Dance is my thing! I haven’t joined the TikTok craze yet, but I have lots of funky and crazy ideas, like doing a “Lolas of Manila” boogie or a “GlamMa” K-pop dance with Dasuri Choi (@dasurichoi_ on Instagram), or even a Zumba/hip-hop with Robert Nee Caguimbal (@robbynee on Instagram).
In the meantime, I am getting my dance moves to become more fluid with 808 Studio (@808studioph on Instagram), Asia’s first boutique dance fitness studio that incorporates a featured dance genre workout with choreo and cardio. To add to the exciting dance beat, some classes have a live DJ to keep the energy and sweat level super high.
I couldn’t contain myself from celebrating life for my 57th birthday last week, so after our intimate family weekend in Balesin Island Club, I got 808 Studio’s Sofia Coyiuto to help me plan a disco Zoom party. I was overjoyed that about 100 friends joined the online sesh, including my Zumba Zbabes, travel gang, Assumption classmates and more.
As with all my past parties, I prepared giveaways and prizes for the online guests. We had a prize for the best in disco attire as well as special gifts for the generous donors to my chosen charity, Sisters of Mary Girlstown.
The students painted ostrich eggs for our #DandTLove25 wedding anniversary last year, and we still had a few to give away this year. We also had sunglasses from Ideal Vision, Bench Beauty and Bench products from good friend Ben Chan, and of course Gardenia bread from fave couple Carlo and Digzy Umali.
Online dance sesh
Birthday boy Bryan Prieto joined me for the online dance sesh, as well as Assumption BFF Jojo Ongsiako who looked so glittery in her disco ensemble. DJ Santi (@ser_santino on Instagram) and 808 Studio instructor Donna Shi (@donnashi on Instagram) kept the party wild and so fun! For a blink moment, I almost forgot we were still in the midst of this unbelievable crisis!
I will be dancing again this coming weekend at Aegle Wellness Center’s (email [email protected]) Zumba + Wellness Serenity Series at Balesin Island Club. Zumba instructor Robby “ZIN Rob” Caguimbal will be leading us all through several dance sessions in a wellness package that is Aegle’s way of combining mind and body treatments to create a holistic weekend of health.
Join me at Aegle’s Zumba weekend Sept. 25-27. Aside from the Zumba sessions, Aegle’s three-day, two-night package includes a range of treatments including their excellent IV Immune Boost, hyperbaric oxygen treatment and a lot more. Best of all, everyone goes home with a 30-day supply of supplements.
With some sense of normalcy, people are starting to dine out and even go shopping. I get excited to leave the house so I can wear the different face masks that I buy in support of local artisans.
Favorite face masks
These reusable fabric masks are in no way a replacement for medical-grade masks, but they do prevent you from unintentionally spreading germs. Disposable masks are wasteful and not sustainable, so reusable ones are better also for the environment. I have discovered local fashion designers who make face masks with artistic touches.
My current favorite is the new face mask by world-class fashion designer Mak Tumang (visit www.maktumang.store; @maktumang on Instagram).
Mak Tumang Atelier’s core mission to be innovative and relatable to the times is evident with his offerings. Mak has found a way for fashion to adapt during the pandemic. He brainstorms with his team and comes up with brilliant, idiosyncratic collections. From his wedding collections to daily, sustainable items deemed necessary rather than an ephemeral accessory, Mak is preparing something that will highlight his talent and advocacy: Passion. Fashion. Compassion.
Each Lava, Verde and Flora mask set comes with four to five masks with nose wire and a cup structure that holds PM2.5 filter, with sizes: Kids, XS, S, M, L.
Creating masks in her own fabric, Ditta Sandico (@DittaSandicoOfficial on Facebook) is helping local weavers survive. Her legacy to local fashion is her fabric, a combination of the jusi (banana fabric) and piña (pineapple fabric) that she uses to design beautiful wraps and fashionable ensembles. This is just one of the many weave concoctions she has come up with in her research and working with indigenous weavers.
Other face masks I wear are from Mark Tenchavez (@mark_shandar) from Cebu, from Religioso (@religiosomanila on Instagram) of Yvette Ilagan and from Steffy de Mylo (@iamsteffydemylo on Instagram) of Davao. All designs are very artistic, colorful and have a twist of quirkiness. I am excited for my personalized masks that I ordered from Bernadette de los Santos (@bidibidi101 on Instagram) of Camarines Sur.
In support of a local school in Tagaytay, a group of young students designed face masks sold for charity. The long-term shift from face-to-face to online classes has definitely been an ongoing struggle for schools across the country.
Tatak Talino (@tataktalino on Instagram) is a nonprofit group that was created to raise funds to alleviate the stress of these demands. The Tatak Talino team consists of three high schoolers Kendra Morris, Raya Simpao and Miguel Villanueva. They sell face masks and tote bags with original handpainted designs.
The face masks are composed of three-layer microfiber and sell for P180 each, while the tote bags are canvas and sell for P300. Both are bright and eye-catching, each available in four different designs.
From their own perspective as students, they feel compassion for those in need of school materials. All of the proceeds will go toward school supplies for Tagaytay National Science High School.
We’ve all borne witness to how this insidious virus is impacting our families, our communities and our very way of life. But, we are heartened by the moments of triumph in everyday acts of courage, humanity and love. Although these are trying times for us all, I remain optimistic. So do keep that smile on, even unseen due to the face mask! We should all share positive happy vibes whenever possible.