Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bee Festival

Just got back from judging the Buyogan Festival of the Municipality of Abuyog, Leyte last August 26.
It was my 2nd time to judge this very cute and unique BEE street dancing festival under the leadership of their very active lady mayor - Mayor Ofelia K. Traya.
Another project i wanted to help promote in this town is diving. I can see the potential and i hope one of these days i can finally organize the exploration dives i've been planning since last year to document the beautiful coral gardens and lagoons of the area.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dive Puerto Galera

Just got back from another liveaboard diving in Verde Island, Puerto Galera and Anilao on board Borneo Explorer. I'm starting to like cruising with Expedition Fleet Liveaboards because of the convenience and great service it offers. The only thing i don't like is the headache i get every after dive due to sea sickness.
The trip was great as always with our wacky Cebu group and Manila based friends. The 13 passengers including myself are Paulo, Tim, Barbi, Kevin, Joy, Fred, Eric, Richard, Tanya, Cielo, Hans and Yvette Lee. The staff headed by Rommel - the boat manager (also of Oceanic Explorer) and Padoy, Elmer and Sten (from Maldives) - the shaker sherpas.
We started our day by embarking at Mabini Pier in Anilao. After check in, we had a nice dinner and went to bed early after a full day of shopping at the sprawling Mall of Asia.
Early morning the next day our boat cruise to Verde Island where we did 2 dives at the Wall. During lunch we cruise again down to Puerto Galera in Mindoro to dive Hole in the Wall, Sabang Point and a night dive at Sabang Junk.
The next day, we did 2 action dives at the Canyons before we cruise back to Batangas to do our last 2 dives in Mainit with a hot underwater bubble bath to cap the trip.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Freeman Lifestyle

SOL EUGENIO: Lord of the Dance
by Ariel A. Allera
August 21, 2004

The young director from Manila who used to choreograph dance numbers in GMA-7’s That’s Entertainment was sent to Cebu in 1990 to handle the dance and modelling departments of Cora Doloroso Career Centre. But never did he—Sol Eugenio—expect that, one day, he would eventually settle down here and call Cebu his home and consider himself a “Cebuano.”
“When my contract with CDCC expired, I tried living in Davao City for three years. But I guess nothing compares to Cebu; that’s why I came back. In fact, everytime I arrive from an out-of-town trip, I always get the feeling of ‘It’s nice to be back home’,” Sol confesses.
Here, he has never rested on his laurels. Sol not only continues his dancing and directing stints despite having made it big, but has become one of the country’s most sought-after events producers (for bookings, visit his website:, a well-respected entrepreneur, and a diving master.
Q: You dance, you choreograph dance presentations, you direct events and you go scuba diving. What is your priority as of now?
A: All of the above. If I’m not booked to dance or to direct shows, I go scuba diving to relax. During free days, I’m usually at our coffee shop in Mango Square, supervising the operation.
What was the first thing that you learned to do? Did you ever dream of making it this big?
Dance. And I guess I already achieved what I want in my life as far as dancing is concerned. Right now, I’m enjoying my diving and am thinking of doing something big to help promote our dive industry here in Cebu.
As a dancer, you’ve participated in several international competitions abroad, especially in the 2001 World Cup Argentine Tango championships held in Hong Kong where you were a finalist. Tell us about that.
World Cup is usually held in Miami (Florida, U.S.A.) or in some parts of Europe, but Hong Kong hosted the event that year. Though my partner (Marti YbaƱez) and I were not ready, we went there to compete and we were so happy representing the Philippines, not minding the fact that we were dancing side by side with other international champions. We just enjoyed every moment of the competition; I guess it’s our passion about dance that landed us in the finals.
Differentiate a teacher from a choreographer.
A dance teacher teaches dancers the basics or the more advanced forms of dancing, while a choreographer designs the dance presentation using the skills of the dancers. Choreographers usually work with professional dancers.
When you choreograph dances, do you have to be first and foremost a good dancer? Are dance teachers/choreographers necessarily good dancers?
I guess it’s better if you’re also a good dancer so you can do both—teach and choreograph—at the same time. However, there are great and—in fact—famous choreographers who do not know how to dance.
For some who do not really know how to shake a leg, is becoming a good dancer an impossible dream?
Anybody can learn how to dance and become a good dancer. Just be patient and practice the skills regularly. What differentiates dancers is their ability to show natural rhythm.
What influenced you to direct events? What is your cup of tea—fashion shows? concerts?
Directing, for me, is the only way wherein I can express my artistic ideas. If I don’t have an outlet to apply it, I’ll explode! As for my forte, I go for fashion shows and concerts. I like to infuse dancers in concerts and I want to work with models who know how to dance.
What was your first major directorial job and what was it like being a first-timer?
A theater show in Metro Manila promoting the anti-drugs campaign of Caloocan City Mayor Rey Malonzo. It was just like a normal thing for me—no pressure whatsoever. I guess I was born to direct shows.
Tell me about your being a PADI Divemaster. What does PADI stand for? What fascinates you about diving and where do you usually go diving?
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Divemaster is the one who supervises certified divers diving enjoyable dive tours. I took my Divemaster apprenticeship in Scuba World, Plantation Bay, under great instructors: Arnel Tagsip, Alain Rabor and Harumi Imai. I usually dive in Mactan, Moalboal, Panglao, Cabilao, Balicasag and Malapascua. I’ve also been to Coron, Samal, La Union and Boracay.
Tell us about your coffee shop in Mango Square. Why coffee?
It’s called CoffeeDream. I am a heavy coffee drinker (average of 5 cups a day) so I was already a regular customer of CoffeeDream before. When franchising was offered, I asked my friends if we could apply for a franchise. We got two branches already—the other one is in SM City-Cagayan De Oro.
What about Sol Eugenio Management & Promotions Agency? What has been the biggest event it has produced?
SEMPA was able to produce several major gala fashion shows in Davao City—of Renee Salud and Randy Ortiz—as well as the Ballroom Dancing Cebu held in Cebu Plaza Hotel a few years back, featuring ballroom dancers from Arizona, U.S.A. Most of the events SEMPA organizes here in Cebu are private and by-invitation-only shows.
Aside from scuba diving—surfing and sky diving are your current sports. What fascinates you about extreme sports such as these?
I love extreme sports. (I studied Aeronautical Engineering). They can kill you in seconds if you’re not prepared well. You need gallons of coffee to make yourself alert. That’s why I love to challenge myself in skydiving and board surfing. By the way, I don’t consider scuba diving as an extreme sport; it’s a lifestyle.
They say that if you’re a “jack of all trades,” you’re a “master of none.” How do you see yourself?
I don’t see myself as that. They call me Cebu’s Lord of the Dance, and I’m already a divemaster and have been a finalist in the World Cup ArgentineTango. My focus is still intact: DANCE and DIVE. Other things are just spice of life.©