Friday, November 13, 2009

American Idol, Lucy Torres Gomez, Massage World Record, World Travel and Tours and Malapacao (November 2009)

American Idol, Lucy Torres Gomez, Massage World Record, World Travel and Tours and Malapacao
(November News and Views Report 2009)

Today is the beginning of something new in this blog. I will be including in this blog, a monthly (and hopefully in the near future, bi-monthly) news and views report which will feature and discuss local (meaning Philippines) and international news, still within the boundaries of spa, massage therapy, beauty, well-being, health and wellness. Anything related with those issues, I will try to give you current (and as much as possible) events and the latest happenings in the industry. Some might be controversial and some trivial. Some needs our attention and some needs our action. I want some news and information that people can interact with. They may be used as a stepping stone towards more ideas, information, more resources and more learning. Hopefully with these news and views feature, we will be able to create a better place to live in.

Let us start with lighter news:

Who among you watches American Idol? I have watched it, TV several times and I am drawn to the fact that each judge has different personalities. And what does American Idol have to do with Spa, Massage, Beauty and Wellness? Well, one of the judges, Simon Cowell, also known as called Mr. Nasty because of how he comments harshly, putting down the contestants and with the few times that I have watched American Idol, I would say that on spotlight (and not in real life), he is “brutally blunt or should I say, brutally honest?” Simon would put down and criticize the contestants and their abilities. But of course, I do not believe that in real life he has that horrible personality. He also received booo’s from the audience even before he speaks. He recently bought his 22$ Million home in Beverly hills in May of 2009. And apparently his dressing Room on XFactor (UK’s largest talent search) has its own Massage area. According to his co-judge, Simon Cowell has spent £50,000 doing up his room and it’s like a palace with plasma TV’s, a massage room and a fridge full of the most expensive champagne money can buy. This 50-year-old music mogul also has a luxury bathroom stocked with beauty products (ehem…at mahilig din daw siya mag pa Botox), including eye wrinkle cream, shaving paste and razors. Validoso di ba? So what does this show us? That there is also a big market in the entertainment industry for professionals like us and for products and services in the field of spa, massage therapy, beauty and wellness. Especially anti-aging. That there is no need to be “madamot” (greedy) with information and resources and no need to fight over clients because there are a lot of them out there. That there is no need para magsiraan at magkaroon ng "hate" campaign and brigade because with that we also hurt ourselves in the process. That we should help each other in promotions because what goes around comes around. That indeed, the spa, beauty and wellness industry is a booming market ONLY if you know how to do the business and position yourself with dignity and respect for others. The industry has a lot to improve and we all have a lot to contribute let us not start by resentment (there is no exact Tagalog word, but it’s a combination of a feeling of “inggit” or envy with “pagtatampo” mild sulking or “hinanakit” indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance).

If we are to conquer the world and be a salt of this earth we have to conquer the world with goodness and the God who sees your every good deed will ultimately reward you for it.
On to more cheerful news, I would like to show you a video on QTV11, where there is humor and advise in it. You can click on the link below or there is already a video uploaded for you, just right below this article, you can click on that instead.

Guinness Book and Massage
The largest simultaneous group massage has never been attempted before, so in October 2007, the world’s largest simultaneous group massage happened in Potter’s Field in London. They took part in a Guinness World Record attempt to be massaged for fifteen minutes by 154 professional massage practitioners.
Two adjudicators from Guinness World Records were on hand to certify the new world record. The adjudicators’ job was to check that all 154 people were properly seated and that the massage routine started and ended with the correct professional techniques. Ayan kinailangan pa nila na talagang i-professionalize ang pag practice ng massage. While last year in July of 2008, in Taipei Taiwan, they set a World Record by arranging for 1,008 people to have a foot massage simultaneously. While this year, on October 31, 2009 Massage magazine featured a massage therapist who broke the world record for single-handedly and continuously massaging for 68 hours. Geee…that is a feat to beat. The name of the massage therapist is (drums roll) Christina Brandon from Sarasota, Florida. Although these are events that awe the world, there have been a few comments from professionals in the industry saying that performing back to back massage sessions single-handedly is considered medical malpractice. Because as the therapist finishes each and every massage, her endurance decreases, her attention span to the client also diminishes. Since that is more than two days of performing massage, alertness and attentiveness to each individual client have been compromised. According to Steve, on Scottsdale Examiner Page “It is not possible to maintain the recommended and necessary level of attention to the individual client when the therapist has gone without sleep for 24, 48, or 60+ hours. Performing massage therapy while impaired may be a violation of Florida massage laws, since sa Florida nga ginawa itong record na ito, and certainly presents ethical questions. Certainly a doctor would never intentionally try to set a record for how many procedures he could perform without sleep as this would violate medical safety and ethical standards.” Sabi ni Steve Ibach na isang Massage Therapy examiner. My concern here is…is Guinness Record concerned with how is it performed and practiced like what they did in London? Or are they just shooting for numbers without the quality? Or kaya ba nating mag-organize ng ganitong event na pinakamaraming chair massage in the world? Hummm…… what do you think?

Good and Bad About the Philippines
Kamakailan lamang ay nag report ng kaniyang assessment ang isang foreign tourism expert sa Pilipinas, si Uwe Sturmann, at the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report at Dusit Thani in Makati Manila. Competitiveness, in travel lingo means the ability to conquer markets. Ibig sabihin, you are first and foremost in your clientele’s minds when it comes to a certain niche. So how are we performing? His assessment includes the following:
1. The Philippines is a good but underutilized potential compared to its neighboring countries.
2. The Philippines can weather the economic crisis, IF our tourism sector is resilient and IF we focus on that niche market.
3. The competitiveness of the Philippine tourism sector is relatively weak, we only rank number 86 of 133 countries in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 of the World Economic Forum. Eh baka naman itanong niyo sa akin sino ang una sa ating mga Asian countries? I included Middle Eastern countries as they are still included in the Far East region.
Okay sa Asia, ang mga nangungana at nasa Top 10 eh (drum roll)
1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. Japan
4. Korea
5. Malaysia
6. United Arab Emirates
7. Israel
8. Qatar
9. Thailand
10. China
Worldwide naman, the top ten countries in Travel and Tourism Competitiveness are:
1. Switzerland
2. Austria
3. Germany
4. France
5. Canada
6. Spain
7. Sweden
8. United States
9. Australia
10. Singapore

Our government officials already know that the Philippines can contend and capitalize on its strengths. Pero the problem is wala talaga tayong “niche” dahil lahat ng ginagawa natin ay ginagawa na rin ng ibang bansang malapit sa atin. It would be very challenging (este to be politically correct challenging na lang para mild lang pag difficult kasi parang medyo medyo mahirap at hard kung malayo pa talaga ang dapat takbuhin sa karera..I said challenging BUT not impossible) at papano? We have to get our acts together, hindi yung kanya-kanya or sila-sila. We have to market our strengths strongly using our locals- hummmmm…..dito talaga mahihirapan tayo. On side note, eh papano yun? Karamihan sa locals mas gustong mag abroad at magbakasyon sa Amerika (kung can afford) at Hong Kong naman kung medyo on tight budget. Eh ni hindi nga siguro natin alam kung saan o ni napuntahan ang Malapacao eh. Papano natin mai-pro-promote ang sarili nating bansa eh napaka Western ng culture natin sa ngayon? nagsipagtapos tayo sa mga banyagang unibersidad sa labas ng bansa? Paano natin mai-pro-promote ang isang bansang hindi tayo naniniwala sa mga kakayahan? Let us face it, we still have a lot of growing and understanding to do when it comes to our beloved country and we are starting just now to understand. It will take many years of cooperation and nurturing from different sectors including private sectors (not only government) and us and our citizenry as a whole. Opo lahat tayo kailangang magtulong tulong, kahit taxi driver, (for example) kasi tourists will not come if our taxi drivers are known to be traffic violators, overcharging foreign nationals just because they saw that you are white, at marami pang iba. Of course there are a lot of taxi cab drivers na hindi ganito pero marami pa ring ganito ang ginagawa. Ano ngayon ang mangyayari sa mga naka experience ng ganito? Word of mouth will spread like wild fire, that the Philippines is not safe to travel while on taxi cabs, that the Philippines is just not ready to take on the surge of tourism increase, etc. When I was in Hong Kong, even an increment of your change hindi nag e-expect ang taxi cab driver doon ng tip. They will give you the change like for example, your taxi cab bill was 140HK$ and ang binigay mo is 150HK$, ibabalik nila ang sukli without hesitation, not unless ikaw na mismo ang magsabi na keep it. They will really run by the meter. I do not think it’s about the money aspect eh, but the ability to abide by what the law or the meter said. Tingnan mo pang ilan sila sa top…pangalawa di ba?

I remember when we attended last year’s, 2008 Health and Wellness Tourism Summit, Susie Ellis, President of Spa Finder, made some recommendations to really boost the spa industry together with other related industries. Sorry, I already took the liberty of editing it as Yunesa’s enhanced version (hehehe):

1. The Philippines has to develop the industry alongside other allied industries like massage therapy, spa, nutrition, travel/tourism, environmental groups, healthcare and education through collaboration with different industry sectors (both public/government and private).

2. Encourage learning and education to produce professionals who knows about the industry and accept its diversity. Instead of going out of the country for travel, leisure, beauty and wellness trips try first (local) Philippine-based tours and patronize Filipino owned businesses and products.

3. If you are contemplating on a business, go into business that emphasizes what will take care of the body and our environment. Be socially responsible. Stop patronizing businesses that will only use your money to destroy your health and the environment. Do not just buy something because it’s cheap, buy from businesses that affect people positively. Promote indigenous experiences (example hilot, cooking local food, cave explorations with travel, tourism and education) alongside promote Philippine local products to attract clients and improve outcomes.

4. Invest in education of the citizenry to develop an abundance of skilled professionals and informed public.

5. The Philippines has to develop public relations and marketing campaigns, advertising and promotions which, communicate the Philippine’s tremendous strengths like: medical expertise, compassionate care, English speaking, etc.

6. Make travelling alongside with other tourism efforts more financially attractive to locals.

I remember an email sent to me a few years ago by a friend who is also an OFW and just last month, the same email was sent to me by an online friend who is an American residing in the Philippines. I will paste here below:

The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country:

This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt , that are more than 2000 years old, but are poor.On the other hand, Canada , Australia & New Zealand , that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries, and are rich.

The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources.Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality! It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order & labor, which made it the world's strongest, safest place.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference.Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education & the culture & flawed tradition.

On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:
1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
2. Integrity.
3. Responsibility.
4. Respect to the laws & rules
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
6. Work loving.
7. Strive for savings & investment.
8. Will of super action.
9. Punctuality.
10. and of course...Discipline

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources.We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich & developed societies.

I deeply believe that there is a hero within us all and that there is still hope for our beloved country the Philippines. Only if we start acting now. Let us emulate the example of Filipinos like CNN Hero of the Year, Efren Penaflorida. Then a ripple of effct will take place.

So there we are...the cause and root and how we can all resolve the issues of poverty in our country. Let us all help in building and bridging the gap. It is good that we have heroes like Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and our OFW's, but it is not solely under the shoulders of Manny Pacquiao to build our credibility as a nation. It is within us all.

Before I end this news-blog, speaking of Malapacao (still wondering where it is? I, too did not know about it until last 2007 when someone at the spa summit mentioned it) here is an email invite from Leann, the owner and manager of a Private Resort in Malapacao, Palawan. By the way she also accepts Metrobank and Banco de Oro deposits, email her for more information:

Dear Eunice, it’s Leeann again of Malapacao.

The sun is beautifully shining once again in paradise. The rains and destruction of October is just a memory in the many challenges of living in the Philippines.The outcome of my heart-pouring energies of 30 days ago was a great success.Of the 300+ wonderful souls my message reached (re: the devastating damage of Ondoy and its follow-up) over 15% of you responded.I managed to raise over US$3,000, which equating in Pesos, goes a long way.Yes it’s amazing isn’t it, how so many in the universe gave, even though times are challenging for all of us. My heart goes out to all of you wonderful people and as promised, I’m doubling whatever was your donation in value of stay here at the retreat.The majority of this went to my staff helping their families and friends recover.When I learned of the great work the Animal Rescue teams (organized by PAWS) were doing rescuing many stranded furry critters on rooftops in Manila, I sent US$300to help them too. Imagine no water or food for days on end. How sad if they had no chance.A few weeks after Ondoy a huge hillside in Taytay (just 1 hour away) came crashing down, in the middle of another heavy storm, burying the newly build hospital and everyone inside.There were no survivors, even though many were texting for hours after the incident, buried in the rubble.It’s an understatement to say “it’s been sooooo a challenging month” but there is no other words to say. Having used up all my resources, with many of my own staff living with me for ages (their own homes were full of family) I can finally come up for air and turn inwards to recover, balance myself and repair my wonderful retreat and get back on my own feet.These past few days have been so wonderful again, I’ve been on my sundeck, hands openwide to the heavens, sending messages to connect to all of you who really need my wonderful island.So here’s a way to help yourself get back on track while helping me do the same.I’m offering a Double Tara Promo from NOW to December 15th with afantastic 40% off all my programs. It’s a great opportunity for both of us. Tell your friends too and bring someone with you;you probably know several or many, who really need to find balance right now. Even if it’s just a RAW FOOD or juice program and not a full detox, do come.Check out these figures and book on a plane to come.For more info just email me.

Many, many, many thanks in advance for your kind help and support once again.

Leeann Leeann Cruz, ND.
director and founder
Malapacao Private Island Retreat
Malapacao IslandPalawan Philippines
Mobile: +639189095573 <> <> <> Skype:privateisland (arrange beforehand)


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