Author:  James Z. Carpio

Finally, I take breaks now when doing my exercise program. I always used to do my training daily over a period of more than a year. But last Saturday, I just went to the city center to take a breather and basically just unwind. It sure looks different when the sun is shining in all its glory. But it’s still cooler than the Manila weather. I was not expecting anything new at all but just the usual, but boy oh boy was I in for a pleasant surprise.

After spending almost an hour at an internet shop, I walked farther downtown. At Plaza Quince Martires, there were a lot of people and dogs. It was a dog party of sorts. It was like a pack of wolves. Dogs of different breeds such as Golden Retriever, Chow Chow, Siberian Husky, Shih Tzu and many more. From large ones to toy breeds, and of myriad different colors and length of fur coats. They were chilling out at the park. Some dogs that I have only seen in magazines or on television right there and then I have seen them in person. I found it surprising that the dogs were not noisy at all. They were on a leash so it was not dangerous as well. Their handlers were carefully keeping them well under control.

I found out the next day when I googled the sort of dog convention that it was organized by a dog lovers club. It is a very active club as it seemed basing on the considerable number of members. They have over 2 thousand members. On their agenda and advocacies are projects for a pet cemetery and a pet park. They promote responsible pet ownership which I personally think is a noble cause.

Aside from that, everything else was the same at the city center. Breakfast was at a nice restaurant with very few people as it was early morning. The aforementioned dining place has many framed quotes and nuggets of wisdom hanging on its walls that are food for the mind. The staff are welcoming and the service is superb. The meal was even discounted. Amazing!

Then I went to the biggest mall in the city. When you are early, I suggest you either go to the restaurant that is open for breakfast or you tell the guard that you are going to the supermarket. This beats the boredom of waiting outside until the mall opens. The street food section of the supermarket is ready to offer you affordable yet delectable treats. I usually buy Chinese dim sum and a bottle of water.

When the mall opens at 10:00 a.m. I go straight to the food court at the pizzeria where on the menu is a discounted super slice of pizza that I order for to go. Then I check out what is showing at the cinemas but then again I just look at the movie posters or the trailers on a television screen then I’m done. The last movie I have seen was one of the Harry Potter series which I did not finish watching. Although one of the Fast & the Furious movie franchises was a blast. That I vividly remember until now like the cars being driven out of a speeding train. Paul Walker was still alive in that installment. That goes to show how long ago I enjoyed a film.

An hour or so of escapism would not hurt at all. But truth is stranger than fiction when you get to my age. My life is more exciting than the movies so I’d rather live in the real world than in the make-believe world. I feel listless when watching a movie with almost the same plot and the same formula. I guess they do not make movies like they used to like The Sting, An Affair to Remember, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Ten Commandments and The Sound of Music. These are cinema classics that never lost their glory.

When I shop it happens once in a blue moon. The last item I bought was a gadget I needed for work. The only time for most people that they watch the interiors of the mall is during Christmas Season when it is decorated with quaint trimmings and bedazzling lights. Other occasions count too but then again Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

Dining out at a Japanese restaurant situated at the hub along the Magsaysay Strip recently was a precious experience. It is always a great opportunity eating out with family. The beef ramen was excellent. Ramen is actually Japanese for noodles so we can not say beef ramen noodles while observing grammar rules. My sister retorted so is pizza pie because pizza is Italian for pie. And I added off topic, so is laguna lake because laguna is Spanish for lake.

Since it was Ash Wednesday this week, you can go to your local parish because they usually have activities on the weekends. One time I attended and completed a Healing Seminar. It was good for the soul. It is always good to have a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Last Sunday, I did my exercise routine but I would roughly estimate it at an intermediate level as it took me 2 hours to complete the course. I started at Jacob then on to Elias Angeles, Panganiban Drive, then I turned right at Ninoy & Cory Avenue then I turned left at Roxas Avenue. I reached the roundabout where the beautifully manicured and lighted garden of the pilgrim city landmark welcomes devotees. Last avenue I walked along was Magsaysay Avenue. Then I was home. The roads I mentioned are all bedecked with streetlights in yellow and white before the break of dawn. It is safer to use well lit streets, roads and avenues. Many establishments are open 24/7 like convenience stores, fast food chains and drug stores. The ground is well illuminated and if you are lucky when you look up the sky it has incomparable celestial lights: the moon and the stars.

Usually on weekends, I have seen Fun Runs and Marathons. They have hundreds of participants. I don’t exactly know the statistics but basing from my observations there are few heavy people in Naga. Well the ones I have seen will most probably lose the excess weight in due time if I keep seeing them on the sidewalks walking, jogging or running. If you do it frequently you will also recognize the regular fitness enthusiasts. My neighbor whose wife works very early see me do my program would call out my name. One time I changed schedule for a bit and one of the neighbors asked me why she did not see me exercising anymore. You do see friendly faces every now and then.

If at any rate you are not into individual sports like biking and what I do, there will be football clinics, basketball clinics and other team sports that are usually conducted over the weekend. What does Naga City have more to offer to its residents and tourists? Well, other leisure activities in the Metro are meet and greet movie stars, mall shows, concerts, live band, golf, ballroom dancing, discounted shopping, discounted meals, wall climbing, rappelling, zip lining, shooting, swimming and visiting parks and historical landmarks. Sunday is a church day and a family day. It is the time we can eliminate the stress we endured during the work week.

To summarize, I think I have discussed and touched on a plethora of worthwhile pursuits to engage in during the weekends to encourage people to go outdoors, leave modern technology behind and develop a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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  1. I am interested in reading reports on the hiking/biking possibilities on Isarog and the water sports centre near the airport. I think both of these would be particularly interesting to visitors and I know the wake boarding centre is particularly well known internationally. Thx.


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