‘Spa’ talk: Would you like a massage, or ‘E.S.’? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Reza Fernando, Aym Bagatsing, Christine Andaya, Tony Fernando

A friend told me about a spa in Makati famous for its Ilongga therapist. Why is she famous, I asked. Because she gives a good handjob, my friend said.


Trying to suppress laughter, I commented that I didn’t know there are spas today which are like the massage parlors of yore.


“Try mo,” suggested my friend.


A few months later, I went out drinking with another friend, a high school classmate who flew in from Los Angeles to attend our school homecoming. At 4 a.m., woozy from too much whisky, I got ready to go home.


“Wait,” my classmate said, adding that “we’re going to have a massage.”


We ended up in a place named after the seat of government of the former Soviet Union. This “spa” offers three types of rooms, amusingly named after three classes of political leaderships in Russia.


It reminded me of Maalikaya, the most “sosyal” sauna bath and massage parlor during my high school days.


Long story short, my “spa therapist” entered my room, proceeded to the luxurious-looking bathroom and prepared something.


“Sir, mag-toothbrush ka na,” she said.


And then she asked: “Gusto mo ng massage, or E.S.?”


When I inquired about the E.S., she said, “Extra service. Handjob, or all the way.”


Whoa, just like old times, I told myself. Without skipping a beat, my therapist explained that her rate for “all the way” is P2,200 or the same amount as the room.


Mori Restaurant & Bar

Mori Restaurant & Bar –photos by Poch Concepcion

Now here’s a more wholesome story, about why it’s worth going all the way to Tagaytay to check out a Japanese restaurant and bar called Mori.


Named after a plant that grows in several countries including Japan, Mori sits in a spacious compound with the environmentally conscious Containers by Eco Hotel.


Apart from familiar Japanese fare, Mori offers Bulalo Ramen—its own take on Batangas’ popular beef shank soup dish. Perfectly suited to Tagaytay’s cool weather, Bulalo Ramen nourishes and warms the body with a filling combination of meat and noodles.


Taken with sake, and enjoyed in the company of longtime as well as newly met friends, it brightened an otherwise cloudy day.


With us were Tony Fernando and wife Reza, Aym (“A-yam”) Bagatsing, and Christine Andaya.

Reza Fernando, Aym Bagatsing, Christine Andaya, Tony Fernando

Bagatsing, whose group owns and manages Containers hotel, toured us around the compound, including the roof deck, future site of The Campfire & Grill—a bar and restaurant to be serviced by The Smoking Joint.


Mori Restaurant & Bar, Seminarium Verbum Divinae Road, Tagaytay, Cavite


V-Day at Smoking Joint


Speaking of Smoking Joint, its Valentine gig on Feb. 14 features Mon Espia performing solo in an intimate setting—perhaps a better way to spend the night with your date. There will be a free glass of Rafa Sparkling Wine from 7 p.m.-12 a.m., or while supply lasts, for every order of Smoking Joint’s regular fare.


The Smoking Joint, Green Sun Hotel, 2285 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati; tel. 423 5514