Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Me Time" in Lipa

The other day I headed down to Lipa to stay at The Farm at San Benito for some much-needed R&R. It was long overdue and I'd been trying to find two free days I could block off to spend some time here, and finally I found it this week after all the holiday rush was over.

For me The Farm is a really convenient getaway compared to so many other detox places, so I try to go here as often as possible. That's probably once a quarter, for at least an overnight stay. And yes, I like the food, and the fact that I always drop a kilo or two after a stay here.

Curry at The Farm

Interestingly The Farm was very busy even after the New Year's and all. In fact there were so many foreigners and most of them were on a week-long serious detox. I found this out the funny way, as I couldn't help noticing how I was told The Farm was pretty full but I was the only one in the restaurant for three meals in a row.


"Where's everyone?" I finally asked one of the staff. And that's how I learned that almost everyone there was staying for about a week and basically not eating. Serious detox, but a great way to start the year right with good health and less toxic substances. I would certainly do it if I could.

I basically filled my schedule up with all the treatments I liked: the four-hands Yin Yang Dry Brushing, a facial, and something called the Tibetan Steam Therapy. I also always try to book the longest therapeutic massage I can, preferably after dinner and under the stars. It was my Me Time, after all.


Happiness is seeing a whole family of peacocks
on your way to breakfast.

But somewhere in between my hectic not-supposed-to-be-hectic days, I had a chat with Resident Manager Jennifer Hazen. Apparently The Farm is undertaking major construction this year, with an entire new set of private villas going to be built on a lovely ridge behind its restaurant. Each villa will be luxuriously modern and equipped with a private pool. If all goes well, these will be completed and ready for guests by Christmas this year.

At the moment, it's only the Master Villa that has a private pool, and that's my favorite place to stay at. It's really beautifully done with a very nice bedroom with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a lovely terrace to just sit around in, admiring all the greenery.

But if I'm by myself, I usually take either the Garden Villa or the Palmera Suite as the Master Villa is just too big for one person. Beautiful and luxurious as it is, it would creep me out to have all that privacy.

This stay, I took a Garden Villa and they gave me one on the side that I usually don't take. I often take the villa that's nearest the pond as it's really quiet and it overlooks a ridge. But this time, I had one of the villas near the spa -- Villa 15, to be exact -- and I liked it a lot. For one thing, it's a skip and a hop to the spa, and it has a real feeling of being in a house as it's fenced on all sides.


Each villa has a slightly different layout as well, but this one was just right in size and layout for me. It doesn't have the expansive feeling of some of the other villas, but for a short stay, it's nice and cozy.

I also never pass this way near Villa 15 as the property is so large and my usual accommodations are in another part of the estate. But this time, by staying in Villa 15, I realized how similar it looks to the Aman Resort in Ubud. They have the same kind of walkways between the villas, and that same feeling of peace.

I hated to leave but real life was calling me back to Manila. In fact, on my check-out day, I even had to rush back to Manila for a 5 PM meeting at the Fort.

"Better than nothing," Jennifer and I agreed. And truly it was. It was such a nice way to start the year. Just another couple of days in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

For my last meal at The Farm,
I splurged on calories and had this relatively sinful
and absolutely delicious chocolate tart.

To commemorate the resilience of the Japanese people
one year after the Great Earthquake,
and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese culture.




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