Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1500 inmates and one La Sallite

Spot the La Sallite in the crowd...

Good evening from the Queen City of the South.

We arrived in Cebu on the first flight out of Manila very early this morning, and spent a very busy day crisscrossing the city meeting people and undertaking all sorts of experiences for Travelife Magazine and Travelife TV. There's actually too much to write about, but perhaps one of the most amazing things today involved a visit to the Cebu Provincial Jail up in the hills of Cebu, to watch the dance performance of the inmates.


Some of the 1500 Cebu jail inmates who danced
for Travelife Magazine today

Lots of people have heard about Cebu's dancing inmates and seen footages of them online or on TV. But it's quite a spectacle to see all 1500 of them in orange uniforms, actually dancing in front of you. I was wide-eyed and open-mouthed for most of the time. And the jail is pretty well-kept, by the way.

The inmates danced to Michael Jackson's song Thriller; and it was truly an impressive performance that involved props (a coffin and a mock-up of a cave), a couple of scary costumes, and lots of pretty talented dancers. And today, there was no public performance. It was a very special private performance just for the Travelife team. Thank you to the Cebu Provincial Jail for this.

Earlier at lunch at the Marriott Cebu, the guys on my team were forever teasing me about my having to join this dance. I'm pretty willing to try new things and go on new adventures, but this was one thing I most certainly was not keen to do. For one thing, it was incredibly hot. But the fact that I wasn't willing to do it made them tease me about it even more.


Fortunately, my Travelife co-host Miko was a better sport. So I watched from the comfort of the audience gallery while he actually embedded himself among the performers and did the Thriller dance while the other guys filmed him. Miko is the only La Sallite among the Travelife team of Ateneans, so we had a fun time ribbing him about his dancing skills and attributing this to his educational background. We've been doing this since Day One. All in good fun, of course, as I have so many good friends from La Salle. Miko tries to get back at us with Ateneo jokes, of course; but unfortunately, he's simply outnumbered.

That's Miko getting ready to join the inmates' dance,
and the rest of the team positioning to film

Ready, get set, and go...


At sunset, we drove up the hills to the beautiful family home of my friends Ralph and Gia. I'd been here a few months ago and I'd fallen in love with their huge terrace and its amazing view of Cebu, and the large wooden table where they often sat al fresco. We'd sat here as well sometime last year having wine and cheese before heading down for an Italian dinner in the city.

The last shoot of the day,
on the terrace of Ralph and Gia's beautiful home

Well, this time, I really wanted to take my team here to shoot the view for Travelife TV. Fortunately, both Ralph and Gia were around so we were able to arrange this and have a great shoot of the entire city of Cebu as seen from their amazing terrace.

With our very busy schedule today, we were simply exhausted by dinner, and I was ready to hit the sack as soon as I returned to our hotel as it had been a series of late nights and early mornings in a row. But we decided to have a quick dinner at the Radisson's buffet restaurant. This probably revived us because what started out as a quick and quiet meal turned into a pretty long and enjoyable evening. I can't even recall the last time I laughed this much and this hard -- and the irony here is that I was the subject matter. Yes, I was basically laughing at myself.

That's us, hanging out in our Cebu "home" --
the presidential suite of the Radisson Blu Hotel

I recounted a recent meeting with a therapist that I'd had for coverage on Travelife TV, and the situation -- I have to admit -- was quite comical; so the guys had all pounced on this in unison. They teased me mercilessly about it and it was so funny that I laughed until my sides ached.

It was a good end to a very productive day. Our team's been working incredibly hard and we're very serious about doing a great job; but as soon as the cameras are shut, we're on joke mode and the teasing never ends. It's a pretty enjoyable way to work.

Interested in the Travelife Turkey Tours
for May 2011?
Click here to watch an interview on ANC
with Christine Cunanan,
Travelife Magazine Publisher
Angel Aquino in Bora
for Travelife Magazine


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