Here’s the rub: Go get a rub!

Once every week or two, my wife and I sit on La-Z-Boy chairs, recline the seats, perch our legs on stools, close our eyes for 60 minutes and quiet our bodies as therapists stroke our toes. Don’t you love a good massage? I do. After our weekly dinner-date, Jasmin and I visit a spa—a habit that we’ve started two years ago.

Why a massage? First, it feels good. No, make that… it feels really, really good. When you sit on that chair for a foot relax or lie on that bed with face rested, you feel good. Your muscles whisper to your heart, “Ahhhh.” But more than feeling good—and since this is a sports and not a Lifestyle Section article—having a massage is good for the body.

According to the “The Good Spa Guide” website, a massage has many benefits for the athlete: “it relaxes muscles, fights fatigue, relieves swelling around joints, boosts circulation, improves flexibility, reduces heart rate, and makes it easier to recover after exercise.”

Take my case. Ever since I started running long-distance eight months ago, a foot massage has been one of my most sought after post-running activities. Your muscles—hardened after a 15-K run on cemented roads—are softened and loosened with a good hand rub.

Take Pete Sampras. During the 1990s, he used to take a massage before and after he plays. Same with player No.23 named MJ. Same with Lance Armstrong, who employed a masseuse to press his body after grueling 219 km. rides. NBA players? PBA stars? They all employ full-time therapists.

And so a massage feels good and is good for our bodies. And here in Cebu—and all over this country—we’re lucky. Why? Because not only is there a spa in almost every street but, best of all, the rates are low. Like, did you know, there are establishments offering foot massages for P99? Yes, not 99 dollars… but pesos.

When it’s a full-body massage, my favorite is Thewi Thai Massage. Located along J. Llorente St., their one hour massage costs only P200. But it’s not about the low price. Their therapists are experts. Well-trained in the art of Thai massage, they’ll stretch your body, stroke your back, knead your feet—the perfect “sports massage.” (If only they’ll improve the place—the menthol smell is too strong and there’s noise all over.)

Foot relax? I used to be ticklish. Anyone touching any part of my feet will, if they’re not quick enough, get a kick from my knee-jerk reaction. But as I tried it more often, instead of stiffening up when tickled, I relaxed and, today, enjoy best the foot massage.

Among all, my vote goes to Royal Day Spa. They’ve got several branches but the one I most frequent is in Talamban—just 150 meters away from where I reside. In Royal Day, a foot relax is very reasonable: P150 for one hour. And when they say “foot” massage, it’s not just your feet they’ll pamper; first, they’ll massage your arms and—after 50 minutes of caressing your feet—they’ll massage your back, head, shoulders.

The best in Cebu? I have no plans of spending P20,000 to try the Chi Spa in Shangri-La or Plantation Bay’s Mugambo Springs, but here in the city, my pick is The Spa at Cebu. Owned by Johnny Siao, one of the city’s very first spa owners (and the past president of my Rotary club, Cebu West), The Spa at Cebu is relaxing at it’s very best. The ambience, music, the therapists, and even the smell of the place—all will make our tourists swoon and love Cebu even more. Once, my wife Jasmin and I had a suite all to ourselves that had its own private steam room. In those two hours after a body rub, we felt recharged.

In all, going to a spa is money well spent. Complaints? I only have two. First, I hate that moment when the therapist takes a bow and whispers to ask if you want hot tea to signal that, yes, it’s all over. If only it can last for one more hour! My other complaint? When, while relaxing to a soothing foot massage, the man seated beside you closes his eyes and…. snores!

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. I won’t be able to close my eyes either, John, when I have someone next to me snores. hahaha! I love massages and that’s one thing that I splurge when I’m in Cebu. Often I have massages twice a day. One time my mom reminded me not to overdo it kay mabun-og unya kuno ko. Who cares! Yeah, I will try the Spa at Cebu this time and the Royal Day Spa in Talamba. Perhaps, you can recommend to me your favorite masseur or masseuse. Time is flying by quickly. Two weeks from today I’ll be at your end.

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