Yeba with New Friends

August 31, 2014: If you know me well, you know I don’t particularly like exercise for the sake of exercising. I’m not a fan of aerobics, running or circuit training. I’d much rather play badminton, take a hike or go for a dive or a paddle. Mostly I just walk everywhere and look forward to my weekly yoga class. But recently I discovered Yeba.

Yeba is the Filipino version of Zumba. It combines traditional Filipino folk songs and dances, disco, jive and other popular music to create a fun workout that feels more like dance than exercise. The steps are relatively easy to learn, which is good news for my two left feet and the people standing to either side of me.

Yeba is popular and fun. It helps a lot that I’ve met some really great people too. There’s Glenda, Bing, Daryl, Laara, Grace, Marlyn, Mike, Lea and a host of others. They are all trying to take control of their weight and, even more importantly, their health. And that’s a good thing in this country where more than 200,000 people die each year from complications related to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

It seems like diabetes clinics are everywhere. Not surprising considering the amount of white rice and sugary foods that Filipinos love to eat. I admit that I have a sweet tooth, but even I find most of their sweetened stuff way over the top, everything from bread and pasta sauce, to peanut butter and ice tea. I’ve even watched people add eight or more packets of sugar to a cup of coffee. For a culture that socializes around food, it can be tricky to eat healthy when celebrations typically call for pancit (noodles), cakes, sodas and other sweets.

But it can be done. Nice going everyone. And thanks for making exercise fun again!

Additional photos by Daryl and Lea.

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