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Umela massage therapy graduates complete training

06 November 2017

The trainees and other members of Umela, led b president Ofelia Petilo-Baquirin (left).  pose for their graduation photo at their usual haunt at the High Court.

More than 70 graduates of the massage therapy course of the United Migrants Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Association (Umela) HK added another feather to their cap when they were awarded certificates on Oct 29 for taking their skill to a higher level.

According to Umela president Ofelia Petilo-Baquirin, the graduates completed both the theory part and 72 hours of practicum and on-the-job training which qualifies them to take the NC2 test administered by the Technical Education and Skills and Development Authority (Tesda).

If they pass the test, they become registered therapists in the Philippines and can put up their own spa or massage clinic.

The group also used the occasion to have a “thanksgiving lunch” at the comfortable niche they found for themselves within the High Court premises in Admiralty.

Gracing the event was Vice Consul Bob Quintin who encouraged the group to continue honing their massage therapy skills because this could come in handy when the Hong Kong government pushes ahead with its plan to create a new “caregiver” category for migrant workers. He also advised them to keep a positive outlook so they stay happy.

The group’s adviser, The SUN editor Daisy CL Mandap, urged the group to use their skill in drawing out fellow OFWs who are hesitant to talk about their health issues, noting that there were at least three recent cases of relatively young OFWs who died suddenly. She also advised the trainees to protect their fellow women by not making them disrobe in public when they seek them for massage at community events.

Umela founder Arnold Grospe concurred in the advice, and extolled the group for setting a good example for fellow OFWs by making an effort to continue improving themselves.

Getting through the six-month long training was not easy. Umela student body president Maellen Lupera who was one of the successful trainees, said the theory part alone included lessons on Basic Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology and Pathology. This was followed by the on-the-job training in massage therapy and Swedish massage.

But passing all the requirements was ultimately rewarding because they now feel more confident about having the required skill to do a professional massage or therapy.

On Nov. 26, about 70 more OFWs comprising batches 20, 21, 22 and 23 will be handed certificates for completing the basic massage therapy course of Umela. The graduation ceremony will be held at the Philippine Consulate.

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