The New After-School Specials

You’re never too cool for school, especially if there’s something you’re itching to learn

(Originally published on June 1,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Anna Gamboa Gan

Most people believed that learning stopped after you left the four walls of your alma mater. Then people started believing that if you wanted to get ahead in your career, you had to invest in a master’s or doctorate. Now, people are waking up to the fact that with so many classes or courses around for one to get a taste of the arts, active pursuits or even broaden one’s mental horizons—5 p.m. can signal the start of a different type of after-work pursuit.

Not everyone is where they want to be, career-wise. But some of them carve out a measure of satisfaction by indulging in something they (wish to develop the skills or) have a talent for—be it stand-up comedy, hairstyling, painting or photography, cooking or perhaps filmmaking.

AyalaMuseum,Vargas Museum and places like My Little Art Studio are good places to start when you want to try your hand at painting or drawing, and it helps if your artist-teachers are as generous as Jason Moss, Lena Cobangbang or Electrolychee (a.k.a. the amazing tandem of Marcus Nada and Bernie Sim). Even former magazine editors can make a living during weekends by teaching photography workshops, as is the case with Winston Baltasar, who teaches classes on lighting, pre-nup and other forms of photography, and regularly posts class schedules on his Facebook account. With the various ways one can create a short film (cameraphone, digital camera, laptop) getting started in filmmaking, scriptwriting or animation is now as easy as signing up for a lecture or short course at Ateneo de Manila, Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street, or browsing the classes offered at And the teachers are respected industry pros, from Lyle Sacris, Emman dela Cruz, Paolo Villaluna and Raymond Lee.

If reading subtitles isn’t your cup of tea, sign up for a language course at Instituto Cervantes, Goethe Institut, Alliance Francaise de Manille, or even Berlitz. Those who prefer less cerebral pursuits can sign up for running clinics at ROX, boxing at Elorde’s, dance classes at Studio 116 or Steps in Makati City, or Google for the nearest dance studio (believe it or not the Julie Borromeo studio is alive and well in the Wack-Wack area, a testament to the enduring appeal of the terpsichorean arts). As for those who want a little more practical application, there’s always Krav Magaclasses (and tai chi, wushu, arnis/kalima/escrima for those who may not be attracted to taekwondo or karate) inSan Juan.

Those who seek the middle way can look up a yoga class, whether it focuses on poses or breathing (or both), and with the boom in yoga studios around the city, you’ll even be able to take on a trial week at a low cost. Some canny shoppers are great at sniffing out deals online at sites like Ensogo, Groupon or Just as plentiful are the culinary schools with respected instructors like Reggie Aspiras, Heny Sison or Gene Gonzalez—and while the main CCA campus is being renovated, it has other satellite schools in Eastwood and at the Podium (soon to open).

Learning nowadays can be more engaging than just picking up a book, and the affordable classes available in many cities allow professionals to blossom in other ways just when they think that their professional growth is stunted.

For more information on CCA, visit; call (2) 426-4840, 426-4841, 994-2520, 994-2530; email and


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Posted on August 22, 2011, in Career Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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