by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
Last night, I went to WENSHA in Timog with my friend Arlene and my Couch surfing Canadian guest Sean. It was my idea for my friends to experience this kind of pampering. Sean is on his last leg of his 6-week Philippine adventure (flying back on Saturday morning) and has just gotten back from his Palawan trip. I thought he will surely appreciate the kind of services that WENSHA has to offer. For Arlene, it was her first time and I am happy to let her experience stuff like this.
WENSHA is a 24/7 spa at Timog Avenue in Quezon City with an eat-all-you-can buffet forming the package rate of P680 per person for the one hour full-body massage (among other services offered) and a free use of the jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath within six hours. It wasn't my first time to avail of some massage treatment at a spa before and in fact my second time in WENSHA within a month, but last night was one of a kind. I had finally crossed out the item “going naked in jacuzzi” on my 2001 things-to-do-before-you-die list and included it in my journey to gutsiness.
I was first introduced to the WENSHA concept when I visited Ulsan, South Korea last May 2001 with my best friend Dearie. The visit was an invitation from my Korean best friend Ji Bong Gyu nicknamed Michael. Koreans call these places as public bath houses or in Korean language jjimjilbang.. Jjimjilbang is a one-stop total service 24-hours-a-day Korean way of relaxation. At the public bathhouse, Koreans take a bath on a jacuzzi and a sauna, and also eat, sleep, date, watch television, read, and play computer games.
Before my trip to Korea, I was already forewarned by my friend Jenny about the authentic Korean experience of going to the public bath. I told myself I wouldn't be able to handle such a thing so I put a "No No" warning sign on my forehead if ever my best friend Michael will ask me to go to a public bath with him. Michael's invitation the following day of our arrival, however, didn't include the word "public bath" or "jjimjilbang" but he just asked me to go jogging with him and then go swimming after. Of course, wanting to be fit, jogging and swimming sounded a great idea of hanging out with my best friend. Besides, he was the one who invited me to visit him and paid for my plane tickets and other expenses so any little time I can spend with him (since he has to work) would be gladly accepted.
When we arrived at the "swimming pool" there was a separate entrance for male and female and I agreed to meet Michael at the other end of the pool once I got on my swim suit. He told me I would have a locker where I can put my stuff but didn't make mention of the "must -do -jacuzzi -before -swimming" requirement nor the "no-cubicle -changing clothes station". As I entered, I was shock! I saw all the naked ladies calmly doing their stuff - combing hair, chatting, and just acting so "free" without any inhibitions about being stared at. Then I saw naked ladies in and out of the jacuzzi pools. Wow! Culture Shock that is, that sent me out of the room in an instant! And poor Michael was left waiting and didn't have a choice but to just swim alone!
My first visit at WENSHA last February 9, 2010 was a de ja vu of my jjimjilbang experience! Since my driver was late picking me up from work (as he drove my Couch Surfing guest Chel to Clark airport) and got into extreme traffic jam on his way to the office, I thought of going to WENSHA. WENSHA was recommended by my friends Issel and Roy who mentioned about the eat all you can buffet before and/or after the full body massage, enough to lure me into the idea. After the buffet, I went to the locker rooms which were good, with padded benches, lots of toiletries, and a cool keyless locker system (a wristband that automatically opens the locker door). I was given a towel and robe and went to the shower rooms. Naked ladies in and out of the jacuzzi pools, sauna and steam bath welcomed me. I was shocked! I didn't have a heart for this thing so I hurriedly taken my shower in a cubicled shower room and went straight for the whole body massage. The massage was great!
So, before yesterday, when I invited Arlene to go with me to WENSHA, I also skipped about the jacuzzi detail. But she asked me about it. So to convince her into coming with me, I told her that we can skip that part and still enjoy the other services like what I did during my first visit! When we were there, Arlene was pumped up to try daring stuff. She came in too convincing that I actually found my self swimming naked in the jacuzzi. I was very shy at first (and Arlene too), but after a while we got out of our shell and just swam normally as if we have swim suits on. It made me feel good.I guess with that you can call me a"gutsy" lady!