Spa-mpered the Pinoy way

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


Mont Albo is a massage hut that pampers its customers the Filipino way: through the traditional hilot which massages the body’s aches and stiffness away, as well as through bentosa and suob and dagdagay.

Hilot is familiar to most Filipinos. At Mont Albo, this entails the application of virgin coconut oil on the body, followed by placing strips of heated banana leaf before the massage begins: slow, deliberate strokes to remove blockages in the body, as well as what Tagalogs call lamig and which we Visayans refer to as panuhot.

For this, bentosa is also recommended, bentosa being the placement of suction cups which is best for getting rid of the panuhot.

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Suob is like a steam bath, Filipino style, used by ethnic groups as a cure for body malaise like panuhot. For this a concoction of herbs and flowers is boiled, letting “the therapeutic mixture vaporize inside a large thick cloth that envelops the body. The healthy steam increases blood circulation, metabolism and detoxification. It nourishes the skin and makes it supple.”

Dagdagay is the Filipino traditional foot massage. Mont Albo’s signature foot therapy, the Eastern foot massage, uses this in combination with Thai foot massage, shiatsu, and Chinese reflexology, to release “the tension from your foot and (to) enhance the vital organs in your body.”

Mont Albo also has Thaishiatsu massage, Tui Na massage (used in traditional Chinese medicine) and Swedish massage.

Aside from these massages, it also has body scrub therapies: coffee energizing scrub, which uses kapeng barako; organic whitening scrub which uses all natural substances, butter glitter scrub using Shea and cocoa butters for superior moisturizing effect, and the ginhawa tradition: the ultimate Hilot is familiar to most Filipinos.

At Mont Albo, this entails the application of virgin coconut oil on the body, followed by placing strips of heated banana leaf before the massage begins: slow, deliberate strokes to remove blockages in the body, as well as what Tagalogs call lamig and which we Visayans refer to as panuhot.

For this, bentosa is also recommended, bentosa being the placement of suction cups which is best for getting rid of the panuhot.

Suob is like a steam bath, Filipino style, used by ethnic body therapy experience which uses Filipino body therapy: coffee scrub, suob, hilot, bentosa and Eastern foot massage which includes dagdagay.

These therapies and massages are at least an hour each (ginhawa is two hours), but for the person in a hurry, Mont Albo has two 10-minute massages: the express massage, which targets tired and painful muscles of the upper back, shoulder and lumbar area, and the Champlesage, which is the Indian head massage for the upper back, head, scalp and face.

According to the spa manager, Karrah Quinineza, Mont Albo is Spanish for white mountain, and Montalbo is actually the family name of the man behind this enterprise, Dr. Nol Montalbo, DVM. He “is a firm believer and advocate of hilot as well as other indigenous therapies.” The Cebu branch is a franchise and Karrah says all massage therapists had to be trained in Manila for two months and the office staff for a month to ensure that Filipino massage and hospitality will be properly delivered.

The Cebu branch is located along Salinas Drive and is open from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 27, 2014.

Lifestyle

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