Text & Photography | Emily Lee
Mention The Farm at San Benito and you are bound to peak the interest of your listener. Long recognized as one of the leading wellness resorts in the world, The Farm offers a slew of holistic programs designed to provide guests a complete cleansing and detoxing experience, all the while pampering them with first class accommodation and delicious vegetarian cuisine. Not surprisingly, the resort is on the bucket list of many well-heeled travelers seeking the ultimate wellness getaway experience.
My visit to The Farm started with a 90-minute transfer from the Manila International Airport by the hotel’s minivan. Set deep in the jungle with a backdrop of mountains and small villages, The Farm impressed me with its uncanny calmness and Zen-like serenity. The well-manicured grounds, laid-back palm trees, and free-roaming peacocks all helped to convey the resort’s wellness intention. There’s hardly any doubt that the sanctuary is built for soothing the body and soul.
My Narra Pool Villa was a work of art, and equipped with a heated private pool with hydro jet, a covered outdoor terrace, and an oversized bathroom. Still recovering from a long day of traveling, I opted to stay in my villa and ordered in-room dining for the evening. And I couldn’t have been more pleased with my decision.
My five-course dinner arrived quickly from ALIVE! Cuisine, the resort’s 100% vegetarian restaurant. The food was really quite delicious, easily fulfilling the restaurant’s quest for providing a “Gourmet Vegan Experience”. Later on during my stay, I had a chance to meet and chat with the team behind ALIVE! Cuisine; and learned more about the food at The Farm (see appendix below).
Over the next three days I entertained myself with a fascinating mix of wellness activities and programs. Starting with a visit to the integrated medical clinic of the resort, where I received a Nutritional Microscopy from the resident doctor. According to The Farm, “Nutritional Microscopy analyses the live blood cells through the use of a phase-contrast microscope” which, “identifies a patient’s current state of health at the cellular level.” Nutritional Microscopy is but one of the many extensive medical programs available at the clinic.
Also high on my agenda was a visit to the Healing Sanctuary, which provides spa consultations along with a vast array of holistic spa treatments. I opted for a Hilot Massage, a traditional Filipino healing treatment practiced in many regions of the Philippines. It was quite a satisfying experience, which prompted me to schedule another appointment. The 120-minute Detoxifying Treatment utilized Curcumin’s natural healing power to detoxify the liver, skin, kidneys and heart and was carried out in a large private spa villa by two Masseuses. It was lavishly performed, and concluded with a warm bath in the outdoor garden.
Right across from the Healing Sanctuary was the Jungle Gym, where I spent hours meditating and sweating. From the calm and relaxing “Yin Yoga” class to the intense “Insanity” max interval training session, the Jungle Gym offered a variety of daily programs to help guests stay in shape.
The Farm at San Benito offers a unique retreat, which masterfully blends a holistic healing program with luxurious surroundings. A stay at The Farm comes at a price, but it’s well worth the cost for the wellness and beauty benefits it provides and is a deserving recipient of an Editors’ Choice award.
Appendix A: Why eating Raw food is good for your health
Michael Di Lonardo, General Manager of The Farm, has been an active proponent of a healthy eating lifestyle and the driving force behind the resort’s multiple winning holistic cuisine program, which includes the ALIVE! Cuisine restaurant and RAW! –a hardcover book filled with the resort’s creative recipes and useful nutritional tips.
A veteran in the high-end hospitality industry with a previous leadership position with Aman Resorts under his belt, Di Lonardo is also a formally trained chef. Di Lonardo works closely with Chef Lucrecia Buking of ALIVE! to deliver a program based on raw food. A Stage 3 breast cancer survivor, Buking worked her way through a complete recovery through holistic treatments, which provided her with a first hand experience of the benefits of raw food. “Eating raw food is good for our health,” explains Buking. “Raw food is easier to digest as it contains live enzymes. I recommend eating 85% raw and 15% cooked for a balanced diet.”
The dining experience at ALIVE! Cuisine is further enriched by the resort’s impressive in-house farmland, which grows many of the produce served in the restaurant and provides a direct “farm-to-table” experience for guests.
Appendix B: Beyond The Farm
A visit to The Farm entails more than detoxifying and cleansing treatments. The resort provides a variety of day trips (for a fee) for guests to the surrounding areas, including: trekking in the nearby Lake Taal & Taal Volcano, visiting pristine beaches and islands in Laiya, scuba diving in Anilao, and playing golf at the Mount Malarayat Golf and Country Club (which is only a 15 minute drive from the resort). There are also a myriad of shopping options available within the region.
119 Barangay Tipakan
4217 Lipa City, Batangas
Reservations: +632 884 8074
Fax: +632 889 1150
Mobile (6am – 10pm): +63 918 884 8078
Cebu Pacific Air offers the most flight schedule and route options between Hong Kong and the Philippines for as low as HKD 248. For bookings, visit www.cebupacificair.com or call +852-397-33800.