Fly through the air… on silk?!

Fly through the air… on silk?!

Get suspended from the ceiling and move with grace with nothing but a piece of cloth.

What is aerial silk?

A quick demo on what it is.

It’s a performance art where you move in mid-air using only your body and a piece of special fabric. You climb the fabric as if you’re using ropes and use it to wrap, suspend, swing, and spiral your body into and out of various positions.

Gear up. You need

You don’t need to go full-on diva with your clothes.

– Comfy workout clothes, with leggings that cover the back of your knees and any tight-fitting top
– Short nails
– Go barefoot, jewelry-free, and moisturizer-free
– Water bottle to stay highdrated
– Have a light snack at least an hour before your training
– Keep an open your mind and be ready to learn

Day 1 of class.

Everything will be taught on the ground first before taking it off the floor once you’re ready.

– Meet greet between teacher and students
– Do warm-up exercises such as dynamic stretching, core excercises, warm-up climbs with the fabric)
– You’ll be taught how to mount and dismount the fabric, do’s and dont’s, safety precautions, and other essential information
– First things first. You’ll be first be made familiar with the fabric along with how to develop strength and condition

Basic moves to learn

– Basic climb
– Simple knots (single foot lock)
– Beginner moves such as standing hip lean, sitting hip lean, and figurehead

Worry not. Can’t do a pull-up? Feel like you’re not flexible? Worry not for you’ll develop those as you train.

The basics
Where to go to learn aerial silk. Elite Aerial Arts143 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

All photos courtesy of Elite Aerial Arts

Play ninja sans the costume—a new sport to love

Play ninja sans the costume—a new sport to love

Run, jump, and vault your way through everyday obstacles with a new sport that’s taken the world by storm: parkour.

We spoke to Robby Apelo from the Philippine Parkour and Freerunning Association, one of the country’s largest parkour groups, and Raven Cruz of Rogue Movement, to know more about parkour.

What is parkour?

It doesn’t have to be as cinematic as these shots, though. Video by Storm Freerun

Robby says it’s “using natural ways of movement to navigate obstacles in a given environment.” Its movements are inspired by the military obstacle course training in France but developed as a standalone activity by David Belle, Sebastien Foucan, and the Yamakasi.

Terms, checks and gearing up

Training sessions are called jams, while parkour practitioners are called traceurs.

Before a jam, have a good warm-up by doing jumping jacks or jogging, and stretching. Check the space you’ll be moving around in. Make sure everything you’re likely to use is sturdy and safe. Plan your moves.

Basic movements

It looks simple, but you go through so much before you can do it this well.

Jumping/Landing. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle as you swing your arms back; push hard off the ground through your toes while you swing your arms forward; bring your knees to your chest to get your hips in the right place as you keep an eye on where you’re landing. Before landing, extend your legs and on the balls of your feet to absorb the impact. Make sure your legs aren’t locked out or too relaxed before landing.

Rolling/Breakfall. This can be done from a standing or a crouched position. Place your hands on the ground in front of you and slightly to one side, preferably on the opposite side of whichever shoulder you feel more comfortable with. Tuck your chin into your chest as said comfy shoulder goes down, pushing off with your legs to initiate the roll. Keep your legs and your head tucked throughout the roll until you get your feet under you. Push off the ground with your hands and feet to stand up and be on your merry way.

Quadrupedal Movement. It’s as simple as crawling on your hands and feet. Make sure you’re low to the ground and that your knees don’t touch the floor. Move your hand and its opposite leg to make the movement more efficient.

A kong vault, so called because you look like King Kong when you do it.

Safety Vault/Speed Step/Step Vault. One of the easiest vaults in parkour, it makes use of one hand and the opposite leg to go over an obstacle. Approach the obstacle (usually a wall that’s about hip height) at a comfortable speed for a bit of momentum. Once you’re close, jump from one leg to go over the obstacle. Put down the other foot and the same hand as the leg you jumped off of on top of the obstacle, creating a space between them for your jumping leg to pass through. Once your jumping leg is through, push off the obstacle with your hand and foot to continue your run.

Wall Run. A very useful move for getting up walls without ladders. Start with a bit of a run towards a wall that’s about as tall as you. When close to the wall, step off the wall with one foot at about waist height and redirect your forward momentum upward, reaching for the top of the wall with your hands. Grab the top of the wall and pull yourself up.

Where to go to jam

The Quirino Grandstand’s Rice Garden or the walls in front of the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros training during the weekend.

Parkour gyms to try: Muscle Up Parkour Gym and Urban Training Ground in Maginhawa or Ninja Academy at Circulo Verde, both in Quezon City.

The gear

You don’t need that much equipment to start parkour. A good pair of trainers and some clothes will do.

A pair of running shoes with a good drip and comfortable clothes. Sport-specific apparel includes brands like Farang from Thailand and Storror and Storm Freerun from the UK; for shoes, some well-known parkour brands are Ollo, Know Obstacles, and the recently-released Farang Elevate.

The Basics
What to follow: and for all things parkour in the Philippines, including jam schedules.

Who are Robby Apelo and Raven Cruz?
Robby is a core member of the Philippine Parkour and Freerunning Association (PPFA), and has been practicing parkour for over eight years.

Raven is a member of Rogue Movement, a team of traceurs from the City of Manila, and a coach at Progressive Hub Manila and Ninja Academy.

Shine bright light a neon light…while running!

Shine bright light a neon light…while running!
It’s the most colorful fun run of the year! Poster from Color Manila

Color Manila is back to paint the town red…errr…neon and whatnot in their Black Light Run on May 25.

Fun runs (3K, 5K, 10K) are events that people usually wake up early on a Sunday morning for, but have you ever considered doing the actual run late in the evening? If you are, then Color Manila’s Blacklight Manila 2019 is for you. Bust out your running shoes and clothes you wouldn’t mind getting dirty with fluorescent powder and just run for the heck of it. There’s no pressure as well since this event isn’t even timed. The aim? To simply run and have fun!

The basics
Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Featured photo by @marcinmet on Instagram

Freediving 101

Freediving 101

No tanks and regulators. It’s just you and the deep blue. How to freedive according to instructor Johnn Mendoza.

Conserve oxygen, equalize and safely surface

Relax before and during the dive.

Prepare for a freedive by lowering your heart rate through normal breathing and exposure of the face to water. This induces the mammalian dive reflex that helps in adapting the body for freediving.

Equalize the whole time because the initial depth changes in the water greatly affects the ears’ eustachian tubes and it may cause pain or discomfort—similar to what you feel when flying in higher altitudes.

Go only as far as you can, then go up. Slowly.

When you reach the depth you can handle, ascent safely and slowly and avoid overstretching as you do so.

Upon surfacing, do sharp sets of inhale, holding it in, then exhaling to restore oxygen content in your body.

Best time to freedive

In the Philippines, it’s year round because the waters, in general, have wonderful temperatures and conditions. The best is in the summer months of March, April and May when the waters are flat, warm and clear, allowing for a better diving experience.

The ideal location

Cebu has good waters for freediving, as well as seeing whale sharks.

Cebu is one the best and most convenient places forfreediving with so many dive spots only a few hours’ drive from the city. Panglao, Bohol has amazing reefs.

The right outfit and gear

You might also want to bring something to capture the moment, but it’s best to just enjoy the dive.

Fins, mask and snorkel. A low-volume mask is necessary for easier equalization. The snorkel has to be a simple J-type without a purge valve. Go for long fins designed for greater thrust using minimal exertion.

The basics


Dive ta Bai chapters all over the Philippines can help you connect you with the local community of freedivers. Message them on Facebook at

Words and photos by Johnn Mendoza

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