Palawan Stories and Tips

The Massage Experience

Relaxing after a massage  at the Alternative Place Photo, Palawan, Philippines

Massage service is common in the Philippines, and as a matter of fact, in the whole of the Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos ,Cambodia and Vietnam). I was surprised to discover that some of the best massage service is actually offered in little El Nido. And my opinion was backed by my wife and another couple who were part of our party.

The location was the Alternative Shop, which is located on Palmera Street, diagonally opposite the El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe and VERY clearly identifiable, as the walls are painted with rainbow colours. The establishment is run by Lee Ann, an expatriate single English lady in her mid-50s (looks definitely a lot younger) who has been in Philippines 19 years (she has a resort on Malapacao Island, too - see www.malapacao.com). Lee Ann fits perfectly the description NEW AGE, alternative, or whatever and is dressed accordingly (usually). She has a charming personality and irresistible smile and will kindly try to convince you to try her "colonic detoxification irrigation" or the "chi-zapper" (both advertised on her website, too).

The Chi-Zapper involves a metal probe inserted in your rectum and linked to a nine-volt battery. As I wasn't too keen on any intrusion in my rectum, no matter how therapeutic it would prove, I stuck to more traditional approaches, like the aromatherapy-oil massage, which, I have to admit, was the best I had (and I have travelled extensively to Southeast Asia). Lee Ann has been trained perfectly in the art of body massage and has passed her experience flawlessly to her employees. What makes the experience even more pleasant is that she uses the first floor for her massages, where she places the massage beds in an open-air veranda facing the beach and the sea breeze constantly caresses your body, adding to the gentle moves of the masseuse.

Two of the photos below were taken at Lee Ann's place in El Nido (which, by the way, acts as Internet café and bar, too). The little statue in one is of Bulol (a Pilipino rice god), and in the other, the author is relaxing following a healing massage

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