When I want to escape from a world that seems to be closing in, there are two places I'll head to first: either Chiva Som in Thailand or The Farm at San Benito in Batangas.
I like both, but The Farm at San Benito almost always wins by default.
THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF PROXIMITY
It's a no brainer, really. I love Chiva Som, but it takes eight hours to get there door to door -- it's three hours to Bangkok, one hour each to navigate both Manila and Bangkok airport, and another three hours in a car to Hua Hin in light traffic -- so I can't just wake up one morning and decide to go.
Well, technically, I can. But I haven't done a visit to Chiva Som in that kind of very spontaneous way yet.
In comparison, The Farm is 90 minutes away from Makati CBD. In my time-poor Travelife, I can do some form of a detox and R&R in just 24 hours without having to think about passports, overweight luggages and complicated logistics. You just get into the car and go. What a luxury this is.
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ON A WHIM AND A CAR FULL OF GAS
So, on Thursday morning, that's exactly what I did. Quite late in the game, I decided I wanted to get away so I booked my favorite Master Villa at The Farm for an overnight stay.
I should've stayed longer for a proper detox, or even for a proper R&R for that matter; but 24 hours was all I could find that I could cancel appointments from and secure for an R&R; and with this done, I headed out of Manila almost as quickly as I arrived from Malaysia a few days ago.
THE IDEAL RETREAT
The Master Villa is the nicest villa at The Farm. It's almost like having your own weekend house in the forests of Batangas, as it's an enclosed property with its own pool, terrace and gardens. In fact, as long as I have The Farm to go to, I don't think I'll ever think seriously about owning a weekend house in Batangas.
Right now, it's the only villa at The Farm with a private pool -- but that's going to change soon, and you're reading all about it first here tomorrow -- and it's really wonderful for privacy and just getting away from it all.
BACK ON TRACK
As soon as I got to the Master Villa, that very nice feeling of calmness returned after the chaos of Manila. I happily spent the first 15 minutes booking all my favorite treatments -- this was "Me Time" after all -- and this included detox treatments at the spa and at the medical clinic.
I usually book mostly spa treatments as I really just like to relax when I'm here, and make believe that I am getting thinner and hopefully prettier in the process.
Well, I was only there 24 hours and I opted to do juices and salads for my entire stay.
And then just as I was heading back to Manila on Friday afternoon, a friend of mine texted to see what I was doing that evening. It was a Friday night after all and everyone else was probably up to something, but I'd canceled everything on Thursday and Friday, you see, to make time for a relaxed stay at The Farm.
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As I was officially on a detox I'd patiently done for 24 hours, I certainly didn't want to end up in a restaurant or a bar immediately afterwards, upon returning to Manila. So I texted back: "I don't want dinner or drinks. Do you want to come with me for a walk around the neighborhood instead?"
I thought this would kill three birds with one stone: we would get to talk, I would get some exercise, and I could still keep on track with my detox.
Mind you, I'd never walked around my neighborhood before, so this was certainly a first. And any friend of mine will tell you how uncharacteristic it is of me to suggest a neighborhood walk on a Friday night. Fortunately this friend was game, so he came over at about 9 PM and off we went on a pretty brisk walk for about 90 minutes.
It was fun and also pretty purposeful to be taking a walk rather than having dinner or a drink. In fact it was so enjoyable that we agreed to do it again sometime.
And today, when I weighed myself, I'd lost a kilo since Thursday morning. Now to the task of keeping that kilo off -- that's the really hard part, by the way, especially in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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