I was handed The Farm's site map and the day's schedule of activities as we checked in. A glass of fresh coconut juice promptly followed. The receptionist's smile, same as mine, did not disappear all throughout a quick briefing. My mom listened intently as she sipped her own glass of juice.
Her briefing was a refresher of the pre-arrival and resort guidelines. A copy of which I received via email, together with the confirmation of our booking, sent by The Farm's Makati sales office prior our visit. For such globally-recognized health resort, setting clients' expectations is a weighty factor that affects a satisfactory experience.
Beyond the selection phase of classy resort wear and chic fitness outfits back home is an epochal preparation of the body, mind and soul. The Farm at San Benito is not merely a destination. It is a journey of healing and recovery. A backdoor to escape the mundane. Time spent here must be treated as gold. The hefty price tag constantly reminded me that.
The 5-course meal served to us was part of our day tour package. It consisted of: Homemade cracker with assorted chutneys, roasted eggplant soup, mango tomato salad, Bombay wrap with cucumber raita and vegetable korma with organic rice, and pineapple cheesecake. If ordered separately, such lunch is priced at P1,250+. A 2-course meal is P650+, 3-course is P950+, and 4-course is P1,100+. For guests that prefer à la carte, there's a handful of other choices too priced at around P200+ to P480+.
The Farm's spa cuisine has garnered international awards. Not only are the dishes made with the freshest ingredients, they're also creatively prepared and chock-full of interesting flavors. Well at least for an ex-pescetarian like me. My mom, a huge fan of meat, wasn't jumping up and down. Only the pineapple cheesecake and Batangas coffee won her nod of approval.
The highlight of our day tour, as you might have assumed, was our respective healing sanctuary spa treatments. As advised, we arrived at the Healing Sanctuary fifteen minutes before our appointment - which I booked by the way through a phone call two days prior. Late comers will not provided the full treatment time so as to avoid disrupting the succeeding appointments.
It took ages for mom to choose a treatment. The Healing Sanctuary's "menu" had more pages than the restaurant's. I picked the Relaxation Massage, a popular one among day trippers, while mom threw hundreds of questions more at the spa's receptionist. Eventually, she chose the Skin Kayud. A treatment that uses a nacre also known as mother of pearl to scrape the skin "to stimulate the lymph canals, drain the toxins and purify the entire lymphatic system".
Trip's Nitty Gritty
1. The Farm At San Benito is about an hour and a half from Manila (Pasay, Malate, Ermita area). How to get there? Upon confirmation of your booking, the sales office provides a directional map to the site from Lipa City proper. The use of Star Tollway is highly adviced and toll fee is just P35. If you're coming via bus, call the office to arrange a pickup. Price depends on your pickup location.
By the way, The Farm offers Helicopter Service. High rollin', you say?
2. Booking the spa and medical services in advance is not compulsory but recommended. As mentioned, clients are expected to arrive 15 minutes before treatment. Change in schedule or cancellation of treatment must be made at least three hours beforehand.
3. Browse the day's schedule and come armed with a fitness outfit. There are loads of complimentary activities of varied nature: Circuit training, yoga and meditation, Tahitian dance, aqua aerobics, and even vegan food preparation.
If you got kids in tow, The Farm can organize something for them too.
4. Food and drinks are not allowed to be brought in the property. Yo, leave those evil chips at home.
5. Still and motion cameras are allowed in the resort but not at the spa and during the activities conducted by the resort.
6. Price for accommodation range from P8,400+ to P52,500+, includes Alive! brekkie for two and daily wellness activities. WiFi as available throughout the resort (Hurrah!).
7. Absolutely no smoking within The Farm's premises.
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