It's been years since the last time I was at the University of Santo Tomas. As far as I can recall, my last visit was to train new blood for a national debate tournament, which has been my life for my entire stay in uni. Before I discovered fitness, I was a debater, and I loved it to extreme levels. I loved creating ideas, and imagining a world that is better for all players of society. I guess observing it through a closer lens, what I am in love with is creating. May it be movement or concepts. It is applying yourself to make something out of nothing, using your own human experience I where I feel most alive.
A few days back, I was invited to be a guest speaker at the 3rd National Leaders Summit hosted by my alma mater. Much like before, I found myself on a podium, with a microphone in my hand, and an audience ready to listen. Nothing much has changed. If anything, the feeling is even better since I talked about what I love, and how I found my movement.
I love speaking because I have a lot to say. I love sharing my experience because I want everyone to discover what they love, and if my words nudge them a little bit closer to discovering their life purpose, than I would be the happiest soul in the world. Sharing in this post some of the highlights from my speech at UST. The live video is still up on my Facebook Page. Click here to view the full video.
When I was in school I never thought that I would ever talk about pole in front of an audience. It was in my 4th year of uni that I discovered the aerial arts. I had no ambitions of becoming a fitness influencer, nor was I even aware that my life was about to change quite literally when I met the people that will eventually become my business partners, and lifelong friends as Polecats Manila was born.
My sport is not the usual. In fact it was something that wasn’t allowed when I was in school because I might get kicked out according to the student handbook (heehee). If my college rector finds out that a Thomasian debater was also a pole dancer at night (because pole class schedules were only at night 7 years ago), it would be the end of my university life. It’s really not the kind of thing that’s easy to explain to your parents, or to your catholic school. But nonetheless I stuck with it. Not because I was a rebel, because really that is not in my personality. But because I felt that there we something transformative about discovering your strength, and realizing that your body can do all these amazing shapes. This began my love for fitness, which eventually became my life.
Now, I travel all over Asia teaching workshops in Aerial Arts, Pole, and Indoor Cycling inspiring people to discover their own brand of fitness. I have my own studio together with equally talented and ambitious individuals in Polecats Manila. We’ve been around for 7 years. We are the first aerial arts school in the Philippines. Currently operating in 5 different locations around Manila, and constantly looking for ways to expand and become better.
Looking back, I realize that everything I've been through has led to where I am now. Before we started the studio I was this lanky girl with no pull up, and no split; and yet here I am speaking about fitness 7 years later. When I was still plugged into the debate circuit, I always thought that I would pursue a law career after I graduated, but that never happened. Looking at where I am now and what I get to do on an everyday basis, I can smile and say that it was all for the better.
To summarize this post, I leave you with this -- Use your life experience, with all it's odd twists and turns for your greater purpose to be amplified through YOU. I'm done wishing that I started dancing young. Those 5 years spent building a case, arguing for a motion, working with a teammate, understanding the roots behind geo-political conflict has, taught me what I need to know now. That my thoughts hold the power to create worlds that are better. That ideas that are beautiful, and are valid should be argued for with every breath you have in you. That on whatever side you find yourself in, there's always a positive case to champion. Debaters hearts get broken more times than average reasonable person. But that's exactly what makes them the best kind of people.