Korean dramas have a way of luring viewers into all things that the Land of the Morning Calm has to offer. Oftentimes, it’s not just the gorgeous stars and filming locations, but also the mundane things that you’ll see your favourite characters do on camera every now and then. For example, going to authentic Korean spas or bathhouses.
These sex-segregated public facilities known as a jjimjilbang have been around South Korea as early as the 15th century. Usually, they feature massage areas, saunas, snack bars, entertainment rooms, and sleeping caves. And like much of its age-old traditions, jjimjilbang continues to be an important part of Korean life, as proven by its frequent appearances on popular Korean shows (e.g. Crash Landing On You).
Also read: Guide to Staying Overnight in a Korean Jjimjilbang
First jjimjilbang or authentic Korean spa in Manila
Much to the surprise of many, this authentic spa experience already made its way to the Philippines back in 2018, in the form of New Lasema Spa. Located in Makati, also home to countless Korean BBQ restaurants and Korean stores, it is the first authentic Korean spa in Manila, as well as in the entire Philippines.
The New Lasema Spa packages range from ₱500 to ₱2,238 per person. With the latter, you can already use their wet sauna, as well as enjoy free Wi-Fi and authentic Korean food. On the other hand, their full package will cost you just ₱1,388 (₱1,488 on weekends and holidays). It includes 12-hour access to the spa’s facilities and a one-hour massage.
Along with these services, you’ll have complimentary Korean spa clothes (matching shirt and shorts, of course) as well as a private locker and keys. They also have a nail spa, powder room, a common area, and an overall ultra cosy environment that’s regularly disinfected and perfect for taking pictures, so you can bring home your own “Korean souvenirs” without actually going abroad.
Also read: My First Solo Trip to South Korea With ₱15,000 Pocket Money
Safety protocols and health benefits of trying jjimjilbang
One of the main draws of a jjimjilbang, besides offering a true Korean experience even if you’re not in the country, is its various health benefits. Saunas and bathhouses are known for reducing your chances of getting high blood pressure, heart disease, pneumonia, and even chronic-tension headaches. At the same time, they provide natural stress relief, healthier skin and hair, and improved sleeping conditions.
As for the New Lasema Spa safety protocols, you must follow standard measures such as wearing a mask, washing hands, and physical distancing. Its management also highly encourages its customers to bring their own soap, towels, combs, water bottles, and other essentials. Furthermore, their gym and swimming pool are also currently closed. And instead of 24/7 operations, the spa is only open from 5am to 12am.
Although New Lasema Spa has been open for quite a few years, spa-goers have found a renewed appreciation for it because of current travel restrictions brought about by COVID-19. Apart from Korean BBQ, K-pop, and K-drama, this authentic Korean spa in Manila is now one of the best ways to experience Korea from the Philippines, complete with amenities that let you safely de-stress the local way.
New Lasema Spa is at 8846 Sampaloc Street, San Antonio Village, Makati. You may find out more about their services prior to visiting by checking their official Facebook page.
All images credited to New Lasema Spa.