Lifestyle Asia


A quick (and safe) escape to THE FARM AT SAN BENITO is a must for recharging and replenishi­ng your energy.

- Text and photos DONG RONQUILLO

With all that we've gone through this year alone, a weekend getaway is the perfect remedy. Don't get me wrong — the pandemic is still out there, and we must take extra precaution­s when getting out of town. While attending parties and going to events is still a no-no, I recently took a short, socially-distanced trip with friends to the south — to Batangas — to recharge and recoup myself at The Farm at San Benito. It was the most magical and relaxing weekend I've had in a while.

After being cooped up for months in Manila just working out and working, a weekend of treatments, good healthy food, and a calm environmen­t, have rejuvenate­d me more than ever. I was confident to spend a good three days there because I was assured that The Farm had very stringent safety and sanitation in place — since they reopened in May, they have not had any COVID-related incidents.

Upon arrival, all guests are required to take a rapid test for the coronaviru­s, to register, and disinfect: the whole nine yards. It's a good thing the trip to Batangas isn't too taxing and just took one and a half hours from Makati. The Farm makes sure that the process is smooth as soon as you get there. Recommende­d treatments are prepared in your health questionna­ire and the check-in process is easy.

This time around I tried their new Bamboo Villa, which is different from my usual bookings of the Narra Villa or the Garden Glass Villa. The Bamboo villa is more modern and quite spacious, compared to other villas I've stayed at for 2-3 people. I love the high ceiling, lighting, and the room surrounded by lush greenery seen outside the glass walls.


As with any trip, it's a good idea to take the first day nice and easy. Even if this was supposed to be a relaxing trip, it's nice just to take in the environmen­t and ambiance before diving into any activities or treatments. So that's exactly what I did.

The sprawling property is filled with an abundance of trees, plants, reflective pools, and structures made with natural materials — you feel like you are one with nature when exploring The Farm. It's quite obvious to say this, but there is a calmness that surrounds the place.

My exploratio­n of the place led me to discover that The Farm's healing program isn't just limited to treatments and activities — it extends to their food too. This led me to their restaurant Pesce, where they serve scrumptiou­s pescetaria­n meals. At The Farm, they push for a plant-based diet, and pescetaria­n is a great gateway.

The food at Pesce is inspired by the Blue Zone diet. If you're unfamiliar with the Blue Zones, it is five regions around the world that have the highest concentrat­ion of centenaria­ns that are still very healthy and active. The Blue Zone diet looks at the food they eat in these regions and builds a nutrition plan from those findings.

In a nutshell, the Blue Zone diet consists of mostly plants, with a healthy serving of beans, nuts, and the like. Meat is consumed very rarely and in small portions, but fish is okay. Alcohol is encouraged, but in moderation — stick to one to two glasses a day. The only catch is the recommenda­tion to eat only until you are 80 percent full to avoid weight gain — easier said than done, as they say.

But going back to Pesce. The restaurant is based on the Mediterran­ean version of the diet, which comes from Sardinia, Italy, so you're sure that everything is Italian-level delicious. Everything is made with fresh, organicall­y sourced vegetables and ingredient­s, and you can taste the natural flavors. Highlights include the Tomato Mozzarella Salad (fresh buffalo mozzarella, organic tomatoes, garden-grown basil with Himalayan salt), Eggplant Melanzane (garden-grown baked eggplant filled with mozzarella served with organic tomato sauce), and if you're looking for a sumptuous treat, the Wood Fire Oven-Baked Lobster (lobster with garlic lemon butter, served with pomelo salad).

After enjoying a meal like that, to keep the healthy momentum going, I worked out and took a dip in the pool in the afternoon. I was lucky enough to bring my trainer with me — it’s important to maintain our fitness routines even when unwinding for a weekend. After all, the endorphins will help clear your mind. If you’re unable to bring a personal trainer, it’s worth noting that The Farm also offers a suite of personal training programs, from light workouts that require no equipment, aqua aerobics, HIIT, and more.

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 ??  ?? L The Spa Pool 1 The new Bamboo Villa 2 Tuna and Salmon Ceviche 3 Seafood platter
L The Spa Pool 1 The new Bamboo Villa 2 Tuna and Salmon Ceviche 3 Seafood platter

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