The Farm or Nurture Spa or Sonya’s Garden

11 09 2009

We’re starting to scout for places to explore on my brother’s forthcoming visit this December.  Apart from Coron, Palawan, he and his wife are considering Boracay, with me as the willing tour guide, but three days ago, he told me that they are changing plans.  For some reasons, his wife’s grandparents are no longer joining so they are considering to go to The Farm at San Benito instead, with his mom-in-law.  I told them I can also be their guide.  Well, I told him that the The Farm is also a great experience every balikbayan (Philippine nationals who are permanently residing abroad including their spouses and children, regardless of nationality or country of birth.  It also refers to those of Filipino descent who acquired foreign citizenship and permanent status abroad)  should not miss.  Based on the site and on my phone inquiry, the current rate for the day tour is Php4,800++, no land transfers like before. 

The Farm

Another place I suggested is the Nurture Spa in Tagaytay.  I guess this is one place worth visiting when you’re in the area.  Back then, in December 2005, this relaxation destination already had its own unique style – natural ambience with its Ifugao huts.  Minimum overnight package is priced at Php4,200/pax. 

Nurture Spa

There’s another destination I had in mind – the Sonya’s Garden.  Overnight rates are Php3,000 and Php3,400/pax on weekdays and weekends/holidays, respectively. Incidentally, this is also located in Tagaytay.  I had been to all the three (3) destinations which are only a few hours away from our home.  So getting there is less of a hassle compared with Boracay.  Eeny, meeny, miny mo… Whatever my brother decides on for early January next year will be truly another enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Sonya's Garden

Photos courtesy of the individual sites.   Sonya’s Garden photo courtesy of Irene Tan-Gurango.


Raw Food Diet – A Great Discovery

14 03 2009

Raw Food

My first encounter with the raw food diet (not the regular vegetable/fresh fruit salad co’z I’ve been into it in a long time) was at The Farm’s Alive resto (a.k.a 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine) in 2004.  I never thought that I would give it a try myself right there in our own kitchen until 3 weeks ago. My memory was refreshed of my first experience with raw food when last December, I stumbled upon an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.  It featured culinary artist Cherie Lou Ignacio, former owner of the Quickmelt Ensaymada business, who was a “walking drugstore for most of her life” and who is probably 50 years old as of this writing “but looks 20 years younger, having lost more than 20 pounds”.  Who doesn’t want that?   

Not that I want to lose more pounds (co’z I’m already slim) that I finally started with raw food, it’s more of trying to achieve a healthier glow at my age.  During my countless researches, I’ve learned that the benefits include increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion, better concentration, weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease.  Raw and living foods are believed to be rich in essential enzymes co’z the cooking process is said to destroy food enzymes.  I’m sure at one point in time, you got an email or maybe you read an article about the benefits of eating fruits before your meals co’z the enzymes are already absorbed by the body before they putrefied.  That is based on the concept that enzymes are essential in the digestion process thus, must be absorbed first before our meals.  

So, my first raw food was a smoothie made from grapes, celery, parsley and flaxseed oil.  The taste was quite odd but you see, because I know the benefits of taking it, I thought I should learn to like it and would really like it in the long run.  Remember… we didn’t like some of our “first times”, am I right?

My Birthday at The Farm

15 12 2008

Tomorrow is a special day for me.  Yeah! It’s my birthday but I’m going to spend it at work and it will be my first time.  It has been a tradition for me to go on leave on this date but it’s Tuesday and because I had exhausted my 5-day mandatory leave credits (due to earlier travels) for the year, I had no choice.  

I wish I could do it all again… like in the year 2004 when I spent the whole day pampering myself like a queen at The Farm in San Benito, Lipa City.   Yes, on December 16, 2004, I left my house a little earlier for my appointed 6:00 a.m. departure from the Mandarin Hotel in Makati  (former location of its Manila office).  I almost quit a day before when I learned that I will be traveling alone with Mang Nemeng, the driver, to San Benito (a friend had 5 unknown companions during her time). But, I realized later that I was quite lucky, for in my solitude, I had the time to ponder on all the Almighty’s bountiful gifts, and there was this pure excitement of anticipation of bonding with myself, with nature as I was only about two (2) hours away to experience the Wellness Lifestyle at The Farm. 

*The Farm (photo courtesy of The Farm)

The Farm (photo taken from The Farm website)

I was enthralled as I drew near the reception area.  Anyone could really make a conclusion right away that it is a complete healing place for the body, mind and soul with the majestic sight of  Mount Malarayat, verdant landscapes, abundance of tropical flowers and plants, flowing waters and the freshest of air.  A nirvana! From there, I was led to my temporary abode for the entire day – the Anahaw Villa, fully airconditioned and uniquely designed two-floor structure, inspired by the local traditional leaf-roofed houses.   

The 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine (now called Alive), photo taken from The Farm website

The 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine, now called Alive (photo taken from The Farm website)

 After I settled my things and got a feel of my “new home”, I went straight to the 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine (now called Alive, a vegan resto)  offering “living” food (85% uncooked fruits and vegetables, germinated grains and nuts, only 15% cooked)  for the buffet breakfast.  I missed the orientation on healthy lifestyle held at the meditation pavilion early that morning.


Raw and crunchy to bite sprouts (photo taken from The Farm website)

The food (all photos taken from The Farm website)

Delectable cherry tomato (photo taken from The Farm website)

After the sumptuous breakfast came a moment of  rest and relaxation in the comforts of one of  the beds in my villa.   Next was the guided tour of the resort grounds – the lagoon, ponds, secret garden and pool, nooks, meditation pavilion, gym, library and the other accommodation facilities followed by my participation in the stretching and yoga class.

My stroll (photos taken using my Point & Shoot camera)

My stroll (photos taken using my Point & Shoot camera)

Soon after a quick shower, I returned to the 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine for my 5-course gourmet lunch.  Almost everything was raw – unusual but definitely healthy, the greens freshly harvested from its Organic Garden.  

Back to my sanctuary, I savored that moment in my life.  Anyone would envy me that very day for that wonderful experience of a lifetime.   Life was so beautiful…

Part of the package was a  medical consultation with free live blood analysis.  My schedule was at 3:00 p.m.  I told the doctor I wanted to skip the latter for an earlier one-hour spa treatment. 


The Salus per Aqua (photo taken from The Farm website)

Instead of the one-hour relaxation massage after bathing in the open, I was privileged to indulge in the two-hour Oriental Journey at the Salus per Aqua which consisted of Honey Scrub with Thai Massage and iced lemon tea, all because Mang Nemeng will not make it to our scheduled 6:00 p.m. return to Manila.  He needed to pick up some guests from the airport for tomorrow’s wedding at the spa resort.   And since, it was almost dark when I was finished, I was offered a free a la carte dinner.  That was really a blessing in disguise!
But as the adage goes, all things must come to an end, to good things as well.   I didn’t want it to end but there’s always a next time… I just hope my next time will include an overnight stay or maybe a detox retreat package. 
Aside from a few purchases (slices of fresh bar soaps) and snapshots, I brought home a new sense of well-being,  a true discovery. 
Hasta la vista!