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Some 25 prospective massage therapists undertook a 15-day “Hilot Wellness Massage” training sponsored by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) in Brgy. Sandoval, Bataraza town.

Iskandar Sali, RTNMC community organizer, said the in-house technical skills training is part of their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).

Sali said the trainees can acquire a national certificate level II (NC II) for massage therapy if they pass the assessment examination.

Trainer Ariel Montealegre with SAMATHEA participants.

“Marami talaga ang interesado. Sana ‘yong eagerness nila huwag nilang alisin, tsaka mahalin nila ‘yong ginagawa nila kasi ‘yon naman ang gusto ni RTNMC na mapalakas at ma-capacitate sila sa kung ano ang gusto nila, para mas makatulong pa sa daily lives nila,” he said.

Sali said the training is in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority – Puerto Princesa School of Trades and Arts (TESDA-PPSAT), local government unit (LGU) of Brgy. Sandoval, and its Gotok Elementary School (GES), which served as the venue.

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The program has a P400,000 budget which includes a second phase or the establishment of a wellness spa.

Sali also said that the establishment of a “wellness and spa” in Rio Tuba will provide trainees an additional source of income.

“May association na sila, kumbaga sila ay magiging independent, with our assistance pa rin sa mga permitting o sa kung ano ‘yong mga dapat gawin. Sa kanila ‘yon talaga. Sila ‘yong magma-manage,” he added.

Rubina Muni Ronquillo, the president of the Sandoval Massage Therapists Association (SAMATHEA) said the program will help them in generating additional income for their families, most especially when RTNMC finally established the “wellness and spa”.

Ronquillo said their association is composed of 25 members, of which 21 are females and four are males.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa RTN at dinala nila ‘yong pagkakataon sa amin sa buong Sandoval na magkaroon kami ng ganitong grupo lalung-lalo na sa massage. Hindi lang kami mga nanay, kundi matututo din kaming i-develop ‘yong mga kakayahan naming lalung-lalo na sa pag-masahe. Lalung-lalo na ‘yong mga kasama ko dito ‘yong iba mga out-of-school youth, magagamit nila sa kanilang pag-aaral lalung-lalo pag-tapak na nila ng kolehiyo. Opportunity talaga sa, nagapapasalamat talaga kami lalung-lalo na sa RTNMC ComRel (community relation office),” she said.

Their members’ age ranges from 18 to 55 and some are mothers, others are single parents, while some are out-of-school youth, she added.

When the wellness and spa are finally established, they will be able to help their husbands earn additional income, she also said.

Ariel Montealegre, a trainer from PPSAT said this training started on July 3 and will be end on July 18.

Montealagre said he taught the participants the basics of Hilot Wellness Massage namely the pre-massage, proper massage, and post-massage procedures.

He added ventosa, reflexology, and the use of warm strips of banana leaves for the traditional massage or “hilot” were also taught, he said.

“Iyong last part ‘yong tinatawag namin na post-massage, wherein ‘yong sasabihin mo sa client ‘yong mga hindi niya dapat gawin at mga dapat gawin… like ehersisyo, tamang inom ng dami ng tubig,” Montealegre said.

Montealegre said a three-day assessment period will follow be on July 19 to 21 after the 15-day training.

The two PPSAT assessors will come from the city of Puerto Princesa, he said.

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