I received a small trophy today….

… Not sure what it is for exactly, but it’s a special award, I think mainly for participating. For the past few weeks I have been attending a community exercise with fellow Filipinos living here in Muscat and today there was a sort of contest, an “Aerobics Marathon” as they dubbed it.

Part of JG’s job is to attend activities organized by the many clubs and/or organizations of the Filipino community here in Muscat, and a couple of months ago he was invited to help open this exercise activity led by a group of Filipino professional fitness instructors. And because it came in a great time where JG and I are seriously trying to get fit, I decided to have a go at it.

First let me use this blog to congratulate the said organizers. I thought this is an excellent idea because it simply but profoundly helps many by sharing their knowledge and skills. Especially here in Muscat where there are a lot of fitness centers but charge really expensively. And health I believe is one of the things overseas Filipino workers should take care of.

Life here in Muscat can be a bit laid-back. Not much distractions as compared to other busy and hectic metropolitans. You go to work, come home, occasionally you go out, and gorge at the many awesome places to eat at the malls or elsewhere. The weather is also a cause to get unhealthy especially during the hot season when the heat would make you really too lazy to move, and just sit on the couch with the AC in full blast, watch TV and munch on humongous bags of chips.

I know this, because this is somewhat what has happened to me and a lot of the many others I know living here. Many of us who hardly noticed that we were no longer physically moving our bodies to help it regulate everything we consume and keep body parts and organs in top shape. Many of us who suddenly found ourselves overweight and just shrugged it off as a part of life.

Back to the Filipino community, I know that during the colder season, the most popular form of gathering aside from the Tagalog Catholic Mass every third Friday of the month is the weekly basketball tourneys. This is also great, but in terms of fitness and health only benefits the men who are participating. Another downside to this gathering are the Filipino food sold, which are too good, with its nostalgic appeal and of course delectable taste, to pass up.

This is why organizing a group exercise open to everyone, led by professionals, is a great idea because it can be a benefit to a great deal more. And I think it’s really great that they decided to lend out a hand to Filipinos living here.

Photos from the organizers's Facebook Page
One of the these ladies is Me, not going to share which… sorry Photos from the organizers’s Facebook Page

And so I found myself driving to the said event every Friday night with a growing number of my fellow kababayans. This is a big deal for me because this is the first time for me to be participating in an activity that requires doing things outside my comfort zone. Most specifically the dancing part, most specifically the gyrating parts or as Mylie Cyrus has popularized  – “twerking”.

The hour-long exercise usually composes of Zumba exercises, and many aerobic routines that require hip thrusting, booty shaking, and often times hair tossing. If you know me, you would understand, I walk like an awkward teenage boy and has the grace of a Mason (not the members of the Knights Templar, but the ones that layeth bricks for a living). Most of my family, especially my brother and mother are great dancers, but alas I was cursed with genes that has the  flexibility of a tree branch.

My Mom said that I just need to let go a little, or a lot, and try not to be too self-conscious of how I look. The problem here is I do not seem to have the irrational confidence most people seem to have when it comes to dancing, the kind where you feel you are capable and truly good at something but in reality really looks weird doing it. Whoever said to “dance like no one is watching” seem to have gotten through to a lot of people, but not to me. I am always aware of how stiff my hips are and their incapability to gyrate and/or twerk, and even if no one is watching, I know, and so I try to avoid doing it in public or otherwise.

Nevertheless, I participated in that exercise activity because dancing, albeit rigidly, is also a great cardio work-out.

My Special Award trophy of Participation
My Special Award trophy of Participation

But unlike jogging, dancing is less meditative and serious, more spontaneous, and quite simply more fun (The fun aspect I use whenever I do a variation of the parts where the twerking is required). I participated because I like the idea of community dancing and being a part of others like me who are away from those we love, and would like to break from the monotony of the daily habits that’s causing some of us to get fat and lazy. Both amongst those who are truly really good at it, and the others who have the irrational confidence that they are too.

I have been to many Filipino events, but almost always as the Diplowife. As JG’s wife my participation was mostly a supportive role, a plus one, and therefore more of just an observer. And so not only was this a great chance to get out of my comfort zone (well sort of), but it’s also an opportunity for me to finally feel truly a part of the community here.

They won’t be holding the exercises in the following weeks, I think most of the organizers will be going home for a vacation and by the time they resume I will have already left Oman for good.  Today is my last day to be attending, which is why receiving the trophy seems fitting and genuinely appreciated.

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