Katja and Arne's travel stories

Balut Wednesday

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After another night in our cozy little room we got out into the gym and the heat wave almost knocked us over. It seems it will be a grand day in Bauan today.

We are getting good at doing the oatmeal porridge based on heated water and mixing in fruit and natural sweeteners. With another breakfast for champions under the belt it was time to review yesterday’s training.
We had filmed a long sequence with GM and Getchin yesterday and we looked at it a couple of times to recap the DAS system of empty hand. Then we got up and spent the next half hour walking though different parts of the training so far. Five to nine we started on another two hours session.
We are constantly getting more grip of the system and seeing how it’s integrated into the different aspects of the art. It’s hard though to not fall back on old knowledge and patterns when you speed up and get stressed. It’s a good test to see where you’re basic moves come from. Just go all in and speed speed speed it up. You’ll soon enough know.
Training on the linoleum floor barefooted have left me with rather thin-skinned feet. Combine that with the Bambi feeling you get when you swirl around on your own sweat. Footwork drills tends to end in mopping midway to make sure I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.
I also mentioned that we are getting sore-handed from the sticks, but I guess that was just a bluff. ‘Cause today we are fine and all the conditioning we needed was the last couple of days.
GM is good at explaining why he’s made his system as it is. He has his heritage, but the DAS system is his own complete package. It’s nice to hear the founders thoughts and to hear how he got his ideas for the system.
After training GM and his daughter Cydel took us to Tagaytay, a city up in the mountains with a great view of the worlds smallest volcano. It has been a long and great day today, hope I can give it due credit with words.


In the back of the DAS-Mobil


Ready for the trip to Tagaytay

We left the house in the little truck we got picked up with last Sunday. There were a large aluminum plate in the back together with a lot of smaller pieces. Our first stop was at the house where all the blades sold by GM is made. GM has an employee who makes all the blades, both trainers and live-blades. Carlos is the gentleman’s name and he’s been a weapon maker all his life. There are many Arnisadors who have good looking weapons bought on a camp somewhere. Track the weapon back through middlemen and shipping and at last you stand behind the house of a man like Carlos who all day, all week, all year, a whole lifetime produces these blades. With tools that hasn’t been used in Western Europe in decades he makes those shiny blades we can’t get enough of (or what, Ronni?)

We got to see the raw material for the handles, the ironwood tree known as Kamagong. It’s hard to get good Kamagong pieces as there cannot be any cracks into the handles. Aluminum is a pretty constant and easy accessible raw material, it’s harder with the natural part of the production requirements.
From Carlos we went on to lunch. We stopped at a place who claimed to have the “towns best food”, so I guess that gotta count for something. Turns out GM has relations with the owners and we asked if they have the local speciality, the “Bone marrow soup” – Bulalo. They did! And it was sooooo gooooood. A large piece of meat and a big bone cooked together with vegetables. Served with rice and a chili that burnt my lips of on the first taste. I cut back on the chili and ate to my hearts delight. Both Katja and I purred like kittens while eating. I guess it’s the same as being served in a lot of Norwegians homes these days, but here we still enjoy about 28 degrees.

From the towns best food we sat course for Tagaytay. It’s about an hours drive and we sat in the back and just soaked in the views and the atmosphere. As previously mentioned is it few of us tourists around here and it’s not a city like every other here. Manila can be compared to any other large city in these parts of the world, but the countryside in any country has its own flavor and style. We saw a man walking along the road with a huge karambit hanging from the belt. A farmer walking with his tool. A tool we train with to master as a weapon. Not to mention the meat handlers, but I’ll come back to those.
We stopped along the way to take some pictures from viewpoints and arrived after a while in Tagatay.

I’m not wearing a watch anymore, I just leave it to Katja to tell time. Much easier that way. We got into the picnic area that are being used by people from, amongst others, Manila on the weekends. We’re pretty high above sea level and the air is crisp compared to the lowlands. It’s gives a nice feeling to breath this air. We looked out over the worlds smallest volcano and took some pictures. It’s pretty many salesmen who tries to get you into a boat or onto a horse. The poor horse was the size of a Shetland pony, but the guy asked me with a straight faces:” picture on horse, Sir?” The guy should be arrested for cruelty towards animals.

We saw, did a selfie, and moved on. We headed to “Bag of beans” as requested by GM when we asked about good coffee. Tagatay is known for its coffee production and he was right about the place. The coffee was excellent and the Christmas decorations even better. Well let the pictures tell that story.

We headed toward home and stopped in Lemery, a town about 20 mm from home, to do some shopping for food. But before we did this we stopped by the roadside and got meat for dinner for GM and his family. I said I would come back to the meat-handlers. There were a gang of ladies who ran this place and they obviously have fun at work. Katja and I got out of the car to take a closer look on this little stall who sells meat. The bigger part of a cow is hanging on hooks and GM is pointing and getting prime cut of the rack. As we take pictures of the process I turn my head and find I’m face to face with the cows feet. All four of them. Ok, that’s not so strange, but when one of the ladies saw us taking picture of this she laughed and went to one of the plastic bags. She brought it over, untied it and pulled out what proves that it was not a cow but an ox. Okay, I don’t know if that’s creepy or just hilarious to play with such a thing, but for safety we laughed along and backed slowly back towards the car.
All this happened just in sight of the San Miguel brewery. I would almost call that holy ground.

The grocery shopping as mentioned, then a quick stop by Carlos to pick up the blades he had ready before the nights final stop. Cydel had promised to get us Balut’s on the way back. I have been determined to eat it, Katja has been more reluctant (I’m very political correct right now). We got out of the capital again and went over to the Balut salesman. Balut, by the way, is duck egg which is fertilized and cooked before the embryo is to big. It’s not a hard boiled egg and it’s not a chicken – it’s something in between. GM proclaimed that a black belt in Arnis by any standard needs to have eaten a Balut. So then Katja caved in and joined the fun.
We got back and learned the way of eating the Balut. It’s supposed to be done with salt a a vinegar, and that is highly recommended. See the videos below as proof of our devotion to Filipino heritage.

Arne eating Balut:

Katja eating Balut:

Then we ate a normal chicken for dinner and are presently looking at other options for beach the last week other than El Nido or Coron. We might skip the flying and take a boat out to one island closer by and spend a week there. It all depends on what kind of accommodation we can find. It will be cheaper and faster than going to the Palawan island and probably a lot less tourists. Time will show.
Cydel just came up to the gym and delivered a hair cutter that GM uses. He got the good looking macho haircut I have, but mine is now growing out of all proportions. Gonna save that for tomorrow morning though, as the light will be better for Katja’s precision haircut.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

– Nelson Mandela


Random pics of the day not making it into the text:

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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