Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Farm At San Benito, Lipa City, Batangas: Journey Of Healing

The pitter-patter of rain shattered the deafening silence. A bloke rushed to our aid with a couple of brollies in his hand. I took one to shield myself from the light drizzle even though I actually found it quite refreshing. It was mid-afternoon, yet the air we inhaled had a morning dew aftertaste. I sensed an involuntary smile on my face, and it lingered for a long while.

The Farm's Healing Sanctuary. My short-lived refuge.

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.

 The Farm's reception.

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.

Southpark Lagoon. The reception and meeting hall adjacent to it.

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.

Rustic sign of Alive!, The Farm's vegan restaurant.
We left our trivial worries behind. Our usual noise too. Guests are expected to keep their mobile phones on silent mode particularly in public areas that are to be shared respectfully with others. Jaded urban souls troop to this retreat for tranquility, and all guests must join the mutual effort in maintaining quietude.

Table for two. A rare one-on-one date with mom.
Guided by the map in my hand, we made our way to the property's resident vegan restaurant Alive!. It was our body clock that dictated the first order of business. At quarter to twelve noon, we found one family finishing off an early lunch. The rest of the tables inside the restaurant and at the outdoor deck were vacant. We had the liberty to choose a nook that offers a view of the organic garden.

My fave out of the 5-course meal. An appetizer of homemade cracker with chutney.

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 organic garden which provides majority of Alive!'s fresh produce.

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.

Man-made waterfalls. Its catch basin is one of The Farm's swimming pools.
I squeezed a quick dip in between lunch and our spa session. I was the only one who did so that rainy afternoon. My pool of choice was the South Pool, which I reckon is the biggest of them all. A few seconds into my swim, my mom engaged herself in a phone call. A habit which she cannot give up even for half a day. She will go nuts too without a telly. It was, in fact, my deciding element in choosing a day tour package instead of an overnight stay. No villa in The Farm has a telly.

Sulu Terraces, modeled after the traditional Philippine rice barn. The most affordable of all villas.

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.

The Healing Sanctuary's main entrance.

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".

Mom browsing a whole book of spa treatments.
The Farm's website states: "Our vision is to establish a unique healing centre in a new dimension offering a personal journey with a total holistic approach to rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul in an idyllic setting...". That vision is depicted everywhere. A vision that tapped our five senses, and then some.

I emerged from the treatment room recuperated. And helplessly in love with my therapist. My mom too, except, she was a bit shaken after stripping everything off for the session.

The most scenic of all.
The Farm At San Benito paved way for a life-changing journey which I did not expect to happen in a manicured wellness resort. I've always preferred destinations that are a bit rough around the edges, but you know what they say, there's a first time for everything. It's an experience I wouldn't want to call "once-in-a-lifetime", because in all honesty, I'd like to do it again. 

Plus everything else that we missed.

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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Micamyx said...
February 26, 2013 at 8:30 PM

I miss your mom! :))

Gay Emami said...
February 26, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Hey babe, I just realized... You shoulda chitchatted with her in Ilokano!

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...
February 26, 2013 at 11:39 PM

I have heard so much about the place, though i do not have the spare moolah for it! But I must be getting old, I love quiet places like this. :-)

Gay Emami said...
February 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM

I try to look for quiet spaces everywhere we go! I'm getting old too. LOL. I'd really love to visit The Farm again... But yeah, too pricey :(

Karl Ace said...
February 27, 2013 at 5:10 AM

very nice! no television sets? very nice. it's what i loved rock inn & cafe and pannzian for. your mom chose well -- treatment. i'm always on the lookout for infinity pools with stunning views and your wonderful shot captured it there. really convinced me to schedule my post-bday visit with a friend. we already talked about the date this week.

Gay Emami said...
February 27, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Excited for you guys! Would love to try staying in one of the villas next time.

blissfulguro said...
February 27, 2013 at 5:47 PM

this is so cute! love your mum's top :)

my mom would definitely love this place.

Journeys & Travels said...
February 28, 2013 at 3:47 PM

i love it there too Gay and gladly, we had the same spot at the Alive Restaurant :) di nga lang tayo nag-abot dun :(

Gay Emami said...
March 1, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Yeah. You got there late Friday, right? We weren't too happy with the weather so we didn't extend our stay.

Gay Emami said...
March 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Oh you mum will definitely love it too!

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March 2, 2013 at 12:42 AM

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Jeffrey Rilles said...
March 3, 2013 at 9:15 PM

very relaxing yung lugar. Healthy both inner and out- interesting yung organic farm

♛ ❤Maya ❤ ♛✈✈ said...
March 5, 2013 at 12:12 AM

how much is the day tour ate


Tina said...
March 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM

So peaceful and relaxing.. This is perfect my mum's birthday... Thanks

UK Visa

Tripsiders said...
March 8, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Ganda ng place... ma rerelax ka talaga sa ganyang klaseng lugar. :)

pinaytraveljunkie.com said...
August 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Oopss... Just read this! It was P3,500 I believe. But got that deal from DealGrocer.com.

Mai_Flores said...
September 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

This is actually a dream destination for me! The price maybe too steep for a budget traveler like me, but I do see the entire sense of this place, which will surely make every penny spent worth it! Great recount by the way, Gay! :)

pinaytraveljunkie.com said...
September 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Thanks Mai! Thought about buying the vouchers for days! Bought at the last day, and I said to myself it should be worth the moolah.

Mai_Flores said...
September 9, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Hehe.. just in the nick of time! At least, you got what you paid for.. and more! Dbale, makaabang na nga din ng deals online. :)

Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


Tina said...
April 25, 2018 at 5:35 AM


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