I was introduced to the concept of wellness retreats at a talk on stress management by Mr Rajesh Ramani, the resident spiritual teacher of the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary, organized by Charlotte Travels in Hong Kong.
Over the next couple of years, I met several people who made a trip to wellness retreats an annual ritual. A vacation at a wellness retreat is designed to help guests achieve better mental, physical and emotional well being. My curiosity was kindled..
Read about the top health resorts in Philippines here
After two years of flirting with the idea, my husband and I finally booked ourselves an extended weekend in The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines. The Farm is considered one of the leading wellness resorts in Asia, and is highly recommended for its holistic approach.
The journey from Hong Kong to the Farm is straight forward. We took the morning flight to Manila and after a ninety minute drive from the airport, found ourselves at the resort before lunch.
Refreshing local drinks, cold towels and big genuine smiles greeted us as we entered the reception lobby. After a smooth check in protocol, we were escorted to our sprawling villa full of abundant daylight. We were booked in the Nyara Villas which comes with a private pool, rainforest showers, twin toilets and a spacious balcony overlooking the forests.
Reception Lobby of The Farm
Walk way to Nyara Villas
Spacious room and a sprawling balcony ovelooking the coconut plantations
Bath tub in Nyara Villas
Private pool overlooking the forests, a sprawling balcony with loungers
We signed up for a complimentary orientation session the first evening to meet the resident doctor and understand the best way to plan our stay. Since we were there in Farm only for a few days and most wellness packages require you to stay for at least a week to feel a shift, we decided to decided to focus on fitness, eating right, meditation exercises (which all are complimentary in the stay) and body massages.
I learnt that the key to a more fulfilling experience at a wellness retreat is to set your health or wellness goal prior to your visit. This will help in planning a bespoke experience and more importantly, tuning your mind to the receiving frequency.
We headed for dinner to ALIVE, the only restaurant in the resort. This is a pure vegetarian restaurant which has simple yet heavenly cuisine. With each bite, you savour the natural flavours of vegetables. They do many mock meat preparations with tofu and soya as well to make sure that there is ample protein in the meals. The meals at Alive were definitely the high point of the stay.
Slide show of heavenly food at The Farm
Next day after the breakfast in the restaurant, we headed for a walk in the property. The property is set in 123 acres of coconut plantations. The name of the property derives from the actual farm where they grow organic vegetables and fruits,supplying the ingredients for almost all the food served at the resort.
Beautiful peacocks delighted us many times with their glorious dance walk around every where in the Farm.
There are multiple beautiful locations, just to sit and meditate, shut out the world and outdoor massage salas in the resort.
The Yoga Session
I went for a signature Filipino massage at the Farm on the last day. The ambience of the spa, staff and the treatment itself was super relaxing and healing.
Every element at The Farm is carefully designed to heal and nurture your mind and body. Experienced team of masseurs, acupuncturists, medical doctors and spiritual teachers help you break down the blockages in your body and mind. The local and organic food prepared using the gentlest cooking techniques nourishes you and the and the beauty of the space flows into your heart.
The retreat made me more mindful of every day choices and I brought back healthy habits such as starting each day with a plateful of seasonal fruits, that I continue even today, almost five months after visiting the Farm. I find myself more aware of healing choices in thoughts, food and movement. Though I am not committing to an annual wellness retreat yet, I am definitely coming back to the Farm and this time for a minimum of one week.
The Farm at San Benito
119 Barangay Tipakan, 4217 Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines
Opening hours: Fri after 3 PM, Every day 6-9 AM
Tel: +632 884 8074
Phone: +63 918 884 8078
Fax: +632 889 1150