Manila Bay, Philippines - Denise Velasco

Hello, I’m Denise, and I currently study Graphic Design at OCAD University. I’m from Imus,Cavite in the Philippines, and I moved to Toronto 5 years ago. Although I’m now situated in North York, I have a plethora of memories of water back in the Philippines, especially from when I was younger.

When I was 7 years old to until I was 15, I used to swim at this beach called Caylabne to train for competitive swimming. I had to practice on water that had a certain wave current for endurance purposes, and Caylabne was the perfect beach for that. Caylabne had beautiful sea-green waters that were entrancing and gorgeous. But as a competitive swimmer, I was determined to not fall for its charm—I always felt like I had to fight with water, due to my competitive nature. While others would swim leisurely and melt into the deep blue waters with ease, I would put my game face on and ignore the water’s beauty in favour of improving my swimming techniques.

Eventually though, I learned that I had to follow the flow of the water in order to perform best in it. Once I allowed myself to trust the water and let it guide me naturally, not only did my swimming improve, but I found so much more enjoyment in swimming. Before, I would almost view the water as my enemy—as a challenge I needed to overcome in order to become the best swimmer I could be. But water is not something that is to be conquered—it is something to appreciate and behold. Letting water soothe me and guide me became therapeutic and inspiring. I now feel so comfortable and at home in water that it seems almost foreign to think that I once believed I had to fight it. Most view water as a necessity in their lives purely in a needs-based outlook—for drinking water, for showers, or for farmland.

To me, water provides all this but so much more—it is a prime source of comfort to me that is irreplaceable.

Samantha Quinto
Denise Velasco

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