May 6, 2013

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

April 25, 2013 Pohnpei, FSM -Balloons and bright ribbons adorned the entry ways to the brand new, state of the art Genesis Wellness Center at 9:00 this morning.

Dozens of invited guests and interested people crowded under a tent in the parking lot between the two buildings of the Genesis complex for a blessing ceremony. Guest speakers included Lt. Governor Marcelo Peterson, FSM's Assistant Secretary of Health Marcus Samo, and Iso Nahnken of Nett Salvador Iriarte.

Mr. Iriarte spoke both in Pohnpeian and in English. During his speech he formally gave the blessing of Pohnpei's traditional leaders to the new fitness center. At the end of the speech he surprised the audience and Genesis owners, Mr. Hermie Alfonzo and Dr. Merlynn Abello-Alfonso when he bestowed a traditional title on each of the owners.

"We didn't see that coming until he asked for two mwarmwars to be brought to him, and that was when it suddenly dawned on me what was going on", Dr. Abello-Alfonso wrote afterwards. Dr. Marcus Samo read a letter by Dr. Vita Skilling, FSM Secretary of Health. "As you know, many people often associate healthcare with hospitals, but don't always associate wellness with hospitals. Well today, you are demonstrating that hospitals and wellness are cousins or maybe even brothers!

"The message that we are getting today through the establishment of Genesis Wellness Center is that fitness or exercise can play a significant role in good health- This facility is testament of your commitment and vision to instill good health in the lives of the people you serve in Pohnpei and the FSM," the letter said.

The Wellness Center, which is beautifully constructed, has two main rooms along with the bathroom, shower and sauna facilities. One of the rooms is dedicated to cardio vascular exercise and houses treadmills, rowing machines, and other machines designed to exercise the heart. The other room has a stage and wooden "dance" floor for future planned aerobics classes. It also houses free weights, and dynamic exercise machines designed to build strength.

Mr. Alfonzo says that the center currently has two fitness training experts on the staff, one male and one female. They previously worked at "Fitness First" and "Slimmers", two famous gyms in the Philippines. Both of the trainers are also physical therapists. They will be on duty to guide clients on the use of the state of the art exercise equipment and to guide them according to individual needs, and individual fitness programs.

He says that Genesis will be recruiting two more Gym Instructors as the demand increases.

The gym is open for business. The currently scheduled hours of operation are 7 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The center has day use rates of $5 per person. The monthly fee for membership is $50. Mr. Alfonzo says that it doesn't currently have a "family plan" but said that such a plan could be arranged and discussed.

He said that the MiCare Board of Directors has approved Physical Therapy Services for their members. Genesis is waiting for the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by both parties, and is hoping to have that in order before the end of May.

During the opening and blessing ceremony Genesis also opened a new dental clinic. Mr. Alonzo said that the clinic would be accepting MiCare members beginning May 1.

Father Ken Urumolug blessed the new facilities.