Inside The Farm at San Benito, One of Manila’s Most Luxurious Resorts and Medical Centers
August 29, 2018
The Farm in San Benito opened in 2002 and has since been known for their hollistic approach to wellness. The restorative methods applied to heal the body, mind and spirit combines natural healing with modern medical technology. The facility in Batangas is regarded in the Philippines as a luxury spa destination. Marketing manager Jennifer Sanvictores says they also want to be known as more than a spa. “We really want to emphasize being a medical destination,” she says. The Farm is known abroad for the health benefits of their programs. The international clientele who visit arrive with maladies, physical ailments and aches to illnesses of s more psychological nature.
I arrived early in the morning and had my first meal of the day before any tests could be taken. Everything served at Alive!, The Farm’s all-vegan restaurant, comes from the in-house organic gardens, hand-picked and prepared with innovative methods to give a twist to vegan cuisine. They have received nine international awards recognizing the restaurant’s exemplary efforts in showcasing plant-based food. Alive! is suitable for experienced vegansand those trying out non-meat food for the first time. As an ethusiastic lover of salads and other plant-based meals, I took to all the offerings with gusto. The crunchy granola paired with fruits was a fresh and flavorful dish.
A Lifestyle Change Consultation
After breakfast, I walked to the Holistic Sanctuary, which houses the medical services of The Farm. Dr. Marian Alonso talked me through the introductory medical consultation. She pricked a small amount of blood for the live blood analysis, which is a real-time visual representation of the blood’s components. Dr. Alonso says that while this is not a true diagnostic method, guests being able to see the physical state of their blood cells are often inspired to make lifestyle changes if needed. My blood sample looked normal, with a few irregularities that she pointed out were due to my usual state of dehydration and lack of sleep.
I was taken to another room for brain biofeedback, which examines the state of the body by observing the communication between the brain and differnt body parts. This is done by a unique, non-invasive method that scans brainwaves and interprets my unique biofeedback loop, showing data that spells out which of my body parts are working fine by themselves and which parts need support.
By the time I was done, it was lunch hour. The star of the five-course tasting menu was the mushroom burger. I ate surrounded by the lush landscape of greenery.. Walking around were different avian spieces, from peacocks to geese and ducks. Dr. Alonso mentioned that they have a patient who visits often to get over her fear of birds, which might be difficult in a place with so many birds. I suppose part of getting over your fears is facing them head on?
Clearing & Healing
At The Farm, patients usually get a customized treatment plan after the initial consultation. My next treatment was Psychoemotional Clearing, which is a session that focuses on certain mental and emotional stresses that have made an impact, enough to cause physical ailments. This treatment is meant to address the myriad needs of individuals with issues that range from irritability, to panic, or emotional baggage. Therapeutic in nature, the session releases suppressed issues and reveals hidden emotion. It helps gain clarity about negative feelings. This is particularly helpful for those looking forward in life, away from previous invincible shackles.
My overnight stay was biletted in the Palmera Glass Villa, a beautiful house-like structure surrounded by glass. I spied a peacock walking across the pebbled path. The house is enclosed by walls; the bathroom is supported by glass on one side, which opens to the outside with an outdoor shower and an outdoor bathtub. After a quick and restful nap, it was time for a massage at the Healing Sanctuary.
The Healing Sanctuary accommodates the resort’s spa, with a beautiful infinity pool overlooking verdant palm fronds and forestry. The spa offers several options from massages, detoxifying treatments, scrubs and wraps to body rejuvenations, all of which make use of The Farm’s natural, organic ingredients. The Hilot Tapal Treatment includes fresh herbs and medicinal plants placed on energy points. The process unblocks trapped cold pockets to restore body balance and revive vitality. The masseuse’s hands were strong without being painful, releasing unoticed aches and enlivening the spirit.
A quick walk around the area takes you to the beautiful secret garden and the famed mango tree, which is supposed to have the highest amount of concentrated “energy” in the entire complex. Being in the area gave me the feeling of wholeness and wellness, something I don’t feel very often in the middle of a busy workday in the bustling metropolis of Metro Manila.
The walk back to my room was without incident, as I stepped into a path of geese and broke the silence rule when I screamed in surprise. This hilarious encounter was over soon enough, and I returned to my villa for one of the most healthful sleeps I’ve had in awhile.
The next day, I enjoyed the granola and coconut milk once again before having the Aqua Therapy. Dr. Alonso noted my difficulty in drinking enough water to hydrate myself, and mentioned perhaps it was because I never felt a closeness with water. Aqua Therapy could remedy that.
The newly-built Aqua Sanctuary is the latest building in The Farm. Its main purpose is hydrotherapy, which uses the physical properties of water, like degrees of hotness and coldness, and pressure to help improve blood circulation and alleviate the myriad of symptoms that come with disease. My session was a mix of components. Although some patients take up to three hours, mine was a shortened version of that.
The first step was dry brushing, which works with the use of bristle brushes swept all over the body in a yin and yang motion. This is done to stimulate the blood and lymphatic circulation. I was already feeling relaxed and would’ve enjoyed the session if it were just that. This was followed by 15 minutes sessions in the Aqua Sanctuary’s two saunas: the Oriental sauna, which uses heated rocks to diffuse heat, then the infrared sauna, which settles deeply into the skin and warms the muscles. This was followed by a refreshing cold bucket shower, and a turn at the steam room to help relax joints and muscles.
After, it was time for the floatation pool, more commonly known as the sensory depravation chamber. The prospect was exciting, yet simultaneously terrifying for me because the act of being in an enclosed chamber while floating in a pool of magnesium salt mixed with water for 20 minutes seemed like something out of a deeply unsettling science fiction movie. I did it anyway, and was glad I did. It helped me get into a deep meditative state with calmness all around me
The thermal foot treatment uses an infrared foot spa designed to hit the reflexology points in the foot, while emiting infrared heat and waves to stimulate metabolism. The final step was a hot bed therapy, which includes a head and neck massage. By the end of the entire session, I was ready to fall asleep.
My experience at The Farm at San Benito was unforgettable. I yeared for an extension of that day, to just peacefully stare at the warren of trees and peacocks around me, feeling relaxed and at peace.
The Farm at San Benito is located at 119 Barangay Tipakan, Lipa City. For booking and more information visit www.thefarmatsanbenito.com.