The universe has already made it available to everyone the concept of taking a mini-vacation. It could mean a 15-minute power nap during lunch break, or an afternoon siesta at home with mobile phone turned off, or driving to a spa resort for a weekend. It could get as quirky as re-arranging the contents of your fridge in alphabetical order on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It’s your choice!
Island Spa is a few minutes away from our home, and I don a relaxing outfit whenever I go there . This is to set the mood that I’m off to a rejuvenating mini-vacation.
Just like everyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day as much as I would want to make it 48. I’m practically addicted to life. After some weeks’ worth of stress, one of the simple joys I give myself is taking a mini-vacation at Island Spa. I’m now writing about the best 1.5 – 3 hours spent for a holistic pampering – mind and body; with level up happiness and productivity guaranteed.
In some days, a mini-vacation for me entails a trip to Island Spa.
Island Spa @ Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park, Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite
We celebrated the 114th Philippine Independence Day last week, June 12. It was a legal holiday and I was not supposed to report to work for that day, meaning, I had the whole afternoon planned out for a mini-vacation at the spa.
I arrived at the spa just in time for my 2PM appointment. Genuine, friendly smiles greeted me at the reception area where I was to meet my therapist Ate (a-te)* Carmen. Being my therapist for almost four years, Ate Carmen could tell that I did some running on the treadmill earlier that day. She prepared everything ahead of time – my robe, the shower with all the green tea shampoo + conditioner and shower gel, my favorite treatment room, my preferred rice bran oil, hot pouch for my nodules (lamig in Tagalog), and some treats for my tired, achy feet.
For a full body massage, my top pick is rice bran oil. It is lightly scented and non-sticky. It leaves a healthy glow on my olive complexion.
I opted not to use the sauna, but I gave my calves its much-needed thermal shock by varying the shower temperature, vacillating between hot and cold at regular interval. I enjoyed some refreshing lather using Island Spa’s hypoallergenic green tea shower gel. After getting that clean and refreshing feeling from the shower, Ate Carmen led me to the hands-and-feet treatment area so she could get started with my hard-working feet. Brown sugar was used as foot scrub, creating an instant moisturizing effect especially on the soles. It was followed by a 5-minute foot soak, using a combination of warm water and rock salt for a non-drying detox.
Happy Feet = Brown Sugar (Scrub) + Rock Salt (Soak)
Next was the full body massage that started with a 10-minute application of hot pouches on my back, and I requested the pouches to rest on my calves for a few more minutes. Island Spa uses two hot pouches per treatment, which instantly create the feeling of back muscles being ironed (or flattened) to drain off the nodules. The effect was calming and I almost fell asleep at that point. The pouches were followed by Island Spa’s signature treatment – Hilot** Isla (Hee-lot Is-la). Ate Carmen targeted the nodules on my shoulder blades, and she eased through my calves which were stiff due to my running routine.
This lovely candle table piece lights up each of Island Spa’s treatment rooms.
I was also preparing for my first half marathon (21KM) for 2012 (the event took place only last Sunday, June 17). I needed to do some extra prep for my legs by adding 30 minutes of foot massage to the 1-hr Hilot Isla treatment. I’m referring to the traditional foot massage called Dagdagay***, which uses small wooden sticks in stimulating blood circulation in the calves and soles. Ate Carmen applied an icy cool gel on my legs and feet for a more soothing effect. My legs got the proper conditioning, ready for the challenge of a half-marathon.
Dagdagay (dag-da-gay)*** originated from the Mountain Province in Northern Philippines. This treatment makes use of ‘runo’ sticks to massage the feet.
To cap off my mini-vacation at Island Spa, I indulged in aromatherapy. I was given a scent of eucalyptus while getting a quick refresher facial. I seldom go for facial treatments because of my sensitive skin, but I need not worry about it at Island Spa. They have a wide range of hypoallergenic facial and skin care products from Switzerland.
Ate Carmen served me a cup of my favorite herbal tea akin to the Filipino ginger brew. I also had to warm up my vocal chords as I would be meeting old-time friends with delightful stories to share from late afternoon through evening: pastry treats + Vietnamese coffee at iCafe and dinner at the Fishing Village, both located at Island Cove.
What’s your idea of a mini-vacation? Share it! =)
* Ate (a-te) = Tagalog, noun; older sister, also used to refer to an older girl or lady as form of respect in Filipino culture.
**Hilot (hee-lot) is a traditional Filipino art of healing. It is still being practiced today to relax stressed muscles by way of deep tissue massage.
***Dagdagay (dag-da-gay) is a traditional Filipino foot massage that originated from the indigenous tribes of the Mountain Province, northern Philippines. It uses sticks to massage the soles and legs. It instantly provides relief from muscle aches and tension, as it promotes better blood circulation.
Want to visit Island Spa? Book an appointment today.
Island Spa is open daily from 10AM to 10PM; cutoff for receiving is at 9PM. For inquiries and booking, you may dial these numbers: +63 46 434 09 88, +63 46 434 77 78, +63 917 505 62 80. You may also visit their website – http://www.islandcovephil.com/activities/rejuvenate/
From Manila (private vehicle) : Take Manila – Cavite Expressway. End of expressway, make a u-turn to Covelandia Road. About 15min-drive from Mall of Asia, light traffic.
From Manila (public transport) : From Baclaran, board a bus going to Cavite City or Naic/Maragondon taking the Island Cove route.
From Alabang (public transport) : From Zapote, board a mini-bus or jeepney going to Cavite City or Tanza/Naic/Salinas taking the Island Cove route.