Spa industry picking up in the Philippines

The Philippines, a newcomer in the $24-billion global wellness tourism, is promoting two traditional massages in order to lure foreign tourists to its world-class spa destinations.

Elizabeth Nelle, director of the Department of Tourism's (DOT) Office of Product Research and Development said foreign tourists who have experienced "hilot" and "dagdagay" claimed that they are among the world's best.

A traditional Filipino therapy, "hilot" is a deep-tissue therapeutic body massage while "dagdagay" is a traditional foot massage first popularized in Mountain Province.

Nelle said the country has bright potentials in spa tourism, given the caring attitude of the Filipinos. 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.

She noted that the country has gained international recognition for establishing a well-organized industry association and for putting up world-class spa destinations.

In the Baccarat AsiaSpa Awards held in November last year, the Philippines bagged five top prizes, which included the Spa Association of the Year award for the Spa Association of the Philippines.

Other awards for the Philippines were 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.

AsiaSpa Magazine noted that the winners were selected from more than 100 Asian nominees in 16 categories. The Philippine entries bested nominees from Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Bhutan and other Asian countries.

So far, the DOT has accredited four hotel/resort spas, five destination spas and nine-day spas. It also 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.


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