After an event as stressful as planning a wedding, most couples high-tail it to the nearest beach destination and spend hours basking under the sun. My new husband and I decided to do things a little differently. Aside from all the effort and work that went into organising a wedding halfway across the world in the Philippines, we quickly realised that the holiday season and wedding festivities had taken its toll on our health. From the meat-heavy Filipino diet to the copious amounts of alcohol consumed during the many days of celebrations, we realised that what we needed was a detox.
Enter The Farm at San Benito. Hidden in the middle of the dense jungle of Batangas, the eco-luxury holistic medical wellness resort is a sanctuary just 90 minutes away from the city lights of Manila. The multi-awarded centre strives to provide its clients with a programme that includes professional lifestyle coaching, a balanced diet that is specially designed to reach their health goals, and a combination of holistic treatments that recharge mind, body, and spirit.
The Farm’s five healing components consist of holistic integrative medical services, nurturing spa treatments and hydrotherapy water wellness, plant-based whole food vegan cuisine, mindful movement and functional fitness, and providing a healing environment with heartfelt service.
Our two-night stay at The Farm began with the resort’s car and driver picking us up from the central business district. After an hour and a half, we entered the gates and were immediately surrounded by nature. We were given a welcome drink before being given our itinerary for our stay and taken to our villa. We started things off at the Holistic Sanctuary with a holistic consultation with live blood analysis. Dr. Michelle pricked each of our fingers and studied our blood under a microscope.
She was able to identify that my husband had an increase in protein in his blood and talked us through how both of us could improve our gut health and digestion by chewing more and only taking limited amounts of water with our meals. Other sessions we had at the Holistic Sanctuary included acupuncture, a harmonizing flow treatment—a form of therapy that balances an individual’s energies and helps to navigate any stressors—and a colema treatment with chamomile water for cleansing.
The Farm offers nine different types of suites and villas. Each has its own private entrance, whilst some feature their own pools and courtyards. Our home for the weekend was the Narra Pool Villa. The 200-square-metre room was situated next to a stream that we looked out on from our veranda. The gorgeous infinity pool was next to a private garden and the addition of daybeds and sun loungers made the setting all the more inviting. Inside, a super king-sized bed was wrapped in Quivera bed linens whilst the bathroom featured double sinks, his and hers toilets, a shower, and a bathtub.
The Farm has two on-site restaurants: Alive! and a pescatarian restaurant called Pesce. Guests at Pesce can go for a dip in the pool before tucking into traditional Filipino stir-fried organic vegetables sautéed in prawn paste with jasmin rice; crispy fillet of red sanpper on homemade bread; or seafood aglio olio. Because we were on the detox plan, we had all of our meals at Alive!
The vegan restaurant takes all of its ingredients from The Farm’s organic gardens and utilising techniques like dehydration, blanching, and fermentation to preserve as much of the vitamins and nutrients as possible. Some of the top dishes we had during our stay were the fresh salad rolls with almond butter sauce; “carbonara” pasta with cashew butter, coconut milk, roasted onion garlic, green peas, coconut bacon, and grated vegan parmesan cheese; and carrot gnocchi with pili nuts, and cashew nuts on a bed of tomato salsa with vegan cheese sauce and parmesan flakes.
With everything they do backed by science and research, the spa options at The Farm are rooted in holistic wellness and rejuvenation. The Acqua Sanctuary fuses hydrotherapy with a traditional spa experience with a flotation pod, Vichy shower therapy, onsen bath, and water acupressure. Our Acqua Lymphatic Cleaning treatment also included dry brushing, time in both a steam sauna and an infrared sauna, a cold bucket shower, and ended with thermal foot therapy.
One of the highlights of our stay was definitely the Hilot Kasuyo treatment. We were welcomed with a floral foot bath before being led into a private hut where we were spoiled with a 90-minute cacao body wrap followed by the most opulent coconut milk bath with rose petals outdoors under the stars. We were served hot tea as our skin soaked up all the nourishing ingredients in the bath. The treatment commenced with a 60-minute massage.
Things to do
Every morning, a schedule of activities was dropped at our doorstep to let us know what was on for the day. From yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and pilates classes to nutrition and wellness talks by external and in-house experts, the daily programme always had something for everyone. Looking further afield, The Farm can also arrange for transfers to any of the nearby golf and country clubs for those looking to get some swings in.
The Farm is a 90-minute drive from Manila, and about an hour and forty minutes from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The hotel can arrange for pick-ups and drop-offs or guests can opt to take their own cars and avail of parking at the property.
Rooms can be booked from £155pppn.