By GiGi Olorga
When Elizabeth Paras opened Body’s Haven Garden Health Spa in 2005 in Bataan, it was deemed a somewhat peculiar move, since the place as seen as “an unlikely place to establish what many perceive as a luxurious pursuit.”
Paras, on her own, however, considered the effort a “good move,” simply because, as stated by operations manager Jay Paras, as a pioneering player of the industry in the province, “the potential was there. That potential is still there.”
The start-up capital was P1.3 million, with the biggest portion allocated to the equipment (P700,000), and the remaining costs (P600,000) going to redesigning of the structure.
The spa started operating with two masseurs, two masseuses, and an acupuncturist, offering such services as Shiatsu, Swedish and therapeutic massages; body scrub and mud wrap treatments; acupuncture; activated charcoal wrapping and slimming hot wrap; organic facial massage; and foot spa. It was actually a wide assortment, considering that the establishment only has two single rooms, two couple’s rooms, and a common room that can accommodate eight guests.
As if proving the earlier position of the naysayers of the spa’s potential in, of all places, Bataan, the biggest challenge Body’s Haven encountered was “introducing a new idea for relaxation in a (rural setting, such as in Bataan). Numerous clients think of (our services) as a luxury, mainly because you’d have to spend (up to) P800 for a one-hour massage, for example, when (visiting similar places as ours).”
To remedy this, the venue decided to lower (our) price to P350 for us to attract, and satisfy the demand, Paras says. Body’s Haven also offers promotions and packages.
Yet another concern was the scarcity of skilled therapists in Bataan, though Body’s Haven already started tapping training centers in Metro Manila that would provide it skilled therapists.
While Body’s Haven is already “envisioning expanding in the next two years,” Paras says, for now, the focus is on “being the best at what it does in Bataan.” And in offering the clients the (best spa) experience in Bataan,” Paras says, “Body’s Haven is already there.”
Body’s Haven Garden Health Spa is at Paras-Garcia Building, Roman Superhighway, Balanga City, Bataan.