Health And Family

Ooh la laughter in Barcelona

LAUGHINGLY YOURS - Elvie Estavillo - The Philippine Star

Si, laughter, being the “sunshine of the soul,” greatly helped in making our tour of Spain truly an enjoyable and memorable experience. It helped bridge friendly relationships easily and made situations lighter and happier among us 50 tourists from all parts of the globe.

When Marivic del Pilar, a certified LYoga leader, invited me to join her family for a trip to Spain, I immediately asked for the itinerary because I really wanted to go back there to see the places my daughters Nina and Bunny and I missed four years ago. When I saw the eight interesting places to be visited, I okayed it right away, with daughter Bunny tagging along.

Our touch point was Barcelona, dubbed “the city of many passions.”   Since the first day was free, Bunny and I, together with Marivic and her family of four, went to Las Ramblas. It was a wide four-lane street, lined with trees and benches on both sides, solely intended for leisurely promenading pedestrians. Along the long stretch of Las Ramblas were small sidewalk restos serving tapas, paellas, tortillas, etc.   To add color and fun were street performers clad in costumes and painted faces — passersby can have pictures taken with them and drop money in tip cans for the performers.   Bunny saw an empty box meant for a street performer, obviously preparing for his performance. Bunny dared me do Laughter Yoga right there. As I may not pass that way again, without hesitation, I stood on the box, and belted out a long hearty laughter. Hahahahahahaha! 

The passersby were visibly startled, surprised, bewildered — for surely that was their first time to see a street performer, not standing like a statue but laughing and laughing continuously, hilariously! At first, they smiled, giggled, and then laughed, too!. An indication that people everywhere want to be happy, especially the Spanish people now reeling under their worst economic crisis.

Laughter banishes the cobwebs harboring in our minds. It is the direct, fastest, easiest connector between people. It may have been crazy, but I enjoyed immensely that unforgettable, first-of-its-kind laughing adventure! The magic of laughter! Please view the Youtube lycphohohahaha. 

It was our first time to join a big tour group with 16 Filipinos. I never imagined it could be that delightful and pleasurable though we just met for the first time. While travelling in the coach, I introduced Laughter Yoga to the group to break the ice, so to speak. Pronto, it made our fellow tourists loosen up, making the bonding cheerful and easier. They also liked so much the “health through fingertips” exercises, and every day, some tour members would ask me to demonstrate them.

In the course of our tour, some tour members began to cough and get colds. A European lady was so embarrassed and apologetic every time she coughed severely, complete with a crackling sound. With great effort, she tried to suppress her coughing but to no avail. I gave her some Carica candies proudly made locally of papaya, calamansi, and honey to ease the coughing and soothe her throat as well as some malunggay capsules that are potent in vitamin C and potassium contents. I then advised her to take a rest. Surprise, surprise! The following day, her incessant coughing subsided, and she hugged and thanked me profusely.

To protect ourselves, Bunny and I upped our intake of vitamin C to 2,000 mg. and took three capsules of our very own malunggay tablets daily — topped by lots of laughter and deep breathing exercises to boost our immune system. Thank God, our Spanish tour ended with a big bang of good health, happiness, and camaraderie.

Two newfound Filipino friends from California, Maricar and Catherine, said there is no place on earth like the Philippines so they will come home for good upon retirement. Food lovers Bunny and Maricar googled the restaurants serving the best paella for 75 years and the best cochinillo for 100 years now! Joining us in our food explorations were the Britanico and Del Pilar families. Voila! We relished not only sumptuous food but good fun and great laughter as well!

During our last dinner together, I thanked everyone — our driver Jose for our safe trip, our tour guide Sandra, for indefatigably sharing with us informative highlights of the places we visited. Our fellow travelers for making our tour not just fun-filled, but for helping turn each moment into fragments of memories to be cherished for a long, long time. I ended by inviting them to come to our beautiful country — where the people are as warm as the bright shining sun.   Where touring is more fun! Maricar and Catherine are coming in August, and some Australian friends in October.

As always, goodbyes are bittersweet, happy, and sad, as we go our separate ways. The Britanico family and our newfound friends hugged me, saying, “the trip was made enjoyable and memorable because of the daily dosage of laughter we shared heartily!” Laughter indeed knows no barriers. It’s free and can be done anytime, anywhere, in any situation. Aptly describing it, Dr. Kataria, founder, International Laughter Yoga Movement said, “When you laugh, you change the world around you, and the world around you changes, too.”

The next LYoga session will be for the Holy Spirit Elementary School, QC students on July 24, when we turn over the complete water supply system to provide water for the school’s 7,000 students.

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Visit laughteryogaphils.com, and e-mail me at laughteryogapils@gmail.com.


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