For beauty lovers, there’s no better continent in the world to treat yo’ self in than Asia. So over the past month in the Philippines, treat myself I did, with new eyelashes, pedicures, and massages at least once a week. It was glorious.
Best part about it? These services cost me just a fraction of what I’d pay in New York.
I got to thinking: just how much money did I save, anyhow? What are the cost of spa services in the Philippines compared to in New York? Was it enough to offset or cover the cost of the flight?
For the sake of comparison, I’m going to compare the cost of services I’ve received in Cebu City vs. what they would cost at comparable spas in New York.
Let’s take a look:
You can get massages almost everywhere in the Philippines: in your hotel room, in the airport at kiosks, and even while you’re sitting down waiting for a ferry.
Cost in New York: Most standard, best value-for-money massages costs $80/hour, plus tip, so $100.
Cost in Philippines: The cost for a 1-hour long massage in the Philippines ranges from 500 pesos at the low-end, to 1400 pesos on the high end. So, $10-28 USD. Plus tip, so let’s say $30 at most.
Savings: at least $70 per massage. Since I got a massage every week, I saved at least $280.
I’ve always been curious to try eyelash extensions. One of my best friends looks amazing with hers, but I have an awful habit of pulling on my eyelashes when I get stressed out, and they’re expensive in New York, so I’ve never tried them. I saw a place in Cebu that offered them for a fraction of their regular cost so I figured, why not? And I LOVE THEM.
Cost in New York: $150, roughly.
Cost in Philippines: 1250 pesos with tip: $25 USD.
Not all manicure and pedicures are created equally. Though you can get them done for as little as 80 pesos here ($1.50), to get a quality on-par-with-the-western-world service, you need to spend a little more.
Cost in New York: I spend roughly $40 after tip on a pedicure in New York. I’m rough on my hands so manicures aren’t really my thing, but if I got them, you’re looking at $65 for both, $80 with tip.
Cost in Philippines: We spent 650 on a standard spa pedicure, and 880 pesos on a manicure/ pedicure. After tip that came to $15 for a pedicure and $20 for a mani/pedi.
I’m not the biggest fan of facials. I’ve had exactly one in my lifetime and I was surprised by how much it hurt. I’ve always had really great skin, so I figure, if it ain’t broke… That being said, I know lots of women who love getting them, and this is a great place to do that! Let’s compare the cost of a facial in a spa on the same quality as a nice spa in New York.
Cost in New York: $120
Cost in the Philippines: 1500 pesos, plus tip. In total roughly $32.
Permanent Hair Rebonding/ Straightening
My hair is so super curly in the humidity—as a result, I spend the majority of every tropical vacation looking like a hot mess. I’ve been thinking about trying hair rebonding/ keratin to get my hair super straight and saw a lot of places offering this service for pretty affordable rates.
Cost in the Philippines: 5,000 pesos to 7,000 pesos ($98-138) USD
Cost in New York: $250-300
Like most beauty services, this varies a lot from place to place and what area on your body you’re removing hair. But for comparison’s sake, let’s talk about a full Brazilian (me-OW).
Cost in New York: 60, plus tip, so $70-75.
Cost in the Philippines: 830 pesos. After tip, let’s say 950 pesos, or $19, but hey, we’re not cheap and that lady just spent a solid half-hour on your hoo-ha so let’s tip a little better and say $20.
To Sum It All Up
I got a month’s worth of massages and beauty services that left me feeling super relaxed and pretty, and also saved me $535!
Since I got a bitchin’ deal on my flights and paid $157 RT from JFK (bought during an error fare), these savings would’ve bought me 3 plane tickets!
If I indulged a little more, the total savings would be:
$70 per massage saved. Let’s say you’re me and you get 5 in a month, because vacation! = $350
Eyelash Extensions: $125
Hair Rebonding: $112
And we haven’t even talked about dental services.
Would you indulge in these sorts of spa treatments abroad?