Magic Dancers: Recapping Philippines Trip

October 10, 2011

ORLANDO -- Several of the Orlando Magic Dancers recently returned from NBA Madness Manila 2011 in the Philippines and based on post-trip reaction and storytelling, it was a giant success.

Throughout the weeklong event, the Magic Dancers performed dance routines at various venues, taught clinics and judged dance competitions, answered questions during media interviewing, signed autographs and even learned a little bit of the Filipino language.

The festivities were so wide-ranging that the dancers even participated in a Clyde Drexler obstacle course that resembled the skills challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend.

Upon their return to Orlando, Team Manager Jeanine Klem-Thomas and Dancers Kendra, Victoria, Priya, Lyndsay, Shalize and Team Leader Tara answered a few questions about their experiences in the Philippines.

Check out their responses and also watch video highlights of the dancers from the various events during the trip.

DANCERS IN PHILIPPINES PHOTO GALLERIES: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4


1) What were your general thoughts of the entire trip and the Filipino culture?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
Mabuhay! What an AMAZING time we had in the Philippines! From the moment we landed (in a typhoon I might add) to the moment we departed we were welcomed everywhere warmly with open arms and unbelievable hospitality! I really enjoyed learning some of the Tagalog dialect, eating traditional Filipino food, and having the opportunity to make some new friends! A sincere THANK YOU to everyone we met along the way including our hotel staff, security team, school staff and students, NBA Madness event spectators and participants, event sponsors, media teams, and NBA staff for treating us like family!

Tara
I had a wonderful time living the life as a Filipina for a week. Experiencing two typhoons, meeting Clyde Drexler, and eating 5 star authentic Filipino Cuisine, are memories I will never forget. And, of course, the shopping too!

Kendra
The trip to the Philippines was nothing short of Amazing! The people we worked with, the new friends we met, the adventures we had, and the warm open arms of everyone we encountered was unlike anything I have ever experienced! Although there were a few setbacks; 26 hour flights, jet lag, swollen feet, and returning home with some weird stomach bug. all of those were extremely off set and even diminished by an overall fantastic time. We had the privilege of visiting several colleges, and were able to get a great feel of the Philippino. sense of family and community. It was a pleasure to see the dedication, hard work, and passion of the cheer/dance pep squads we worked with. Great big things really do come in small packages!

Some of my favorite moments include the amazing meal we had prepared specially for us by a husband and wife. Chef Laudico and his wife Jacquie were exceptional, informational, and also extremely passionate about the food they prepared. The meal was five courses and each was a Philippino dish with a modern twist. I truly felt as if I was on an episode of Top Chef, it was just delicious and so exquisitely presented. I also enjoyed bonding closer to my own teammates, meeting new lifelong friends, and the warm reception everywhere we went.

Victoria
The Filipino culture was one that was easy to embrace, the people were so warm and accepting to us all. We felt like we were right at home, with a little Filipino twist of course!

Priya
I heard such great things about the Philippines prior to my trip. Even all of the stories could not have prepared me for what an awesome time I actually had. Traveling through a typhoon didnt even put a damper on our trip. Unfortunately we werent able to do much sight seeing but, what we did get to see and experience was a remarkable. The hospitality was unbeleivable. Everyone I encountered greated us with open arms and unending kindness. The shopping was also a treat, talk about great prices and fun bargaining. And the food was delicious, my favorite was the pancit and turon. Yum!

Lyndsay
Going to the Philippines was amazing! The people there were so nice and welcoming and made us feel very comfortable while we were there. Performing at the schools was so awesome and the kids there made us feel like celebrities. They cheered so loud you would think you were at the Amway Center. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that i will never forget.

Shalize
I had such a blast in the Philippines! The people were so extremely nice and welcoming and treated all of us so well. The students at the schools we visited, along with everyone we met and worked with were so excited that we were there and it made me so happy to know that we were making a difference in their day as well as their lives. I'm so glad that my very first out of country experience was to the Philippines! We all had such a great time bonding, interacting with people, sight seeing, eating different foods and of course lots of shopping! (I probably went a little over board) I hope to go back someday!




2) What was your most memorable moment from the trip that you will never forget?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
For me there were many moments I’ll never forget on this trip for so many different reasons...partially because of my Filipino heritage and partially because we had the privilege of doing and experiencing so many different things! From a culinary perspective, being treated by Chef Laudico and his wife at their amazing restaurant to a five-course traditional Filipino dinner was top of my list (shout out for the Lumpia, Adobo Overload and the Chocolate dessert)! From an appearance perspective, our visits to Central College of the Philippines, STI University, and Philippine Christian University where the Dancers performed and taught a dance clinic was truly an honor!

From a shopping perspective, Green Hills Market is AMAZING and two trips there definitely wasn’t enough! From a cultural transportation perspective I must say the Jeepney made an impression…though I wish we had seen the one that has the NBA decorations on it! From a funny perspective, watching the Dancers do the Clyde Drexler Obstacle Course Challenge in their costumes and dance boots was truly hilarious! From an inspirational perspective, having the opportunity to meet and work alongside Legend Clyde Drexler. He speaks from his heart and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his stories. From a ‘Proud Mom’ perspective, watching my Dancers excel the entire week despite two typhoons, jet-lag, and a demanding appearance schedule during our stay! Every single appearance, media event and challenge was met by each of them with enthusiasm, sincerity, fun and team-work along the way and we couldn’t have had a better time as a result!

Tara
My favorite part of our trip was traveling around to the different universities, and teaching a little hip hop routine to the cheer squads. By the end of the trip, all of our security guards and NBA staff knew the routine as well... and I have a video to prove it! haha :)

Kendra
It is hard to pinpoint the most memorable moment, but I think the most rewarding moment was during the awards presentation to the cheer/dance squads at the final event. After traveling through some rather poverty stricken areas and seeing first hand how the majority of the population lived, I realized how lucky we are to live in a country with so many opportunities and it opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. Whether placing 5th or 1st, each squad was so happy, thankful, and appreciative to even just be there. The happiness and spirit that these kids exuded was outstanding, and I felt a connection with each of the schools we visited. The winner of the competition was the very first school we visited, and I was so excited when they won I almost came to tears!

Victoria
My most memorable moment that I will never forget during my trip to Manila, Philippines would be our last day when I got to judge a cheer competition. We got to see some of the most amazing talents that we had the pleasure of working with in dance clinics during the week. It was great seeing them be in their zone and perform their hearts out for us!

Priya
My most memorable moment of the trip was performing at the schools and seeing how much the cheer dance teams looked up to us. To them we were celebrities and it was really cool and very inspiring. Another moment was meeting Clyde Drexler and listening to him speak.

Lyndsay
Besides performing for such wonderful crowds my most memorable experience actually happened in the car on the way to the event. Shalize was startled (to say the least) by a woman and her baby that had come up to the window of our vehicle and she let out the loudest shriek I have ever heard. She simultaneously jumped across the van into my lap. So great!

Shalize
There were definitely MANY funny moments on this trip.. But the funniest for me was when we were in the van on our way to an event and it was night time. We were sitting at a red light and woman comes and puts her face on the window right next to me, all I saw were big white glowing eyes! I SCREAMED to the top of my lungs and jumped on Lyndsay's lap as if she was going to save me. The woman only wanted to say hello....what made it even funnier, our contact Laurie screamed with me and didn't even know why she was screaming! Haha!




3) What advice would you give to all of the Filipino Cheer/Dance Teams you worked with and any shout-outs for them?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
First I’d like to congratulate all 5 Universities who participated in the Cheer Dance Competition at NBA Madness for their time, talent, dedication and incredible performances! We were so incredibly impressed with each of you and wish we could have presented a 1st place trophy to all of you that final day! My advice to each of you as well as any other cheer dancers in the Philippines is to stay focused, achieve your goals by taking one step at a time, work hard and practice harder, turn any weaknesses you may have into strengths, take constructive feedback and use it to improve yourself and your talents, and ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST so you can’t ever look back with what-ifs or regrets!

Tara
All joking aside, it was very inspirational to get to work with the cheer squads. They aren't necessarily able to practice in the nicest facilities, and they have no air conditioning in 90 degree heat, yet they still danced their hearts out!

Kendra
As for my advice to the performers we met, I just have to say keep doing what your doing. Each and every one of you had the heart and the drive to conquer the world. Find what you are passionate about and go for it with everything you have. There is always someone who is looking up to you, use that as fuel to keep you going. There will always be someone better than you, use them as your inspiration to work harder. There is never something you can't do, so never give up on your dreams. Mahal namin kyo Pilipinas!

Victoria
The Filipino Cheer/Dance teams were absolutely amazing, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will make it far in whatever their future endeavors are. My advice for them would be to keep on pushing to be the best they can be. If it gets tough, just remember they can do anything they put their minds, hearts, and hard work into. Never fear the word "no" because those can better you and make room for your 1 big YES, and never use the word "can't"!

Priya
Shout out to Central College of the Philippines, Philippines Christian University, and Southern Technical Institute. You all were so much fun to work with, and did such an amazing job at the cheer dance competition. Always remember try your hardest, give it all you've got and never give up.

Lyndsay
The dance and cheer teams we worked with were all so amazing!! They had such great spirit and energy and were so entertaining to watch. Some advice I would give..... Keep practicing your tumbling. Keep your tricks clean and try as hard as you can to finish all your tumbling. Keep your knees locked in your stunts and that will help to stabilize them. And most importantly dance your booties off. Work on those dance sections and keep them as clean and together as possible. Everyone was so great!!

Shalize
The dance teams in the Philippines were great! They had such amazing spirits and were so passionate, driven and energetic for what they were doing and it was wonderful to see that. My Message to them would be to keep doing what your doing! Keep smiling! Keep trying hard, practicing and pushing yourself to the limit. Always challenge yourself it's only going to make you that much better and that much stronger! The boys and girls on the these teams I know will go far, their love for dancing and cheering deffinetley shows!




WATCH CLIPS OF DANCERS IN MANILA