Monday, June 30, 2008

Half-Naked for Half of the Day…

When confronted with the question, "How would you describe your job in Quality Life Discoveries?" I would usually answer: "Well, my work requires me to be half-naked for more than half of the day each day…" Seriously!

Well, that's just one aspect of my daily routine. Having a pool in the clinic you work in, means expecting to stare at your pruned fingers at the end of each session. When you work in the water for so long, you could almost honestly say that you could breath underwater (I think I already have scales and gills growing on my body). But kidding aside, I enjoy working with my clients, ranging from the very young and fragile (say 10 months old) to the very old and senile (record eldest 86 years old) in the pool. This and pushing paper, talking, supervising, designing and organizing. It gets overwhelming once in a while, but the challenge is exciting. The only sad thing is I always wish I have the body to flaunt whenever I'm in the pool.

Just recently, the center was featured in Expat Travel & Lifestyle Vol. 2, No. 1 2008 (I think it was released around March – June) which featured healthy living. Months before, we were interviewed by Jacky Ong who was able to experience some of our services firsthand. The article is "Beyond Health: Discovering Quality of Life" and it includes a picture of me half-naked. Biggify these scans if you dare. But seriously, it is a well written piece introducing our center. Take a look.



Gusto kong matutong magdrive…

Something unique happens whenever I hear Eraserhead's Overdrive, especially when the song reaches its punchline chorus. My eyes begin to swell and tears start rolling as I prevent myself from uncontrollably banging my head while screaming "gusto kong matutong magdrive!" Yes, I don't know how to drive a car. Embarrassing I know that at my age, I would often cringe while confessing that I don't know how to operate the machine that congests the streets of Manila everywhere. With my overdeveloped thighs, one could easily see how I managed to rely on my feet as my main means of independent mobility. I only happened to learn how to ride the bike a few years back, but only because I was forced to cut up on my bus expenses while studying abroad. I don't know, perhaps I didn't learn how to drive the car probably because my dad didn't trust me enough (I was known as a "seraniko" as a kid… no toy could survive my dissecting hands… so he could just imagine what I would do to the family car!) or perhaps there was no need to. But really, it has been in my agenda to try out the driver's seat for many years, whatever means necessary. And guess what, the opportunity came.

Having more time and resources in my hands, with sound advices from my brothers and friends, I decided to enroll at A1 Driving School. I attended a 2 hour orientation course, which is a prerequisite before the actual driving. It was an informative orientation, and as they say it is designed to reduce the learning curve once we get our hands on the actual cars that we'll be driving. It was entertaining… too much I think. Thanks to a wacky instructor, who sprinkled his lecture with endless bits of corny ala-Bubble Gang jokes. There were also clueless students:

Instructor: Ma'm, saan nyo po balak magdrive? (Where do you intend to drive?)

Lady 1: Sa kotse?

Instuctor: Uhmmm… ma'm, di ko lang po matandaan pero alam nyo po, may tawag po sa inyo…

There was a point during a discussion which invited violent reactions:

Instructor: Bakit po manual ang inenrollan niyo?

Lady 3: Hmmm, sabi nila, pang-bading daw ang automatic…

What the?!?!!! I was enrolled in an automatic course! Now, I intend to convert some of my driving hour to manual driving.

I could never forget the first moment I stepped on the gas pedal and the car began moving. Woahh! I'm no longer an automobile virgin… and soon I was driving all throughout the streets of Quezon City. My instructor seemed approving of my driving technique because we spent most of the time talking about "boys stuff." There was a time when I was called by my instructor as a "kaskasero" because of my natural driving skills. I guess the Cruz driving gene is being unleashed after years of being dormant. By the way I was driving the latest Toyota Altis:

I felt like Orlando Bloom. Now, wanna see my car? Here's my car:

My dream car that is! Only in my dreams, haha! That's actually my boss' car (a Mazda MX-5 Roadster, just one of his cars) which I always see parked beside our center. Each day I go to work and see it, it seems to constantly tease me… "ain't I pretty? Too bad, you can't drive me…Bleh!" I can't drive you yet! But someday!

The only thing left for me to do is to fulfill the succeeding words to the lyrics… "Kahit na wala akong kotse…" Soon, I'll have my own car out of my own sweat and blood. But I guess by the time I have one, the gas prices might be so unaffordable, I wouldn't be able to drive it at all. Oh well… being a passenger still has its advantages.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quality Life Discoveries

One thing leads to another. I've always professed that one's job doesn't dictate your mission. You're always bound to fulfill your life's mission in the jobs that you choose or get offered to. I guess it was time for a change, for me to move on, after a wonderful decade of teaching in the University of the Philippines, to start anew… to something that will jumpstart my interest and creativity.

The past few months, I've been very busy organizing and setting up Quality Life Discoveries (QLD). It seemed providential that during the times I've been studying Watsu® 1 and 2, I'll be joining them not only as an aquatherapy specialist and PT consultant but also as its clinical director as well. With a handful of therapists and consultants already trained in some of the flagship programs of QLD and a remarkable investment by good-willed owners (who themselves have a son with cerebral palsy), one of my initial goals was to mold QLD into a fully operational rehabilitation and wellness center. Macro-ergonomic theory and concepts, organizational skills and knowledge, passion for anything technological and cutting-edge; and taste for branding and visual aesthetics all contributed to this task.

What Quality Life Discoveries is all about…

Quality Life Discoveries actually forms the latest chapter in a family's tale of love. Edwin and Mary Ann Cua have been seeking the best medical and therapy services abroad for their son, Jared, since he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to prematurity. With all of their dedication and perseverance in seeking services for their son, Jared improved dramatically, developing functional skills defying doctors' discouraging prognoses. All their travels proved to take heavy toll for Jared, who grew more and more exhausted, experiencing a seizure attack which may have been due to the stresses of traveling. The couple thought that instead of risking their child's life going all around the world incessantly, why not bring all of these easily accessible right at their fingertips. The puzzle begins to be pieced together: therapists gathered, trained in new programs and soon, a center to be built not only for their son but for other families to share in the quest of discovering quality in their lives.

The Logo

People would expect that I had a hand in the design of the center's logo. It looks like one of my creations, but it is not. It was created long before I joined QLD. But I actually like this logo, enough to call it mine because of the concepts it represents. The yellow tile features a child's drawing of a family, representing the center's vision of being family-oriented. The center is not just a center for the recipient of the services but a venue where the whole family can spend time together. The green tile features hands representing the center's pledge on the service of enabling our clients and their families discover their potentials. The red tile shows a mother and child image, symbolizing the center's focus on authentic care. And finally the blue tile includes books representing the center's vision to be a venue for learning and research.

Programs and Services

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
    • with Multisensory Environments
    • with Sensory Integration Intervention Programs
  • Aquatherapy
    • Aquatic programs for Kids and Adults
    • Aqua-fitness programs for Adults
    • Watsu® for relaxation and flexibility
    • Adapted Watsu® for kids (autism, cerebral palsy, movement disorders and others)
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • TheraSuitTM Intensive Method
  • GigerMDTM Rehabilitation
  • Oral-Motor Therapy
  • Special Education Tutorials
  • And many more to include in the future…

I'll be featuring some of these programs in my blogs in the future in detail. I've already mentioned Watsu® in my previous blogs. For a more detailed discussion on each, please visit our website at . We still have to update it unfortunately. Our e-brochure may be viewed below.

Read this document on Scribd: Quality Life Discoveries E-Brochure


And now to the aesthetic aspect which I know contributes a lot to how people will view and accept QLD and its services. I wanted to brand Quality Life Discoveries in a way that will not be limiting (in terms of target market, eg.: not just the pediatric population but also adults) but will also stand on its own among health service providers. It is quite challenging to build around an established logo, and since the logo itself already features several colors, I knew that I have to invest heavily in the use of colors for branding. I also relied on colors for organizational and administrative purposes.

The following images show the art I created for QLD. The earlier promotional materials depict my heavy reliance on color, using violet framed by aqua as the primary colors. The established multi-colored logo (I have to build around it) can effectively stand above it. I assigned a color for each of the programs, which then became used as reference in our administrative operations (color coding of schedules, folders and forms according to the programs) and geographic references (each floor in the center is color-coded too, blue for the first floor, red for the second and green for the third).

Icons were created for each room, hopefully effectively representing the programs the rooms will be used for. It blends seamlessly with the architecture of the center. Those who have visited the center will be amused to see which icon I used for my office.

Here are the latest materials I created for the center:

Flyers, Handouts, Brochures, Tarpaulin and Promotional Materials.

Icon designs.

Door and Elevator Design.

Looking forward…

There are a lot more to accomplish in the center, and a lot more has happened behind the scenes which are far too detailed and busy to write about. Although we are already operational, we aren't officially open yet. Our blessing will be on July 19, 2008, just in time for the National Disability Awareness and Rehabilitation Week Celebrations. We are also still looking for physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists. So if you're interested or know someone who's interested, don't hesitate to forward resumes to .

It's been a while since I wrote for my blog and it's quite understandable why. But I'll try to update this not only with updates from QLD, but also features of my latest artistic creations.