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“I must congratulate you. Your blood is looking much better than last year,” exclaimed the doctor as he examined fast-moving blood cells, smeared onto a glass slide and magnified under a telescope. The patient beamed from ear to ear, thrilled to hear that her dietary and lifestyle adjustments had paid off. The doctor proceeded with the analysis, as the patient viewed magnified images on the computer monitor in wide-eyed wonder, amazed at how her blood could look so much like abstract art works.
Afterwards, the patient stepped out of the cozy clinic and into the beauty of tree-lined walkways, lush gardens, tranquil pools in which ducks and newly-hatched fuzzy yellow chicks swam. For this was no ordinary antiseptic clinic in some stark medical facility, where glaring eggshell-white is the order of the day, the clat-ter of metal the ambient sound, and the smell of medication the expected aroma. This was the The Farm at San Benito, and this medical facility is colored by nature’s resplendent hues, set-off by the sound of chirping birds and flowing water, perfumed by fresh and invigorating smells wafting with clean, crisp breezes.
As you may have guessed, the patient was me. And this chronicles my return to The Farm.
Eden, Before The Fall
I first visited The Farm a year and a half prior to this writing. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful and serene spots this side of the world, and I could barely contain the eagerness I felt upon my return.
Located in the provincial town of Barangay Tipakan, in Lipa City, Batangas, on the southern outskirts of the Greater Metro Manila area, The Farm at San Benito is a relatively easy two-hour drive from Makati City.
Nestled in 48 hectares of gently sloping terrain, serene lagoons, pocket gardens and meditation nooks, lotus ponds, row upon row of coconut and fruit-bearing, vine-covered trees, pristine grounds where peacocks freely roam; this holistic wellness center is in a class all on its own. It is the only resort destination in the Philippines that offers programs focused on the holistic treatment of ailments such as depression, cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and addictions; set in what is truly a veritable Eden, before the fall of mankind.
Nature And Nurture
At The Farm, nature and nurture co-exist in happy unison, each playing a vital role in wellness. Amidst the wondrous setting, one feels right at home in the company of caring staff and medical professionals.
It was a joy to see familiar faces: the very spirited resident manager, Jennifer Hayzen, whose zeal for life is inspiring, and who gives the best hugs; dynamic director of sales and marketing, Jennifer Victores, with her warm and infectious smile; acupuncturist, Doctor of Metaphysical Sciences and Usui Reik, holistic coach and professor Mac Gerald V. Cueto, with a wisdom and kindness of soul way beyond his years. I missed the soothing company of spa manager Lemoiel G. Senillo who was away for the day, but was happy to make the acquaintance of Dr. Jose Miguel Vergara, M.D., CMA, The Farm’s new director of medical and holistic services, whose humor is as endearing as his knowledge left me wanting more of his highly-charged vinyasa flow class, which was infused on only with his skill, but also with his joy.
Part of a Whole
The Farm’s holistic approach to health and wellness ensures that attntion is given to our physical aspect, while also nurturing the parts that are unseen.
Guests can choose from a relaxing and rejuvenating wellness holiday, prevention healing retreats (with a focus on detoxification, so as to achieve optimal nurtrition and health), and several specialized healing retreats that deal with more specific ailments and conditions.
Methods involve integrated medical sevices, cuisine rich in living enzymes, spa treatments and fitness and leisure activities.
Healing retreats range anywhere from 7 to 21 days, although those who just want to get away from highly-stressful city living can opt to visit for a day or two, or four. There’s no better way to usher in a new year than with a new, cleansed and rejuvenated you.
More than a home away from home
No comfort is spared to ensure that guests are at home on The Farm. One can choose from several Villa-types, ranging from the quaint and charming, to the incredibly luxurious and lavish; the Sulu Terraces, Palmera Suites, and the Anahaw Family, Garden, Narra, and Master Villas.
The Narra Villas are the newest addition; and what a fabulous addition they are. Ten masterfully-planned villas spread over a rolling one-hectare parcel of land.
Each Narra Villa has its own garden, private pool and balcony overlooking the paradiscaical forests of Lipa.
The very spacious master bedroom and barthroom are nothing short of exquisite, framed by large picture windows, and sparing no luxury in design and amenities.
The seed of wealth
The Farm’s holistic approach to health applies an integrative medical approach to set you on the right path.
Nutritional Microscopy creates a picture of your health with blood from simple finger prick. “Prof Mac” analyzed my state of wellness via the wet and dry readings of my blood smear. The wet reading reveals nutritional state and contaminants to the blood, while the dry reading shows certain predispositions to disease, as well as past illnesses. The goal is to correct these through cleansing and proper nutrition. The readings were startingly accurate, giving credence to the age-old science of holistic methods.
The next step in my wellness regime was an acupuncture session with Dr. Mike. He targeted problem areas, and stimualted the points associated with immunity, blood production, circulation, emotional and spiritual well-being. With each needle, he imparted a treasure trove of knowledge on wellness and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
There are several specialized treatments (like the detoxifying Coffee Colema, the bood and immunity-boosting Ozone Theraphy to name just a couple) offered at The Farm, each designed to cultivate good “soil” within us, in order to “grow” health and wellness. Doctores are there not to “fix” the person, but to guide us towards nurturing our own innate capacity to cultivte health.
“You are what you eat” – an old adage we’ve heard many times before – is taken to heart at The Farm. Proper nutrition is crucial to the programs and healthful eating is brought up to the next level with Alive! Cuisine. Vegan meals and the freshest of fruit and veggie juices are completely organic, carefully prepared to ensure that each dish is as “raw” as possible, teeming with life-giving enzymes to cleanse and repair the body from within.
All fresh ingredients are grown within the resort, harvested and served on the same day. The organic garden showcases neat rows of the finest leafy greens and stoes of wheat grass, while the surrounding land is the source of all the fruits served. Coconut meat and “The Oil of Life” (virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed right on the grounds) play a starring role in just about everything on The Farm, and are used not only in the cuisine, but also in the spa products and medicinal treatments.
For some, this foray into vegan cuisine may be a great, even intimidating adventure of sorts.But feat not: meals at ALIVE! are not just good for you, but also oh-so-goof for you (with the option of a kid-friendly menu, too). Detoxification has never been this delicious, and your body and taste buds will thank you for it.
Visitors to The Farm must indulge in a spa treatment at the multi-awarded Healing Sanctuary. Skillful therapists bring cleansing and healing by way of the many signature treatments using entirely natural and organic products.
The Skin Kayud- designed to drain toxins from the lymph nodes and purify the lymphatic system through the scraping o the skin – was 120 minutes of pure, detoxifiying bliss. Thereapists began the treatment with a softly-spoken blessing, drizzling warm virgin coconut oil all over my body. This was followed by an extravagant scrub with crushed Mother of Pearl shells. A sensually stimulating body wrap of anti-oxidant rich crushed ginger, turmeric, coconut pulp and cream came next, culminating with a divine soak in a tubful of freshly-squeezed warm coconut milk.
The end result? Lifted spirits, increased immunity, a detoxified system, and glowing skin that felt nothing short of brand new.
The price of health
In 300 BC, Herophilus, The Greek physician said, “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be executed, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.”
This statement, though made in ancient times, still rings true today. Truer, perhaps, given the ravages of urbanization on our health.
There is no better place to learn the value of health than at The Farm. Once more, I came away happier, healthier, refreshed, energized and inspired to cultivate health from within me. For health, indeed, is priceless.