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“A Dream come True”

TECERUMA SPA AND SALON is the brainchild of Maria Teresa “Tess”
Docabo Herbst before she immigrated to the United States to join her
husband, John Herbst. He used to run an international machinery
manufacturing business, which has customers and partners around the

Prodigy from Samar

Tess, who grew up in Barangay Bugas, Borongan, Eastern Samar,
dreamt of providing livelihood and a better future for her family,
relatives and friends. “As a child in Eastern Samar, I always wanted to
become successful and to help my family and friends. My life in rural
Borongan was limited primarily to farming and fishing. In my early
years, I had no idea how I would become successful. Once I started
working in spas and salons, I vowed to myself that someday I will
have my own business. I am grateful that John has been very
supportive to help make my dream come true,” Tess said.
When Tess was a teenager, she was sent
to Manila by her grandmother to care for
a sick aunt. “In a few years my aunt’s
health improved so I needed a paying job
to help support my family. I learned the
spa business from my Aunt Gloria more
than 33 years ago. She taught me beauty
services such as manicure, pedicure, hair
cutting, hair-related procedures, facials,
and basic massage,” Tess recalled.
Prior to migrating to the United States, she worked as a spa
trainer and supervisor in leading five star hotels in
Makati. Tess and John travelled extensively in search for the
best spa services across the globe. John’s business travels
have taken them to Fiji, Bali, China, Vietnam, Brazil, USA,
Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Romania, Czech
Republic, Turkey, Mexico, Italy, Australia, Germany, England,
Switzerland, Japan, among others.

TECERUMA represents teamwork and excellence among its

staff; passion for its customers who are served by expert
hands with utmost care and respect; unlimited possibilities
for achieving total relaxation and revitalization with
maximum satisfaction from its varied but consistent
services; market-driven and aggressive but never obtrusive.
›Despite her success, Tess looks back to where she came from.
TECERUMA recently opened its new branch in Borongan, Eastern
Samar. (Last year, she opened TECERUMA in Dolores, Eastern Samar.)
She added, “I realized that a spa in Manila would only help the
Samareno staff. Building spas in Samar will not only create spa jobs
but will also help the entire community. By building the two spas in
Samar, TECERUMA has provided job opportunities for local
construction craftsmen, hotels, caterers, farmers, restaurants,
banking, transportation companies and material suppliers, among
›Tess shared some words of wisdom to those who dream of having
their own business. “Don’t be afraid to dream. I started dreaming to
have my own successful business when I was a little girl. It all started
with a dream, and dreams don’t cost anything. Dreams become goals
and with hard work and dedication, dreams can turn into realities.
Don’t be arrogant. Everything you achieve in life will only be
accomplished with the help of other people. Always practice the
‘golden rule.’ Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
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 the
“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
“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 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;
-Mega Invest Mega Experience Mega Shop for
presenting investment offering various discounted items,
opportunities in various holiday destinations, online sellers,
fields such as real estate, health and wellness souvenir items and
manufacturing, support products and regional products.
technologies, agri-aqua services, food and
business, retail and beverages, and pets
wholesale and hobbies
distributorships, service
outlets, and many
The End
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