How to Get a Date Worth Keeping: A Review and Success Story

I’ve tried to keep my distance from this book as much as I can. I’ve seen it in bookstores for a while, but I was still peddling the banner philosophies of Joshua Harris and Elizabeth Elliott: Just wait on God and the guy will come. So as much as I devoured every dating and relationship books I could find, this was the one book I wouldn’t touch. I was convinced that it was actually unbiblical to do something about my love life!

But months and years have gone by and I was still single. Where was the guy that Elizabeth Elliott promised would come if I just diligently wait?! No, I wouldn’t call myself desperate, but I knew something needed to change. So I grabbed this book and my dating life was never the same again.

 

What the book taught me

The book opens with a story of a woman. How she didn’t think she’d be doing what she was doing then. That she thought God would already have brought someone into her life. Instantly, this resonated with me. How many times have you heard a single woman in her thirties say that?

So the author, Dr. Henry Cloud, gives her a program to follow. And this is what is outlined in the book.

1. Meet five guys a week.

This was the first on the program. And there were three criteria for him to be counted: 1) He has to be new; 2) You have to talk to him long enough for him to be interested; and 3) He has to have your contact info.

This was a hard one for me. Honestly, I didn’t do it. I couldn’t just strike up a conversation with a guy in the coffee shop or bookstore. I just couldn’t. That’s not how things are done here in the Philippines. But if you do intend on following this, take note: Those three are the only criteria. It doesn’t say that you have to be interested or want to go out with them. The idea is to get you to open up. Be friendly. We have thought patterns and unconscious behavior that have so settled within us and unbeknownst to us, may be repelling or keeping us from the opposite sex! This is what we want to uncover.

Now if any of those guys do ask you out..

2. Go out with anyone once or even twice!

Of course, within the bounds of safety. If he looks safe, nice and harmless, then go. Observe the rules of safety: Meet in a public place, also inform a friend. I usually prefer meeting over coffee. It’s quick and less awkward to leave if the date doesn’t go well.

Yes, this goes even if you’re not that interested. The point is, we’ve all been boxed into a type. You need to see what else is out there. And how else would you know if you don’t go out with them. Now if he asks for a second date, then go. Even if the first date didn’t go well. Why? First date jitters.

If he doesn’t ask out again, then it’s ok. I’ve been relieved more than once that I didn’t hear again from the guy afterwards. Over chat our chemistry seemed good, but in person it just tanked. So what do you do then? Move on to the next one.

3. Go online dating

This was an eye opener for me. Of course, I wouldn’t go online dating. What kind of people who couldn’t meet someone in person would I meet there? Then again, I couldn’t meet anyone in person. So what does that say about me? I’ll shut up now. But Henry Cloud made a good case about this.

When you were in school, that’s where you met people. In college, same thing. And then you moved on to work. Those were the venues for meeting new people. You didn’t have to try hard. There would be people for you to meet. Of course, we can count church or social clubs. But you get to a certain age or point when you just settle in. You fall into a routine. You work on weekdays, maybe gym afterwards. On weekends, church, grocery and meet a few friends for dinner. That’s it. Where do you meet someone new then?

But online, that’s where people converge nowadays. That’s the new venue.

This became my main program. I went on three different online dating sites/apps. I swiped, sent messages and read lots and lots of profiles. But the thing here is you have to be discriminating and discerning. Not everyone will be there for the same reason as you are. They may be after different things. So again, just be open. Chat the person up. If the conversation goes well, then consider meeting in person. But if not, then just leave it. In my experience, people are honest enough to say what’s on their mind. Why wouldn’t they; they’re hidden behind the online veil.

If this is on a long-distance scale, weigh for yourself if you’re open to relocating. At first, I didn’t think about it too much and just started chatting. After awhile, it became clear to me that I prefer my current set-up. Let me emphasize here though: No matter how good your online conversations are, hold off any feelings or plans until you meet in person. Let me say it again: You have to meet in person. The dynamics online and offline may be different. And you definitely won’t be together with this person in cyberspace.

4. Keep your numbers up.

This is a numbers game. You just have to keep on meeting and meeting and meeting, and dating.

I was chatting guys left and right. Going on dates. Keeping it casual.

I’m not one to keep it casual for too long though. After meeting in person, or after a few dates, if the guy and I were still talking, I would ask him if this was something he’d want to pursue. Not get married or call it official, but just getting to know in a more intentional way. This way I’m not wasting my time and I know if I should move on already. I only have a limited amount of time and energy. If I’m spending it with a guy with no possibility of a future, then I’m definitely not spending it with a guy who may have. So use your time wisely. If it’s not this guy, then just move on. Again, it’s a numbers game.

Many stories of women in the book echoed this: You just keep on meeting and meeting, and someone will just surprise you. And that’s how I met someone..

 

How I got a date worth keeping

On the seventh month since starting this program (It guaranteed six months but I didn’t follow the program religiously), that’s when we met. And no, we didn’t meet online. We were set up and met in church. We started chatting then he asked me out. After a few dates, we talked of where this was going, our expectations for marriage and each other, and our timelines.

Now you might say I could still have met him without following the program or changing anything. But I beg to differ. I became more open, not boxed into a type and not take things too seriously.

My guy friend once told me that guys could sense whether you’re just in it with marriage as the prize, like a lighted neon sign on your forehead. That loosened for me. As well as going for my usual types. My boyfriend and I had actually already met years ago through the same common friend. But back then I thought he was arrogant and not my type.

It took meeting a lot of different guys to know what’s out there. I didn’t carry a lot of expectations going into it either, of who should do what first, or how it should be done. We met, and when it took a serious turn, that’s when I laid down how I wanted to be pursued.

Each story will be different. How you will meet and date guys will be different. So see what works for you. But if that desire to get married remains in your heart for some time now, then do something about it! We’re never called to just sit around and do nothing. Unless of course, as Henry Cloud puts it, you don’t mind marrying the delivery guy..

And no matter how unique our stories will be, one story remains the same: The Story of how God meets us and meets our every need. No guy can ever fill that void that only God can. So keep praying, keep seeking and trust in God’s perfect timing!

 

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Crack Me Up: Karada Manila (Japanese Body Therapy)

I miss this place! And no, this is not a paid advertisement. I’ve availed of their services twice and I intend to visit again when I’m in Manila and try their other services.

I first saw Karada in Boracay and got so intrigued, but I didn’t yet visit it and just opted for other massage places there. A few weeks later, my sister recommended this place in Mall of Asia, where they cracked her neck and aligned her body. Wow! I was sold. It was on my to-do list on my next Manila visit.

Photo grabbed from Karada website. Karada SM Mall of Asia branch.

Upon entering, they first let you fill out a form and questionnaire on your physical condition, concerns and reason for the therapy. I didn’t really have any particular body aches and pains, but I put down “headaches” and “digestion” as my main concerns.

I tried the AP (Atlas-Pelvis) Balance for 45 minutes and it was the best! I was assigned a male therapist but it’s okay. He was very professional and would explain each process that he would do, especially when he needed to get into my personal space, like grab my whole body with my arms crossed over my chest to crack my back.

Next, they lead you to changing rooms with provided black tshirt and pants to change into. I’m happy to say that the changing rooms and washroom next to it are very clean, with liquid soap, tissue and other hygiene products available. Clothes and personal items are then placed in a basket which will be placed under your bed.

Once outside, the therapist will go through your concerns and treat you accordingly. Here are the highlights of my first treatment:

  • Aligning my body. I was told that I was misaligned, that I was leaning towards one side of my body. He showed this to me by raising both of my legs up and putting my ankles side by side. It looked like one of my legs is longer than the other, but it’s not; it’s just misaligned. This could be the result of habitually standing on one leg more than the other (sabay hands on hips, taray pose hehe), or crossing legs while sitting (didn’t we learn the “royal” way to sit in “Princess Diaries”?), or sleeping on one side (yes, I’m a side sleeper). The therapist did a series of massages then ta-da! Hindi na ako tabingi hehe.
  • Use of mechanical bed. Results of my APEs (Annual Physical Exams) throughout schooling revealed that I had a mild lumbar scoliosis (doesn’t everyone have some form of scoliosis nowadays?) Yes, bad posture. The therapist didn’t need to see x-rays. He felt the curve of my spine and knew. The mechanical beds are placed in another room. Makes sense because it’s so noisy when operated. It’s a bed divided into several parts that can be elevated or lowered mechanically. He did a series of up and downs with the bed then ta-da! Hindi na ako kuba hehe.
  • Cracking my neck. On my own I’m able to crack my neck. But this brings it to a whole ‘nother level. It’s done so suddenly that you’d just be surprised with the “crack” sound and immediate relief to your neck. If you get squirmy when other people crack their neck, then you’re in for a surprise. I love it *cracks neck*. I was told that it’s the release of built-up toxins that produces the cracking sound.

Overall, it’s an amazing experience and like I said, I went back for a second treatment. Although on my second time, I didn’t crack as much (huhu! Noticing this, the therapist really put effort to “crack” me but to no avail) but that’s a good thing because it means that I’m well aligned and there’s not much built-up toxins. Yey!

Price list grabbed from Karada website
Price list grabbed from Karada website

Price. Both times I tried AP Balance Therapeutic (45 minutes) priced at Php945. I say this is value for money as it is NOT your ordinary massage. This is a wellness and chiropractic therapy. My brother-in-law, who has a spine injury, has consulted with a chiropractor for a lot more money (professional fees, of course) and they did the same thing!

So if you’re feeling aches and pains and ready to try something different, try this one out. I recommended this to my friend whose back hurts once in awhile and she loved it too! She said, her spine never felt so relaxed. Let me know how it goes for you.

 

xx,

Jen

 

Karada at Mall of Asia is located at the new wellness zone north wing. Contact numbers +639175488872 or +639271377045. Open 11am to 9pm everyday. It’s first come, first served. Or call for reservations. Click here for list of other branches.

 

UPDATE (June 20, 2018): This is a late update. My last visit to Karada was last December and it wasn’t what it used to be. They had rotated the therapists and the ones we were used to in the MOA branch were no longer there. I found them to be quite noisy as well, yes it’s an open area, no cubicles or curtains, but there used to be a hushed tone about. But that time, the therapists were talking among themselves. I don’t really need to hear if they’ve filed their overtime or leaves already. Also, ten minutes into the session, my therapist was already upselling me into this and that package. Couldn’t she at least have given me the hour to enjoy and feel serene? Clearly not. So no, I didn’t enjoy my last visit to Karada. For that price and reputation as a Japanese brand, I had expected more. I haven’t been back since.

Review: O’Fisher Spa

So when I was told that NHS would soon close, I was on the tail for a new massage place. And I found this!

ofisher spa
Photo grabbed from O’Fisher facebook page

It consists of two floors and on my first time, I was led to the second floor to a private room. The second time, to a cubicle separated by curtains in the first floor. I don’t know which is better: a common room for all same-sex guests but no curtains, or spaces separated with curtains but open to both male and female guests. O’Fisher provides the latter. I’m ok with this, although the problem with curtains is the lack of soundproofing. True enough, when the guest beside my cube arrived, someone rang on her phone and they started talking. Yep. I heard every word. I did appreciate, though the professionalism of my therapist. She would try to shush her every once in awhile.

Regine. That’s the name of my therapist. I think she was my therapist for both times. I like her. I would recommend her. At the start of the massage, she would state your chosen massage, duration and time start. See this difference with the other one? At least you’re sure you get what you pay for, right.

I got Swedish massage, Php300, one hour. The routine is a bit different than the ones I got in Manila. Which I think is a good thing. It’s not a copy-paste experience and, perhaps, they developed it themselves.

One massage technique though that I’m not a big fan of is the hair pulling. This is not specific to O’Fisher. I’m sure this is done in others as well. I thought of asking the therapist not to do it but I’m sure it has its benefits. It’s just that I have really thin hair and I feel like I lose a million with each pull.

After the massage, you’re offered tea or water. Their tea is served in this small Lavazza cup and looks like water with leaves. I’m not sure what kind of tea that is. You’d have to tell me.

Overall, I’m sure I’ll be going back. Sometimes the days just go on and you just want to feel relaxed and zone out even for just an hour.

 

O’Fisher Spa & Wellness Center is located at Metrodome, Araneta St. Contact (034) 435 2379. Open from 1:00pm to 12:00am.

 

Review: Blind Massage at Gaisano City Mall

I don’t know the name of that establishment. I remember seeing a sign right next to the stairs saying, “Blind Massage” with an arrow pointing up. There must be a name somewhere in that sign but it escapes me now. But I will check. And remember. Next time. For you. That’s how much YOU *points to you* mean to me. Uhuh.

What do I say? It’s a blind massage. You sit on a chair and they massage you right there in the open. Php140 for half body for half an hour. I pick this if I just want a quick and really cheap-o one.

It’s not much of an experience. If you’re looking to feel all relaxed, with background music playing, tea or water after, like you can just float into the abyss, then yeaaa,  no this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

They do have beds for whole body massages. For Php280, one hour. But it’s not much of an ambiance. Spaces are separated by curtains. No aircon, only electric fans. For an additional 20 bucks, I’d recommend another place to you.

Then again, in all honesty, I find blind therapists to be really good. I mean, their disability is actually an advantage in this case. They heavily rely on their sense of touch to spell out that lamig or cold nerve in your body.

So if you’re really after the massage, just the massage, nothing more, then I would highly recommend these sprawling blind massage centers that you can find in most third-tier malls in the Philippines.

 

Blind Massage located at 2F Gaisano City Mall near the cinemas.

Review: Negrense Holiday Spa

I’ve noticed that only one blog post of mine really drew skyrocket-high attention. And that’s on a spa review. So imma give you the lowdown on the other spas I’ve tried out over here.

Having moved to Bacolod (yep, there I’ve said it), I had to look for a new massage place. Somewhere near my place, cheap but good. The first I found, which I’ve stuck to for a couple of months til it closed, was Negrense Holiday Spa at Goldenfield Complex.

Well, this may very well be a waste since it’s already closed. And I’m not sure if they’re transferring to the new complex being built right next to it, but they do have another branch on the 15th St., Lacson. Would the experience be the same? You’d have to check it out then.

nhs goldenfield
Array of rooms in NHS Goldenfield. Image grabbed from NHS facebook page.

The first time I walked in NHS, I was fairly impressed. The rates were within my range, duration was one hour and a half, and you get your own room. That would be a rare find in Manila.

I leaned towards their NHS Signature Massage, which was a mix of Swedish, Shiatsu and some other style, just because. It sounded awesome, like you get a taste of all kinds. I’m a sucker for that.

The massage was ok. My room was clean and after the massage they will offer you water. Like I said, NHS became my go-to massage place til it closed.

However, there was one thing that didn’t sit well with me. The massages didn’t last for an hour and a half. I became more conscious of the time after the first time I noticed this. After the massage, I asked the therapist if it was an hour and a half already. She said that oh she thought I got the one hour promo. I didn’t even know there was such a promo. The next time I pointed this out, the girl offered to massage me some more. Another time.. well, you catch my drift. I don’t think I have to be the timekeeper here. If it says an hour and a half, then I expect to get that.

There are a few minor things, like the girl kept checking her phone during the massage, or after the massage, the girl was already changing the sheets and wouldn’t leave the room while I was still fixing up. Don’t know if she was hanging back til I gave her a tip. A few minor things, though it does add up. When I was told it would be closing soon, I took it as a good sign to find a new one. Like the ending of a relationship, of better things to come.

You can check out their whole list of services here.

Update: It’s open til the BDO branch beside it closes. They will be transferring to Gaisano City Mall soon after.

Pressed and rolled: Good, affordable Nuat Thai massage

The other day, I woke up with this really bad crick in my neck (now I know how Aladdin’s Genie felt). I couldn’t twist my head to the right, and try as I might it just really hurt. I tried to yoga it away but to no avail.

That afternoon I was supposed to attend a training but it got cancelled. And I couldn’t go home just yet cos I have a dinner that night in the Makati area and I didn’t want to go all the way back home only to come back again. So what do I do in 3 hours?

Well there is that crick in my neck and I remember this nondescript massage place I found next to greenbelt. So off I went.

nuatthaiweb
Image source: Nuat Thai website (www.nuatthaiph.com)

Nuat Thai Makati in Legaspi is located right next to Greenbelt 5. It’s a short walk and quite convenient for those aching for a foot massage after a long day of shopping. And affordable too. There were other massage places on Perea St. but my broken down wallet can only afford 300 bucks worth of massage.

The first time I saw this place, I almost didn’t go in. Afraid, to be exact. It looked dark from the outside (reminiscent of the word “shady”). But I thought, hey I am looking for a cheap massage, why not just go in and check it out right?

It is dark when you go in, only a small reception area next to the door and what follows are maybe around 7 to 8 cubicles for massaging. It looked legit to me so I tried the Thai Body Massage the first time and Back Massage the second time.

First the masseuse cleans your feet in warm water, then directs you to your cube. You’re then asked to change in to the provided shirt and pants (clean and laundered, of course). The cubes are only separated by curtains so for those concerned about changing in such circumstances, this may not be for you. My only reservation though is whether the bed sheets and pillow cases are changed after each customer. I just didn’t see the actual changing while I was there. But I’ll try to think otherwise since I’d still like to go back hehe.. And also because it’s only curtains separating the cubes, it’s not as soundproof; you’ll be able to hear the other customers beside you, whether they’re wheezing, talking on the phone or to their masseuse.

I’ve tried an actual Thai massage in Thailand and I have to say that their body massage was a similar experience. Funny, cos when I first went in, I asked the receptionist if it’s similar to Ton-Ton’s (cos that’s what I was really looking for), and of course she didn’t know.

As for the back massage, it was pretty OK too. Of course I can’t expect for my crick to instantly disappear. It helped, I think.

After the massage, they offer hot tea – a good surprise considering the rate of the massage.

The only thing I didn’t like was my masseuse kept going out. I think she was checking her phone charging outside. Anyway, this is only minor. The restroom is pretty decent too but I’d suggest to just hold it til you get back to Greenbelt.

I checked for other comments on Nuat Thai online and I found that the rate is cheaper in other branches, only 250php instead of 300php for the basic massage. I wonder if their rate has just gone up since then. Also, the photos of other branches looked much better. I think it may be a difference of franchisees.

Still, for the price, location and quality of massage, I think I’ll be going back. Even on days without a crick.

Nuat Thai Makati – Legaspi. Unit 12-B Century Plaza Condo, 120 Perea St. Legaspi Village, Makati. Tel no: 468-7131. Open 12nn – 12mn.