IN December 2013 Maria Teresa D. Herbst, owner of Teceruma Spa and Salon, through her representatives, received the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award from Ex-link Management and Marketing Services Corp. during the Fifth Outstanding OFW and Balikbayan Reputation Awards at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“I love to help people and in the process, I guess I’ve become an entrepreneur,” Herbst said in her acceptance speech.
Her first business, according to Herbst, is a grocery store near her home in Cavite, which was intended to give job opportunities to her unemployed relatives coming to Manila from their province in Samar.
“My house then was always a kind of hotel for family passing through. Many of our ‘grocery-store graduates’ have since gone abroad and on to bigger and better professions,” she said.
As the store prospered, Herbst said she was able to use some funds to purchase land in Borongan, Eastern Samar, which soon has produced rice and coconuts. She then built a rice mill, which employed more of the enterprising lady’s family members and friends.
Herbst said she also provided the seed money used to help start a sports-uniform businesses for her aunts in Samar.
But Herbst said the dream of building and operating a world-class spa has always been her first love, having worked as spa supervisor in the spa clinics of five-star hotels, including Hyatt and New World.
“It also upset me that many of my talented and highly trained friends who worked with me in the various hotels were unemployed,” she said.
Luck seemed to be on her side when she was given the opportunity
to travel and live in the US when she married her American husband, John Herbst, after her first marriage to a Filipino was annulled.
In the US, Herbst was amazed at finding out that elderly people work hard and are happy and productive.
“In fact, my gym trainer is in her senior year but she still goes to the gym to work. Whereas in the Philippines, people half the age of my trainer are either unemployed or have already retired from their work,” she said.
Married to a traveling businessman, Herbst goes home every chance she gets to visit her relatives in
“Then I realized I have sisters, nieces, cousins in their 40s who are out of work simply because companies do not hire them because they are categorized to be old for the job they want,” she said.
Birth of Teceruma Spa & Salon
SINCE she had mastered the ins and outs of the spa business, Herbst decided that it would be her investment of choice in her home country.
She admitted to wanting to feel good herself by being beautiful all the time; and so she combined her spa business with a salon. Thus, Teceruma Spa & Salon was born on May 26, 2012.
Conveniently located on the sixth floor of BSA Twin Towers in Ortigas Center, Teceruma offers a wide range of world-class spa and salon services that would surely soothe your tired body, release your tension and relax your mind at affordable prices.
It boasts of its well-loved massage called Teceruma signature massage. “It’s a 90-minute massage that is a combination of different techniques and procedures such as Raindrop therapy, Reiki energy therapy, Dragonfly stroke, Lomi-lomi, Swedish massage, Shiatsu, Thai massage and the traditional Pinoy hilot, among others,” Herbst said.
“Every now and then, I try and study the spa services, the techniques and procedures in other countries. I pick the best and apply them in my own spa. That’s how I came up with Teceruma signature massage. It’s a combination of the best techniques in many parts of the world,” Herbst said.
Teceruma Spa and Salon has also taken on the advocacy of teaching, training and eventually employing others, especially those who are considered “old for employment” by Philippine standard.
“I promised myself that when I set up my spa business, I would be training and employing ‘old people’ for as long as they can and are willing to work,” Herbst said.
Supporting Herbst in her advocacy are her sister, cousin and sister-in-law Cecille, Ruth and Mayet. She explained: “The name of the spa came from my first name, Teresa, and the first names of my business partners, thus Teceruma! We are here to help each other and help others as well,” Herbst said.
Her husband, John, supports her as well.
John said he and his wife want their spa business to be their retirement business as well in the future. “We work hard and live simply in the US. We want to help by employing others, as well.”
A second Teceruma Spa was opened in July 2013 in Dolores, Eastern Samar and a third branch opened in July 2014 in her hometown in Borongan. Herbst said Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) had delayed the spa opening in Borongan. While for the recent typhoon Ruby, she was on hand to personally attend for possible evacuation of her staff and relatives.
“It’s not easy. Both typhoon experiences are traumatic but life has to go on. For our business our motto is to serve the customer so well that they will never go anywhere else!” Herbst said.
Know more of the 2014 outstanding balikbayan entrepreneurs, like Teresa Herbst through the 11th Mega Balikbayan OFW Expo slated at the SMX Convention Center from December 18 to 20. Constituting the expo are three components; 1) Mega Invest presenting investment opportunities in various fields such as real estate, manufacturing, support technologies, agri-aqua business, retail and wholesale distributorships, service outlets, and many others; 2) Mega Experience offering various holiday destinations, health and wellness products and services, food and beverages, and pets and hobbies; and 3) Mega Shop for discounted items, online sellers, souvenir items and regional products.