The Department of Tourism will participate in the Spa Industry Seminar, an international spa event to be held at Shangri-la Mactan Island and Resort in Cebu on September 15 to 17, 2006. The country will also host the Wellness Summit in 2007 at EDSA Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City where some 500 to 800 foreign participants are expected to attend.
Meanwhile, a Cebu-based spa offering "hilot", a traditional deep-tissue therapeutic massage, has been ranked as the world's eighth best spa.
In its May-June 2006 issue, Asia Spa Magazine recognized the Badian Island Resort and Spa in Cebu as among the world's best.
Badian Island Resort and Spa is nestled between a cliff and Badian Bay and is only five- minute ride from southwestern Cebu, where an intuitive "hilot" massage awaits guests.
"While many rub downs have predetermined strokes, this massage, native to the Philippines, is customized to each individual," the Department of Tourism said.
"Aside from the tranquil setting and beautiful scenery, world-class Badian boasts of its Badehaus where spa treatment use centuries' old blends and recipes combined with modern techniques," the department added.
Such blends for its special baths include herbal, guava, pandan, rampe and Cleopatra.
The DOT said the healing power of island's seawater in Thalasso is a breakthrough in spa treatment as it contains a complex blend of natural minerals and antibacterial properties, and submersion in seawater, which promotes relaxation and rebalancing of the body's mineral deficiencies.
The Philippines, a newcomer in the $24-billion global wellness tourism, is actually promoting two traditional massages.
Aside from hilot, the country promotes "dagdagay", a traditional foot massage first popularized in Mountain Province.
Asia Magazine listed the 10 best spas in the world as Le Taha'a Private Island in French Polynesia; Soneva Fushi Resort in Maldives; Pangkor Laut Resort in Perak Island, Malaysia; The Racha in Thailand; Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos Islands, Carribean; Evason Hideaway and Six Senses Spa at Ana Mandara in Vietnam; Badian Island Resort and Spa; The Sentosa Resort and Spa at Sentosa Island in Singapore; and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa in Hawaii in USA.
Ranked as number one was La Taha'a Private Island Resort's in French Polynesia which is situated 230 km from Tahiti in the South Pacific. The sheltered retreat boasts views of Bora-Bora and Taha'a Islands.
In November 2005, the Philippines bagged five top prizes in the Baccarat AsiaSpa Awards. These included the Spa Association of the Year award for the Spa Association of the Philippines, Medi-Spa of the Year and Spa Retreat of the Year award for the Farm at San Benito and the Destination Spa of the Year and Spa Treatment of the Year for Mandala Spa in Boracay.
Under its wellness program, the DOT integrates and promotes traditional healing modalities and use of local herbs, oils and essences to promote health tourism, which comprises a wide range of body pampering, health and beauty treatments.
The DOT promotes the development of seven areas in the country as spa resort destinations.
These include Bay, Laguna; Tiwi, Albay; Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa in Palawan; Coron Island, Palawan; Mambucal, Murcia, Negros Occidental; Malabuyoc, Cebu; and Camiguin Island.
"It is not difficult to invite foreign patients to come to the Philippines since treatments here are cheaper than in other countries. The Filipino's facility in English as a second language in addition to our competent health professionals who were trained in the United States and Europe was also a plus factor," Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano said.