Yesterday, I went to North Haven Spa here in Baguio to get a massage. My back was aching from too much traveling lately, I guess. Come to think of it, I have been constantly on the road since July, my body’s probably complaining now. It surely needed some pampering.
I was in Donsol during the last week of July and then I went to Cuyo in Palawan right after that. From Cuyo, I just stayed for a couple of days in Manila then I was off to Baguio again for my classes. I went back to Bicol after that in time for my mother’s birthday. From Bicol, I went straight to Baguio again, stayed for just three days then back to Manila to join my friends in our Binondo food walk. And now I am finally back here in Baguio. It is tiring to say the least but I am surely not complaining.
Anyway, before I left for Manila to study in 2010, I was a constant visitor of North Haven Spa located along Ferguson Road. I discovered it in 2008 when I was badly in need of a good massage and I have been returning since. When I went back to teaching this semester, I dropped by the spa last July but I learned that my therapist Frozer already left to work in Japan. Kata, the receptionist, was the same gracious host every time I make a quick visit and I was really glad she still remembers me.
North Haven Spa is popular among the leisure-seeker crowd of Baguio who understands the importance of relaxation offered by spas. Heavily influenced by the color and flavor of the Cordilleras, the spa is unique in its commitment to promote traditional massages from the region.
Among these traditional massages are Gis-gis-to (PhP395), a head massage of the Mt. Province; Tal-talad-tad (PhP595), an indigenous body massage; and Dagdagay (PhP395), a foot massage from the Mt. Province which uses sticks to relax the soles.
North Haven Spa also uses Cordilerra products in their scrubs, such as Baguio strawberries, Benguet coffee, and even Benguet rice. These scrubs, which are good for an hour, are priced at PhP795 each. I have tried all of these services at different times and I can vouch for the quality of indulgence offered by the spa. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the place is well-appointed. The heavy wood interiors lends a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.
I know there is another North Haven Spa located at the recently refurbished Casa Vallejo. Since I was really tired already to go to Ferguson Road, I decided to give this branch a try. The spa echoes the original branch’s aura but it is obviously smaller than the one in Ferguson. The relaxing details are unmistakable though. From the bul-ol figures which greet you at the door, to the rose petals strewn on the floor, everything here reminds me of their main branch.
They also have exactly the same set-up, only that everything here is, of course, a smaller version of the one at the main branch. Shower rooms and a sauna room are found downstairs. There is also an area where one avails of the mani-pedi services and facials, among others.
Their massage rooms are named after the different towns in Cordillera, an interesting touch which I don’t remember being employed by the one in Ferguson. This particular room is named after Besao, in Mt. Province.
Because the place is smaller than it’s original branch, there are no private rooms here, except for what one considers a couple room, intended for services meant for, yes, couples.
I was supposed to just have a body massage but decided to avail of their body scrub and massage package (PhP995/2 hrs) anyway. I was told I could choose among the different scrubs: green tea, peppermint, coffee, Benguet rice, ginger, and strawberry. I settled for coffee since I missed the smell of it on my skin. I remember there was a time I would diligently head to Starbucks in SM Baguio and ask for their used coffee grounds which I then consume as a body scrub (Juandertip here!). 😀
The massage, which ran for an hour, came with an “organic facial.” I loved how the honey smelled and made my skin a little bit radiant afterwards. When done, I headed to the sauna room (it’s quite small really, can possibly just house 3-4 persons at a time) and then took a hot shower before I went back to the massage room for their signature massage, which is a combination of the three traditional massages I mentioned earlier.
It was really relaxing although I will admit it didn’t help to lessen my lower back pain. Which tells me maybe I should just consult a doctor soon, right?
Overall, it was still a worthy trip to an old favorite spot although I would say that the receptionist can learn a thing or two from Kata, the receptionist at the Ferguson branch. Maybe Kata is really just a genial person, ensuring that her guests are well-attended to while waiting for their therapists.
I don’t know if some of the house rules have changed already, but I was surprised that the receptionist at the Casa Vallejo branch didn’t offer tea while I was still waiting for my therapist. Kata never failed to offer one in all of my previous visits to North Haven Spa. Also, I don’t understand why the receptionist was in a hurry to ask for my payment even when it was still far from closing time and I haven’t even availed of the service.
My therapist, Jessie, was okay – he was polite and really attentive – but I guess I might try another therapist if I make another visit.
But I think I will just go back to their Ferguson branch because everything is better there, plus I miss the sight of hills bedecked with glittering lights that welcome me when I get out of North Haven Spa all refreshed and pampered. The taxi ride from and to Session Road (between PhP50 and PhP60, one way) is an additional cost but I don’t mind.
I miss North Haven Spa. The North Haven Spa that I know. And yes, I will be back soon.
Love and light, everyone. Go, juanderlust! 🙂
- All photographs taken on August 2012 at the North Haven Spa Casa Vallejo with a Canon 550d.