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'Staycation in 2 hours': Philippines eyed as luxury travel, wellness destination |

Travel and Tourism

'Staycation in 2 hours': Philippines eyed as luxury travel, wellness destination

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
'Staycation in 2 hours': Philippines eyed as luxury travel, wellness destination
Vietura (right, bottom) and its founder and aesthetics expert Dr. Mary Jane "MJ" Torres (left); Connections Wellbeing participants
Vietura, Tourism Promotion Board / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Looking for a long weekend getaway?

Instead of going far, why not stay in a resort hotel and pamper yourself with beauty and wellness treatments?

Even a couple of hours of facials and skin-tightening procedures in aesthetic clinic Vietura inside a resort-hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza, for example, can make one look and feel beautiful and well-rested, assured Vietura founder and aesthetics expert Dr. Mary Jane "MJ" Torres.

“Every Filipino, even if they’ve been here for only a couple of hours of treatment, would feel like they’ve already had a staycation, considering that the facility is inside like a destination because Sofitel Philippine Plaza is like a resort hotel (by the) bay… Because it’s really designed like a staycation hotel, so the ambience is still there,” Torres told

Wellness and aesthetic clinics, she said, are where people can go without fear of being criticized that they are in it just for vanity. 

“Prevention is the best medicine,” Torres stressed. “You don’t wait until you get sick for you to go to a doctor. You should have some maintenance in your body to keep you healthy.”

Through procedures such as Colonics or colon detoxification, bio-identical hormone replacement, Intravenous therapy, and what Torres dubbed as “the ultimate in Regenerative Medicine” — Stem Cell Therapy — Vietura aims to make wellness a journey and a continuous experience, Torres stated.

"We believe that wellness is not a quick fix; otherwise, one will fail to create a natural look. Beauty created from within is achieved through a lifestyle shift and lasting effect through regenerative therapy at the cellular level,” she claimed. “We have synergized all our programs with non-invasive aesthetic procedures, integrative medicine, and one-on-one lifestyle coaching; hence, a combination of science, medicine, nature, and personal connection.”

Vietura’s success for being 10 years in the industry, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and 2011's typhoon Pedring that wiped out Sofitel’s plaza level including its famous buffet restaurant Spiral, is because it has been an extension of Torres’ 17-year-old Zen Institute and its core competencies — non-invasive, non-surgical and protocol-based approach.

“To sustain the aesthetic side, we have to maintain the inside, and that is the wellness side. The wellness side is the integrity of Medicine,” Dr. Torres avered, proud of Vietura’s 10th anniversary milestones, including being the only aesthetic clinic tasked by Japan’s Kintaro Laboratory to perform Stem Cell Therapy harvested from 200 million stem cells harvested from the bone marrow cells of donors.

“We don’t sell packages. We make tailor-fit programs with proper protocol so that the patient can get the result they want,” Torres enthused.

Since the Kintaro lab harvests the stem cells from the bone marrow of donors without pain and without risk of killing the donors as their bone marrow stem cells are naturally produced and reproduced by the body, Torres is confident that their stem cell therapy can address aging, increase metabolism and alleviate arthritis and other pains for five to eight years without touching on religious and ethical issues such as stem cells from fetus placenta.

“We want to focus now on stem cell because it’s really the base of being healthy and longevity. Longevity means quality of life, not really prolonging one’s life,” she opined.

“Most of the diseases when you age, we call it lifestyle diseases. And it requires a lot of change of lifestyle for that diabetes, obesity, hypertension to go away. You need to change your lifestyle for you to reap the benefits of proper medication for these diseases.”

Not just sand, sky, sea

As the first aesthetic institute of its kind in Asia, Vietura aims to be a pioneer in the country's wellness tourism by introducing the Philippines to various world-renowned best practices, innovations and technology in aesthetic medicine.

This is in-sync with Tourism Promotion Board's recent successful launch of the Philippines' Connections Wellbeing event with the global players in the luxury travel market. 

The event was a bid to establish the Philippines as a luxury wellness destination in addition to its long-standing reputation for beach, dive and leisure travel. 

From April 16-19, Connections Luxury, the international private community for trusted decision-makers in luxury travel, welcomed 40 leading agencies from markets, including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Portugal, to the inaugural Connections Wellbeing Philippines event. Industry leaders attended with the objective of forging long-lasting business relationships with selected luxury hotels, boutique properties and experienced providers.

Before travelling, 60% of the agencies identified the Philippines as a new destination for their high-net-worth clients. Following the event, declared reasons to promote the Philippines to luxury clients included its unspoiled natural beauty, the Filipino hospitality, its authenticity compared to other Southeast Asian destinations and its wellbeing opportunities. 

“The Philippines has so much to offer as our facilities bridge Western and Eastern treatments in their holistic wellness programs,” shared Margarita Montemayor Nograles, Chief Operating Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board.

Delegates also had the opportunity to discuss wellness tourism trends and the immense growth potential in the Philippines. A poll completed by attendees revealed that clients interested in wellness travel prioritize spa and health facilities, followed by nutrition, relaxation, and sustainability.

Discussions that followed brought to light the increasing demand for customized and personalized wellness experiences. Guests seek tailored programs that address their specific health needs, preferences, and goals.

“Beyond increasing tourism arrivals, we also look at the economic impact of the quality of tourists we bring to the Philippines,” Nograles noted. “The luxury industry promises to yield strong economic results across accommodations, retail, and our food and beverage sectors.”

RELATED: Father’s Day: Men want to look young not just for young girlfriends – beauty doctor

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