The Farm is a high-end health resort set amid jungle mountains near Lipa city, 90 minutes’ drive south of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There’s no beach, no tiki bar, and no Jollibees. So why go?
Lots of reasons. You’re a body transcendentalist. You’re anally fixated. You’re trying to get away from the dude on your flight with rage issues who tells you he’s one of Manny Pacquiao’s trainers before launching into a verbal combination about Chinese people’s etiquette fails. It’s also a good place just to clean out your body’s aircon filters with a mix of yoga, swimming, vegan food, and a gear-change down to low to moderate drinking.
With lush lawns, countless palm trees and blue-green hills receding into the distance, the Farm’s 48 acres look good. Serene. Revivifying. Peacocks and peahens strut the grounds, which encompass six varieties of villas, a 250-year-old mango tree, two large swimming pools and the amphitheater, an open air exercise venue.
The amphitheater hosts twice daily classes teaching different branches of yoga and “yochilates” — a Frankenstein’s monster of yoga, tai chi, and pilates — that are open to guests with even rigor mortis-like inflexibility.
True to the resort’s name, the grounds are also home to long plots of plants that are used both in the kitchen and the resort’s bathroom products. Installed in the showers are refillable ceramic bottles containing satisfyingly scratchy lemongrass body polish and 100 percent virgin coconut oil, which makes a great moisturizer, conditioner and lubricant. The eco-friendly absence of plastic bottles (not to mention toothbrushes — bring your own) means you’ll need to pour the stuff into a water bottle or buy some from the gift shop, because, for real, you’ll want to take some home.
Produce grown on site is also used at the restaurant, ALIVE!. Among its inventions are a delicious egg-less pasta puttanesca, red beet cannelloni with tasty pistachio cheese replicant and a killer chocolate pecan pie. (The rubbery coconut ‘bacon’ is less impressive.) That picture there is the Bombay wrap with Massaman curry, raita and chutney. The emphasis here is on raw food, with about half the dishes on the menu — including sushi rolls and salads bright with tropical fruits — never cooked above 40 degrees celsius. This is the only place to eat at The Farm, but the menu offerings and daily specials are varied and delicious enough that our pre-hatched plan to escape to the closest Jollibee's for a quick meaty, greasy respite never came through.
The drinks list includes wine, beer and cocktails, with the Anderson Valley IPA a standout. But it’s the Farm’s juices and dairy-free smoothies — made with ingredients including fresh fruits, coconut juice, algae, cacao nibs, and homemade nut milks — that are really exceptional. A shot of eye-burningly green wheatgrass juice, with coconut water chaser, could help unjam your colon, but the Farm offers a more hands-on service for that.
Colon hydrotherapy is one of many treatments the Farm provides, along with massages, facials and body scrubs. Sure, there are no proven medical benefits of a colonic (if anything the practice is more likely to cause medical complications), but having someone slip a lubricated hose into your ass, fill it with your chosen potion, and then massage your belly and comfort you as you fart and shit out all your worries is a good time. It’s a socially sanctioned version of the sex dungeon spankings paid for by diaper-wearing yakuza.
Otherwise, days of yoga, wheatgrass, pistachio cheese and coconut bacon should do a pretty good number on those stubborn stools.
[Outbound]: The Farm at San Benito
Get your qi realigned, your chakras fluffed, your karma cleansed and your colon irrigated at this swish health spa and resort in The Philippines.
By Aravind Chandra Mar 21, 2014 2014-03-21