Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sanctuary Spa's Chocolate Massage

Published in Metro Magazine October 2006 issue

Corporate Bohemian Kage Gozun spent an afternoon being pampered with a chocolate body scrub for this month's issue. When she isn't researching spa treatments she enjoys traveling and photography. She dreams of owning an island one day.

Chocolate Treat Good Enough to Eat

Women love chocolate, there's no two ways about it. A chemical compound in chocolate simulates the same sensation humans feel when we fall in love. Small wonder then that women love their bars of chocolatey goodness. Call it cliché or an age-old stereotype but many will say that it is true. As a gender, we are in love with the rich creamy by-product of the lowly cacao bean. We can't help it.

And recent studies have shown that chocolate isn't just a yummy treat. It can actually be good for you! Chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants such as polyphenols which have been revealed to defend against heart disease. In a 2004 Journal of the American Medical Association, it was said that aside from lowering blood pressure, the intake of chocolate compounds also make blood vessels less rigid. There are other claims that the built-in antioxidants in chocolate also guard against pollution and sun damage.

Too bad they haven't found a way to make the consumption of chocolate a truly healthy activity. Chow down on the sweet stuff too often and we're faced with weight gain. And you don’t ever want to be on the receiving end of a woman’s “Do you think I look fat?” if you know what’s good for you.

There is however, a way to get the benefits of chocolate without battling its disadvantages. A simple solution that not only invigorates your senses, but also makes you feel like a pampered princess.

Sound good to you? Head over to the Sanctuario Spa, Salon and Organic Café along Jorge Bocobo Malate, Manila and order yourself the Tsokolate Ahhhh!. This two-hour body scrub and massage features our favorite food in the entire world and is a service guaranteed to make women everywhere swoon.

Having a trained masseuse slather chocolate on your body while easing the knotted muscles in your back already sounds like a treat in itself. So can you believe that there are even more benefits to experiencing this massage treatment? Chocolate contains vitamin E, cocoa with butter and almond oil, all of which are excellent moisturizers. This moisturizing property seeps into the skin to combat cellulite, ironic since eating so much of it can lead to weight issues. Plus, the scent of chocolates stimulates endorphins in our bodies that make us feel happier.

How can any woman feel anything but happy after spending over an hour covered in chocolate?

Stripped down and wearing the bathing garments provided by the spa, the treatment begins with a soak in a private hot tub. Your attendant allows you some quiet time, to just relax in the steamy water and inhale the aroma of the flowers floating around you. When you are ready, you move to the massage bed. This is the portion that puts treat in the word treatment.

Slowly, generous amounts of native dark chocolate are layered on your body. Ground beans are blended into the chocolate mixture to gently exfoliate dead skin. Using a soft kneading method, your body is massaged to a point of total relaxation. Your entire body is covered in this healing and nourishing combination. Pressure points are targeted, tension is eased, and every time you inhale, you smell that rich dark chocolate scent.

After that is a quick hop into the shower to wash off the body scrub. The steam coming up from the shower envelopes you in a chocolate-scented mist that only further heighten this delectable experience.

Then it’s back on the massage table for another hour’s worth of massage therapy. During this final phase, Sancturio uses Cocoa Butter, which is actually the edible and natural fat of the cacao bean. It is purported to help fade the appearance of scars and stretch marks. More than that, it smells fantastic and feels even better. If there were any knotted muscles left over from the body scrub, this portion of the treatment is sure to take care of them. Smooth strokes and gentle pressure aid in blood circulation while the targeting of key areas in the body gives you a feeling of total and utter relaxation. Every woman deserves to feel this calm!

The bonus of finishing the treatment with cocoa butter is that it eliminates the need to shower afterwards. All you need to do is put on your clothes over that newly-buffed, baby-soft skin and walk out the door to whatever fabulous plan is on your agenda.

Whatever you decide to do, having the Tsokolate Ahhhh!. definitely starts you off on the right foot.

So never fear ladies, chocolate is always just a phone-call away. And without the calories!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Public Service Announcement: Keep Pundaquit Clean

Taken from the Philippine Surf Forum. An official request of the Manila Surfers' Association.

Hey guys.

It recently came to our attention that Pundaquit (home of our beloved Magic Left and Ate Nora's Resort) does not have a regular trash collection system. The mayor of San Antonio has to request for a truck to come to their barangay to pick up the garbage.

So, since we all surf there and enjoy the waves, we should also be picking up after ourselves. As much as possible let's not leave trash and litter when we are there. Let's not be dirty surfers. Pack what you normally would throw away into your own garbage bags and dispose of them in the larger trash bins in San Antonio on your way home.

In the immortal advice of a Sta Cruz shredder "Pack it in, keep it clean and wear your sunscreen!"

Thanks guys! Spread the word.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Riding in Cars and On Waves with Boys

August 26/27, 2006

A twinbill weekend: Rockin' up to Baguio for Arvin's art exhibit & stop-overs in La Union for Jun's last LU session before he leaves. The weekend was all about a car full of boys (and me). A line-up of boys (and me). An album of photos of said boys (and me and Nats).

Jun, Lui, Philip and I arrived in La Union at nearly 4am. We had planned to sleep in the kubo since we were only going to be in LU for the day. No need to pay for a room. But when we got to the kubo, we noticed that it had no more floor -- apparently the recent storm had torn it down. Philip suggested we all chip in for a room in Hacienda but Jun and I quickly nixed that idea by deciding that the lifeguard tower would be a fitting Plan B. Moro even made a cameo appearance just as we were getting settled into our little plank of wood. Needless to say, the hard wooden floor, cramped area and cold morning wind did not make for the most comfy of quarters. But the giggling and kulitan more than made up for it.

Philip surfed Saturday. Jun, Lui and I drank. Hahaha. Actually, given that Philip was the only one who brought a longboard -- and the waves were super small, it only made sense that he paddled out while we beer-cheered him from Surf Camp. At some point, fish was wrapped in banana leaves and grilled for all to share and enjoy.

Jun and I did get into the water at some point, scrubbed our bodies and declared ourselves clean enough to go up to Baguio. We piled into the car in the middle of a sudden downpour, now plus two since Moro and Alfred were coming with to Baguio and dashed up hoping to catch the opening of Arvin's exhibit. What with the near zero visibility and getting lost, I was happy that we even found the gallery at all. (By the way, congrats Arvs!)

After eating the best veggie lumpia in the entire world (Bliss Cafe people, you gotta go), we had a few drinks and then rocked down to our friend Chris' place to spend the night. We passed things to the left-hand side, had a few more beers, listened to some tunes being mixed on the decks and then soundly passed out. Hey, we'd had a loooong day.

Sunday morning we drove down to LU hoping that there would be surfable waves. As a bonus personal feature it was Alex Grasshopper's first time in La Union and we scored an awesome ride afternoon of Sunday... a left that kept going and going. Alfred and I were sitting on the inside and according to Philip, he didn't think I'd gotten the wave. And then he saw my head pop up over the lip of the wave. I love that he witnessed that wave cos I got to share yeah, yeah vibes with him when I paddled back to the line-up. In fact, Philip had to take the place of all the Yeah, Yeah Sisters and yeah yeah enough for all of them. Hee.

By sunset we were packing up, saying our goodbyes and heading to Midway for Jun's last Midway dinner. We were home before midnight, tired as f*ck but really happy that we'd crammed so much into two days.

Super thanks to Jun, Lui and Philip for driving, to Chris for hosting us up in Baguio, and to Starvin' Arvin for being such a Tigger. :)

For photos click on this please.