Monday, September 17, 2007


Along Avenida Rizal, nestled between the giant poster vendor and a sidewalk manicurist, is this dapper masseur who soothes those feeling weary from Manila's daily grind, or from the tolls of getting on with the years. And for an hour's worth of therapeutic kneading and squeezing, be prepared to shell out about 100 to 200 pesos.

I haven't had a chance to experience his healing hands, but had sought comfort from the blind masseurs of the malls and Rizal Park who are usually situated far from the path of the strolling crowd. I find this more pleasant as compared to the spot where this masseur of Santa Cruz does his work, which is right on the busy sidewalk of Avenida Rizal. I don't think I'd be comfortable enough to sit there half naked for a good hour or so. Besides, Manila has enough appalling sights without my adding to it; not to mention that I can get arrested for appearing in public without a shirt on (a city ordinance jump-started by the officials of Marikina).

Anyway, the abundance of affordable expert masseurs in Manila is a blessing. Unlike in New York in which such service comes with a steep price. Practically almost every Manilenyo I know has a personal masseur or masseuse (referred to locally as manghihilot), or goes to a massage parlor in the neighborhood or in the mall. My mother and sister has someone who comes to the house on a regular basis; I must admit, she's good. On the couple of occasions that I had asked her to give me a massage, she got rid of my annoying muscular aches or stiff neck after only an hour's session.

Speaking of stiff neck, next time I get one, I might try this dashing masseur of Santa Cruz. I'm sure I need not take off my T-shirt just for that.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:35 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naku, Eric, I've been having this stiff neck since last week. But I don't want to be touched on the neck part. Could be sensitive - with major veins and arteries, y'know..

But you know what? I am my family's personal masseuse. No kidding! Hubby and the kids, especially Gem, claim I have magic, healing and soothing hands. Gustong gusto ko rin silang i-masahe kasi para na rin akong nagi-exercise dahil pinapawisan din ako. And every time I give hubby a massage, he jokingly asks me: "Miss, ano'ng number mo?" Noong una, hindi ko alam kung ano yung number na sinasabi niya. Yun pala, ang mga masahista sa massage salon ay may mga kaniya-kaniyang number. Lol! Hmmmm... bakit kaya niya alam? (*suspicious*) hehehe.

Hindi ko alam kung paano ako natutong magmasahe. But when I gave birth to my daughter, my yaya regularly gave me a massage to tone my muscles and bones. It felt sooo good! Inobserbahan ko lahat ng mga strokes niya, at ginaya. Pero maingat ako sa neck area because I am not an expert, much less trained. :)

Love that first pic.:)

September 18, 2007 12:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. Nice blog you have here. And nice photos too! :)

September 18, 2007 1:34 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Yung unang photo, mukhang ayos yung minamasahe nung lalaki duon sa poster ah!

Dito sa amin may pinupuntahan akong Lola na masahista. Magaling siya lalo na sa mga naipit na muscle. At sulit ang $20 na bayad kasama pati ang hot latik coconut oil at maraming kuwento habang minamasahe ka niya. May kasama pang dasal pagkatapos.

September 18, 2007 2:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Twenty dollars is very cheap, Noypetes! Wish meron kaming lolang katulad niya sa New York dahilan sa highly stressed life namin duon. Pinakamura atang natatandaan ko ay fifty dollars sa isang oras na masahe. Pangalan niya ay si Rosa pero nagkasakit naman siya kaya nawalan kaming taga-masahe at hilot :(

September 18, 2007 7:17 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Manwolf! Interesting site you have also, Art Molecules. Will be checking it out often :)

September 18, 2007 7:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Rhoda!

The stiff neck I usually get is that painful knot at the bottom of my neck aligned with the shoulder; preventing me from turning my head sideways because of the pain involved. I had to actually twist my torso instead which could be excruciatingly painful and annoying especially when driving.

I'd usually get this stiff neck whenever sleeping with my head in a particularly awkward position for too long.

You learned how to give a masage much the same way I learned how to cut hair -- by observation :) Lucky for your entire family, I must say.

Perhaps, you should change your blog name to "Masahista Numero Uno" ... hehehe!

September 18, 2007 7:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel ticklish hence I never had a massage before. But they say it's really a wonderful therapy for relaxation and the price is really steep to get a massage here too!

Perhaps one day all of us can learn the art to be a masseur. Hehe.

September 18, 2007 10:14 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That would be wonderful, Kyels. I agree with you. Imagine how much marriage-enhancing it can be :)

I used to get unbearably ticklish, too, whenever someone started kneading and squeezing my body. It took many years before I learned to ignore the massaging hands, and just focus on the soothing effects of a therapeutic rubdown.

However, there are still some parts of me that get easily tickled -- like the sides of my waist and on the middle part of my lower back ... hehehe.

September 18, 2007 10:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Massage is therapheutic. Just be carefull not to have your nape/neck manipulated if you have high cholesterol level or a high blood pressure. This manuever can dislodge cholesterol plaques from the blood vessels of your neck and cause stroke.When I am home I go to the blind massuers at the Harrison Plaza, the one near the chapel.One Fifty pesos if you are sitting down and 250 pesos if lying down.

September 18, 2007 10:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks for the information, Leo. Rhoda's warning is fully justified then.

I plan to exercise more caution in the future, though I suffer not from high blood pressure. Better to be careful, as they say.

September 18, 2007 11:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For 200 pesos an hour that's one heck of a massage. Sulit ang bayad.

In my last vacation I did a Swedish massage sa isang Spa sa Greenbelt and paid 4 times the amount - massage talaga and no hanky panky :) I got such a good rubbing and a hot bath after that I slept like a baby when I arrived at the house :) Minsan iba rin ang touch ng babae sa massage - not too hard, not too soft - tamang tama lang hehe :)

September 18, 2007 1:21 PM  

Blogger jon go said...

appearing shirtless in public is now prohibited? awww... and i wanted to show off my bod.. bwahaha..kidding.. about massages, i've a bad experience. after this woman gave me a back massage, i couldn't turn my head from pain the next day.. :(

September 18, 2007 1:48 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

For sure I wouldn't say no to a massage delivered by that girl we can see on that poster... I would even remove my shirt for this... ;-)

Great picture by the way. I love the composition of your picture.

September 18, 2007 3:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

THat was still less than twenty US dollars, BW. Talagang mura dito ang mga personal services -- haircuts, manicure/pedicure, massage and etc.

There's a couple in my neighborhood which get really crowded after office hours; favored by stressed out business people. Tunay ding mga spa ito -- walang hanky panky ... hehehe.

September 18, 2007 6:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That was horrible, Jon. What on earth did she do to you. And this is the reason why I'm scared of chiropractors in NYC.

Yes, it's against the law to appear topless in Manila's public places.

September 18, 2007 6:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Neither would I, Sidney, but I'm afraid that her services might cost an arm and a leg ... hehehe.


September 18, 2007 6:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't availed the services of a masseuse yet. I heard though that once you start going regularly for a massage, you'll start to crave it. Nakaka-addict daw.

September 19, 2007 11:58 AM  

Blogger INKBLOTS said...

nice one, Señor!

Last week, i had a terrible upper back pain na feeling ko nakukuba na ako because it hurt that I had to curl my back so that I won't feel it. So while in Batanes, I tried the on-call masseuse of the hotel I was billeted. She did well at the start, but later on, her rubbing went slow and stopping for several seconds. I realized she was watching the TV, instead, and not concentrating on massaging my back.

September 19, 2007 12:28 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Ding!

That's pretty much the same complaint amongst many friends. Best is to schedule a massage or manicure before or after the Wowowee noontime show ... hehehe.

Boy, you do get around much, huh? Batanes -- many photographers rave about that place :)

September 19, 2007 1:52 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's the main problem in the States and Canada, Irene -- the high cost for such personal services. Unlike here in Manila which is quite affordable. Pero tama ka, once you tried it, you'd want to have it regularly. Very soothing kasi, eh.

September 19, 2007 1:53 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

I'd like to learn massage skills. It's for "the moves," you know. I had an orgmate who had fromulated from experience her own hand and back massage techniques. I tried learning from her. It was my "the moves." Too bad she thinks of me as her little brother, hehe.

Now for that poster in your first pic, that's what you call "the moves!"

September 23, 2007 4:10 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Well, perhaps you should further hone your skills and add a few more surprises in your "the moves." This way, with your soothing hands, her perception of you might be auspiciously realigned as well ... hehehe.

September 23, 2007 7:17 AM  

Blogger Magtayo na ! said...

hey :) just wanna ask permission to use the 2nd picture on our blog for our homework in filipino 102. thanks po! :D

December 08, 2009 10:04 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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