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Boracay massage chain beats Guinness record, mayor claims

/ 12:24 AM May 31, 2014

BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan—At least 1,600 people didn’t break the line on White Beach in the renowned island-resort of Boracay in Malay town, Aklan province, on May 16. For seven minutes, they massaged the heads, necks, shoulders and backs of clients in an attempt to break the record for the world’s longest massage chain.

Mayor John Yap declared that the seaside event already surpassed the record set in Thailand, “but we still have to submit the required documents and materials for final validation and confirmation of Guinness.”

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Rare opportunity

He was referring to the 1,223 who joined the massage chain in Bangkok, the Thai capital, on April 28, 2010, which, according to the Guinness World Records website, involved employees of Have A Good Dream Co. Ltd and Thai Beverage Marketing Co. Ltd.

The Boracay chain involved more than 1,600 male and female massage experts and volunteers, including 150 policemen. “It is a rare opportunity and we are happy that we are able to participate in this Guinness bid,” said PO3 Christopher Mendoza of  Boracay Tourists Action Center.

Correct strokes

Clad in white shirts and black pants, the participants came, some as early as 5:30 a.m. They had been taught the correct massage strokes and had practiced the day before.

After registration, they were given neon green or neon orange baller bands to indicate their places in the five lines they would form at Station 2. They were able to make a 1-kilometer chain.

To add to the festive atmosphere, colored flags were lined up in the shallow waters and on the coastline of the 4-km Station 2. At 9:30 a.m., they sat on the beach and simultaneously massaged the people in front of them.

Every minute that passed was punctuated with a drum boom. After seven minutes, the participants stopped.

Aside from snatching the world record from Thailand, the organizers aimed to support the campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) to professionalize the country’s spa industry.

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At least 70 registered spas and massage clinics are operating on the island with at least 600 registered massage therapists, according to Felix de los Santos of the municipal tourism office.

Licensed therapists

By next year, only licensed massage therapists would be allowed to practice, according to Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo, chair of the DOH’s committee  of examiners for massage therapists. “We want to see to it that we provide customer safety and quality  because there is  no doubt that the massage industry is booming,” he said.

The country has only 7,481 licensed massage therapists, according to Ronquillo.

One of those who joined the Boracay event was Annabel Saan, 39, a mother of four, who has been working as a massage therapist on the island for 12 years. Her husband is a vendor and a part-time motorcycle-for-hire driver.

Earnings

A native of Pilar town in neighboring Capiz province, Saan earns an average of P1,000 per day as a massage therapist in Boracay, catering mostly to tourists. Her income has helped her family meet the high cost of living on the island, she said.

Yap said it would take two to three months for the island to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records. Among the documents and materials to be submitted to Guinness officials are a cover letter with details of the record attempt, video footage, high-quality photographs, logbooks, expert measurements, surveyor reports and signed copies of the Agreement Regarding Record Attempt.

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TAGS: Borocay, Guinness record, massage, Tourism
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