Mandala Spa & Resort Villas

Personalities

The Founders


Mandala Spa and Resort Villas reflects the philosophy and lifestyles of its founders, Dieter Schrottmann and Karen Villarica-Neff, the same team that conceptualized the Kon-Tiki Floating Bar in 1985. Both believe that life is to be enjoyed and not endured.

It is a love affair with the spirit of Boracay that made Mandala possible. Being both long time residents of Boracay, Karen and Dieter felt that it was of importance to preserve a piece of the serenity and peace that the island became known for in the “early” years.

Its name, “Mandala” means “the space that contains the essence.” The Sanskrit word for “circle” or “whole”, Mandala symbolizes the holistic nature of all existence and represents a person’s spiritual evolutionary path. Their vision for Mandala Spa was to approach health holistically, regarding the outer as much as the inner self, with great importance in creating a culture that embraces change as growth towards perfection.

Mandala Spa and Resort Villas is about making a difference in a person’s life, if only to plant a seed that will eventually lead to a better quality of life. It is an environment for personal growth, a place to remind us of the quality of life, a place where we can reflect and achieve spiritual rejuvenation.


Dieter Schrottmann

Founder, Mandala Spa and Mandala Spa & Resort Villas

“Our commitment to the environment and to preserving the beauty and spirit of Boracay is a love affair that started the first time I set foot on it 33 years ago; A love affair with Boracay that never ended and hopefully will never end. This deep seated commitment for ‘doing your share to make this place a better world’ is also at the very core of Mandala Spa’s business philosophy and it has touched and transformed countless team members to rise and become a shining example for the community.”

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From the very beginning, back in 2001, he envisioned Mandala Spa and Resort Villas to be a beacon of preserving and sharing the spirit of Boracay Island’s early years, and a committed sustainable business, founded on a sacred respect to nourish the environment, committed to providing service excellence and well being, and a culture of personal recognition and care for its team members.

A German by birth from the city of Karlsruhe, he was a Boracaynon by heart from the moment he was smitten by the island in 1977 when he packed his bags, turned in his last commercial photography assignment and walked away from a successful career in advertising in Germany. For the next 14 years he lived in Boracay, and was the very first foreigner to live on the island when there was only beach, water, and sand. He was also a fixture in the bohemian & artsy Malate Manila high society scene before leaving for Northern California. He returned to Boracay nine years later, consumed by the vision of a sanctuary for the body and spirit on the island, and established Mandala Spa & Resort Villas, which is now recognized globally as one of Asia finest holistic spa resorts and notably the country’s quintessential wellness provider, spa brand, and the only destination spa on Boracay Island.

He likewise conceptualized the Kon-Tiki Floating Bar in 1985 with his partner Karen Villarica, which was way ahead of its time to say the least. He was known back in the day as the German who lived in a pyramid, and for unconsciously leading the way towards one form of enlightenment or another.
Having mastered Shiatsu in Japan, in 1987, Dieter founded Health For The New Age, the company that pioneered educating blind masseurs in Shiatsu in Manila. A Shiatsu master, Dieter devoted his life to finding holistic ways of helping people towards self-empowerment and wellness. He integrated his Healing Arts Foundation into the Mandala Spa concept with a goal of offering a sanctuary for the soul.

He established the Mandala Spa Training Academy in partnership with The World School of Massage and Holistic Healing Arts in California, making international wellness education, international certification and personal growth programs available in the Philippines. For the visionary, “We believe you deserve the life you want. We are here to make it happen.”

Dieter who was also the Environmental Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Boracay (BCCI), likewise devoted his life to preserving Boracay’s environment by establishing Mandala’s green initiative called The TREEtment Project that blazed the trail in tree planting activities at the Nabaoy Watershed in the Aklan Mainland, Boracay Island’s main source of water. The project heeded the global call for environmental action, and has successfully planted an unprecedented 12,000 seedlings to date (that’s an average of a thousand trees per year), with a goal of 20,000 trees planted by 2015.
For its founder, “There is a certain pride in going green. Being willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing makes you special. It makes you feel better and makes you walk a little taller. Besides, sexy people go green!”

His last architectural masterpiece was The Vessel Event Center. Built as a platform for healing arts and community events, he envisioned it to be a “non-conventional” center for non-conventional events. Built with sacred dimensions and natural geometry, just like Mandala Spa & Resort Villas, and inspired by the humble puka shell that is endemic to Boracay, The Vessel is the first of its kind, with a self-supporting woven bamboo dome created with organic materials found on the island.

The Vessel is but one of Dieter’s living legacies, and it stands as a testament to his greatness and the richness and utter beauty of the life he lived, as it hosts serendipitous gatherings, and as it brings Boracay and the Philippines to the world.

A legend in his own right, his wisdom and candor will never be forgotten. When asked of his political views, he said, “It’s a free universe. We all choose with how much sin we can live.”

Not just a Boracay personality, he was its guardian, its steward and one of its founding fathers. He was a visionary who devoted his life to enriching his beloved island, its people and its visitors. His name will forever be ingrained in the annals Boracay’s history as a pillar and beacon of brilliance and harmony, and a great influence to the island’s positive growth, success, prestige and sustainability. His legacy goes way beyond the world-renowned destination spa and resort and his other brilliant and unconventional creations, and way beyond his environmental work.

His legacy is in changing lives, and he will most definitely live on in the hearts of the countless lives he touched so deeply and in so many ways. He was indeed, a loving father and husband, a loyal & steadfast friend, a visionary, a pioneer, a fearless defender of the environment, a wise sage, an old soul, a spiritual man, a lover of life, a legendary rock star and a hero.

He coined Mandala’s tagline “Experience yourself”, which brilliantly summed up his mission Mandala, while his ethos in life was “Life is meant to be enjoyed, and not endured.” And this he did, radically and fully, until he made his gentleman’s exit on the 22nd of May 2013.


Karen Villarica-Neff

Co-Founder, Mandala Spa and Mandala Spa & Resort Villas
Certified in Watsu & Yoga

"My ethos in life is to be the sea, to embrace all that is."

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Through Mandala Spa & Resort Villas, Karen realizes her ethos.

Aside from Mandala Spa and Mandala Spa & Resort Villas, Karen was the Founding President of the Boracay Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (BCCI) in 2004, and championed the Boracay Materials Recovery Facility, which is the very foundation of an environmentally sustainable Boracay.

Karen learned Watsu and other healing arts in Northern California, a world center for mind-body therapies, and continues to learn from Master healers worldwide. Compassion and nurturing characterize her style when giving a Watsu, and as she surrounds you with loving energy. Karen’s mission in life is to plant a seed of awareness through service with the hope that one day the seed will sprout, take root, and consequently create a better world.

The Mandala Team



Jove Schrottmann

Owner, CEO, Managing Director

President/Board of Directors, Boracay Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (BCCI)
"I am a part of all that I have met."

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A Boracay resident since 2006, Jove first joined the Mandala family by trying his hand at all aspects of the business from front office agent to guest relations officer and as restaurant service staff. Inspired by his father, the late Dieter Schrottmann’s vision and legacy, he ventures out into the world by earning two degrees at the prestigious International Hotel Management Institute (IMI) in Luzern, Switzerland – IMI specializing in Events Management and Tourism Management, finishing with Second Upper Class Honors with a Bachelors in International Events and Tourism Management.

He returns with the greatest lesson of all, one that can only be learned with an open heart, which is that we all share the same path. “As we learn from every encounter, we must give something of ourselves to each one.” He has since taken the reigns, taking the highly acclaimed wellness institution to greater heights, as it expands into new territories by inspiring others to realize and embrace a better life.

Schrottmann is currently the Boracay Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated’s President, sharing his father’s vision, who was once the BCCI’s Environmental Chairman, towards a sustainable and greener Boracay.


Paul Henares

Corporate Secretary, Board of Directors

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." ~ Lao Tzu

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Paul has been involved with Mandala in various roles over the years. A former corporate executive and trainer, he is a former Executive Director of the Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and headed the ‘Boracay Lives’ project that initiated the island’s solid waste management program in 2005. An avid organic farming specialist, he facilitates the company’s organizational and human resource development programs when not tending to Mandala’s urban farming and tree planting initiatives.

Aaron Civitarese (Civi)

Director of Consultancy

“Think big, act small.” ~ Jason Jennings

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Civi graduated with a Master Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management from the International Hotel Management Institute in Switzerland, leading him to pursue the industry’s trend towards Southeast Asia. With humble beginnings in Geneva as a management intern, Civi quickly advanced to front line operations supervisor in Singapore, onward to department manager and on to Hotel Manager. On Boracay, Civi now holds a General Manager position at SLE Hospitality, encompassing multiple properties and exercising his entrepreneurial spirit with several small businesses and side projects. Civi is the newly appointed Director of Consultancy at Mandala Spa & Villas, focusing on expanding the brand within as well as outside the infamous walls of Mandala sanctuary.

Nadya Civitarese

Resident Manager

“Love the life you live, live the life you love.” ~ Bob Marley"

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Born in Russia, Nadya is always excited to travel and learn new cultures and to meet new people. Beginning her nomadic journey in 2006, she moved to Malta to learn English then moved to Switzerland and began her extensive hospitality education and internship process. In 2010 she graduated with honors from the International Hotel Management Institute in Luzern, Switzerland with a bachelors degree in Hotel and Events Management, with working experience at the five-star One&Only Reethi Rah Spa Maldives. Moving to Singapore as a Senior Executive with the Mandarin Oriental group, Nadya embraced the corporate fundamentals and grew exponentially as a manager. She is grateful that her decision to move to Boracay and to join the Mandala Spa & Villas family has given her a charmed and balanced life, and a wonderful opportunity to share her experience with the already multiple award winning company. She admires the Filipino spirit and culture, “and how everyone greets you with a smile.”

Liza Gamo

Resort Operations Manager

“The only journey is the one within.” ~ Joseph Campbell.

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Before joining Mandala Spa & Villas in 2005, Liza worked as a project accountant for a Canadian-funded community-based project in the Southern Philippines. She is committed to providing the best experience for each and every guest that walks into Mandala, and their happiness is her joy. True enough, her endearing charm and pure sincerity enhances the unique and soulful care that the institution is valued for.

Freida Dario-Santiago

Consulting Director, Brand Marketing & PR

"Life is to be enjoyed and not endured." ~ Dieter Schrottmann

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A veteran travel and lifestyle journalist, Freida left a successful career as managing editor at ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc.’s Metro Magazine and moved from Manila to Boracay in 2004 to immerse in this tropical subculture where the lines between fantasy and reality are often blurred. She joined Mandala Spa & Villas as Marketing Manager for three years then ventured into freelance writing and publicity. Highly regarded for her craft, Freida is a correspondent and contributing writer for both local and international publications, ushering readers through the intricate detours of a soulful and intimate Boracay. She agrees with Puerto Rican playwright Miguel Piñero who said, “Writing is half inspiration, half inhalation,” and writes from experience, with inspiration and conviction. Her captivating prose speaks volumes with spot-on precision, veracity and utmost sincerity. Also a newspaper and magazine editor, she leaves her desk to rejoin Mandala in forging ahead towards the new age of wellness, while taking the brand to the global forefront of invaluable and innovative service, and a catalyst for change.

Peter Montemayor

Executive Chef, Prana Restaurant

“You’re only as good as your last dish.”

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A highly skilled chef in Western and Oriental cuisine, and with 15 years of culinary experience under his toque, Executive Chef Peter is no diva in the kitchen. Despite his extensive career as an international chef, he is a team player and a culinary visionary who seasons each dish with passion and integrity, made from the freshest ingredients available on the island.

Setting the vision and direction for the re-launching of PRANA RESTAURANT, Boracay Island’s healthier alternative to world-class dining is indeed the place to eat good and healthy gourmet cuisine in a casual yet romantic setting surrounded by nature. Introducing a “farm to table” philosophy, the vibrant menu as well as a blackboard menu of daily and weekly Chef Specials are inspired by herbs and fresh produce from the Mandala Natural Garden and by what is locally available. The homegrown restaurant supports other local businesses and local farms by sourcing other ingredients within a 100-kilometer radius. Boldly combining various cuisines and influences from his kitchen adventures abroad, expect your appetite and your soul to be satisfied as you taste and feel the difference and be swept off your flip-flops on every visit!

Chef Peter’s career began as a Commis Chef and later on as Chef de Partie at the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort and the Makati Shangri-La Hotel (2002 – 2003); Grill Chef and Chef de Partie at Friday’s Boracay Beach Resort (2003 – 2005); Head Chef at Lemoni Café Boracay (2005 – 2007), won the title of “Iron Chef of Boracay” in April 2005; Villa Chef at Amanyara Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean; Chef de Cuisine at Betelnut Restaurant, Burirasa Boutique Resort on Chaweng beach in Koh Samui, Thailand (2008 – 2010); Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef at Nikki Beach in Koh Samui, Pre-Opening Executive Chef at Nikki Beach in Phuket, Thailand (January 2014), and Executive Chef (Task Force) at Nikki Beach in Bali, Indonesia (December 2014).

He first set eyes on the island of Boracay in 1999 and vowed to live & work here someday, and moved to the island in 2003 for work. His charmed island life pushed him to seek new challenges abroad where he flourished into a top international chef. But like they say, “There’s no place like home,” and he returned to his “Boracay Island family” in February 2015 and joined Mandala Spa & Resort Villas as Executive Chef in July 2015.

Chef Favorites: Asian Style Tuna Tartar, Crab Cakes with panaeng curry, Oven Roasted Pumpkin Risotto, Poached Eggs with salmon, and Silverfish (when in season). http://www.mandalaspaandresortvillas.com/prana-restaurant/

Resident Masters


Tom Neff

Certified in Watsu & Yoga

"The journey is the destination."

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This is one of Tom’s favorite quotes when spending time with friends or guests. As a former entrepreneur of a successful insurance company in California, Tom learned a lot about people and what is really important – SERVICE. A Watsu practitioner, poet, philosopher and yoga teacher he believes that giving is living. “I get up each day and ask myself: how can I be of service today, whose life can I touch for the better?” Grateful and content, the highlight of his day is sitting and watching the Boracay sunset, counting his endless blessings.

Louise Lee

Certified in Watsu & Yoga

"When life gets tight, breathe."

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A Boracay resident since 1993, Louise is known as ‘the good spirit of the island’. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication Arts at the San Francisco State University, Louise sought out a Hatha Yoga ashram in India in 1999. In 2003, she pursued a teacher’s training degree from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram in India where she returned in 2004 for the Advanced Teacher’s Training. She has had the privilege of practicing Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore India with B.N.S. Iyengar and with David Swenson in 2004. Louise describes her yoga practice as “coming home”. For her, personal yoga practice is the natural thing to do and teaching it, is following an inner calling.

Ed Aniel

Pole Dance Pioneer, Pole & Jazz Dance Instructor; Pole Academy Philippines Founder

“If you dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney

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In the mid 90’s, Ed Aniel began his prolific and successful careers as a professional dancer, choreographer, stage artist & performer, and as a production & costume designer. He executed events, print materials and videos for various clients as well as styling and production design for numerous music videos.

The founder of Pole Academy Philippines who started to learn the “art of pole dancing” in 2004, he combined his passion for jazz and ballet, and incorporated his signature dance moves with pole dancing tricks with a cardio workout, creating a brand new art form he called “Jazz Le Pole”.

His classes include strengthening, flexibility, toning exercises and choreography.

When in Boracay, take advantage of learning from the best at his regular Pole and Jazz Dance classes at THE VESSEL Community Events Center.

Visiting Masters


Theresa Szewczuk

Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor

“My life triangle has been ‘Live, Love and Learn’.”

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Theresa is a fully qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner Doctor, obtaining a five-year Bachelor of Science in Chinese Medicine and a two-year Master of Science degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She had a practice in London, England in a few different clinical environments such as a Western medical clinic, an Osteopath clinic, and in a multi-disciplinary complementary medicine clinic. In addition to her private practice, Theresa had a teaching role at the University of Westminster in London, England as an assistant clinical supervisor and she was a volunteer for many years at the NHS Gateway Clinic in Lambeth Hospital treating patients with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C patients and heroin addicts. After her MSc, she decided to move to Taiwan for three years to continue her personal and professional development. She learned Chinese and spent a year at China Medical University where she had the opportunity to study with several master doctors. She currently practices meditation, yoga, weight lifting, running and kitesurfing. She is very passionate about the Chinese tea culture, Philippine herbal medicine and Hilot healing, which the two later eventually brought her to the Philippines.

She shares her wealth of knowledge and experience and highly specialized craft with utmost care at Mandala Spa & Resort Villas as a consulting “Visiting Master” by designing and constantly enhancing and innovating the healing modalities and healing arts offerings at both the spa and at the resort villas.

Her advise: “Life and longevity is about having a regular, daily practice of experientially rectifying the body, mind and spirit to become the full human, loving potential within you.”

Chinese Medicine is a system of healing used for over 3,000 years in China and other Eastern countries to treat many conditions and illnesses. The medical system regards each patient as having a unique pattern of signs and symptoms that constitute a clearly identifiable syndrome or pattern of imbalance. One of the most known techniques of Chinese medicine is acupuncture, by inserting fine sterilized disposable needles into specific points located along channels of matter and energy spectrum, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance. The other procedures used in conjunction within the treatment include Chinese herbal medicine, auricular acupuncture, massage, cupping, moxibustion, electro acupuncture, dietary therapy, exercises and health advice.


Mauro Pagan

Personal Trainer (Electric Stimulation Machine) and Combat Sport trainer (boxing, kick boxing)

“When you start doubting yourself, remember how far you have come.” ~ IM lifestyle

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Currently a construction consultant for a high-end Boracay Island property by profession, and a “jack-of-all-trades” with vast experience in various fields including Information Technology, Company Management, and Events Production, Mauro is a natural born sportsman, born & raised in Milano, Italy.

A personal trainer and combat sports master, he has excelled in swimming, tennis, soccer and snowboarding since childhood. A master in Boxe-Francaise Savate (also known as French boxing, French kickboxing or French foot fighting), this discipline is a French martial art that uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of western boxing with graceful kicking techniques. It has earned him international acclaim as a technical learning and educational professional, having been the personal trainer of a world champion in the specialty. He has run the NYC Marathon twice and has completed two Ironman races in the Philippines and Vietnam.

As a Visiting Master for personal training on Electro Muscular Stimulation (EMS) Fitness Sessions and Combat Sports training (boxing & kick boxing) at The Vessel Community Events Center at Mandala Spa & Resort Villas.


Sierra Michelle Bullock

Health & Wellness Consultant

"Align and Flow"

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This Fil-Am with Kapampangan roots from San Francisco has returned to the motherland to share her experience on how to live a healthy life. She brings with her a Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Education as well as 20 years of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation experience. Her background in service is diverse, as a teacher and counselor for the deaf and hard of hearing, a graduate of the Institute of Psycho -Structural Balancing with 200+ hours of massage therapy training, and most recently, her CrossFit Level 1 Certification. Her value system of inspiration versus obligation brings authenticity to the Mandala Spa family and experience.

Julie Martin

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Director of Brahmani Yoga in Goa, India, Julie Martin is an internationally recognized teacher of both Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga. She has been teaching worldwide for over 16 years and has run highly respected training programs at Brahmani for the last 9 years. Each class becomes a choreographed journey through the body and mind, fusing the qualities of traditional yoga with personal discovery and self-expression.

Clayton Horton

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Clayton is the director of Greenpath Yoga. It was 2005 when he made his first trip to Boracay and fell in love with the island and Mandala Spa. Swimming and walking the beaches of Boracay is a dream come true. To Clayton who began teaching yoga in 1996, yoga is a healing path back to the Self, allowing us to experience true peace and happiness. Being kind and living in balance with nature are qualities that continue to guide his life.

He studied with both masters Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the Greensufi for many years, both of whom gave him great inspiration to practice daily and develop a yogic lifestyle. Clayton received Formal Authorization to teach Ashtanga Yoga from the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute of Mysore, South India in 2003 and he received Level Two Authorization in 2010. He continues his study at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute under the direction of Sharath Jois.

Clayton’s teaching style is traditional yet light hearted and relaxed. He believes that by practicing and living yoga, we can transform ourselves and the world around us. He travels regularly in Asia, Europe and the Americas to teach workshops, trainings and retreats.