Saturday, May 28, 2011


Flashback: I recall visiting Tirta Spa four summers ago, with my friends R.T. and S., when it was barely a month old and just in its soft opening stage. Not even a website yet at that time! I somehow stumbled on their telephone number (courtesy of Google results), and decided to call this spa that i've never heard of and that not a single travel/tourist website had written about yet.

Now: How times have changed indeed! The spa is going strong, thanks to the hands-on approach of its owner, Ms. En Calvert. In fact, Tirta Spa won "Best Day Spa of the Year" at the AsiaSpa 2010 awards held in Hong Kong.

Thus, a return trip to the island proved to be a good excuse to revisit Tirta Spa, and catch up with Ms. En, who was svelte and impossibly well-tanned and gracious as ever.

One major change was their newly-launched sub-brand, “Prashant” , which takes its name from the Sanskrit word, “Shant,” meaning “Great Peace or Extreme Calm”.

Prashant Spa is located within the Tirta Spa estate, and has its own spa menu distinct from Tirta Spa. Ms. En explained that Prashant was geared for bigger groups of friends/family who come to the spa and want to have their massages and/or treatments together.

Thus, they put up a separate villa (see above picture) for Prashant, with separate Mens' and Womens' massage (around 5 - 6 beds each) and shower areas. By contrast, the existing Tirta villas are meant for couples.

I was quite taken with the wooden door serving as entrance to the Prashant villa. Ms. En shared that it came all the way from India, where she had taken some courses in Ayurvedic medicine.

(Yup, those white slippers were waiting for me! :D)

Likewise, the treatments and services offered by Prashant are more or less the same as those of Tirta, with minor modifications.

Since i was here early in the morning, i was the only guest present, and could have hopscotched around naked if i wanted to. (Kidding! :D)

Interestingly, Ms. En shared that 90% of their guests are foreigners, which she conceded was partly due to the premium prices they charged. I totally agreed with her assessment that what Tirta / Prashant was offering were not merely spa treatments, but the feeling of being pampered and being relaxed in a quiet place away from the frantic frenzy of the beachfront.

Anyways, being not quite foreign and being definitely a cheapo, i availed of the Neroli Facial Package (consisting of Prashant Signature Massage and Neroli Facial Scrub), which was being offered at a 30% "opening discount". YESSS!!!

My therapist expertly alternated light, fluttery strokes, with stronger, firmer ones with just the right amount of pressure; and in no time at all, i was in that zone wherein one is in a dream-like state, yet still subconsciously aware of one's surroundings, before finally surrendering to relaxed sleep.

As for the Neroli facial, all i could remember was the pleasant scents of the stuff being gently rubbed and massaged on my face. Whatever they were, they worked on my tough hide (haha), as my facial skin felt real soft and smooth when i woke up.

So, i guess you could say i got "shanted" during this visit! In an extremely good way! :D

A return trip to the island (and the spa) is definitely in the cards! Hopefully, it won't take another 4 years, though. :D


(Tirta Spa / Prashant Spa is open from 9:00AM to 9:00PM daily, and is located quite near the Boracay cockpit. Travel time via tricycle from the White Beach front would be around 15 minutes. I'd recommend coming in early for your appointment, just to meander around and take in the lovely views of the estate.

Check out their website here)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Ahh, Boracay. . . .fine powdery white sand that's cool to the feet, clear blue skies, wild parties at night, one of the Top Ten beaches in the world, etc. Yeah, you know all the cliches.

I'm temporarily turning over the blog to my cousin, Grumpy Urban Beach Bum (GUBB), who was on the island recently and has a mouthful to share for those visiting Boracay soon. Especially for those who eschew active pursuits, and just like to bum around at the beach.

Stuff to like on the island (in no particular order):

1. Jonah's fruit shakes. An institution for a good reason. Still the best in terms of flavor, variety of choices and consistency.

2. Real Coffee & Tea Cafe's calamansi muffin. Moist and tangy and doesn't scrimp on the filling, it lives up to the hype. Best eaten when warm.

Here it is:

And here it is again, after 3 seconds: (Yummy!)

3. White Beach (Station 1), specifically the section encompassing Fridays, Discovery Shores, Two Seasons, White House, Pearl of the Pacific, Seawind, and Estacia Uno (formerly Waling-Waling).

Forget the sweaty masses and nauseous bedlam at Station 2, and the . . . well, just plain jolog-ity of Station 3; and hang around at this part of Station 1.

The sand is at its finest, the beach frontage at its widest (even during high tide), the water at its crystal-clearest, and the lovely bikini babes parading around in their 2-piece suits at their hottest! [wiping drool from corner of mouth]

4. Noli Aurillo, the country's premier progressive acoustic guitarist, wields the magic of his instrument M-W-F this summer at Kasbah Moroccan resto. Catch his Michael Jackson tribute medley here. Link

5. Tirta Spa, voted as "Best Day Spa of the Year 2010" by AsiaSpa, and with good reason. Experience relaxation at its finest [separate blog post to follow].

Warning, though: Not for the light of wallet. Nevertheless, for the avid and discriminating spa enthusiasts, well worth trying out!

6. Henna tattoos. An effective way to draw attention away from one's protuding beer belly and towards one's (hopefully) bulging. . .umm, bicep. Yeah, i have it on good authority that those hot bikini babes fall for the "ethnic-tattoo-former-Bilibid-gang-member" look. :D

7. Piped-in beach music at Two Seasons Boracay resort. All-day long! Eclectic mix of chill-out music and remix versions of more mainstream artists like Katy Perry, Regina Spektor, Snow Patrol, Moby, etc.

Perfect for easy listening, while lounging on the deck chairs while working on one's tan while reading a book and sipping a margarita or an ice-cold beer and feasting on chips, while girl-watching (don't tell me you already forgot about the bikini babes, tsk tsk), all at the same time!

Not all's bed and roses though. Here's why:

Starbucks. Yellow Cab Pizza. Shakey's Pizza. All right on the beachfront.

Shouldn't there be some sort of ordinance against these monstrosities?