My (un)gym


The pathway I walk on twice a week

When my friends first learn that I’m into Arnis, one of their questions is where I train. They become a bit confused when I answer “Quezon Memorial Circle” (in case you don’t know yet, it’s a public park in the middle of busy Quezon City, Philippines.)  “I didn’t know that there’s a gym there,” they say.

No, my friends, there’s no gym there. We practice under the trees, smelling the soil and grass, feeling the warm breeze.

World Peace Bell, Quezon Memorial Circle
That’s the dome-covered World Peace Bell and at the right are my classmate Jom (in green pants) and Master Cris (partly hidden). Don’t your think there’s nostalgia in practicing Arnis near a symbol of world peace?

We don’t have mirrors, air conditioning, nor matting.   We don’t have the predictability of a gym’s controlled environment such that sometimes when it rains, we have to wait for it to stop or we transfer to a roofed area.

And training has to start early at around 6:30 AM because the heat can be uncomfortable if we start later.

But I like it.

Yes, really.

Maybe it’s the scenery, open space, and all the vitamin D I get. The air is fresh as fresh can be in the middle of a busy city but with all the oxygen-emitting trees, that could probably be better than air-conditioning.

For health reasons, I use a lot of sunscreen but still I tan and I like it. To me it looks healthier than cosmetically-whitened skin so popular among Filipinas these days. But that’s just me.

Quezon Monument, Quezon City Philippines
The tall structure behind Master Cris is actually a mausoleum containing the remains of Manuel L. Quezon, the second official President of the Philippines and the first of an internationally-recognized independent Philippines, and his wife, First Lady Aurora Quezon. There’s also a museum there.

You see why I so enjoy coming back to my (un)gym? Scenery, open space, Vitamin D, history, and culture, that’s why 🙂

On Sunday mornings, you’ll see a lot of FMA groups practicing there. Come and visit us sometime. 🙂

How about you,where do you train?


11 thoughts on “My (un)gym

  1. HALFORD E. JONES April 3, 2014 / 12:15 AM

    I have some photos of ARNIS LANADA taken in that area perhaps at UP,etc. I also have some taken on the Luneta when I was there. But will have to look for them in my collections when I have more time. Nice place you have selected to train! Keep up the good work. Thanks. Halford

    • thedeadlydance April 3, 2014 / 12:25 AM

      Yes I’d like to see your photos sir. UP and Luneta are also great places to train. I run in UP once or twice a week as it is also near my home. I’m in luneta a few times only because it farther although I’d like to be there more often ‘coz many arnis grandmasters train there. Thank you very much for your comment sir.

  2. Robert Mitchell April 4, 2014 / 5:55 PM

    I understand and agree with you regarding outdoor training. My club (order7hills dot com) has been meeting outside since 2009 — 12 months a year, rain or shine. Of course, here in Virginia, USA, it goes up to 100F in Summer and down to 15F in Winter, so we do cancel once in a while due to dangerous cold/heat, severe thunderstorms, and sleet. Train on!

    • thedeadlydance April 4, 2014 / 11:28 PM

      Oh, us too – we’re outside 12 months a year. But our temps don’t fluctuate as much as yours but its nice, right? Makes things interesting.
      Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment on the Deadly Dance. More power to you Sir.

      • Robert Mitchell April 5, 2014 / 6:23 AM

        My pleasure — I enjoy your blog — keep writing!

  3. Blade Apprentice April 5, 2014 / 6:44 PM

    My only outdoor training experience kind of was when our gym was closed. Hopefully, I could also train under the trees and breathe fresh air someday. We need more well-maintained parks in Metro Manila, though. Awesome writing, as always!

  4. Ram Sambamurthy September 5, 2014 / 12:12 PM


    I’m a Malaysian temporarily living here in the philippines. I am now learning Arnis under GM Rodel Dagooc at Luneta on sunday mornings.

    Do you know if there are training groups or arnis students who want to have more practice, around paranaque/alabang/las pinas?

    let me know.


    • thedeadlydance September 5, 2014 / 11:23 PM

      Hi Ram!
      Maybe you were there when I visited GM Rodel’s training sessions a few times earlier this year. How is the training coming along?
      Anyway, to clarify your question, are you looking for a class you can join as a student? Or are you looking for students you can teach?

      • Ram Sambamurthy September 6, 2014 / 1:59 AM

        Hi Joy
        If you’re right, it’s weird when we have physically seen each other, but we meet over the internet!


        I am only looking for training partners rather than to teach or be taught. Just want to be able to practice before the next Sunday comes. Of course, I am also open minded to learning new techiniques from someone from a different pedigree of Arnis.


        • thedeadlydance September 7, 2014 / 9:48 AM

          As of now, I have GM Labaniego, Sr. master Romy Santos, and Lakan Ron Base in this blog’s directory. Maybe they can point you to their students in Paranaque. How about in your own group? Maybe a few are from those areas.

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