Life is a never-ending cycle of dancing to whatever tune the universe plays for us. But whether we’re faced with an upbeat, slow, or sometimes a song that’s almost inaudible, we must continue moving along the beat.
Guest Kapamilya dancers
This episode of “I Feel U” opened with host Toni Gonzaga’s feel-good conversation with three guest Kapamilyas working as dancers abroad. On the show are XP Dimaano from Italy, Bojo Obligacion from Japan, and Julius Lagare from Vietnam.
Julius is an overseas dance teacher for more than six years already, with his expertise ranging from hip-hop to ballet to contemporary. Prior to his stay in Italy, Julius first had the taste of OFW life in the United States for three years. His biggest dilemma then was, of course, the distance between him and his family. Then, an injury served as his wake-up call to reunite with them. “Pagdating ko dito ng 2014, after four months, pinasunod ko na ‘yung family ko kasi mahirap magtrabaho ‘pag ikaw lang mag isa,” he said.
From hustling as a dancer, Bojo shifted to working as a choreographer and Zumba instructor. It was the desire to explore his talent that pushed him to try his luck abroad, and this has been his dance steps for almost two decades. Aside from these, he also works as a general manager in an entertainment club in Yokohama. The homesickness disrupts Bojo’s thoughts at times yet he knows how to handle the rigors by dancing and inspiring other people.
XB’s dancing experiences in high school and college sparked the decision to work overseas. He started in 2012 by teaching a Filipino community in Rome. His group was composed of less than 10 kids then, until they were invited to perform as front act in a concert spearheaded by Daniel Padilla and Yeng Constantino. This paved the way for golden opportunities. From a small group, XB’s squad now has 120 kid members, ages 4-17. They are now the largest dance group all over Italy.
Carefree and full of positivity– this is how Loisa Andalio spends the quarantine phase as a fur mom to her four pet dogs. But Loisa’s life hasn’t been easy all the time. There were days when life confronted her with heart-breaking songs yet she never quit dancing to the different tunes of life.
“Naaalala ko noong bata ako, ‘pag may gusto ka talaga at naniniwala ka na magiging ikaw ‘yun, mapupuntahan mo,” she said. Loisa grew up watching her favorite celebrities on television, igniting the desire to be like them one day. “Gusto kong maging artista” was a goal she knew she wouldn’t give up on until accomplished. She had her family to fan her blazing perseverance and a child-like faith that breathed hope to her dreams.
Now that her childhood dream has finally come true, Loisa testifies that the Lord listens to our prayers and brings them into reality. “Binibigay talaga siya. Wait ka lang. Relax ka lang. Gawin mo lang ‘yung part mo at gagawin din ni Lord ‘yung part Niya.”
Talking about her journey makes Loisa realize how blessed her family is. They had nothing in the past compared to the comfortable life they have now and most of these beautiful changes happened because of her hard work. The Kapamilya actress got more emotional while looking back on the challenges she faced in the industry. “Naranasan kong husgahan ka ng mga taong hindi ka naman pala kilala. Parang ‘Paano niya sa akin nasasabi ‘yan?’ Hindi n’yo alam yung pinanggalingan ko, ‘yung pinagdaanan ko.” In times of difficulty, Loisa draws strength from the Man above, her family, and boyfriend Ronnie Alonte.
Just recently, Ronnie uploaded photos showing him and Loisa enjoying what seemed like a province life. Netizens, especially the eagle-eyed ones, were quick to assume that the couple are now living together. But, to set things straight, both Loisa and Ronnie deny the rumor. They explained that she’s in Cavite while he is in Laguna, and the short travel time between the two cities makes them ‘almost neighbors.’ They simply couldn’t get enough of each other, thus the effort to conquer the distance.
The love team was asked to look back on their last movie, “James and Pat and Dave,” and how they felt while doing the project. Loisa compared the transition from being a support to leading lady with high school to college journey. Ronnie is just as elated, saying he’s glad that they’ve ticked that goal off their bucket list together.
Being a reel and real-life couple has its own challenges, yet LoiNie learned to separate personal issues from work. They make sure that quarrels wouldn’t affect their professionalism.
In the context of the film’s plot, Ronnie and Loisa were asked, “Mahal Ka o Mahal Mo?” The latter expressed, “Doon ako sa mahal ko. Kumbaga hindi mo kayang peke-in ‘yung nararamdaman mo… ‘Yun ang totoong pagmamahal, eh. Kahit hindi ka niya mahalin pabalik basta mahal mo siya.”
Ronnie added, “Mas pipiliin ko ‘yung ako na lang nagmamahal sa kanya kasi mas gusto ko ako ‘yung ganun, eh. Mas may kasiguraduhan ka ‘pag ikaw ‘yung nagmahal kasi alam mong hindi mo siya iiwan.”
Ronnie and Loisa know the journey ahead wouldn’t be easy but they’re also certain they can overcome the obstacles, if they would just stick to the promises and beautiful plans they continue to build each day. Talks about their future wedding pop up in random moments. They envision themselves nurturing a big ‘basketball team.’ And despite how difficult the circumstances are, Loisa and Ronnie wouldn’t stop dancing together. “Kahit ang hirap ng steps, sige sasayawin natin nang sabay. Kahit mag-adlib na lang tayo, sasayaw tayo nang sabay,” Loisa said. But for now, there’s no need to rush.
AC Bonifacio and Ken San Jose
AC Bonifacio was raised in Canada while Ken San Jose grew up in the United States but this does not diminish their innate Filipino mentality, thanks to their parents’ effort to maintain the Pinoy culture inside the household. And no matter where their talents and dreams bring them, the millennial dancing duo will carry the torch of Filipino pride with them.
In 2015, AC was invited to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with her dance partner Lucky Ancheta. This was her biggest break and it opened the doors to bigger opportunities in the local entertainment scene. Meanwhile, Ken’s entry to showbiz was via talent show World of Dance Philippines.
It is safe to say that these artists consider dancing as their ‘life,’ the passion that fuels them with inspiration and courage to keep on going. AC finds it therapeutic. Ken used it as weapon to win the challenges he’s been through and his ticket to get closer to his fellow Filipinos. “It helps me release and contain all these energy, thoughts and craziness,” he said.
AC never thought she’d make it this big. Back then, her only goal was to help her family resolve their financial problems. Hurt with watching her family, especially her mom, go through the difficult times inspired her to work hard, earn enough and save them from the dilemma. Even now that their situation has become better, AC’s goal is still to provide for her family. For Ken, dancing is his number one passion and he will continue dancing whether no one’s watching or nothing much is earned.
Asked about their dream collaborations, AC said she will always yearn to share the dance floor with Gary Valenciano and Sarah Geronimo, while Ken dreams of a showdown with Chris Brown.
In 2016, five passionate performers – Stell, Ken, Josh, Justin, and Sejun – along with other aspirants went on intensive trainings inspired by K-pop techniques. The number of hopefuls was trimmed down little by little until only the five of them emerged as the top artists to form the group SB19.
SB stands for ‘sound break,’ signifying the goal to bring in new flavor in the Pinoy music scene, while 19 is the difference between Philippines and Korea’s country codes.
Stell, main vocalist, shared that he wasn’t eager in joining the camp at first, thinking he wasn’t ready. Yet, he signed up for the challenge and the rest, as they say, is history. The group encountered a few setbacks including language barrier. They had Korean bosses they needed to deal with and a set of strict rules they were obliged to follow. Instead of giving up, they made an effort to adapt to Korean culture while still carrying the Filipino banner.
It’s always been Sejun’s dream to become a professional artist, though he never expected the fulfilment of his dreams would be this wild. Sejun worked as a call center agent before he entered the entertainment industry. His groupmates also had different lives prior to joining showbiz. Ken was supposed to continue his studies when the call for audition knocked on his doors. He left the family home in Mindanao to pursue his passion, and the sacrifices were all worth it.
“Hindi namin inakala na maaabot namin ‘yung mga ganitong achievement tulad ng pumasok po kami sa Billboard Chart tapos nakikilala na rin po kami internationally. Sa totoo lang po, ito na po siguro ‘yung parang simula ng mga pangarap namin. Kasi dati naglolokohan lang po kami,” said Josh. He thanked their fans for helping them get a hold of their dreams.
Prior to the release of their hit single, “Go Up,” SB19 was on the verge of giving up on their dreams. Sejun shared, “’Yun po ‘yung time na magwawatak-watak na kami kasi po hindi na namin kaya. Masyado na pong matagal ‘yung ginugol namin na wala pong nangyayari sa career namin.” They were on the make or break point of their career and “Go Up” was their last shot. That was the reason why they created a music video that showcased all their struggles and their journey.
There is really no way to go but up for SB19. The trials that were meant break them apart turned into tools that solidified their unity as a group. To avoid arguments, the guys created a daily bull session ritual. They would form a circle, hold hands, open up their emotions, and end the activity with a two-minute hug.
SB19 misses performing for their fans. To connect with them amidst this period of crisis, the group answers questions from their fandom called A’Tin. They spend the quarantine writing songs and turn the pandemic into an inspiration.
Asked to give their future selves a piece of advice, Justin mentioned the value of patience and being understanding, saying there are still so much to learn. And if given a chance to talk to their younger selves, Ken would say, “Always be happy and be thankful sa lahat ng maaabot mo in the future. Always be humble. Tumingin lagi sa kung saan nanggaling.”
SB19 thanked their followers for their endless support and promised to always make them feel loved.