ARTICLES - THE PHILIPPINE STAR

HOW LAUGHTER YOGA SAVED A COUPLE FROM A EUROPEAN ORDEAL

Posted: September 27, 2011

 

  LAUGHTER YOGA  IN  EUROPE

                                                                                     MS. ELVIE PUNZALAN-ESTAVILLO

 

            Lynda Geraldez, a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, narrates the stressful experience she and husband Delfy encountered while on vacation in Europe, and how she countered it with it with  the best, fastest and easiest stress-buster – Laughter Yoga.

            During our vacation  in Europe, we met up in Paris with college friends, Carlo and Josie Angeles, now residents of Toronto, and my in-laws, Butch and Tess Geraldez. Carlo told us of a pickpocket attempt by a group of Eastern Europeans on one of the floors of the Eiffel tower. Nothing was lost since Carlo noticed the attempt in time. We regaled each other with friends’ stories about similar incidents in Paris and Rome.

            We were at the Franklin Roosevelt station on Paris Metroline 1 enroute to L’ Opera. When the train door opened, a group of 6 babbling schoolgirls stood from the bench at the subway station and ran ahead of us as my husband  stepped inside the train with me closely following behind him.  He did not find it odd that he was surrounded by the girls who did not budge to let him through. I found it disconcerting that the train doors were about to close and still I couldn’t board so I shoved Delfy in and got between him and one of the girls. Even before the doors closed, Delfy instinctively reached out into his pockets and immediately felt his passport gone. Mercifully, the substantial cash in a plastic envelope beside the passport was intact. He shouted: “my passport is gone!” The girls quickly disembarked before the train doors closed, with Delfy and I following suit.

            In a split second,  a young police officer,  halted the train; radioed his team; collared one of the girls and got a witness statement from a passenger all in a matter of minutes. Thank God he spoke English. As he led the girl and us out of the station, he checked all the waste bins for the passport. When we got out of the station across the Gucci store, all the subway exits were already manned by police and caught another girl. Together, we checked out all the planter boxes and waste bins alongside the subway exits. With the passport gone, we got into the police van, we while the two girls kept pleading. There was the distinctive siren as we negotiated the roads at top speed. I experienced an adrenaline rush as we passed several architectural structures of interest to tourists, and surprisingly enjoyed the experience. Was it coincidence that our destination would be the police station at Gare du Nord right across the hotel we were billeted?

            The police officer  was apologetic. We learned that police are familiar with the scheme of Eastern Europeans below 18 years old. They pick one’s pockets and bolt out as the train doors close. Even if they are caught,  French laws do not allow them to be jailed because of their age.

            Oftentimes, our minds process a myriad of information i.e., avoid gypsies in Rome though at that time we did not find any gypsies there; be on the lookout for Eastern Europeans in Paris who stay close to you.  but never imagined  girls below 18 years old would pose as schoolgirls and work in groups targeting tourists.

            We learned that one  may be very vigilant and yet still miss something.  The lessons we learned:  first, bring an ID or driver’s license, needed for police report; second. have passport number handy;. third,  secure a calling card from the hotel stating its name, address and contact number. When asked for name of our hotel, we cannot say as we only knew how to get there..

            The police officer advised us to check out the waste bins and planter boxes,  and found three wallets, which we left  with the police station.

            We missed the romantic dinner  we had planned earlier and instead settled for hamburgers at  a  Quick outlet.  Once back to our hotel room, after a hot shower and prayers , I did a 15- minute LYoga silent belly laughter on bed and slept soundly. This is the fourth lesson.

            Before heading for the Philippine Embassy, I again did some LYoga exercises  to relax such as: Lion, One-Meter,  Milkshake, and Hot Soup Laughter;  Consular Attache Ed Paraan, issued an endorsement addressed to the Philippine Consulate  at Den Haag, Netherlands. Following his advice, we headed for the Lost Property Office at Rue des Morillons. where Mr. Frank Cimafranca  issued Delfy  a travel document for  our trip back to Manila.

            I am now so relaxed and ready for  action in Manila. As Elvie Estavillo says,   LYoga can be done anywhere, anytime, under all situations in life. I did LYoga regularly in all the European countries we visited  that  kept me relaxed and energized – despite the rigors and hassles of long-distance travelling and the ordeal we went through.

            A certified Laughter Yoga Leadership Seminar will be conducted in April in Tagaytay City. Fee is P9,800.  Those interested to lead this life-changing experience in their respective places, may now register as number of participants is limited.  Hurry, grab this opportunity, as this seminar is much more expensive abroad. Please  log on to: www.laughteryogaphils.com and email us to laughteryogaclub.phils@gmail.com. Let’s laugh to a healthy, happy, positive us. Ho ho ha ha ha. A LYoga session will be conducted for DOJ, Parole and Pardon Section on Sept. 30.