Monday, November 26, 2007

Freeing the Body in Water: Watsu 1 Course

I just recently completed an intensive week of Watsu 1 and I must say it was a rich learning experience. Not only was it all about knowledge and skills but focused also on connection with the "receiver" of a Watsu® session. And since I intend to apply this newly refined skill as part of my own personal and professional development, my clients, be they abled or differently-abled will truly benefit from Watsu®. Here's Harold Dull, the founder of Watsu® presenting an introduction to this unique form of aquatic bodywork.

The course ran from November 19 to 24, 2007 at Quality Life Discoveries (Special People's Hub) and was supervised by Karen Neff, certified Watsu® practitioner, instructor and owner of Mandala Spas and Villas of Boracay. She was assisted by her husband, Tom Neff, also a certified Watsu® practitioner. There were only 6 of us as students and close guidance and supervision was provided. It included mostly hands-on sessions in the warm pools, a few didactics and land exercises. But generally, it was an intensive and exhaustive week, but at the same time a liberating and relaxing experience.

I have always been passionate about Watsu® ever since I received a basic introduction to it when I took a certification course in Sports for Physically Disabled Individuals in Tokyo, Japan (JICA sponsored). Ever since my professor lent me a training video, I've been integrating it if possible in my aquatherapy sessions, and demonstrating it in Aquatherapy classes. After receiving a Watsu® session, I'm convinced that this is something I could (actually, should) share to others. I saw it's potentials as a therapeutic modality among patients especially those suffering from pain, spasticity and other conditions. And since then, I've been looking for opportunities to further my knowledge and skills in Watsu®, but was only limited by my lack of resources (The courses offered in Harbin Springs, California are quite expensive not to mention, I have to travel there first. The nearest I've found was in India last September, but I couldn't leave my work in CAMP). It was providential that Quality Life Discoveries, per my recommendation, brought in the experts instead.

We learned primarily the Watsu® Transition Flow, perfecting it not only in the domain of technicality (remembering the biomechanics and sequence of movements) but most importantly on being able to connect in "resonance" with the receiver. Now, this is very important, as an academician myself, I've noticed that most students have only focused on the technicality of modalities, but are very weak in the more caring dimension of things. It gives a greater meaning on the term patient care – greater emphasis on "care"… it's not just handling but it's "caring". As in any modality, when the "caring" aspect is missing, one will not be able to achieve the full benefits. Unique to this course, We also applied Watsu® on children, both able and differenty-abled, where we have to consider modifications to the standard flow. Watsu® unlike other aquatic body work is very intimate. It is very interesting that we were discussing the following concepts aside from the techniques:

  • Resonance/coherence – All objects will in time sync in frequency. In Watsu®, it is the synchronization of breathing and heart beats. Water provides a deeper opportunity for synchronization.
  • Heart of service
  • The undisturbed state – Many receivers have likened their experience of Watsu® as a re-wombing experience.
  • And many more interesting ideas… which when you think about it works seamlessly with the technical stuff of things

Karen and Tom Neff have been very wonderful mentors. Their feedbacks which they say could be very harsh at times have been very constructive in our learning process. We as students felt their genuine love and concern in developing our own skills in Watsu®. We had wonderful classmates, who have been very cooperative and helpful in each other's learning experience also. Now I have to log 20 practice hours of Watsu 1 and then we will resume our course on December 10-15, 2007 for Watsu 2. Do you want a Watsu® session? I'd happily give you one!

Here are my latest Moleskine entries inspired by Watsu®…


H2Om (water - Om)... I recently completed my Watsu 1 course and I must say it was a truly fulfilling experience. Not only have I been wanting to learn this for personal and professional (as a physical therapist) development, but I have always been passionate about the esoteric nature of Watsu, how it is possible to reach levels of consciousness and sensitivity through water not only as a receiver but as a giver. This is a follow-up on my previous "Poetry in Water" entry.


Can you remember how it felt to be inside your mother's womb? There have been numerous testimonials from receivers of Watsu that describe the experience as a return to the mother's womb. It is afterall, a gravity-free environment where we are completely protected, stress-free and worry-free. I have a few interesting ideas on how this could be applied among differently-abled children. Another follow-up on my "Poetry in Water" entry series.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bring It On! (At the 1st Philippine Men’s Health Urbanathlon)

I may be over reacting but I've been having dreams of running in a marathon and traversing obstacles nights before the 1st Philippine Men's Health Urbanathlon. I really couldn't hide my giddiness anymore, I had trouble sleeping the night before the awaited event. Perhaps, it's because the nervousness, the intimidation this physical challenge brings. But alas, I couldn't back out anymore, since I already pre-registered (I was able to get a discount, being a collector of Men's Health Magazine and as a member of Fitness First) and I practically announced that I would already participate in this in my previous blog (Another realization that you have to be careful what you say in your blogs!).

Preparation. I learned about the Urbanathlon a week after the last Body Combat Marathon, and since then I considered joining this. It helps when you have a major event to look forward to, as this keeps your motivation up in your workout. There was really no radical change in my usual workout (Body Combat and Body Balance classes) but additional treadmill time was added. At two weeks before the event, I've already been increasing the mileage from 5 kms to 7 kms. At 1 week, I was already working 10 kms non stop at 9.5 – 10 km/h. After each treadmill session would be approximately 20 mins of stair machine work (at effort level 5-7). This is all to simulate the approximate distance and the stair climbing challenge in the Urbanathlon. I failed to run on real concrete pavement due to lack of time, and I really wasn't able to prepare for the obstacles. I was confident that I would do well endurance-wise, but I was quite worried whether I can overcome the obstacles.

Night Before The Event. I prepared my MP3 player, loaded it up with my familiar Body Combat songs (yeah, Body Combat music. My body has already been conditioned to prime up when I listen to this music!). I prepared my bag with all my usual gym gear, since I plan to leave my things at Fitness First Fort. I slept in my running clothes (and guess what, I slept with my running shoes on!). Everything was already ready but as I said, I had trouble sleeping! To put me to sleep, I had to tune my TV to National Geographic. Luckily, it had something boring on.

The Day! November 18, 2007. Woke up on time (Race starts 7:30 AM). Washed. Picked up my bag and left on a taxi. I noticed that the tent was already brimming with people, all lining up for registration. I went to Fitness First to leave my bags at the locker but it wasn't open yet. Tsk! Now this is gonna be a problem, where am I supposed to leave my things!? I went to the registration area, learned that I no longer have to line up since I was already pre-registered. I inquired where I can leave my things, but they said they didn't have an area where people can leave their things unattended. Luckily, a kind organizer volunteered to have my things kept in her car (thanks, Marcie!). Whew! I went around the obstacle course and saw that carpenters were trying to reinforce some of them. The wall didn't look menacing at all. I was glad the wall was constructed with a beam in the middle (unlike in the New York videos which was all smooth on one face!). This way the beam could serve as a "step" to scale the wall. I looked for the hurdles and noticed that some participants were already practicing in them. Hmmm, I tried it once, and realized that this is doable. I looked for people I knew (I was alone, huhu, since my gym buddies backed out) and I saw familiar faces, from celebrities to friends. I noticed some of the fitness instructors from Fitness First MetroEast even joined.

The participants were gathered in the stage area where basic instructions, a brief warm-up and stretching session were given. After which, everybody was requested to gather behind the starting line. I think the organizers realized it would be difficult to force everybody (more than 700!) move back behind the starting line, so they started the race already. Everybody was running off. I was running in no time in my familiar pace, my MP3 player busting out my favorite tunes. As long as my music was playing, I didn't care if people were overtaking me, or I was overtaking them. My pace relied on my music. The roads in The Fort area was generally flat, with some areas with a maximum incline of 5 degrees. We had to work the course around The Fort twice since one round is only 5 km. Each round culminating in the obstacle course.

The Obstacles I. The 1st round of 5 km was relatively OK. I was already breathing hard but not yet tired. I promised myself that I will never stop running at any point of the race. I will never walk except at the obstacle areas. (Do you know why? The picture my professor took of me when I participated in the marathon in LuleƄ, Sweden haunted me. I was walking in pain! That picture did it for me. I never stopped running since then.) The first obstacles were the marine hurdles, which were OK. My technique was to jump simultaneously while lifting myself up, so I could prop my left foot on the beam. With the left foot, I could swing my right leg over and jump on to the ground. Next was the baby crawl, which I thought was poorly constructed. I think the net was too high so this let the people squat walk instead of baby crawl! But I guess this was a good thing. Otherwise, we would have been swimming in mud. Next was the parking lot. We had to climb over 4 Ford pickup trucks. After which were the balance beams. I actually lost balance at one point and fell. But I regained immediately. Then there were the 4 foot hurdles followed by a zigzagging drumroll area. There was no landmine area unfortunately. After the obstacle course, we headed to the race course again for the second round. The wall was reserved for the last lap.

The 2nd Lap. Another 5 kms, and somehow I was already feeling tired. The change of pace in the obstacle are rattled my running rhythm, but soon I regained it. This time, the distance between runners was more defined. I could notice some were already walking (I learned that some of them were quite disappointed that they still had to run another round!). But I knew I was doing OK for my standards, and I could still see the leaders far ahead. I was sure with my rhythm, but sometimes I would have to pick up my pace just to challenge myself. At this point, no one was overtaking me anymore. I was the one overtaking people. Not that I was running faster. It was because the runners in front of me were slowing down.

Sometime in the middle of the 2nd round, my MP3 player suddenly stopped. I looked at it frantically wondering what could be the problem. I knew I charged it full the night before. It wouldn't play. And since there was no music already, I could hear already my rhythmic heavy breathing (Yes, this is a reason why I play music when running. I don't like to hear my heavy breathing, because it reminds me that I'm tired!). I couldn't have my MP3 player to work so I had no choice. Last Song Syndrome. I had the last song playing in my mind, and it kept me until the obstacle course. Unfortunately, the water stations ran out of water! They gave out bottles of iced teas instead! This couldn't quench my thirst, but it gave the sugar boost I needed. I had to pick up used water bottles in the road and drink what's left there! Wala nang pakialam kung sino uminom nun, nauuhaw na ako eh! In the last turn of the road, I could see the leaders already in the obstacle course area. I realized the organizers removed the stair climbing challenge. Too bad, I was looking forward to it.

The Obstacles II. I knew I was tired because I was taking a longer time preparing for each hurdle, and I was already walking in between each obstacle area. I hated this change of pace. Soon I reached the wall. I noticed the guy in front of me refusing to climb the wall. I picked the middle part. I held on the rope, pulled myself up. Propped my feet against the wall. I climbed up the rope until I could place my feet on the beam. I slipped a little but managed to hold on. I pulled myself up and scaled the wall. In no time I was on the ground running towards the finishing line. I finished at a decent 1:02:49! I was breathing so hard, but deep inside I was glad. I surpassed my own expectations and was proud of completing the course without extreme difficulty.

Festival. I met with old grade school classmates (Hi Ferdie and Louie!) who were there to cheer on their girlfriends. It was a reunion of sorts. Funny how you meet people you lose contact with in such events. I toured all the booths which offered lots of freebies. I ate lunch and rested while we listened to Session Road during the festival. I was exhausted but happy. Luckily, the gym was only a block away where a warm relaxing shower was waiting.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of me in action. I took these pictures after I finished the race.

I am glad I joined the 1st Philippine Men's Health Urbanathlon, happier that I completed it better than I expected. I just hope the organizers make sure next time to include the missing segments (the stairclimb challenge and the landmines), and perhaps make the course longer instead of having to run it twice. Congratulations to the organizers of the event! We're sure to join the next one. Next in line among my list of physical challenges: the Concept2 2007 Holiday Rowing Challenge!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've always been urged by my friends and clients to have my own website, now that I've been building a name around the graphic design business particularly in logo, t-shirt and layout design; and ambigram creation. I am already maintaining personal weblog sites such as in Blogspot: Perelandran Chronicles and Multiply: Perelandran Frontier, an artwork gallery through revcruz@DeviantArt, and a photo repository in revcruz@Flickr and most of my clients (both local and international) are able to learn about my artwork and contact me for requests through these websites, if not from crowd-sourcing sites which I have built quite a respectable reputation (such as It all started as a hobby but this has somehow developed into an income-generating activity.

I am now developing a website which will serve as my portfolio featuring my designs, more prominently in logo design and ambigrams. This will serve as a venue for commission requests from potential clients both local and international. Hopefully, I will be able to integrate into the website my other creative ventures such as my font foundry (I have been creating various sets of custom-made fonts), stereogram creation and paper crafts among others. It will also host all of my creative blogs, so expect most of my art-related entries here to move out to their new home. In the future, it may serve as shop for future merchandise (featuring my T-shirt designs for example). It sounds so professional, it scares me honestly. I never thought that I could get this much out of my art.

A preview of Rev Creations at

With all the radical changes happening with me (By the way I am no longer a faculty member of the College of Allied Medical Professions, but will still be working as a lecturer/professor for the UP Manila Community Health and Development Program momentarily while my papers are being processed), this will just be one of the manifest investment of my many passions. Of course, I have a lot more to think about in terms of what I really want out of my life.

So look out for it, it will be up soon! Rev Creations at

Logo Design:

Sometimes, the final logo design will look radically different from the initial concepts. Numerous uncontrollable factors may affect the creative design process. Oftentimes, a perfect idea suddenly appears just when you thought you got it right.

Niklas Perzon, of was looking for an update logo his website. is a website for automotive classifieds ads (by the way, bilnyckeln is Swedish for the word "car key"). The logo should be modern, slightly fun, but still professional. It should be more appealing to men, should look cool and clean, but not boring. He mentions that anything related to cars and car keys may be used. Looking at their existing logo which is actually a photograph, I thought of preserving the car key concept into a vector graphic design. Looking at logos of other related websites, I thought of giving this logo impact by using bold fonts and colors. Of course, since it's Swedish, I integrated their flag (haha, the colors of which I mistakenly inverted):

Among various proposals, my logo proposal was selected. However, the logo was not selected for its design but because of my precedent designs, which I think the client enjoyed. He thought that I would be able to actualize what he wanted the final logo to look like. He gave me an idea of what the target site would look like (emphasizing that red would be an integral color) and a sample logo which could inspire me to follow.

Apparently, he was looking for a simple but effective icon for his site. I started anew, working on a more iconic feel. Here are my new proposals.

He suggested dropping the "car key" concept, and opt for a different path regarding the main symbol. Hmm, path… Why not a road?

The "twirl" which is an abstract representation of a road soon became a more distinguishable road.

And soon, as the icon was finally decided upon, the text was added, using a font that represents the car business very well (The font I used is a variation of the actual "Nissan" font), and special Web 2.0 like effects integrated.

Nothing beats the feeling when you have finally captured what the client wants, to receive the final approval with a highly encouraging remark like "Nice!", "I like it very much!" and "Wow!" I am looking forward to working again with Niklas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Logo Design: The Colony Veteran’s Day Fun Run and The San Diego USO Stars and Stripes Run

Making sports-themed logos is a great experience. Not only would I be challenged to infuse the design with the essence of the sport, it should be something that would evoke pride especially if it's a team logo. "A hot team logo is a gold mine in the varsity jacket's business..." Successful merchandising depends on how the logo fares. Haha, but a team's success doesn't usually depend on how "hot" the logo is.

Recently, I designed a logo for The Colony Veteran's Day Fun Run. It will be the first annual Veteran's Day Run (a 5K race) hosted by The American Legion in The Colony, TX and will be participated in by all age ranges (divisions include 80+) on November 10, 2007. The organizers wanted the logo to evoke fun and most importantly patriotism. Naturally, it should embody anything that symbolizes Veteran's Day and running. Red and blue, stars and stripes and speed already came to mind… and here was my proposal:

The "fast" central graphic may be a little extreme for veterans, but I guess I was able to balance this by framing it within a circle with the text in a friendly "slower" font. How I would like to see the logo in action on the day itself!

I also designed a proposal logo for The San Diego USO Stars and Stripes Run. In this version, the outlines of the running person are more distinct (I used reference pictures of marathon runners). I drew the stripes to seemingly flow from the runner to show speed. A stripe even wraps around to represent victory and the pride of achievement one gets by completing a run. The stars also seems to flow out magically from the runner to evoke fun.

Sometimes I would like to test how my logos would look, so I created a mock-up picture. I borrowed a picture of an actual marathon integrating within it the design.

Works no? As of now, the copyright for this one still belongs to me, since it seems they have already chosen another one. So anyone interested in purchasing this logo, just contact me.

For the meantime, I'm setting myself up for another physical challenge. I'll be participating in the 1st Men's Health Urbanathlon to be held at Bonifacio Gobal City on November 18, 2007. Here is a preview of what I will face on that day (highlights from the New York counterpart):

Exciting! Wish me luck! I'll just be glad if I am able to finish it ALIVE! Haha!