When I first moved to Dumaguete here in the Philippines, the first thing I did was start looking for a good gym – before I had even secured an apartment! I did find several options, but they all were a little incomplete. For instance, the nicest gym in town that almost met Western standards was on the third floor of the Portal West building. They had plenty of weights and one heavy bag, but it got too crowded, and the boxing classes and training they offered were weirdly expensive, even for US prices.
Century Security Academy Training Center
So I eventually found a gym called the Clint Bessario MMA Training Center that was very close to my new apartment in the neighborhood of Daro. While it was convenient, this new gym was SUPER local – for lack of a better word. The place was SO hot that I literally just had to stand in there and I’d start sweating profusely, and there was no air conditioning of course or even a fan to move the air. The weight lifting equipment was also very outdated and limited. I don’t mind a rustic gym, but for instance, the bench is so narrow that it’s hard not to fall off and the cables are half-broken, etc. The MMA training part was in a small room and fully geared to Filipinos. In fact, I was the only foreigner ever in there! After a while, I got the vibe that they didn’t really feel like training me and that me sweating all over the place (and all over them when I hit the mitts) wasn’t going over well, so I started looking again.
Luckily, I found another amazing gym for functional training (like CrossFit but not as cultish), but it dawned on me that I would have to attend different gyms for different things. And then, I was riding my bike down the street only 5 minutes from my apartment one afternoon when I heard Pop! Pop! The familiar sound of boxing gloves hitting mitts. I poked my head inside a fence and sure enough, I had found the Century Security Academy.
The business is actually a training academy of security guards, but as part of that, they have a little outdoor area (covered by a high roof but open air) with mats on the floor, a heavy bag, a couple of old truck tires, and some battered and falling apart equipment. Perfect! I spoke to the trainer there – a nice young guy named Dem who lives on premises, and it was as easy as asking him if we could train the next morning.
So began my training at Century Security Academy, and it’s been awesome. It’s always just one-on-one lessons for me (although he gladly trains groups) and the cost is so ridiculous – 50 Pesos, or $1 for an hour or longer – that I give him $2 and he protests.
I usually do a few rounds of boxing with rapid fire combinations, a round or two of kicks and knees, elbows, etc., and often a round of defense, or some body conditioning where Dem wails away on me. We also can do some calisthenics and plyometrics, etc., but I go there just to get my super charged cardio burst from hitting the mitts and boxing. Pow! Pow! I’m very thankful that I found the Century Security Academy!