If you’ve seen one spa, then you’ve seen them all, right? That’s not always the case.
Chelsea Gogola discovers in Tagaytay a sanctuary that merges ancient Chinese Techniques with modern methods.
Unique, awe inspiring, breathtaking—these sum up an experience at QiWellness Living, which overlooks the picturesque Taal Volcano in Tagaytay.
From the outside, this teahouse cum bathhouse is a simple gray concrete with huge red double doors; but, inside it is three levels of modern design fused with ancient Chinese elements that evoke balance and tranquility.
The first level is the welcoming area where our arrival—consisting of me and Tess del Rosario, a stay-at-home mom of two—was announced by the banging of the chau gong. Then, we were led to the second level which is the tea house.
Here, Arnold Perido, the Head Manager of Qi, explains that the teahouse offers an eight-course degustation meal (a series of carefully curated small dishes) or a three-course ala carte meal prepared by their Sydney Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef. They also have a variety of tea-based cocktails such as sake-infused jasmine or rose; but for our pre-massage drink, we had normal non-alcoholic tea.
The third and last level is the bathhouse where the opium den and the private massage rooms are. The opium den has the yin-yang pools, six recliners and a viewing deck. The two small square pools that overlook the Taal Volcano offer hot and cold temperatures and the ancient technique of hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy, believed in ancient China to have strong healing effects, eases muscles, removes stress and stimulates blood circulation. Qi recommends a dip before your massage for extra relaxation.
Tess and I got to try the bathhouse’s two signature massages: the QiHarmony (P1,880) and the Silk (P2,180).
I experienced this dry massage—meaning no oils or lotions, just 90 minutes of reflexology, acupressure and tui-na techniques. Tui-na massage focuses on massaging the “eight gates”—head, neck, shoulders, hands, arms, feet, legs and back—to bring balance to physical and mental health.
I was asked to change into a black loungewear set, as the massage is done fully-clothed. Then, I was led to a lounge chair that faces Taal. This view, coupled with the cool Tagaytay breeze, made the experience more relaxing. That’s what really sets this spa apart: you’re not in a dimly lit, cramped cubicle, but unwinding in the midst of the idyllic beauty of nature.
The QiHarmony massage started with a warm foot soak that feels extra heavenly in the Tagaytay weather. When you’re asked to lie on the chair, the massage begins. Pressure is applied depending on your comfort level. The strokes were slow and soothing that I found myself dozing off a few times, always waking up rested instead of lethargic.
Done in one of the private massage rooms, the masseuse applied Swedish lymphatic drainage and the Hawaiian lomi-lomi massage techniques (which uses flowing strokes and motions). According to Arnold, the ‘silk’ massage balm used is made only by Qi and so he was tight-lipped when asked about the ingredients.
Tess, however, made no secret of describing the massage as the best she’s ever had. “It was like I was being lulled to sleep,” she chuckled. The circular strokes are repeated until knots in your joints are released. Afterwards, there’s none of the sticky, oily post-massage feeling—the balm leaves your skin moisturized and fragrant, so you can go on with your day without needing a shower. A couple (and)
More Qi is popular with couples. They offer a three- hour Quick Escape package (P5,160 per couple), where you and the hubby can use the yin-yang pool, get a 30-minute foot reflexology massage by the deck, use of the private room to shower and have your signature massage.
Arnold tells me that for special occasions, such as anniversaries, couples can nab the Overnight Escape package (P15,800) to spend the night in one of the private rooms and have exclusive use of the spa’s amenities while it is closed to other guests. Qi also caters to group outings and corporate retreats.
Tagaytay is a top destination when you want to quickly get away from the bustle of city life. At Qi, you don’t just get the cool breeze and the breathtaking Taal view, you get the hybrid of ancient time-tested techniques and modern advances giving you one-of-a-kind spa experience.
QiWellness living is located at Aguinaldo Highway, Barangay Maharlika East, Tagaytay City; Mobile
0917 522 6969; visit <qiwellnessliving.ph>