By Efren Silva

It was a long, hot and physically tiring working day. On such days, I usually have two options: EITHER get home quickly, take a nice refreshing shower, enjoy a light (ok, maybe not so light) dinner, and surf the cable channels with a dash of mobile FB on the side to lull me to sleep, OR, get a good massage. While a bad massage can ruin an average day for me, a nondescript massage at the end of a not-so-pleasant day will equally give me a not-so-desirable bearing the day after!

On that particular Thursday, I was glad to have opted for the second option. I went to Hi Spa.

As a lot of BF residents have probably noticed, spas have proliferated and prospered quite well in the subdivision. I have tried eleven of the almost twenty spas along the main roads alone, not to mention a couple of those home services, which, to my dismay, aren’t worth it. I am always eager to try new ones, and Hi Spa has been on my agenda for a couple of months now.

Although it’s on my usual daily route along Elizalde, two corners eastbound from Aguirre, I prefer getting my massages right before hitting the sack so I normally go anytime between 11 and 12.  Too bad, Hi Spa promptly closes at 12mn (1am is typical for most). And since they have a full service wet floor (the only one inside BF), if you’re using the facilities as well as getting a massage, you have to be there at least 2hrs before closing time.

Since I have phoned Hi Spa a couple of times before--‘English please’, was the opening line of the call taker, audibly recognizable as a Korean--I already knew their schedule; I rushed with a friend to beat the 10pm cut-off. There was ample parking and the exterior was well-lit. Although there wasn’t any guard, the area looked quite safe and secured.
A Korean gentleman who was manning the reception area promptly oriented us about their facilities, services and fees (P350 for 1-hr massage, P550 to use the facilities plus a 1-hr massage, paid up front). A Korean lady, although less conversant in English, also came out to welcome us on our first visit to the place.

My friend and I were each given a laced locker key, a pair of towels and a set of spa garb. We were then ushered into the male locker area, which was adjacent to the spacious wet floor. It had a number of well-appointed shower stalls, a big hot jacuzzi and a slightly smaller cold pool. It also had a large sauna room.

The receptionist (I don’t remember him introducing himself or asking for our names) explained that the green hue of the hot jacuzzi was from the mint-scented oil in the water. He also apologized that the heat in the sauna was no longer at optimum level as they turn it off at 8pm. I was a bit disappointed about the sauna since I was looking forward to the heat to relax (and maybe to sweat out a pound or two).

But what the sauna lacked in heat, the hot jacuzzi more than compensated for! Boy was it HOT! I had to get my legs acclimatized to the temperature for a few minutes before I was able to take a full dip. The water jets were ok although I would have preferred them to be stronger. Alternating the hot jacuzzi, cold pool, and the not-so-hot sauna ultimately did the trick! My tight muscles loosened and started getting me relaxed in preparation for my much needed massage! But not before an interesting ‘intermission’...

My friend and I didn’t have company in the wet area and were basking in the solitude when an elderly Korean man, whom we later learned was the owner of the place, joined us. After some basic pleasantries and introductions, he talked a bit more about their facilities and clientele. Apparently, although they also had Filipino regulars, they catered mostly to Koreans who normally come earlier in the day, thus, the turning off of the sauna by 8pm. He again apologized about it and told us to call in advance the next time we visit after 8pm so they can keep the sauna on for us.

He pointed out that Filipinos prefer to come to the spa later in the day when there are less people because we are very shy in being naked. It was quite amusing that he equated modesty to ‘shyness’ as he puts it, because of one’s manly endowment! Haha, and he went on and on, rating the various nationalities on the ‘size’ department: Arabs, Americans and Asians, in that particular order. And he didn’t stop there! He went on to expound (verbally and physically!) that among the Asians, Koreans were pretty much at the end of the line together with the Chinese. I’d already cut it (no pun intended) at this point, as I know this site is GP. To say the least, the old guy was just hilarious!

Even before an hour had passed, we were told that our therapists were ready for our massage. We had to start asap as they had to leave promptly at 12mn since they still had a long commute ahead of them. So we reluctantly dried off, hydrated ourselves with cold water from the dispenser, got into our garbs and proceeded to the second floor.

The curtained cubicles were roomy, comfortably cool and amply lit while the massage beds were sturdy and had fresh linens on. I requested for hard pressure and so did my friend. Both our therapists apologetically told us they may not have good pressure anymore because they had already handled quite a few customers before us. We braced ourselves for a major disappointment but we were both pleasantly surprised! They delivered quite well, having a good and consistent pressure as well as an obviously well-learned technique. We were both glad to tip them generously.

We took a quick final dip in the jacuzzi and a leisurely shower before getting dressed. The receptionist bade us goodbye with a promise that our next visit will be much better. I hope to find that out soon!

En fin: Does Hi Spa have the best spa facilities in BF? Yes. How is their customer service? Average. How was the massage? Quite good. Are they reasonably priced? Yes. Will I come back? Definitely. Have they won me over from my favorite BF spa? Not yet...

(Editor:  We would like to thank Efren Silva for reviewing Hi Spa for Good Living BF)


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