How Pinoy-owned spa is promoting 'hilot' in Barcelona
SPAIN – 'Hilot' is the star of services offered by a day spa owned and operated by Filipinas in Barcelona.
Aside from facial and body treatment and other services usually offered by day spas, Maya Khasmine Valencia, owner of The Oriental Jasmine, wants to give the Barcelones a chance to experience another traditional Asian massage other than the popular Thai massage.
"I love to travel and I have tried different kinds of massage--Ayurveda, Thai massage, the massage they have in Mexico. So far I have always looked for hilot. I grew up with hilot whenever I get sick," said Valencia.
Filipino tradition of healing and hilot’s therapeutic wonder are what manager of the spa Beth Flordelis explains every time a Spanish customer asks about the massage.
“Maraming nagtatanong kung ano ba raw talaga ang hilot so ine-explain ko na ang hilot ay isang treatment. Sa Pilipinas, nakaugalian na hindi tayo pumupunta kaagad sa doktor, kailangan pumunta sa manghihilot muna," said Flordelis.
What distinguishes hilot from other massages, Maya added in Spanish, is its “toque de amor” (touch of love).
The Oriental Jasmine also believes that not anyone can perform hilot. One has to have a supernatural gift of healing hands to perform authentic hilot.
"We would like to offer this genuine experience of hilot massage. All our massage therapists grew up in the Philippines. They have been involved inside the hilot culture," said co-owner Javier Zarzuela de Buey, adding that it is now time to promote the traditional Filipino massage outside the Philippines.
To make the experience more authentic, The Oriental Jasmine imports virgin coconut oil from the Philippines and all of its massage therapists are Filipinas who are mostly professional physical therapists.
It also puts a premium on excellent service, which has kept Italian customer Lisa Mariani coming back.
"I had a hilot massage today. It was absolutely wonderful. It's the second time I've had it. I feel energetic, relaxed, content. It almost takes me to another area. It’s wonderful here to be with the girls. They do wonderful job so you keep coming back because you like it. It makes you feel good," said Mariani.
Valencia also feels good and positive about the reception of the local clientele towards the spa which has just opened April this year, notwithstanding the economic crisis that hits Spain.
"During crisis, people tend to take care and pamper more themselves. I have always wanted to put up a day spa business. I think this is as good time as any to start because when in crisis the prices are lower, especially the shops, the products are on sale and when I want something, I always want to work for it," she said.
She added that it's her dream to have a day spa and she wanted to fulfill that dream while young and still have the energy to run a business.