I’ve been pesce-pollotarian since 2005 and a yoga practitioner since 2007, so I thought I knew what to expect by going on a vegan holiday. Little did I know that booking a trip to The Farm at San Benito, Batangas, would open my mind (and stomach) to a wider perspective about health and meditation. Here are the five things I learned from last week’s trip:
1. Sometimes you just need to unplug.
One of the house rules is that every guest’s mobile phone must be in silent mode. Wi-Fi is available only at the restaurant and reception area, while the rooms don’t have television sets or radios. They don’t play house music nor serve booze for the cliché fist-pumping crowd.
Without the temptation to Tweet or Instagram every waking moment of my life, I ignited my analog soul by going around the eco-friendly resort, which is more like a lush forest with jogging trails, sprawling gardens, meditation areas, and wellness centers. I enjoyed observing dragonflies’ mating rituals and watching free-range ducks and peacocks roam—beautiful things I wouldn’t have paid attention to had my eyes been glued to Facebook or cable TV.
2. Yoga is not a wimpy sport.
I already knew that years ago when I did my first Yoga class, but seeing my boyfriend AO finally give Yoga a try at The Farm was pure bliss. As a Crossfit and Kettlebell addict, he would constantly make fun of my fitness level, and I can tell he’s one of the many cynics who think Yoga is a cutie patootie exercise for models and eco geeks.
Watching him break into a sweat while struggling to do the stretches and poses that I could do in a breeze was my moment of glory; he finally realized that Yoga isn’t as easy as it looks. Thanks to The Farm’s free Yoga, meditation, and movement classes, AO is now a Yoga believer. He especially loved Donna Esteban’s Yin Yoga for Detoxification class.
3. Meat-free is not always boring.
As a pesce-pollotarian, I get a lot of flack for my “limited” food choices. Going completely vegan is a whole new ballgame. With absolutely no animal products or by-products for 24 hours—not even non-dairy creamer for coffee—it was an interesting adjustment for my digestive system. The only restaurant in the resort, Alive!, features vegan concoctions using raw greens and herbs that come straight from the adjacent organic garden.
With an open kitchen that allows you to see how your healthy dishes are prepared, Alive!’s vegan chefs introduced my taste buds to new natural ingredients and flavors. Although I did miss my scrambled eggs in the morning, my five-course dinner and vegan breakfast was an enriching cleansing experience.
4. You don’t always need a beach to get closer to nature.
Growing up in the country of Boracay made me believe that a beach shore is necessary for every tropical vacation. A dip in The Farm’s infinity pool and a nature hike that led me to the hidden waterfall pool and Zen ponds made me forget about my need to tan and built sand castles.
5. No medicine makes good medicine.
One of main features of The Farm is their menu of healing and wellness programs—non-evasive treatments and detoxifying processes that cleanse both the body and spirit. The treatments aren’t part of the free amenities, so be ready to shell out about P2,000-8,000 per massage or detox. Pricier than the usual Manila spa package, I know, but having those treatments done in one of the hidden locations all to yourself is priceless.
For the cynics who think that this is all mumbo-jumbo, I suggest you peek into the guest book where people have jotted down stories of their stay at The Farm. From cancer-stricken patients looking for alternative medicine to backpackers seeking enlightenment, different types of people have benefited from their stay at The Farm—myself included.
The Farm at San Benito is located at
119 Barangay Tipakan
4217 Lipa City, Batangas
Tel. no. +632-884-8074 to 75
Mobile no. +63918-884-8078
The Farm is a 2-hour drive from Manila.