I find myself sitting in one of the benches under the glorious mango tree, its branches widely outstretched, coiled with cascading tendrils of vine. I relish the cool breeze and the holy hush of verdant scenery and catch myself wondering why it took me this long to return. I lament my overindulgence during the holiday season and look forward to giving my system a reboot, here at what is considered to be one of the top wellness sanctuaries in Asia—The Farm at San Benito.
Appropriately, my schedule begins with colema. Out with the old, in with the new. I expect it to be a breeze; after all, I have done the five-day detox a couple of years ago, with alternate days of colema and colonics. Alas, my heavy meal the previous night takes its toll. I have gas pains all over. When the procedure is over, my knees feel like jelly. The therapist gives me four tablets of bioplasma (to be dissolved under the tongue for optimal absorption) to replenish the nutrients that were flushed out during the procedure. Slowly, I make my way back to the clinic. I take the warm ginger lemon tea given me and settle on a sofa with a hot compress on my belly. Cocooned in this warmth, I rest with the thought that I am being good to my body.
I want to allow my digestive tracts to rest some more (and prime my appetite for a good meal) so instead of having my lunch at the usual hour, I participate in a tai chi class. An elderly French couple is already at the amphitheater. I take my place in one of the mats and try to keep up. Alicia Keys’s New York is in the playlist. The instructor makes sure we keep up with the beat. After 45 minutes, I am sweating, not out of breath but definitely feeling my quads and hamstrings. I relish the final stretches.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect from food labeled as raw, except perhaps for the usual salads and fresh fruits. Unknown to me, I was going to have one of the best meals of my life, raw or otherwise. But after only a spoonful of corn, ginger and lemongrass soup, I know I am in for something special. The soup is richly flavored, not too thick but smooth and impeccably spiced.
The jicama slaw is garden fresh, punctured by the lovely texture and subtle sweet and heat of the spicy macadamia.
I order the entrée sampler. The use of fresh coconut meat instead of the usual heart of palm put the spring back in spring rolls—drizzled with sweet chilli sauce, it was a perky bundle. I unwrap the tamales to find the staple of almost every meal, rice, of the sticky variety, steam-softened and subtly seasoned, hitting all the buttons that define comfort food.
Then finally, dessert is served. I thought I could no longer manage but I underestimate this chocolate (sundae) on chocolate (chip ice cream) combination, lavishly strewn with candied nuts and mango bits. I take one spoonful after another, until I realize that I have nothing left to take a photo of but a chocolate-streaked dessert glass.
The next day, I make plans to use the rebounder at the Jungle Gym but opt to relish the little time I have left in my lovely Garden Villa. In bed, I disappear completely under the sheets, hearing only a hush of the fountain from my very own garden as I drift back to sleep.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled within the Philippines’ Batangas hinterland, The Farm is likened to health nirvana. Choose between pool, garden or jungle-style accommodation before sampling our fresh, award-winning gourmet menu.Practice sunrise/sunset salutations at our lakeside amphitheatre or hit our well-equipped ‘jungle gym’. Our specialists administer complementary and integrative medical therapy within a serene environment and first-class facilities.We don’t do boot camps or subscribe to deprivation. Retreat to The Farm for nourishment and rejuvenation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Farm At San Benito Hotel Lipa City
- Farm At San Benito Batangas
- The Farm At San Benito Lipa City, Philippines - Batangas