Lilo in Little Gym

Joy and Tristan have been taking 2.5yo Lilo to The Little Gym in El Pueblo for the last two terms. They go for an hour every Tuesday morning, after which she takes her nap and later on, a late lunch.

Last Tuesday was Open House day, and this time they asked me to attend, in order to take pictures. Since Joy is usually behind the camera, she realized one day that she didn’t have many photos with Lilo! Also, the night before, Teacher Clara called to ask permission for Lilo to be filmed by Jessica Soho’s GMA crew, along with other select students. Lilo had bloomed so much in terms of strength, agility, confidence and social skills that she seemed like an ideal subject. She’s also quite photogenic, attractive in a sporty, anti-Barbie way. Hands-down cute.

The GMA crew took shots of the children together with Teacher Maan, playing at each featured piece of equipment. Later on they interviewed Joy, asking why she enrolled Lilo in Little Gym. Joy mentioned something about wanting to develop her physical strength and dexterity along with social interaction skills. Tristan and his parents Tita Tess and Tito Ted were watching proudly from a distance.

They showed the segment in Jessica Soho’s 9pm show the following Saturday, April 19. The whole show was about health and fitness in summer activities for Pinoys of all ages. Lilo was in most of the shots, in her white halter top, funky black shorts and “Disney Boo” hairdo (two little fountains on either side of her head). Joy was laughing, “Did you see my sweaty mommy face on tv?” I assured her that sweaty mommy mode is normal, particularly if the yaya is on vacation. Ninang Almond promised to ask a friend to get us a digital copy of the show.


I started my running career with my former trainer, Lawrence Gange, in December 2006. From June to December that year, on Lawrence’s personalized core strength and cardio program, I lost 10lbs and lost a couple of inches off my waist. Then he said, “I’m entering you in the Yakult 5k in December. All you have to do is finish the run.”

My sister Joy, who was working on losing postpartum weight, agreed to be my running buddy. We ran from Star City down Roxas Blvd. all the way to… Pedro Gil? Or was it Padre Faura? Then back to Star City. It was the first time I was able to run continuously without stopping, at my own pace. Joy and I had made a pact – no leaving the other one behind. It was fun, a well-organized run. I finished the race in 52 minutes, receiving a certificate and a Yakult finisher jersey big enough to be a dress if I’d belted it. I was exhilarated. And hungry as hell.

Not too bad for a first-timer, I thought. To think, I was even running while on antibiotics (a wasp bite had gotten infected). I was amazed to feel a second wind kick in, halfway through the race. I was thinking, “So this is what it feels like.” For a moment it was as if the rest of the world had melted away; I felt I could keep on running and running. Alas, during the last 2 kilometers the arch of my left foot started aching and went numb. Since I have flat feet, I run in Nikes with a padded insole. At the time I really couldn’t feel anything in my left foot except pressure, so I just continued to run, filing the experience in my head as something to work on. There were water stations along the route, so I wasn’t too dehydrated.

At the last 500m I could hear Lawrence shouting from the sidewalk, “Go girls!!!” Apart from Joy and myself, he had another client registered in the Yakult 5k. Lawrence had hurt his ankle in a kitchen accident two weeks before. I remember that day, seeing him on the sidewalk propped up on crutches, waving his stopwatch with an infectious grin on his face. I waved and grinned back, and kept running.

We celebrated with breakfast at The Aristocrat. Our entire family showed up for moral support. We have a picture with Lawrence, but I can’t find it yet. Will post it when I do. Lawrence immigrated to Canada with his nurse wife a few months later. And I have continued to run ever since.