Thursday, November 11, 2010

TonTon Thai Massage

It’s been just over a year since I started thinking about getting a massage from Ton Ton, one of those prolific Thai massage parlors that has branches all over the metro (and even as far as Tagaytay and Subic). Since then, despite encouraging recommendations from readers and friends, I managed to find one reason or another not to go—whenever I told myself I would go, it always turned out that I would be too busy that day, or rushing to another appointment; there was even a time we planned to go to the Tagaytay branch (something different to do on one of our frequent trips there), but after a hearty meal, we realized we just couldn’t risk bringing up all that food with the round of serious Thai massage.

Finally, after all my good intentions stretched into a year of not doing anything—s perhaps a subconscious thing on my part, since some part of me was convinced this was a DOM place, after a friend told me the massage therapists had confided that some customers hit on them—I made it there, thanks to the fact we had a few hours to kill while waiting for Sophie’s Garden to open. Ton Ton was a few lots down, we weren’t stuffed to the gills with food, there was nothing else to do while waiting—no more excuses not to go.

The place was simple—a typical small BF establishment, as expected. You pass the other shops in the front portion of the building (they were constructing a new salon on one side when we went; it’s now open, I think), through a narrow hallway, to the end, where the door on the left opens into Ton Ton’s reception area. We were warmly received, with a minimum of fuss (well, there was some fuss, mostly caused by me, trying to take clear pictures in the dim light). Two 1 Hour Body Massages, discounted for their happy hour promo, at P250 each (normally P300). Having no special props to prepare (no hot water for soaking here), we were led inside immediately, to one of the massage rooms in the back.

Ton Ton’s interiors are classic BF—the place still looks and feels like a house, except for the dimmed lights and the bamboo slats lining the wall (the lights were actually rope lights behind the bamboo at the base of the walls). The bathrooms were typical residential bathrooms, and, as is usually the case in BF, there was no water (so we couldn’t flush, but the toilets were somehow clean when we used them anyway). The massage rooms were partitioned into separate areas with curtains that reminded me of a school clinic (UP infirmatay, anyone?). Each partition had a sheeted massage mat on the floor, with a small pad and pillows, and pajamas to change into. As expected, not much by way of ambiance.

Despite the lackluster surroundings, the massage itself was very good. It was my first Thai massage, but I’d read about the process, so I was expecting all the stretching and pulling. The therapists had a no-nonsense and down to earth attitude, instructing you to lie down, or kneel, or relax, or push against them, all while they carried on the business of massaging and stretching. They were exceptionally strong for such small women, their size being an advantage, since parts of the massage called for them to sit on you or otherwise hold you down with their body weight (I suppose this is where the trouble comes in when you have, ahem, frisky clients). I enjoyed the hardness of the massage, and I particularly liked the head massage—as for the stretching, it was limbering, but I couldn’t help feel a little vulnerable and slightly anxious, wondering what weird positions they’d stretch me into (nothing to be worried about, of course, but the way they pause before they swing you into position makes you think twice about what’s about to happen).

So after my massage, I finally know what’s behind the Ton Ton buzz. The massages are cheap and they’re a good therapeutic pick-me-upper, a truly invigorating way to spend a free hour. My only issue, aside from the basic interiors (which I didn’t even mind, since I expected as much), was the lack of silence—the therapists occasionally talked to each other as they worked on us, and the people in the next partition (it sounded like there were at least three of them) were carrying on a very involved conversation, complete with getting-to-know-you questions like “Saang probinsya ka galing” and shared stories of the sort heard in barbershops… not relaxing at all.

Still, if you have an afternoon free, and creaky limbs to attend to, this place is certainly worth the visit, as long as you keep your expectations in line.

Ton Ton Massage

273 Aguirre Avenue
, BF Homes Parañaque

Operating hours: 12NN –

Unit 20-C-4 Building, URCI Townhomes
Alabang Zapote Road, Pamplona, Las Piñas City
(after Casimiro intersection)468-9511, (0922) 818-7814

Operating hours: 12NN – 2AM

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