Here's about Langkawi Discovery Spa.
How does a lone spa venture help conserve the environment?
For newly opened Langkawi Discovery Spa, giving 10 percent of its monthly revenues to environment projects is its contribution in saving Mother Earth.
“Langkawi is an organic spa which uses real essential oils. Apart from being a center where people relax, we want the spa to be the hangout of environmentalists and other like-minded individuals,” said spa founder and director Sheila Mendez.
Sheila, a registered nurse, put up the spa with husband, Edward, who is engaged in human resource deployment.
They started in September 2008. About the same time, the couple met Fr. Tito Soquiño of theSto. Niño Foundation and began to discuss how they can help the environment.
“We became interested to help so we decided that part of our revenue will go to the Save the Danajon Reef Project,” said Edward.
The Danajon Reef which is located between the islands of Bohol, Leyte and Cebu, is one of the world's few double barrier reefs.
Edward is also one of the directors representing Visayas and Mindanao in the national board of the Spa Association of the Philippines (Sapi).
In November 2008, Edward attended the spa management training course in Cebu organized by Sapi to gain more knowledge and skills in putting up their first spa venture.
The couple invested P3 million and opened Langkawi last May 6 in a 160-square meter space in Park Mall, Mandaue City, Cebu.
It can accommodate 14 people at one time and employs 16 therapists.
A one-hour massage, including a foot wash, costs P390, while a 90-minute massage costs P570.
Its signature massages are the Kondalini Energy Revitalizing Massage, Swedish Touch Therapy and Namikotsi Shiatsu.
Sheila said a primary goal of Langkawi is to help professionalize the spa industry in the country by adopting globally accepted standards.
To ensure that the spa is well run, Edward underwent training for spa operators, which included knowledge of the massage sequence that complies with the standards of the European Union (EU).
The EU has a wellness program which aims to educate spa owners in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
In the Philippines, he said, the goal is to produce 10,000 spa professionals who meet EU standards.
Sheila noted the use of real essential oils and comprehensive training for its therapists are two crucial factors to be considered.
“Most spa centers use mineral oil but this is not good for the body because prolonged use of mineral oil will endanger the body circulation system,” she said.
Langkawi therapists use grape seed oil as base carrier oil. This is mixed with lavender, cedar wood, bergamot, rosemary and lemon grass among others.
“These essential oils have different therapeutic healing facilities in the body,” she said.
Comprehensive training of therapists is important.
She said some of Langkawi's 16 therapists were “trained from scratch.” Therapists were trained since December 2008.
“These are people who come from poor families and do not have jobs. We trained them for five months,” she added.
Any person who plans to open a spa center should have a passion for the wellness industry, said Edward.
“If you run it just for profit, you'll just get frustrated because the volume of customers in Cebu is not that big compared to Manila,” he said.
Sheila said there should be willingness to share knowledge and skills and the heart to help people.
Plans to open two more branches in Cebu City are already in the pipeline.
Sheila said they also looking forward to open the business for partnerships and launch branches in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Cagayan De Oro and Manila among others.