“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, July 26, 2009


One of my Asian projects is in the Philippines, in a factory south of Manila, called Cabuyao. I am here now for 2 weeks, to help local management to prepare for the new way of working with their IT systems.

Despite an awful pain low in my back since last week, I went yesterday, Saturday, to the large shopping center called "Festival Super Mall" opposite of my hotel "Vivere Suites". It's a 31 storey building, with suites of different sizes and a small restaurant on the 31st level with a splendid view over Laguna bay and, if the air is clear, you can see the sky-line of Manila. It is opposite of the hotel were I resided the last time, called "Bellevue", a French word, meaning: "nice view".

The whole area is a business and modern living development area, many new business buildings, shopping malls and sub-divisions for the Philipino who can afford to live in such sub-divisions.

Top floor restaurant
The mall opens 10 am and is open until 9 pm 7 days a week. I was early and looked around in a hardware store, to see what you can buy and more important what not. I always do this as to get a clear picture of what I should bring when we are going to settle here permanently and we start building our house. Well there is more variety here than in the province, but even there you can find basically everything what we have in Europe, except for two area's.

First area is electricity components for buildings, especially the flexible colored wires with solid core, the flexible tube, the tool for pulling the wires thru the tube and the wire connectors for in a wall mounting box.
Secondly model trains and all the other technical small items, like motors, wheels, rails, switches, electronics (chips) and scenery items.

With swimming pool
After an hour or so, I saw a kind of waiting room for something that looked as a health care business. A sales boy started to talk to me and invited me for a free massage. As I was interested (not for the free, but for the massage) and accepted his invitation, got an orange plastic ticket with number 26. Some people were still waiting in the waiting room, but I was pushed thru the door and came into a big space with a lot of people.

Half of the space was occupied with beds, people were laying there with a blanket over their body. It looked like a moratorium after a plain crash.

The other half was full of chairs and a kind of stage, with a young lady and microphone, a projected screen of a kind of instruction slide show and a white board. The audience started to shout: "there is a new comer" louder and louder. It turned out it was me.

The lady was talking and talking, there was no begin and no end. I had to sit and took a chair at the back end. Then she started to talk to me in her microphone, everyone looking over their shoulder at me. The cord of the microphone was too short to come to me, so I had to come to her.

Then she started to interview me. My name, age, where I came from, illness, etc. The audience was listening and giving comments. They didn't believe I was 61, they said I looked like 50. She called me tito Leo in stead of lolo Leo.

After the interview I was put in a chair next to a young man, maybe 30 years of age, who started to talk to me. I got a beld around my hips, which was powered such that it radiated heat. It felt nice. He explained that this was a Korean based therapy for sick people.

Indeed the whole atmosphere was Asian, a bit based on religion, technology, mystery, believe, stimulation of the folk, and a lot of noise. He told me that he had problems with his shoulder joint and now after many times being here it is all okay. He comes here several days a week. I saw also very old people and even some infants of less than a year.

Suddenly the lady stopped with the show and the people laying on the beds stood up and the people waiting on the chairs went to the beds. I had to go to bed 26. As I found out, it was not a normal bed, but it had a massage machine under it. I laid down, my back on the bed and I got a blanket over my body.

Then the machine started to work. It was like there was a strong wave under my body, tilting it up where the wave top was. When it hit my low back, I got crazy from the pain. First the wave went fast from feed to head and vice versa, but after a while the speed reduced, but it looked like the amplitude increased.

There were many ladies walking around in the same red uniform as the lady who interviewed me. One of them sat down next to me and started to explain the therapy and giving food advices. After a while she stood up and another came to sit down. It was hardly impossible to understand them, as the lady on the stage was talking as a waterfall. This is Philippines, the more sound the better.

It was after an hour that I was outside again. The method was called Nuga and the instruments and beds they used are also for sale. Look here for more information on Nuga.

My next stop was a shop for nail care. It was already long ago that I had got a nail care treatment in the Philippines, from one of the neighbour ladies of my family in law. They are much better than the Thai, according to my wife. So I ordered a foot and hand nail cutting and caring service.

As I love this kind of treatment, I was disappointed to understand that 2 ladies would do the job. This meant that it would take only half of the time. Nevertheless it was magnificent, it took between 30 and 60 minutes and they gave a massage as well. I must say they did a perfect job, even much better than what they do in the province.

When I was outside again, my plan was to visit a barbershop as my hair had to be cut. It was next door, this one was indeed only for men and the barbers were men as well. I started with the haircut, and when finished I asked for a head and shoulder massage.

The guy was happy to earn some more money and serving a foreigner, or Americano as they are called, means that is more to earn, so he offered me to shave me first. Indeed I usually do not shave me in the weekend, so I agreed.

After shaving he offered me to (dry)shampoo my head, I agreed again. Next the shampoo had to be removed with water, so we moved to a chair with a sink. The massage was excellent. Head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

When I found a Filipino restaurant, it was already 5 pm, I sat down and enjoyed the "eat as much as you can" formulae. Relaxed and full I went back to Vivere.

Vivere is an Italian word and has the following translations: "be alive", "dwell", "live", "reside", "subsist", so a nice word for this nice accomodation. For more info see the website of Vivere.



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