Filipino Fitness Forum clocks third anniversary.
By Anand Holla
For the vivacious Filipino community of Qatar, their peppy spirit has clearly met its match in Filipino Fitness and Health in Qatar Forum (FFHQ). As the group celebrated its third anniversary, around 200 members joined in the festivities with Zumba and a nutritious breakfast at the Philippine School Doha auditorium on a weekend morning.
FFHQ is a community forum that urges people to introduce regular exercise in their life and creates awareness in the community and the society, especially to safeguard against diabetes and obesity. Three years since its launch, the two-hour-long physical fitness sessions organised by FFHQ on the Corniche near the Sheraton Park every Friday morning, for instance, has only gained in size and strength.
At the anniversary celebration, the ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar, Wilfredo Santos, joined the audience in watching a massive, spirited Zumba dance performance featuring FFHQ members and other nationals, too. The performance was led by Zumba instructors Marvin Abarades, Maricel Manlangit, Mila Regalado, Bea Leslie Camposano, Cherryl Naval, Bheng Frogosa and Danilo Hinojales, while the technical advice bit was taken care of by Lukas Cachola, Andy Mozon and Marlon Magondacan.
Emphasising on the importance of maintaining good health, Santos said, "There is no excuse for not finding time to go for some exercise. In spite of my busy schedule, I, too, take time out a few days in a week to go for swimming or for a walk." In fact, in an earlier interview to Community, Santos had said how he manages to stay fit. "I spend Saturdays resting at home, playing tennis with my friends, and riding my bicycle. In the summer months, I swim in my pool every day."
Randy Frogosa, Chairman of FFHQ, welcomed the ambassador and the participants, and told the audience that the FFHQ began as the initiative of the previous ambassador backed by the encouragement and permission of both the governments of the Philippines and Qatar for the community to exercise on Friday mornings at the Doha Corniche. FFHQ, which started with a handful of members, now has a whopping 4,800 active members.
Frogosa also thanked the sponsors of the grand anniversary's day-long festivities, such as Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros Co, Amwaj al-Nasser, Doka, Filipino Cultural Center, Escurel Inn and Resort Boracay Philippines, TFC Connect, FM Perfumes, Alami Ghassan, Nayong Pilipino, Front Row, Salad Master, and Filinvest Properties.
Earlier in the day, members of the executive committee led by Frogosa, Ramonito Roxas (Vice Chairman), Rose Ramos Pastrana (Secretary) and Kharen David (Treasurer), advisors Kawi Cawayan, Efren Pastrana and Jonathan Bacanto received the ambassador upon arrival.
Utilising the opportunity to address the community, Santos said, "The embassy has been advised to implement automated election system for 2016 Presidential and Parliamentarian elections." There will be no manual counting of the votes cast, he pointed out. For overseas Filipinos, vote casting will resume from 8am to 5pm on April 9 to May 9, during regular working days. The Philippines embassy will remain open for one month during weekends and holidays from 9am to 6pm so that the Filipinos can use their right of vote in national general elections 2016, the ambassador said.
Santos also urged the Filipinos to avail their right of vote "to make a difference" since the process will drive their country's future. "Let us perform our civic duty towards our country by casting our vote," the ambassador said.
Frogosa later told Community, "It was great to have the exercises performed in a large gym with a controlled sound system as it only doubled the energy and amplified the spirit of the gathering. The body's reflexes automatically respond to the thumping beat of music. Such events help build a cohesive community driven by the common goal of leading a healthy lifestyle."
Frogosa added, "During summer, since the temperature is very high and exercising outdoors can make people susceptible to health hazards, the group moves to an indoor gym instead of the Corniche. The instructors are trained to include Zumba, Taekwondo-Boxing (Tae-bo), Hiphop dance, aerobics and other such workouts in the sessions that kick off at 5.30am." FFHQ's workout mornings sure stir up a massive melting pot as people from all corners and communities unite for fitness.
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