the farm at san benito, philippines

Taste-testing fresh coconut milk!

Taste-testing fresh coconut milk!

The Farm is like one big nursery for adults: you’re nourished with good food, nurtured and pampered like a baby, massaged in coconut oil from head to toe, and by the end of it, you feel as if you’ve just had five days’ worth of Sundays.

I read about this holistic health and spa resort in a spa feature a few years ago and I instantly wanted to go. It pretty much combines one of my favourite places with plenty of my favourite things.

Every day involved delicious raw treats, coconut in some decadent form (think: body scrubs, smoothies, ice-cream, soaps and hair oil just to name a few), beauty treatments and time out to read and relax in nature.

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The Infinity Pool overlooking the coconut plantation outside the treatment rooms

The Infinity pool overlooking outside the treatment rooms

The Farm is just 90 minutes drive south of the capital Manila and covers over fifty hectares of lush green jungle and coconut trees. Just staying on the resort alone, with its fresh air and greenery, is therapeutic.

My mum and I went for the wellness holiday package which focuses on delicious vegan food and a mix of spa and integrative medical treatments over five days and four nights.

For the most part, it was relaxing and there was plenty of ‘me’ time as my mum and I had different schedules because of our treatment and health assessment times, so we got to spend our bonding time over our amazing five-course meals.

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Having said that, our days were pretty flexible in that we had a choice to do as little or as much as we wanted. I couldn’t help but try almost all the activities they had on offer including the morning walks, a flower arrangement class, sunset yoga, a vegan cooking class, a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour on how they make their coconut oil and products and a horticultural walk (where you learn about the different vegetables and herbs they grow at The Farm for food and medicinal purposes).

Here were some of the highlights:

The food:

I can’t even begin to describe how delicious and fresh the food is here. I actually felt sorry for the people doing the detox program (which focuses on juices alongside enemas and colonics) because they missed out on the five course meals we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

If you’ve been to Earth to Table in Bondi, think of that kind of food every day- mostly raw, vegan and nothing cooked over 40 degrees to retain many of the enzymes and nutrients in the food. The idea is to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Most of the ingredients (roughly 60 per cent) are grown on The Farm. Some of the dishes included RedBeet and Caramalised Onion Soup, Carrot Kale “Gnocchi” and Mocha Chocolate Cream Cake!

Nut milk and raw granola topped with banana and prunes

Nut milk and raw granola topped with banana and prunes

Ingredients for the vegan, raw, chocolate ice-cream

Ingredients for the vegan, raw, chocolate ice-cream

The ‘Skin Kayud’ treatment:

I’ve been told that this is one of the most popular treatments at The Farm. It involves coconut oil massaged all over your body by two therapists followed by a scrubbing sort of technique using a mother-of-oil-pearl shell (it’s pretty gross but one of the therapists said they stuff they scraped off my skin was black! Just goes to show how much dirt is on your skin).

The vigorous strokes stimulate the lymphatic system, helping your body to detoxify. Afterwards, you’re treated to an indulgent coffee bath with some herbal teas.

Relaxing in the outdoor coffee bath

Relaxing in the outdoor coffee bath

A coffee enema / colema:

At first I was hesitant about having a coffee enema. After all, doesn’t nature take care of itself? But everyone I met doing the detox was swearing by it so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go.

If you’re not familiar with this kind of awkward procedure, a nurse basically puts a tube up your behind that shoots up warm coffee water (which is said to be an excellent solution to colon blockage, detoxing the liver, stripping the colon of undigested waste and therefore improving digestive function). You then get the urge to push it out as if you’re doing a number two… but instead of going once you go several times until you feel like you’ve emptied yourself out. Afterwards, you get a warm compress, tea and some probiotics to balance your gut bacteria. It might not be the most pleasant experience you’ll ever do (expect to get some cramps during and after) but I felt de-bloated and lighter.

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Meeting Dr Ron:

Dr Ron is an integrative medical practitioner (he believes in both western and natural therapies and splits his time working in a hospital and doing health consults at The Farm) who conducted my live blood analysis on the first day of my stay. This involved a drop of blood that is analysed under a microscope and you can see it on screen. He told me I could be lacking in folate and a little iron and suggested some lifestyle tweaks for optimum health. Our consultation was more of a chat about preventative health, Ayurvedic medicine, our favourite health books and websites and spiritual nutrition.

Me and my mum

Me and my mum

A nutritional assessment:

This was more beneficial for my mum and being an aspiring nutritionist I was fascinated how the consultation would go. Basically the on-site nutritionist, Laarni Yu, asks you what you usually eat on a regular basis, what your goals are and makes diet recommendations to help you reach your goals. She then gives you information on how our hormone levels and metabolism changes throughout the day and what foods we should be eating for everything to be functioning properly.

The finished result of our flower arrangement class

The finished result!

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The view before our sunset yoga class

The view before our sunset yoga class

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Early morning walks through the resort becomes a daily ritual

Early morning walks through the resort become a daily ritual

Much love,

christine-x

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