In a city where if you stand still long enough you’ll feel as if you were watching life in fast forward, one cannot help but feel the excitement that comes along with it. People talk about living life in the fast lane, but this saying can be taken none too lightly to that of living in the city of Manila. It’s as if immediately stepping off the plane you are already in another world, one where thousands if not millions of people will cross paths every single day over a single square metre area. This city, with a population of approx. 15 million people alone, is a mixture of surprises and international feats. From the sprawling skyscraper filled skies in the cities of the Metro Manila area and the aging forts of intramuros, to the edgy, almost western feel of Makati and Global City, this capital region is one that I feel truly never sleeps. From our 30th floor room in our hotel, we overlook the city of Makati. Buildings with major international corporations are stamped to them such IBM, HSBC, and other buildings standing tall and regal, amongst the grown jungle of a city, covered in logos of companies that of which have not even considered stepping into the Oceania market, all of which call this place home.
Manila is home to many contradictions, while it is true there are parts which you can definitely place as being truly Asia (don’t mind the pun Malaysia), there are other areas such as Makati and Global City that leave you in awe in the absolute scale of areas used and bold designs, that exhibit luxury and expense. These modern hubs are filled with trendy restaurants and cafes, filled with young yuppies and business people alike. It is definitely something that many people don’t expect on their first time. The Philippines is fast on its way in becoming an international destination, even starting to be ahead in the technology race as we browsed shelves of gadgets that will not reach Australian shores until later dates. While this side of the Philippines is exciting, I also am glad for the fact that it’s not all like that. Take a detour down south and you’ll find yet another world, where people will speak different languages, have different beliefs and cultural expectations. That’s what I love about the Philippines, you need to go everywhere before you can really define what it is, if ever you could define it. It’s like a quilt made of hundreds of different patches, but without one, would fail to show you its full potential and charm. But I’ll blog another time about different Philippine destinations, otherwise this blog post could go on for quite a while, so for now let’s stick to Manila.
I’ve been to cities all over the world, each exotic, interesting, and wonderful in their own eccentric ways. But Manila is one that you either know so well or just heard about. It’s definitely one worth visiting, including other island in the Philippines at that. It’s an adventure of travelling to Asia, whilst still having the comfort of being able to speak English to locals. English is one of the main languages, if not the first language after dialects spoken regularly and taught at schools, demonstrating Filipino’s great lingual skills. This makes doing business, travelling through, and yes I said it, shopping, a breeze. While I wouldn’t want to live there all the time, those few day trips are truly wonderful.
You may have heard about the infamous shoe collection of the ever extravagant Imelda Marcos, visiting the huge shopping centres of Manila (with over 35 mega sized malls within its borders alone) you just may be able to start collections of your own to rival. Home to world class entertainment, from the sexiest clubs, to huge ice skating grounds inside malls, to dayspas that will make your body ache just missing the experience, Manila has it all, a playground for the city lover.
During our stay in Manila, my partner and I made a list of spas to try. Our first stop, was ‘Wensha Spa’, although this place doesn’t have an official website, it doesn’t seem to need one with all those pages in the blogosphere, and word-of-mouthers that help keep this place pretty full most of the time. This unique spa experience is a place I would love to take everyone I know with me. It’s the mass taste of the Spa experience whilst still keeping it personal. With over 40 massage beds and footspa chairs in the building (for each side that is) this place is huge. Done up as sort of a Japanese bath house, Males and Females are first separated to both sides where you are greeted by a large locker rooms, wherein guests receive a locker key to put valuables in locker rooms and towels. You are to change pretty much down to the nutty, and will be guided to the next area which is a large wet area. Here one can find 4 pools or jacuzzis, an extensive steam room and sauna. How it works is you get 6 hours in-house for every treatment. So whether you chose a full body massage, to a footspa or a body scrub, you can use the wet room area and choose to take your treatment any time providing you give enough time to get your treatment within the 6 hours, but I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem, you can even go back to the wet area after you have done your treatment. After this you are guided to another large area, where you are met by the next desk stop. Here, you give your name and will get treatment in one of the many rooms in what looks like a rather long corridor. It is dimly lit and smells quite nice, already drowsing you into a relaxed state. What was really unique about Wensha spa, was not just its sheer size, but the coolest part of all. The all you can eat Shabu-Shabu. Pretty cool huh? So its like a whole package. For example getting a full body massage, would also include use of the spa facilities, use of lockers & toiletries, bottomless drinks and all you can eat Shabu-Shabu. . With delicious soups, vegies and fresh meat on display, the areas to eat are within a sort of zen pool garden area, with little bridges and lighting that set the mood. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my partner so relaxed, sitting in his robe waiting for me to have some green tea and fish soup. There is a downside, it might not be for those who don’t feel comfortable with so much nudity in the wet area. Sitting in the sauna not knowing anyone else and naked at that, might not float your boat. I, however, just used the steam room (my favorite) and wore my towel the whole time. Also it might be funner to go with friends or family of the gender so you can enjoy talking together and not feel uncomfortable sitting there alone while your partner is in the other wing. So that was our spa experience, fun, unique and quite relaxing.
Our next spa we wanted to try, was one that had made itself here all the way from Europe. The exciting Ace Waterspa. Another truly unique experience, this place was like water wonderland but for adults (although children can come too). For 4 hours, guests can try a variety of different kinds of hydrotherapy treatments such as bubble massage, hydroacupuncture bed, rainfall acupuncture, buttocks massage, head & shoulder massage spa, lap pool, 3 hot herbal pools (Mint, Jasmine or Lavender), steam room, sauna, and of course what kind of water wonderland would it be without a lazy river pool to gently lull you to sleep. We really enjoyed Ace Waterspa.
These are just a couple of the many things to try in Manila. Next update, I’ll share the most awesome shopping haunts you’ll just scream with happiness and bargain for. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for upcming blogs.
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