Good Looking Women and Paradise Seem to Go Together Well!
I have no intentions of describing the beautiful women that live here in the Philippines, but for the sake of those who have never heard of Zumba, I will explain. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program for all ages, women and men alike. It incorporates a number of different kinds of traditional dances with easy-to-follow dance and aerobic choreography into a fun exercise-class format. This dance craze is a worldwide phenomenon with an estimated participation of approximately 14 million people in over 140,000 locations across the world in more than 185 countries.
Several years ago, my wife was a dedicated gym goer making trips to the gym three to five times a week for a workout routine that eventually became boring (apparently). One day, one of her long-time customers (pictured below) invited her to a Zumba class at the local Dance Studio where we lived in Tupelo, Mississippi. Looking at her friend who is over 70 years old, how could anyone argue with the results of this fountain-of-youth program? Within two weeks, she was talking about cancelling her gym membership. She eventually swapped the treadmill, the ab-crunch machine, and all the other boring gym equipment for the Zumba dance craze. She became so dedicated to incorporating fun into her workout that she has been now doing Zumba continuously for going on 5 years.
Since moving to live on Samar Island here in the Philippines, she has been re-introduced to her favorite past-time. Just shortly after arriving here last July 2013, Zumba also finally arrived and was offered by the local business “My Body Health and Fitness Spa” in Calbayog City. It wasn’t long though before My Body’s dance instructor left town with nobody to administer the Zumba program. Then amazingly, the Zumba Gods created another opportunity with a new instructor – outdoor Zumba at the Calbayog Sports Complex. It was now much cheaper to dance as compared to the P70 charge for a one hour session at My Body. The new rate offered for outdoor Zumba was only P20 and allowed more women to participate. Every evening there would be groups of 15 to 30 women show up for a one-hour workout in the evening warmth and humidity. Talk about getting a sweat on! Of course, rain would always be the deciding factor whether Zumba would happen or not. Because of the success and popularity of this program, it was decided that the group needed a more suitable location, and one that had a roof, to allow Zumba to continue, rain or shine. Currently, a local barangay that has a covered plazas has allowed the Zumba to continue every evening, until a more permanent home can be found.
Recently, Zumba Fitness made its debut where we live in the sleepy little paradise barangay of Tomaligues. Although our village plaza area is not covered, it was decided to offer Zumba sessions on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 6:00 am. I originally thought this might be too early, but most folks are already up around here before sunrise anyway. Mornings offer a better chance of avoiding the rains that may be more common during the afternoons, especially during the rainy season. I have been surprised that the turnouts have been attended by about 20 women each day over the last two weekends. While my wife works with the dance instructor to coordinate and help grow the local event, she hopes to launch some local advertising (mostly bamboo telegraph) that will help spread the word to some of the outlying barangays to the north of Calbayog City. I will also offer some help with my computer and printer by making some color flyers for distribution to the masses.
My wife is such an enthusiastic participant and avid supporter of the Zumba community, it is not unusual for her to seek out Zumba opportunities wherever she goes. She has participated in Zumba sessions from Tupelo, MS, to Memphis, TN. From Chicago to New Orleans, and even a half-time event at an NBA game. From Guam to Manila, and Olongapo, Marivelles (Bataan), and now Tomaligues (Samar). Next stop…I can’t really say. But know this, wherever we travel, she will have her workout bag and a pair of shoes with her as she says “you never know where you can find Zumba…it’s everywhere!”
For me, it’s just a short walk from our house to the little plaza here in our village and next weekend, just like last weekend, I will be there with my morning coffee and donuts to watch the workou…er, I mean enjoy the sunrise and all that the new day brings. I fully support Zumba’s health and fitness program and encourage all the women from all the surrounding villages to come join us…er, I mean them! But know this…it may be a little early and you may be a little sleepy-eyed when you first get there, but when it’s over, you will feel so rejuvenated. I know I do!