My MMA Journey · Philippines

My Amateur MMA Journey, Part 4: Back to B.A.M.F.

Yesterday, after an excellent session with substitute-trainer JB at Lakay, I picked up my laundry, packed my backpack, and got on a bus to Manila.

You may recall mention of our seven-hour bus ride up to Baguio. Even though the city is less than five hours away by highway, regular buses get off the highway about halfway up and continue the rest of the trip on provincial roads at about half the speed.

I got to the Victory Liner terminal yesterday at 1:30 pm and the only express bus that day was at six, so I hopped on the 1:40 and settled in for what amounted to an eight-hour drive with two rest stops and evening traffic in Manila.

I made it to my room by ten, enjoyed sleeping on the comfortable mattress, and made my way to B.A.M.F. first thing the next morning.

I had heard from a friend that there would be a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class at 9 am sharp, but that in fact is not the case this morning. Instead, I’ll wait an hour and do a Muay Thai class from ten to noon.

I have five sessions left before my free trial ends this weekend, so my schedule is Muay Thai from 10-12 on Tuesday and Thursday, jiu-jitsu at 7:30 pm on Tuesday and 9:30 and 7:30 pm on Wednesday.

I have an appointment Thursday afternoon and if there’s nothing going on in Manila I’ll head back up to Baguio on Friday, get back to Lakay on Saturday, and grapple with Team Gridlock to show them what I’ve learned.

Next week will be our last up in the mountains for the foreseeable future, so I want to get as many sessions in at Lakay before we leave. That trainer I mentioned, JB, he normally does one-on-one sessions and he helped me a lot when he took over yesterday morning’s class. I hope I can book a few private lessons with him next week.

My companion, daughter, and I will all return to Manila in time to watch our friend Kiko Matos’ fight on August 12. After that, we will spend some time in the city, sell some more of our stuff, and take it from there.

That’s the point at which I’ll decide whether to find a gym in Manila to potentially sponsor me and if so I’d stay put for the next month to train. If not–or maybe afterward–I could use some time at a beach. It’s MMA training v. island hopping: what oh what will win the battle of how to spend my last months in the Philippines?

We do have lots to factor in, including my companion’s permaculture projects and shooting dates as a foreground extra in the film Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, a historical Philippine film.

For now, I’m going to make use of these facilities while I wait for the trainer.

At 10 am Muay Thai coach Oliver gets here and we do drills. He asks me if I met Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, on account of my newly acquired Team Lakay T-shirt. Everybody at B.A.M.F. knows Lakay; the same cannot be said in reverse. But no, I did not meet

But no, I did not meet Folayang or Honorio “The Rock” Banario; I only saw their banners on the gym walls. I did meet coach Mark “The Machine” Sangiao and train with Dave “Scarecrow” Galera, and John Cris “Happy Feet” Cordon.Maybe when I return to Baguio I’ll visit the central gym and see who I run into.

Maybe when I return to Baguio I’ll visit the central gym and see who I run into.

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