To: Balesin Members and Friends
To All Balesin Island Club
and City Club Members:
I am writing you this update to announce the opening of our newest amenity for both The City Club and Balesin Island Club members — the Aegle Wellness Center. We are particularly proud of these new facilities which we have been researching and seriously considering since the end of last year, and which have now taken shape.
The Aegle Wellness Center will have two locations: one in Makati Place at the 6th Floor of The City Club, and one totally new facility at the north end of the Mykonos Beach Villas in Balesin.
The City Club facility will open at the beginning of December, and the Balesin facility, which entails major construction work, (including an elevator for the three levels), should be available for members and their guests prior to the Christmas holiday season.
So that you may have a full understanding of what it is that we have decided to create, please indulge me by letting me give you the background and origin of this “magnum opus.”
Late last year, when I was browsing through my favorite reading material, i.e.,The Economist, The International New York Times and The Wall Street Journal(I am not sure now which one), I chanced upon a well-researched article on the booming spa/wellness center industry. The article estimated that the total market for the spa/wellness centers worldwide is now the incredible amount of US$2 trillion, and growing at a very rapid pace. A casual reading of this article tickled my fancy and, off-and-on during the past year, I have been doing research (more accurately reading up) on wellness centers.
The first thing I found out is that there are rather few genuine wellness centers around the world. Many of the so-called spas and wellness centers have simply added on rooms with fancy and exotic features to simulate a new experience. Some of them, in fact, have no scientific basis at all for calling themselves a spa or a wellness center. Neither are they equipped with the scientific equipment required nor the medical, nutritional and therapeutic staff to provide you with a genuine, world-class spa experience.
I also found out that there were thousands upon thousands of both boutique and traditional hotels who have added on spa facilities and have now arrogated unto themselves the title “spa” or “wellness center.”
I myself have never been much of a wellness center or spa devotee. My first recollection of the spa experience was at Baden-Baden in Germany more than 40 years ago. Baden-Baden is regarded as one of the most traditional and most famous spa centers in the world.
Regrettably, my most vivid recollection of this experience was the continuous pummeling by Teutonic Amazons who I am sure took sadistic delight in inflicting “treatment” on me which almost broke every bone in my body! My second recollection of this experience is that the spa facility was magnificent (I think it was called Belle Epoque but I am not sure now). But it was in a lovely setting in the spa town of Baden-Baden and regrettably left me practically bankrupt! Everything was so expensive!
My second encounter with a wellness center or “benessere” as they are called in Italy was in Tuscany some 25 years ago. The Italians, and actually many other Europeans, appear to be very fond of “thalassotherapy” which employed the medicinal sea water treatment and all of its attributes (algae, seaweed, salt water scrubs, etc.) to give you a real feeling of well-being.
But in both facilities (in Baden-Baden and in Tuscany) I was struck by the fact that, having gone through a whole program of punishing physical workouts, one could eat whatever one wanted to and I distinctly recall how confused my body was by this seemingly contradictory treatment.
I recall only one spa experience in the United States, and this was somewhere in upstate New York which left me distinctly unimpressed (to the point that I cannot not even recall its name). I remember though, that it was more about bells and whistles, silken bed sheets, and all kinds of fancy whirlpool treatments rather than anything else.
In the 1980s, I began to be a fan of my friend Adrian Zecha’s many Aman Resort creations. I must have been in about half a dozen of them and they offered no more than lip service to a wellness center. While many of them were well equipped, well appointed and very soothing and inviting as far as tactile pleasures, I never came across one with a truly scientific approach to wellness.
At about the same time, I became a director of the main board of the Shangri-La Hotel group of Robert Kuok. In the mid-‘90s, we made a decision like many other hotels to add spa facilities, because they were not only in demand by our clients, but were also a very profitable operation. Thus was born the “CHI” spa concept. But again, while they were a delight to experience, I did not see much attention to any real physical wellness procedures and many of them did not even have a qualified medical staff.
Fast forward to late last year when I read the article in (I think) The International New York Times, and I was astonished by the rapid growth of spas and wellness centers. Their favorite subject was the Canyon Ranch which was, I guess, the U.S. prototype of the “ultimate” in luxury spas, and of course came complete with the “ultimate” price tag! I have never been to Canyon Ranch, but my son has been to the one in Tucson, Arizona and he has told me about the ultimate pleasure of the Canyon Ranch experience. I now find that the Canyon Ranch has branched out into many operations, including one in Turkey, and including several in many of the seagoing luxury liners.
Researching further, I was stunned to see pages and pages of spas and wellness centers all over the world, with all kinds of unique characteristics which they advertise, many of which I realize was nothing more than gimmicks. But in my admittedly haphazard research, I chanced only upon several facilities which I would classify as genuine wellness centers—a handful in the States and another handful in Europe. In Asia, the most famous and actually purpose-built one was Chiva-Som in Hua Hin in Thailand. The setting, the facilities and the therapeutic offerings were unique. But getting there was quite a challenge!
As I did my on and off research on spas and wellness centers, I chanced upon a tagline or a slogan for one of them which said: “In today’s world, we do not die anymore—we actually kill ourselves.” Obviously referring to the excesses of today’s lifestyle of food, alcohol, and the anecdotal couch potato, this slogan made quite an impression on me.
About late last year was when I finished Balesin Island Club and approximately, at the same time, The City Club in Makati Place. Over the months following the completion of these facilities, while both of them have a spa, which is basically nothing more than a massage facility, they really could not pretend to be in any way a wellness center. What was clear, however, was that the grandeur of the facilities both in Balesin and The City Club was such that it would not take much to elevate them to a top-notch wellness center facility. Based on my occasional, but by that point extensive, research on wellness centers, it was obvious that I could build a facility both at Balesin Island and City Club which was grand and great to look at, but which at the same time would be a genuine wellness center in every sense of the word.
First of all, I determined that no real self-respecting wellness center could call itself such unless it had complete medical diagnostic facilities. It made sense to me that for one to have a real wellness treatment, one had to start off with a thorough diagnosis of one’s body. So, I decided that a wellness center did not make sense unless we had complete, world-class diagnostic facilities from day one. I was convinced that only through complete diagnosis of each patient’s vital functions could a facility accurately call itself a wellness center.
The second element that I insisted on was that each facility be staffed with the best medical doctors, nutritionists, and physical therapists that would be at par with the world’s leading wellness centers.
Earlier this year, I met Dr. Claude Chauchard, who is without doubt one of the world’s leading authorities on wellness and anti-ageing. Dr. Chauchard, with whom I had coffee in my Paris apartment with his young Taiwanese wife, told me that he is almost 70 years old but I assure you that he looks 45 and not a day older. His complete biography is about 30 pages, but I have distilled it, and you will find it at the end of this update. He has clinics in some 20 cities around the world and is a truly outstanding wellness professional, which you will recognize when you meet him when we inaugurate the Aegle Wellness Center at Makati Place in December.
At about the same time, I met Dr. Ben Valdecañas, who is undoubtedly one of the best and most highly acclaimed Filipino medical wellness doctors. Dr. Valdecañas has had training mostly in sports and orthopedic medicine, all over the world, and I was impressed with him the day that I met him. He has even promised me that if I were to follow his prescriptions, he would guarantee that I would live to 100 years old. I told him thanks, but no thanks. In the first place, I am not sure that I want to live to 100 years and in the second place, I have no clue as to what kind of exercise or diet he will prescribe for me or make me abstain from!
In addition to Dr. Valdecañas, I met two ladies who have many years of experience in both operating and consulting for spas and wellness farms in the Philippines and many countries in Asia. They are Katherine Veneracion and Jennifer Sanvictores, who joined us a few months ago and have been hard at work since in developing the concept of the Aegle Wellness Center.
Please mark on your calendar for Wednesday, December 2nd, when we will inaugurate the City Club Aegle Wellness Center, with Dr. Claude Chauchard and Dr. Ben Valdecañas as our guests of honor (a complete tour of the world-class facilities and equipment will be scheduled on that evening).
At this point, you may wish to know why the name “Aegle.” Aegle is, in Greek mythology, the goddess of radiant good health; and it seemed appropriate that since the facility we are building in Balesin is adjacent to the Mykonos Beach Villas, Aegle was a fitting name for the unique wellness center that we envisioned.
In addition to Dr. Valdecañas, who will be Aegle’s Medical Director, there will be a panel of other specialists that Dr. Valdecañas is lining up so that the best talent can be available at Aegle.
I should also let you know that I have approved the acquisition of only the best-in-class wellness equipment so that we will have a complete facility for both the diagnostics and the various treatments such as weight management, anti-ageing and detoxification. Taking into account the various physical facilities, diagnostic and treatment equipment, and medical and therapeutic experts that will be required, the budget for Aegle as approved is as of now Php350 million.
I think you know me and Alphaland well enough by now to know that we never do second-rate stuff. When I gave the mandate to Dr. Chauchard, Dr. Valdecañas and their staff to create for Alphaland a wellness center, I clearly specified that I want it to be world-class not only in the facilities but also in the equipment and the medical and therapeutic staff.
At the end of this update, you will find specific information on the Aegle Wellness Center both at The City Club and at Balesin. I would ask that you pay special attention to the qualifications of Dr. Claude Chauchard and Dr. Ben Valdecañas, who have committed to me that the Aegle Wellness Center will be quickly recognized as one of the leading wellness centers not only in the country, but also in the world.
I guess it is obvious that I cannot hide my enthusiasm about this new project. I am convinced that many of our members, several of whom told me that they have spent several hundred thousand pesos on spa and wellness treatments here and abroad on a yearly basis, will welcome this truly top-notch facility as another amenity for the Alphaland clubs, i.e., The City Club at Makati Place and Balesin Island Club.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with a relatively healthy physical constitution. But through this project, and the careful study and extensive research that I have devoted to it, I am now convinced that I will be Aegle’s first client!
AEGLE MEDICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT
Clinical Chemistry ARCHITECT i 1000sr
An immunoassay instrument used to biochemically detect and measure specific proteins that act as antigens or antibodies revealing possible immune attacks to the body and its capacity to protect itself..
Hematology CELL-DYN RUBY
Specific elevations and deficiencies of specific blood cells manifest disease processes even before they become full-blown disease; this computerized blood cell counter determines exact measurements to provide a health status on a cellular basis.
Benchtop Biochemistry Analyzer GREINER GA 200
A Clinical Biochemistry Analyzer to measure various components of the serum, such as sugar, cholesterol and its different components, proteins, functional enzymes, and the like. These tests are performed for routine health checks or at hospitals, but with more extensive and intensive interpretation of the results by a specialized physician can provide objective data enabling early detection and diagnosis of disease, as well as indicating the effects of treatment and patient prognosis.
Urine Strip Reader 500T/H
Dipsticks are strips of chemically treated paper that react specifically to particular contents of body fluids such as urine. A standard urine test strip may comprise up to 10 different chemical pads or reagents giving a comprehensive reading of metabolic products. This test can often be read in as little as 60 to 120 seconds after dipping, providing a quick first step in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases; including the presence of proteins, glucose, ketones, haemoglobin, bilirubin, urobilinogen, acetone, nitrite and leucocytes as well as testing of pH and specific gravity or to test for infection by different pathogens.
Colon Hydrotherapy Machine AQUANET EC2000
Colon Hydrotherapy, also known as colonics, colon irrigation or high enemas, is a safe and effective method of maximizing the natural filtration capacity of the large intestines without the use of drugs. It is a controlled method of extracting these harmful byproducts of the body and cleansing the colon using a mechanical flow of warm, pure-filtered and temperature-regulated water, infused gently into the colon by a sterilized rectal nozzle. As a result, the human waste is softened and loosened, resulting in evacuation through natural peristalsis. This is repeated several times during the session as the need requires.
A-One Click Auto Facial Diagnosis System-Multi Sensor
A quick method of analyzing the skin of the face for dermatologic diagnoses including hydration status, age condition through pore size and toxin effects, and more. This can guide the physician on what to prescribe the individual with regards treatment. This is also used as a monitoring tool for assessing improvement and response to the treatments employed.
Veinlite Portable EMS Vein Finder
The device is shaped like a horseshoe and is lined with 16 (EMS) or 12 (Pedi) LED’s which emit orange or red light to aid in visualizing those hard to find veins for efficient and accurate insertion of intravenous needles for IV therapy.
Bio Therapeutic Accent Air “USA”
Facial oxygen infusion system that provides 99.4% penetration into skin layers, plumping, firming and improving skin quality; helps hydrate and revitalize skin by improving circulation through oxygen infusion.
Aurora Multipolar RF w/ Endermology
Multifunctonal Slimming and anti-aging device which utilizes Radio Frequency (RF) for Body slimming, contouring, skin tightening, and fat reduction through collagen reactivation and regeneration.
Adipolaser (cold laser / low level diode laser)
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of laser technology used in physical therapy that uses low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes to attenuate cellular function for regeneration.
Stone Heater 6 quartz
Used for heating massage stones for massage treatments. Heat setting warms the water quickly with adjustable heat range that keeps the temperature at 120 degrees to 125 degrees for hot stones.
H6551 Multilayer 2 in 1 UV Sterilizer & Hot towel cabinet
A warm, moist or dry towel sterilizer used in esthetic services, body care or facial care.
Basalt stone 34 pcs
Widely used for stone massage treatment. 100% natural basalt stone. . The heated stones helps to relax the muscles and release the tension. The heat is both deeply relaxing and helps tight muscles release.
The infrared blanket will heat the whole body directly compared to a traditional sauna which will only heat about 20 percent on average. Thermal blanket can warm faster and more efficiently than a conventional sauna, and allowing to breathe more easily. One can lose weight and detoxify body in 30 mins. It can penetrate 2-7 cms into the skin, which enables the body to sweat.
BA410E 50W Trinocular Sextuple
Live blood analysis (LBA), live cell analysis, Hemaview or nutritional blood analysis is the use of high-resolution dark field microscopy to observe live blood cells
Angel of Water CM-1 (220V)
The Angel of Water Surround Colon Hydrotherapy System is a very simple, safe, comfortable, and hygienic way to irrigate the colon for endoscopic, radiological, detoxification or other medical purposes.
Heart Rate Variability SA-3000P
Measures Arteriosclerosis peripheral circulation disorder and other cardiovascular disease with blood elasticity and cardiac output.
Hyperbaric Chamber – SECHRIST
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by exposure to high pressure 100% oxygen in a total body chamber; here atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is currently used for a wide variety of treatments (such as regenerative medicine, Parkinson’s, stroke, vascular insufficiency, and more) usually as a part of an overall medical care plan.