In an attempt to stay true to my promise for a “healthier me” in 2013, I checked myself, with my husband in tow, into The Farm at San Benito for a two-day wellness retreat.
A one-and-a-half hour drive from Manila, The Farm rests on 119 acres of land in the foothills of Mount Malarayat. It is a sanctuary from the hustle bustle of everyday life offering a space to detox, rejuvenate and relax. For some, this may mean a full detox week of juice cleansing, colonic hydrotherapy and acupuncture treatments: intense but effective. For others such as myself, it’s an opportunity to experience some clean living, indulging in wholesome foods, spa treatments, yoga and sleep—ah, blissful sleep!
If you don’t have enough time to do a full detox, but still want to invest in a wellness holiday, here are my suggestions of how to make the most of your time at The Farm in three days or less:
1. Book the Narra Pool Villa
We were met with a private, heated outdoor pool upon entering our Narra Pool Villa, which is one of the newer suites that was built on the property at the end 2012. This is the ultimate way to stay if you want to take full advantage of what The Farm has to offer. Dipping into the pool overlooking a river valley to greet the morning sunrise is probably the best way to start your day.
A king-sized bed with 600 thread count linen is welcoming, but it’s the bathroom that stands out with its open concept shower, soaker tub and dual sinks, supplied with coconut soaps, scrubs and oils made right on the property. It even boasts two individual toilets, which I’ve been told provides discretion and comfort for those couples detoxing together. Perhaps more practical than romantic, but it’s definitely a bonus.
2. Take the “Oil of Life” tour
The Farm is actually located on a coconut plantation, so it’s only natural they’d use this to their advantage. We took the 30 minute ‘Oil of Life’ tour and learned how they make coconut water, milk, soaps and oils from the coconuts harvested on their property. The premium coconut oil, or “oil of life”, has many healing properties and you can drink it, cook with it and slather it on your hair and skin. My only regret was not shipping home a case, so definitely make sure to pick up some of the coconut products from the store in the lobby before you check out.
3. Visit the Healing Sanctuary and Spa
The calm serenity of the Healing Sanctuary and Spa made it one of my favorite places to relax on the property. Book yourself a one-on-one spa orientation with spa manager, Lemuel. I fell into a meditative trance as I lay on an outdoor canopy bed, poolside, while Lemuel gently tested and assessed my physical and spiritual state through a series of Thai massage maneuvers. Definitely worth the indulgence is the spa’s Purification Treatment, which is a Ying Yang sea salt body polish scrub meant to absorb negative energy. Follow that with a hot coconut milk bath underneath the evening stars and you’ll know the true meaning of tranquility.
4. Eat at Alive Restaurant
The food served at the resort’s Alive Restaurant is focused on raw and vegan dishes, which some might assume means boring or unsatisfying. On the contrary, the menu offers savory and sweet recipes that are overwhelmingly delicious, even for hearty meat eaters like my husband. Each dish is prepared with ingredients harvested fresh from The Farm’s own organic gardens. Must-try dishes include their famous vegan banana pancakes, the carrot almond falafel ball and their coconut crackers with macadamia nut cheese. And the bonus? The Farm even grows and roasts their own coffee on the property. I ordered a cup of fresh brew and was pleased to see it served with coconut sugar and almond milk.
5. Partake in daily activities
Delivered to your door each evening is a schedule listing the optional complimentary activities available to participate in the following day. The yoga classes in the outdoor amphitheater are designed so that even the beginners can practice some gentle stretching. The Ab Blaster class in the aptly named “Jungle Gym” really does the trick if you’re looking to exhaust (ahem, strengthen) that particular area. If fitness isn’t your goal for the day, why not boost your creativity with a floral arrangement or cuisine prep class?
6. Roam the Grounds
With acres of land to explore, it’s worth taking an adventure stroll through the property. There are plenty of places to take a rest along the way including the lagoon, south swimming pool, mystical looking mango tree or secret waterfalls. Just don’t be alarmed if you have to share the walkway with the resident peacocks, ducks or goats you’ll most likely find crossing your path along the way.
Whether you go for a week long detox or a few days of rejuvenation, The Farm is definitely the place to experience what they like to call “indulgence with a purpose”.