Friday, 26 May 2017

Spa Review: Amuma Spa (Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu)

Amuma Spa 

Stairway to rejuvenation
The 2-storey Amuma  Spa, Maribago Bluewater Resort’s haven for rejuvenation, offers Filipino-inspired holistic treatments.  Amuma is a Visayan term that means "to pamper,"  “indulge with every attention,” “comfort,” “care” or “spoil” and, during my 3-day stay at the resort, I made sure I’d experience such pampering. 

Daily spa appointments begin at 10 AM until 12 MN and, during my very first night at the resort, I took the 9 PM slot. Upon arrival at spa lobby, I was first asked to choose from four variants of massages oils – Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), Ilang-Ilang, Lemon Grass and Green Tea.  

Believe me, I wanted to choose all but I settled for Lemon Grass. I was also given the choice of "Music For The Mond and Body" ("A Day at the Spa," "Healing Touch," "Meditation," "Relaxation," "Relaxing Piano," "Water Sounds" and "Zen").  I chose "Relaxing Piano" music.

I was then led, up their railing-less stairs, to their clean and well-maintained, Filipiniana-inspired shower room, complete with bath amenities like lotion, cotton, Q-tips, shampoo, conditioner, towels and soap, where I changed into white shorts and stowed my personal stuff in lockers made of native materials.
My manghihilot that evening was Ms. Emme Igot and she started my spa experience with the suob, the Filipino version of the steam bath used by various Filipino ethnic groups to drive away elements of illnesses. 

Amuma Spa lobby

Towel, flowers and salt
Basin with warm water
At the balcony, I was first asked to sit down and put my feet into a basin with a concoction of warm water, herbs, salt and flowers. 

Then, a large towel enveloped my feet, allowing the therapeutic mixture to vaporize inside, its healthy steam increasing my blood circulation, fat metabolism and detoxification as well as nourishing the skin of my feet, making it supple, and softening the muscle fibers.  Truly, a worthwhile treatment before any hilot.
The author experiencing the suob 
After my suob, we proceeded with my much awaited Amuma Signature massage, a rendition of the fusion of hilot (the traditional Filipino massage) techniques from across the country. 

This uniquely Filipino therapy (PhP3,900 for a 90-min. session) promotes healing and induces relaxation.  At first glance, the hilot looks like just another type of massage, with Emme manipulating my muscles - very similar, it seems, to what they do at any spa. 

However, this was not just the case. Massage, mainly for relaxation purposes, emphasizes the use of a sequence of pre-determined strokes which is applied to all clients.

My actual experience of the therapeutic hilot followed basic natural principles and  my healing session was tailored to my unique healing needs which was worlds away from the soothing massage at the spa. In fact, hilot is all about pressure.  

It was initially painful as Emme expertly applied just the right pressure directly on the problematic parts of my body - the shoulders, lower back and legs. Afterwards, I soon began to feel relief. Truly, the hilot was very effective, surprising me with its speed and efficacy.
I also indulged in a 10-15-min. head and shoulder massage called hingut-an that de-stressed me. This invigorating and therapeutic hair-pulling technique, a different take on the scalp and shoulder massage, is akin to an Indian practice that improves and stimulates blood circulation, relieves headaches and induces rest and sleep.
Then, I experienced the Filipino version of the famous hot stone and ventosa massage wherein warm fresh banana fronds were placed on my back to softened and loosen my stiff and tense muscles.  

The banana leaves also detected the areas with imbalance or negative energy called lamig.  Emme focused on joints with air trapped in (“napasukan ng hangin”) which were causing me bodily discomfort (mild aches, pain of a muscle spasm or pulled muscle).  Creating a balance between the cold and the hot energies, it kept my body in the right temperature.
She also placed two slices of freshly cut cucumber onto my eye area to help reduce the appearance of under eye darkness and puffiness.
Miss Eva performing hingut-an head and shoulder massage 

Recharged, I then headed to the showers and then the sat at the lounge area to indulge on a cup of ginger ale.  One of the most relaxing spa experiences I ever had, it was definitely a physical, as well as visual experience for me.  

I liked it so much, I had another hilot session on the morning of my last day at the resort, with Ms. Eva Mangapis as manghihilot.  For a change, I chose virgin coconut oil (VCO), as my massage oil, with "Meditation" music to set the mood. 

Aside from the hilot, Amuma Spa offers Western and Asian massage therapies such as Water Shiatsu (WATSU), Swedish, Namikoshi Shiatsu, Duot, Hot Stone and Travel Revive Fusion. Spa packages are also available.

Amuma Spa: Maribago Bluewaters Beach Resort, Buyong Maribago, Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.  Tel: (032) 492 0100 local 520.  E-mail:  Website: Spa Manager: Ms. Noreen Yuson.

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