The Au Pair Center/On Equal Terms Norway invited internationally known Grand Master Danny Huertas on November 13 to teach Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) as a self-defense to interested au pairs. In a two-hour session, Master Huertas taught the basic self-defense of Val Pableo Eskrima Evalution.
Master Huertas is a holder of the rank of 6th grade black belt in Doce Pares Multi System under the supervision of Grand Master Dionisio ‘Diony’ Canete and Grand Master Percival ‘Val’ Pableo.
He organized the Oslo Eskrima Club together with Norwegian teacher Master Karl Remoy and FMA practitioner Peyman Mirtaheri. The Club promoted FMA Doce Pares in Norway.
GM Huertas traveled every year to the Philippines to train FMA. He also attended seminars around Europe. In 2004, he formed his own group called Doce Pares Norway. The aim of the club is to promote FMA specially to the new generation of Filipinos who are born and raised in foreign countries. There are now seven Doce Pares Clubs in Norway.
In 2011 SGM Diony Canete appointed Master Huertas the director of Doce Pares Europe. As Director, he has supervision over all its chapters and affiliates in Sweden, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Belgium and Bulgaria.
He continues to teach Filipino Martial Arts in Norway and other countries in Europe. “This is my passion,” he said. “It is an honor to promote Eskrima Kali Arnis. It is my great pride to do so, for I am after all a Filipino,” he added.
Au Pairs Learn Fast
I witnessed the enthusiasm and excitement of the au pairs who participated in the session. They learned the steps fast and Master Huertas was delighted.
Fritzie Blorecia, one of the participants is an AB Psychology graduate from the Saint Joseph Institute of Technology in Agusan del Sur. Prior to being an au pair, she worked at a call center in the province. Her first assignment as au pair was in the Netherlands where she stayed for one year. Then she went to Sweden for another two years. Her hosts in both countries were very considerate and fair.
She now works for equally nice hosts in Oslo. But they will be moving to Monaco because her hosts will be assigned there. She plans to eventually return to the Philippines to pursue a masteral degree. For Fritzie, being an au pair, a cultural exchange program, is a ticket to travel and see the world.
“Hindi ito ang buhay nakalaan sa akin. Gusto ko bumalik sa Pilipinas,” she said. (This is not the life intended for me. I want to go back the Philippines). She hopes to enter government service, possibly at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in her province.
Fritzie is familiar with arnis because it was one of the sports activities in Physical Education course when she was in high school. But she was not at first interested in attending the training at the Au Pair Center. A taekwondo player who has participated in various tournaments, she wondered what she would get out of arnis. “Pero naging masaya,” she said. “Maganda pala na self-defense,” she added. (It was fun. It’s good as self-defense.)
Another au pair who joined the training is Mayjorite Navoa, a nursing graduate from the St Paul College Foundation, Inc. in Cebu City. Like Fritzie, Mayjorite also started as au pair in Netherlands. Then she transferred to Belgium before she came to Norway. Her hosts are also generous and friendly.
Unlike Fritzie who wants to return to the Philippines after her au pair experience, Mayjorite will remain in Norway at the end of her contract and practice her profession. Her papers have been approved by the Helsedirektorated (Norwegian Directorate of Health), the office responsible for all categories of profession within the legally regulated health sector. This will pave the way for her to be employed as helsefagarbeider or nurse assistant.
Mayjorite also enjoyed the arnis experience. She welcomes the opportunity to learn more about FMA when it is offered again.
Krizel Cimafranca Polego was an au pair in Denmark before coming to Norway..She has been in Oslo as au pair since December 2015. She is also lucky to have nice hosts who consider her as part of the family.
Asked about her arnis experience, she said, “It’s fun. I like it. If only I have enough time I would enroll to learn more. Ang ganda na may alam kang sariling marital arts na sariling atin. (It’s good to know about martial arts we can call our own.)
She hopes to work as health care assistant in Norway when her contract as au pair ends.
Ms. Regina Deana Cruz Pascual, Activities Leader at the Au Pair Center Norway said there are other weekend activities for the au pairs like ice skating, visiting museums, going to the movies and other outdoor activities. Information meetings about regulations concerning the au pair scheme, and reproductive health awareness courses are also being conducted.