Antique’s Tibiao Fish Spa
Is Tourism Attraction
by Perla Lena
Aside from its famous heritage houses and churches, Iloilo City has an additional attraction in store both for foreign and domestic tourists with the opening of the Tibiao Fish Spa, the first mall-based fish spa at the SM, Iloilo City last week.
This fish spa is a brain-child of two young and budding entrepreneurs. Flord Nicson J. Calawag, is the general manager, and Rex Delsar B. Dianala is the operations manager. The Tibiao Fish Spa has metamorphosed from just being a hobby into a very promising business endeavor.
While other spas have to import fishes from Singapore or Turkey, the Tibiao Fish Spa makes use of local varieties, which the owners at the moment are in no position to disclose because they are still waiting for the release of their patent.
They explained that the spa "offers a one-of-a-kind experience by combining the relaxing and exfoliating effects of fish nibbling on a person’s layer of dead skin."
Dianala shared that they just can’t stand to disappoint the public as they are not really for money but they would want also "to continue making every little child and family happy."
"We are inspired to continue this service for the satisfaction of our customers. It makes our customers happy and we offer joy and happiness. You are really guaranteed to laugh," Dianala assured.
From Tibiao, Antique where the project really started, the duo with the support of the University of the Philippines Marketing Society and their respective families, brought some 5,000 local fishes to their new venue at the mall.
Four tanks have been installed; one for beginners which is a smaller tank that contains small fishes; extreme tank which has large fishes for removal of calluses and two tanks for those who wanted privacy.
Simultaneously, the four tanks filled with various fishes can accommodate around 30 clients.
Dianala stressed that hygiene is also a must for the spa such that the waters at it are changed at least twice daily or as needed.
They put in place a bio-filter, activated carbon filter and UV-sterilization gadget as one way to ensure that the water is always clean and sanitary.
The clients can, after having their feet, hands or even entire body immersed from the fishes-filled tanks, might want to relax by having a body massage or reflex.
According to Calawag, they have tapped the expert therapists from the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center to join them at the spa.
He added that the Tibiao Fish Spa would like to emphasize to their clients the importance of relaxing through communing with nature and by having a good massage.
Aside from its tourism value, Calawag informed that they are also providing jobs to the unemployed.
Around 17 massage therapists are on a shift duty aside from their other regular staff who also include the around 5,000 fishes, he pointed out jokingly.
With its new location at the ground floor of the SM City, Dianala said their business "might become the fish spa that offers true comfort even if compared with those outside of Iloilo or even abroad."
"It is the ambiance and it is affordable. We really worked hard. This is a place where they could relax after a day of touring Iloilo city," Dianala said.
Calawag disclosed that with the success of their branch in Iloilo City (a dry-run for almost a month was made prior to the permanent location), they now looked forward to open branches in Cebu City and Manila.
They also explore the idea of branches in big cities but the main target is to go abroad, he added.
How about Aklan? What is the projected tourist attraction? /MP