of their sport, are already fit. But when they execute some of the compound lifts mentioned above, some exhibit deficiencies in their ROM. It can be due to tightness, lack of synchronization, or weakness. With properly guided progressive Strength Training, their ROM gradually improves. The same is true for non-athletes. They exhibit the same patterns, the difference is just in the degree of deficiency. Athletes and non-athletes  also respond similarly since they basically have similar anatomical and physiological features. The difference is in the degree of development.3090040526_cfef57f1c3

That is why Strength and Conditioning Coaches prefer to use compound lifts compared to isolated joint exercises or exercises involving only one joint, an example of which is the biceps curl. (Sorry gentlemen, big arms does not always impress, it is the ability to perform that matters, and by that I mean to perform in your respective sports or occupation). Compound lifts address a lot of training needs in one go therefore it saves time in a training session. But you have to invest some time practicing how to execute it in the most efficient way possible and the fastest way to do this is with an experienced Strength and Conditioning Coach who you can work well with.


So there you have it,  flexibility is actually enhanced by Strength Training, most specially in individuals with poor flexibility. For individuals who are already very flexible prior to starting, Strength Training may not improve their flexibility anymore  since it is highly developed already. Since the response (effects of training) depends on many factors, it would not and will not be exactly the same for each individual but it can be similar. Also, the type of training largely determines how fast is the improvement in flexibility and strength as well as which one of these fitness components, as well as the other components.

Click here to view some exercises for improving hip mobility.

A lot of people want to lose weight because it is what is programmed into our minds by most of what we watch and read. hype curveAnd even feel. Measurement for clothes now is intentionally made for thin individuals. I buy clothes for practical reasons and not for fashion and I do not buy often. My clothes shopping experience 4 to 5 years ago are now memorable to me because the sizes are what they were supposed to be.

Nowadays, people’s perception of normal size changed. Last year, I went to buy hiking trousers in a shop. I chose the one showing my waistline. But when I fitted it, the waist is perfect but the thighs are tight. It was supposed to be for outdoors so it should be loose on the thighs allowing for unhindered movement, but then it was tailored for what the advertisers want the buyers to perceive – that their thighs are so big that it won’t fit into the trousers. My body weight and body composition has not changed much since 5 years ago, but the fitting of clothes then felt more natural. Now, clothes feel tighter on the arms- to make men’s arms appear bigger as if to say they are stronger, but for ladies they would feel insecure and say their arms are too big. Look around and what is shown in advertisements are clothes worn by malnourished models, photoshopped magazines, topless male models with muscular chest and rippling abs but their legs and calves are always covered. Video commercials show pretty ladies eating some fancy gourmet dishes with all their ecstatic and even sensual facial gestures. Even video games show female characters with watermelon like engorged mammary glands. This is not what we want our kids to dream to be. This is not what our future leaders of the world should be.  

It would be better if people wanted to train to have stronger bodies. Stronger does not necessarily mean bigger, it means the stronger person is able to lift something which, prior to training for a certain period of time, was not able to lift. This allows her or him to do more, and perform better. Training to be strong is not easy, it even feels harder for some. And you have to constantly do it if you want to maintain a certain level for strength and fitness. It is not easy but it instills a certain sense of discipline, and confidence. It can be a slow and uncomfortable process, but that is how it is, especially at first. But better do something real, than just fool yourself as if you did something great by buying a lot of quick fix products. Be honest to yourself. A lot of people have discipline, and confidence. What we need more of now is honesty. Plain old honesty, not hype. I still remember the motto our Parish Priest instilled amongst us when I was in Elementary School. Be Honest. Be Clean. Be Kind. Be Self-disciplined. Be Hard-working. I believe training should be honest- not hyped.  

Our environment shapes our perceptions if we do not educate ourselves well. The internet bombards us with information. We must discern which ones are useful and which ones are crap. Crap information is sweet. It tells of quick and easy fixes. Useful ones tell the truth and the truth oftentimes hurts. Do not take everything you read as the truth. Truth is very elusive. What is true for you may not be true for me. But there are a lot of similarities. We can infer through wise observations. We need to ask ourselves why. There are so many things that we cannot understand. And we must be careful since there is so much information. Including this post. What benefit will I get if someone reads this? The most is probably a comment- good or bad. So why do I write? Because I observed that things are becoming too hyped, that products are now made not to fill a need, but to create a “perceived” void that makes people want to buy another useless product. And that does not make sense to me. It does not make my job any easier too. So hopefully, if someone stumbled upon this post, that they would open their eyes. It would help me and the industry if there are less fad following trainees. Sometimes I am mistaken to be a magician. That people come to see me, say they cannot train for now, chit-chat, and they expect to leave the gym stronger, faster, and above all, with a pretty face. I just hope people would wake up. Be careful also of those who call themselves experts since the truth is, the more you know, the more you know what you do not know. So better educate yourself, always ask why? why not? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to look for my magic wand, it weighs 20 kg and it has rotating sleeves. You would understand it if you spent enough time training in a gym, not on your “smart” phone.  Start to Train Better, Live Better!

In order for a training regimen to work, it has to be executed on a regular basis and depending on Olythe goal, the different training variables should be varied to cause the wanted adaptations to happen. Many people who start a training program for the purpose of improving health would quit after only a few sessions. One reason may be expectations are high but effort given is low. And some individuals may think that a training program has to be complicated and sophisticated in order to work. A complicated routine may be perceived as doing a lot of work but in reality, the work done may be actually low since the load is low due to inability to adapt, or the total repetition is also low, due to constantly changing routine and exercise. It does not help doing a complicated routine if it cannot be sustained. One of the things which is not usually discussed in the reference books is that the training program that works is the one which  is simple and straightforward.


valstrengthtyraining.kbStrength coaches come from different backgrounds and the ones who can successfully train athletes have had their share of trial and error too. There are textbook references but they may not be pertaining to the exact condition and situation that we encounter. When I was younger, I was initially mentored by bodybuilders. The training program that I used to pattern my own training was that of bodybuilders. Then as I got to know some other mentors, as I read different books and articles, attended workshops & symposiums, and as I interact with different coaches, I got to understand some other methods & techniques. I started trying out different training programs on myself and those that worked were used with the athletes that I work with. As the years went by, there are more and more “re-discoveries”, fads, and trends. With all these training methods, it can be really confusing.


Having the opportunity to work with the top athletes in the Philippines and in another country in many different sports and from age 14 to 54, I have utilized a variety of training programs. And I have noticed a pattern manifest itself. I see it more often, now that I am aware of it. The training program that creates results is actually the simpler one. It is not the overly complicated routine. The complicated routine may work for a short while but things always change and situations change. When many factors which are beyond the control of the Strength Coach changes, it becomes difficult to implement the complicated routine. But most of the time, the “simpler” routine can still be implemented. Since it is quite simple, it can be flexible and modified to fit a situation, to lead to the training goal.


People normally expect quick results, and that it is easy to get bored doing the same routine over and over again. They might view a simple routine as boring, and not “state-of-the art”. But take a look at the trends, it is coming full circle. Early Strength Training programs emphasized compound lifts using simple barbells or just plain heavy stuff like logs and stones. As long as you lift well, train well consistently, and have a good recovery, good results follow. Then machines became quite popular.  Many other “ground breaking” and “state of the art” equipment were invented. They are really useful, but it does not mean that they are always superior to simpler equipment. It just depends on the situation and the goals. The more type of equipment, the more choices. And more choices sometimes creates confusion. In the Philippines, there may not be so much equipment to work with, but there is plenty of heart. I was lucky to have worked with athletes who want to become better. I consider myself lucky to have started working with a modest amount of equipment. Some equipment were even broken. That made me more creative on how to design a training program for a team with limited equipment and the athletes did improve. When I coached in another country, the situation is different. There are a lot of equipment, so much variety. It provides a different opportunity to learn. It is logistically easier and it allows us to work with a lot of different teams with different requirements. But if you were to make a record which equipment which most, if not all of us Strength Coaches in the institute where I work prefer to use- it would be the freeweights, more specifically the barbells. We have different backgrounds- some are locals, some are from parts of Europe, some are from South East Asia like me. But most if not all of us still would utilize freeweights. Irregardless of our background, and of our past experiences, it shows that we use the one which works. We use freeweights like barbells, most especially the Olympic barbells. I also see the big contribution of Kettlebell training especially in strength-endurance. The Olympic Barbell and Kettlebells are deceptively simple. But even in their simplicity, there are so many complex movements that can be done. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that Olympic barbells or the Kettlebells are the ultimate training equipment. It just depends on the training goal and the situation. I also personally like using bodyweight exercises for endurance and conditioning. The above equipment, including bodyweight exercises, demands that the user utilize almost all of the major joints and muscle groups in a coordinated and skillful way.


Think about it, you can utilize simple equipment, a simple routine, and produce outstanding results.


Here is an example of a part of a particular training program that I implement for a certain training phase:


Day 1:  Day 2:

Deadlift x 5s x 5r

Front Squat x 5s x 5r

Bench Press   x 5s x 5r

Pull ups 4s x 10r

2 arm swing    x 3s x 20r

Day 2:

Cleans 5s x 5r

Parallel Back Squat x 4s x 5r

Barbell Shoulder Press x 5s x 5r

Turkish Get up x 3s x 3r/3r

The first set is a warm up set. It can be made into an ascending pyramid (increasing weight per set) or just straight sets (same load). For this training, you only need a barbell, a bench press, and a kettlebell. It requires 24 to 48 hours recovery in between Strength training days. Boring? Well, an experienced lifter may not be so bored. With the right intensity, it is challenging. Depending on the athletes mobility and stability, it may take time to be able to do full range of motion. This training program is usually for those who have been training consistently for a few months and shows good mobility with sufficient strength. It can be for new athletes IF they have the required ability to execute the exercise in the required range of motion while still being able to stabilize their body with the load and it depends on their movement aptitude. Most new trainees may not yet exhibit those qualities. So if you look at it, it may seem so simple, yet it is for more “advanced” trainees.

If you want a dynamic warm-up that stretches your hip as well as strengthens your torso, click here.


No overly complicated stuff. Straight to the point. Simple. Efficient. Useful.

Nung estudyante ako

Posted: February 10, 2015 in From my vantage point

Lumaki ako sa siyudad ng Baguio at sa kapanahunan ko noon, uso sa mga lalake na mag aaral ng kolehiyo ang mag-enroll sa Engineering habang kadalasan naman na kinukuha ng mga babae ay Nursing. Engineering nga ang pinasok ko. Marami sa aking mga kaklase sa high school ay nakasama ko din sa Saint Louis University kung saan ako pumasok. May ROTC pa nuon o Reserved Officers’ Training Corps. Tinatapos ito sa unang 2 taon ng kolehiyo. Kung lalake ka at wala namang kapansanan ay dapat na tapusin mo ito kung gusto mong makatapos ng kolehiyo. Sa High School pa lang ay inihahanda na din para dito pero sa high school namin, mas uso ang Scouting Movement at Drafting. May konting Military drills din kami pero di gaya sa ibang paaralan. Kaya nung unang araw ng ROTC namin ay lagi akong nahuhuli sa mga commands. “Harap sa kanaaaaan…. Rap!” naka harap na lahat sa kanan, ako ay paikot pa lang. “Harap sa kaliwaaaaaa….  Rap!” Huli pa din ako at di rin ako marunong umikot, mejo patumba -tumba pa. Pero nung pansinin ko sa kabilang platoon, may mga nahuhuli din. Teka, parang kakilala ko yun a… Sabi ko na nga ba e, kaklase ko nung High School! Di ako nag iisa. Tawanan na lang kami nung magkita ulit kami. Pero kung mahina man kami nung una sa ROTC, humabol din kaagad. At dahil nasanay na kami sa Drafting nung High School, kaming nasa Engineering ay naka relax lang sa Drafting habang nangangamote naman ang iba. Huli man kami sa “Harap sa kanan, harap sa kaliwa”, kabisado naman namin ang “Front View, Side View, Orthographic View”.


Sa PE naman, Gymnastics ang first  at second Sem. Individual and Team Sports sa 2nd year 1st sem. Nag second year din ako sa Engineering kahit hirap sa Algebra. Naalala ko na Dance ang PE namin sa 2nd sem. Kami sa College of Engineering ay halos lalake lahat, baka may mga nagpapanggap din pero di ba masyado uso ang bading noon, ewan ko ba anong nangyare, nanganak ata sila at parang dumami. Peace! Marami din akong mga kaibigan na bading. Mas respetado ko yung di nagtatago kaysa sa kunyari lang. Balik tayo sa kwento…. Kulang ang partner na mga babae noon  kapag panay Engineering sections lang kaya ipinartner ang PE class namin sa College of Nursing na karamihan ay mga babae. Sabi ng instructor namin; “Hawakan nyo sa baywang ang mga kapartner nyong babae!”. Ako naman, hanap ng baywang. Nagkataon na parang drawing ng Engineer yung kapartner ko- deretsong deretso ang katawan. Wala akong makitang baywang. E di tanong ako sa instructor ng malakas, maingay kasi e, “Ma’am saan po ang baywang ng aking partner?”. Ang maputi kong kapartner, biglang naging mala rosas ang kulay. Duon din ako nakakita ng mga matang mala apoy. She’s Hot! ika nga. Kaso sa di ninanais na hotness. Ay naku, paano ba ito? Mukhang na-co tangent ako nito. Biglang umabot sa boiling point ang ina-analyze kong sample, este, classmate. Buti na lang at pinag drawing nya ako ng project nila bago ang araw na yun. Kung hindi ay baka magsasasayaw akong mag isa, parehas pang kaliwang paa.


Sa kalaunan, ang bayaw ko naman ay nakapagpatayu din ng gym- ang Flex Gym. Sa La Trinidad Valley ito, karatig bayan ng Baguio City kung saan ako lumaki. Nakapag ipon naman ako ng pambili ng mountain bike at gamit ko ito para pumunta sa Flex Gym. Pag wala akong pasok, tumatambay ako sa gym- para mag ensayo at para tumulong din. First to second year na ako sa College of Engineering sa Saint Louis University ng mga panahong iyon. Di ako masipag sa pagpraktis sa mga mathematical equations, pero pag nagbasa ako ng mga magazines at reference books ng aking bayaw tungkol sa Anatomy, madali ko itong naiintindihan, mapa anterior view, posterior view, o transverse plane at sagittal plane pa man. Parang iba ata ang hilig ko a. Nag-isip din ako ng malalim ilang buwan kung ano ba talaga ang gusto kong gawin. Sinulat ko ang pro’s and con’s. Ano ba ang gusto ko? Ang hilig ko?

Lipat Kurso

Hanggang sa nagpaalam ako sa aking nanay na gusto kong palitan ang aking kurso. Ginusto kong maging Physical Therapist. Lumipat ako sa University of Baguio. Buti na lang at tinangggap ako bilang second year student at di ako bumalik sa pagiging freshman. Nanibago ako dahil sa engineering ay karamihan lalake kami, mga tatlo hanggang lima lang ang kaklase naming mga babae. Baliktad naman ito sa College of Physical Therapy. Pinapaligiran ako ng mga nag gagandahang dalaga! Pero mahiyain ako. Working student din ako nuon. Tiga linis ako sa mga laboratories. Hardinero din sa maliit na green house. Hanggang sa naging laboratory assistant ako sa Zoology 101. Subject ko din iyon pero para walang masabi ang aking mga professors ay doble aral ako. Minememorize ko na agad ang mga muscles at buto ng palaka. At kumita pa ako ng konte dahil sa La Trinidad ay maraming “karag” o kaya’y bullfrog. Kaya sinadya kong nagpagabi sa Flex gym, at nung madilim na ay pumunta ako sa mga taniman ng gulay at numulot ako ng mga palaka at nilagay ko sa sako. Namulot ako, di na kailangang hulihin dahil di naman sila mabilis o malayo tumalon. Ibinenta ko ng P50 kada palaka.

Si Ming, ang dakila kong pusa06Jan2015 024

Lumipas ang isang sem ay naging assistant din ako sa Zoology 102. Tapos na ang mga palaka. Pating, pusa, at pagong naman ngayon. Dito di ko makakalimutan ang aking pusa. Ming ang pangalan nya. At sinakripisyo ko sya para lang may mapag aralan ako. Siguro kung kailangan kong gawin ulit ngayon ay di ko na kaya. Ganyan talaga, gusto mong matuto? Gawin mo ang kaya mong gawin. Di mo kaya, di ka para dito. Pero galing na ako sa engineering. Di na ako lilipat ng kurso, wala nang atrasan ito. Maiintindihan naman ng aking pusa kung bakit ko sya “ipapagraduate” agad. Di lang ang aking pusa ang aking pinatay. Di ko mabilang kung ilang pusa ang winakasan ko ng buhay. Di ako galit sa pusa, gustong gusto ko ang mga hayop. Pero kailangang gawin ito para sa mas mataas na dahilan. Para matuto para makatulong sa mga magiging pasyente. Bilang student assistant sa Zoo 2, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, ay ako ang berdugo. Berdugo ng mga Pusa. Nasa loob ako ng Laboratory. Papasok ka pa lang dito ay amoy mo na ang malakas na amoy ng formalin. 8:30 -10:30 ang unang Klase. Pasimula na ang topic na musculoskeletal anatomy- yung pusa. Bitbit na ng mga estudyante ang kanilang mga muning. Ako naman ay handa na. May bote ng isang kemikal, at di ko sasabihin kung ano ito, at may hawak akong bulak. Lalagyan ko ng kemikal yung bulak at itatapal ko ito sa ilong at bunganga ng mga muning. Mabilis lang. Ayaw ko silang mahirapan. Di nakakatuwa ang pumatay ng hayop. Pagkatapos ng 8:30-10:30 ay 10:30 – 12:30 class at parehong subject. Berdugo pa din ako. Kung di siguro ako malakas lakas ay sinamahan ko na din yung mga pusa sa kanilang paglalakbay patungo sa gate ni San Pedro. Nasa loob ako ng laboratoryo na puno ng formalin vapors at naamoy ko din yung ginagamit kong pamatay sa mga pusa. Siguro ay mahigit pa sa siyam ang buhay ko. Kung isang singhot ng pusa ay ubos ang siyam na buhay, di ko alam kung naka ilang singhot ako sa araw na yun. Akala ko matutumba na ako pero trabaho e, walang lalamya lamya. Amoy formalin ako kaya kahit na nag gagandahan ang mga estyudante ay trabaho lang ako. Di ako marunong magpa cute at di ko din makuhang magpa cute. Total mahiyain ako. At saka ‘di ko man lang sila masabayan canteen, di uso sa akin ang magmeryenda kasi. Total, nandun ako para mag-aral. Kaya din ako nag pa assign na maging assistant at janitor sa Zoology Lab, at pati na din sa Cadaver Lab, ay para makapag aral. Habang naglelecture ang mga professor ay nakikinig ako. Kung tapos na ang klase ay pinag aaralan ko ang mga patay. Ang mga patay na nanigas sa formalin ang mga kasamahan ko sa laboratoryo. Wala namang nakakatakot. Wala ka nang maramdaman na kaluluwa, o baka manhid lang ako.

3rd year to 5th year

Ang unang 2 taon sa kolehiyo noon ay basic subjects pa lang. Sa third year pa talagang magkaka-alaman. Naging third year na din ako. Sa wakas, makakapag suot na din ako ng puting uniporme! Mas mahal na ang tuition fee, at bawal na din daw na ipag patuloy ka ang pagiging “Student Assistant” ang tawag sa aming mga working student sa unibersidad namin. Inisip ko na lang na mahihirapan na ako pag pinagsabay ko ang trabaho at pag aaral. Kakilala ko na din halos lahat ng kaklase ko. Sila din yung mga estudyante ng professor sa Zoo 101 at Zoo 102. Kilala na din nila ako. Dumaan kami sa iba’t ibang klaseng guro. May magaling magturo, may nambobola, may nagtitrip. Madali namang makita ang pagkatao nila. At kahit saan, iba’t iba talaga ang mga ugali. Tiis na lang kung di mo type ang teacher. Pakonte ng pakonte ang bilang namin hanggang sa 5th year. May mga naabutan kaming mga senior namin dati at may mga kasamahan kaming nahuli. Ganyan talaga. Internship ang 5th year at dito mo masusubukan kung may naintindihan ka nga sa classroom. Sampung buwan ang internship at swertehan din kung saan ka i-assign ng mga internship coordinators. Swertehan din kung sino magiging kasamahan mo na galing sa school mo at yung galing ng ibang school. Na-assign ako sa Baguio mismo, sa Olongapo ng 2 buwan, sa Bataan, sa Rizal, sa Bulacan, sa Manila, sa Makati, sa Baguio ulit, at sa La Union. Iba’t ibang ugali, iba’t ibang lugar. Masasayang ala ala din. Mahal ang tuition fee at magastos din ang Internship kaya nagtitipid ako lagi. Hayaan mo nang matawag na “Others”. Di ako masyadong umuuwi pag di naman kailangan. Sayang din pamasahe. Total isang buwan lang naman at makakauwi din, tapos babyahe na naman. Pagkatapos ng 10 buwang internship ay halos patapos na kami. Graduation na!


Sa wakas ay nakapagtapos din ako ng pag aaral. Salamat sa aking mga magulang, sa sakripisyo nila. Salamat sa aking mga lola at lolo, sa mga kapatid, sa buong angkan. Di ko matatapos kung wala sila. Pagkatapos ay review na para sa board exams. Sa school ako nag review. Lagi kong sinasabi sa aking sarili bago ako matulog na kakayanin ko at papasa ako. Inuulit ko ito pagkagising. Nasanay ako na natutulog ng maaga at gumigising ng alas sais ng umaga. Nung review ay kailangang magpuyat. Sinubukan kong uminum ng 2 bote ng Red Bull- yung 250ml cans. Masarap sya. Inantok pa din ako. Mga isa’t kalahating buwan ata bago ng Board exam namin nang lumuwas kami ng iba kong kaklase sa Maynila. Siempre yung murang dorm ang kaya namin. Sa may Lerma Dorm sa Morayta sa may Espana kami napadpad. Kung dederetsohin mo yung Espana, yung lumang lumang gusali sa dulo nya yung dorm namin. Mas mura dito. Isang hard boiled egg, isang hotdog at kanin ang pang umagahan. One to sawa ang tubig. May sabaw ata yung pananghalian. Ang hapunan ay madalas pritong isda. Galing ng iba’t ibang eskwelahan ang mga tumitira sa dorm na yun. Lahat seryoso. Siempre nagkwekwentuhan din paminsan minsan sa mga taga ibang paaralan. Ilang araw bago ang exam, tinasa ko ang mga lapis na gagamitin ko. Cutter ang ginamit ko. Natutunan ko nung engineering student ako kung pano ang tamang tasa ng lapis para maayos ang pagsulat ag pagdrawing. Nakita ng ibang grupo na cutter ang gamit ko sa pagtasa. Nagtaka ako dahil pinagtawanan ako. Bakit daw di ako gumamit ng pencil sharpener? Bakit daw makaluma ata ang gamit ko? Mukhang sila ata ang di marunong a. Di ako pala away kaya di na ako nagsalita.


Dumating na ang araw ng Board Exam. Di na kami nagpuyat ng mga kaklase ko sa pag aaral. Namalantsa na lang kami ng puting uniporme. Iba’t ibang venue yung exam namin. Nung makarating ako sa venue ng exam, lahat kinakabahan. Magkakaapelyido pa kami sa hanay ng upuan ko. At naalala ko na sumusuka pa yung babae na nasa likuran ko dahil sa nerbiyos. Pagkatapos ng 2 araw, natapos din ang exam! Halo halong mukha ang makikita mo. Pero karamihan ay abot tenga ang ngiti. Makakahinga kami ng maluwag, kahit panandalian lang. Aantayin pa namin ang resulta at dahil sa di pa computerized masyado nuon ay Augusto pa magkaka alaman. Kinabukasan ay di pa ako umuwi. Naghanap muna ako ng trabaho. Sa isip ko, swerte kung may mahahanap ako, pero practis lang ito sa job hunting.


Umuwi na ako ng Baguio. Dumating na ang araw na ilalabas ang resulta. Nagbihis ako at pumunta sa plaza. Bumili ako ng Manila Bulletin sa harap ng Old Tiong San Bazaar. Di ko muna ito binuklat. Naghanap muna ako ng mauupuan at sa Maharlika Livelihood Center ako napadpad. Nagdasal muna ako na matatanggap ko kung anuman ang resulta. Hinanap ko na ang aking pangalan. Ang daming apelyido pala ang nagsisimula sa R. Ramos… Ang daming Ramos… pero wala pa ako…. Boom! sa mejo baba pala pangalan ko! Masayang masaya ako. Di ko na maalala anong ginawa ko pero dumeretso na ata ako sa Hangar Market sa tindahan ng nanay ko. Masaya ako at di ko sinayang ang sakripisyo ng aking mga magulang. Masayang masaya ako dahil alam kong masayang masaya din ang aking mga magulang.

(Ang tinungo kong landas pagkatapos kong maging Physical Therapist. Ingles na po ito.)

Freedom is not Free

Posted: February 3, 2015 in From my vantage point

valstrengthtraniningfotanIt never was and will never be. Everything has a price. Freedom will not be enjoyed without struggles. Its concept seems to change over time too.

Freedom may not be free but our choice to be free is unstoppable. It is only we who can set ourselves free by choosing freedom. Being aware of freedom, or the lack thereof, is the first step. Not unless we are aware that we are in the dark, then we will never look for the light.

Choosing to be free is the next step. We must choose, not unless we are apathetic with life, snug and comfortable in the slowly tightening grip of disease. We must decide to be better, then we can opt to struggle with our choice, or cease struggling after we taste some disappointments, which a dead body does. A lot would choose to be better, to be free from disease, to be free from weakness. But when the struggling part lets us taste the bitterness of defeat, it is when a lot would then choose to stay within their comfort zones. A lot would not go past the alarm phase to the resistance phase. They would rather fantasize than live their dreams.

Freedom in all its forms is attained by struggle. Freedom from disease is a never ending battle between forces that try to disrupt the balance of life. Some are born to fight an uphill battle, some are born to tread a harder path. We are born to walk our own path but we can follow the steps of those who were successful. We can listen to the advise of those who have experienced more, who understand the “map” more.

The third step is to actually make those steps. To go against gravity. Those who broke free from the trap of sloth are able to enjoy freedom. Those who acted instead of ruthobgynmdjust talked are now enjoying the ecstasy of experiencing running over mountains (some do it literally). Those who moved are able to improve day by day until one day, they are lifting more than their body weight. They are forgetting how it is to struggle to walk up the stairs. They now enjoy their life. They are now living their life. Some of them have experienced the darn feeling of helplessness, depending on others for even the most basic of needs like to feed one’s self, that they swore to rise up and be better.

Life is like swimming upstream, you get carried back down if you stop giving effort. Maintaining your effort and enthusiasm is the fourth step. Do not be fooled into thinking that once achieved, it is permanent. Nothing in this world is permanent. Our hard earned health and fitness is bound to deteriorate. We must strive to keep it at its best, and while we are at it, we should enjoy the process. The path to freedom is never easy, it should be. Otherwise, who would tread it?

After all those challenges, we have learned, we have changed, we can now move on. Finally, when the basic components that make up our body go back to nature as separate elements without any struggle, then we are free. No more struggles, just freedom.