Maricel was working in a fast-food restaurant when she decided that wasn’t the path for her.
“I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and massage therapy was it for me,” she says. “I used to massage my grandfather when I was a kid, and he is the one who told me that I have a skill. I remembered that when I grew up, but there’s no such thing as massage therapy in the Philippines.”
When Maricel decided to change careers in Canada, she started looking through job descriptions and she saw massage therapist as one of the choices.
“So I went to see a consultant and they introduced me to MaKami College’s Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy program, so I researched the school and its programs and decided to apply.”
Maricel was accepted into the program, which she admits to being excited, but also a little nervous about initially.
“I was nervous because of the language barrier and the last time in was in school was 1996 so I didn’t know what to expect.”
But Maricel says she soon eased in, and found her English naturally improved as she practiced the language regularly.
“I received a lot of assistance from MaKami and I became more confident in speaking English because the majority of my classmates were Canadian and they spoke English. I also spoke a lot to my instructors and we are very hands on as well due to our field trips, so I had the opportunity to practice with clients there as well.”
During her first year, once she received her 1,250 hours, Maricel applied at an Edmonton spa for her practicum. “I held my practicum hours there and after that they liked me and hired me as a full-time therapist.”
Maricel graduated from MaKami in April 2018, but stayed at the spa for a year and a half. “Then I went to a different location for a better opportunity. I stayed there for two-and-a-half years, molded myself and then that’s the time I decided to go out on my own.”
Maricel recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as the owner of Infinity Therapeutic Massage in St. Albert.
“It’s been one year now since I’ve started my own business and it changed my life completely, and my family’s life” she says. “When I started my own business it was a challenge because I didn’t know if it would work out or not, but I took the chance and it’s been very successful. I built a house in the Philippines and I just bought a house here in St. Albert too. I helped my family back home, I built a business here in Canada I can look forward to until I grow old, and I can inspire others to not be scared of following their dreams.”
Maricel says the change has also inspired her son to follow in her footsteps.
“My son always gives me massages when I get home and he has a gift as well, so I brought him to MaKami, and he is now a first-year student too. The plan is for him to join me in my practice since we have a spare room for him already. It will be our family business and it’s our family legacy.”
For anyone considering going back to school, Maricel says to follow your passion.
“If you are passionate about it and know you have a gift, go for it, don’t be afraid to pursue your dream. Hard work, perseverance and determination are the keys for success.”