When we think about Philippines, we always think of the white sand beaches and the amazing tropical weather we have in the country, but there is actually more to the Philippines. We also have one of the best spa resorts in the world and it is only a few hours away from Manila?
Approximately 3 to 4 hours away from Manila depending on the traffic, THE FARM - San Benito in Lipa City is a place to relax, refresh, or just to get away from the busy lifestyle in the city.
As a birthday gift to my special friend, I couldn't think of any better idea but to book a staycation at The Farm. I booked online via their website and was confirmed immediately.
We arrived early for the 2:00 pm check-in time since we wanted to walk around the this luxury spa resort. We were also very lucky with the weather during our stay . Here is a map of The Farm for your future reference.
It did not take long after our arrival to already have a feeling of peace and calm owing to the serenity of our surroundings. The staff were very friendly and accommodating - a foretaste of the hospitality so prevalent among all the employees of The Farm.
As you walk through the gorunds you cannot help but be amazed by the lush tropical forest and environment of the resort. The whole resort is naturally landscaped and this is just one of the many reasons why guests enjoy their visit toThe Farm - San Benito
For our stay, I booked The SULU TERRACE. This nipa hut inspired room is air -conditioned and provides everything you need in the room. The toilet is located downstairs and you have an extra al fresco bed - ideal for an afternoon nap or just reading a book.
Their Vegan restaurant called ALIVE is a gourmet restaurant with a difference creating beautiful and healthy organic dishes fresh from their garden.
For starters, we ordered this delicious FRESH SALAD ROLL with ALMOND BUTTER SAUCE.
For our mains, we ordered the TF LUSH SUBWAY SANDWICH - it is a 6" foccacia bread with vegan sausage topped with greens, alfalfa, and nut cheese. Yum Yum!
A great way to end your lovely dinner is this luscious rich CHOCOLATE Cake and it was superb!
Note: Some people don't really welcome the concept of full vegan restaurant. At first we were the same, but the food was enjoyable since we enjoy healthy food and we could easily survive without eating meat. Just try it and think of the benefits it can give you! I am sure you will be a believer too!
The Farm offers different wellness programs, massages and treatments that their guests could enjoy. A friend of mine had his massage at the Healing Sanctuary. Just make sure to book ahead of time.
Guests can also enjoy different morning and afternoon activities held at the AMPHITHEATER like Qigong, Meditation, Taichi Quan, Vinyasa Yoga and many more.
Aside from the Amphitheater, The Farm also has a place called MEDITATION Sala in different locations throughout the resort where guests can peacefully meditate, do their own yoga, read a book, or simply just relax.
A resort is never complete without a swimming pool. The Farm San Benito has two infinity pools that are truly inviting. This is really one of the best infinity pools I've seen. This infinity pool is located inside the HEALING SANCTUARY.
And this one is located in the Southern part of the resort few meters away from ALIVE! Restaurant.
Right across the Amphitheater, you will find their big lagoon. We walked around this area early in the morning and as the sun shines through the palm trees, we were just in awe specially after seeing the reflection on the the lagoon. It was picture perfect!
"I am in a world of pure imagination" - Willy Wonka
Another picture perfect and one of the best places to relax is this huge MANGO TREE next to the big lagoon and amphitheater. Mosses cover the entire area creating a nice back drop. One of the best places to hang out for an afternoon nap in The Farm.
After being fascinated by this beautiful spa resort, we headed back the ALIVE! Restaurant for our complimentary breakfast. We had a mixture of fruits, green salads, and a muesli with coconut milk. Delicious!
Another favorite spot of ours to relax is this hidden waterfall pool right next to the Secret Garden. The water was cold and refreshing. Because it was hidden, it was so private that you could have it to yourself. Perfect for those who want to have their ME time!
For people who are looking for a nice place to relax, be pampered, or to simply looking for a quick escape from their busy lifestyle. We highly recommend The Farm! This award-winning spa resort really goes beyond expectations and it's nice to know that this is only few hours away from Manila.
MAP & ADDRESS TO THE FARM AT SAN BENITO
119 Barangay Tipakan, 4217, Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines
Contact Number: +6328848074
Located in the Souther part of Mindanao, home of the very infamous Durian fruit, and home of our current President, Rodrigo Duterte, this bustling city of Davao has so much to show and to impress tourists.
During our weekend adventure in Davao, we tried to fit in as many places as we could to explore. During our stay in this vibrant city, we were accommodated right in the heart of Davao, at the MARCO POLO HOTEL. This hotel was so central, it made exploring so much easier.
Just outside Marco Polo Hotel, you will find ALDEVINCO. This is a perfect place to look for presents to take home. Find local souveniers, handicrafts and jewellery native to the Mindanao region. It is advised not to rush your trip here as there are so many things to see and buy at a very good price.
After a nice brunch at the hotel, Olan Fernadez of Travel Teller, picked us up and took us to see a historical landmark, the CITY HALL OF DAVAO, built in 1926. This is a great location to start off Davao city tour.
The city is surrounded with different parks which is a favorite hang out of people during weekend. One of them is the QUEZON PARK that stand right across from the City Hall. Here you will find a sculptures of the different attractions unique to Davao such as the Durian, Orchids and Mt. Apo which is the highest mountain in the Philippines.
Next to Quezon Park is a slightly bigger park called The RIZAL PARK. This is also a famous park for concerts and other performances since there is a big stage adjacent to it. Here you will find people getting massages, pedicures and manicures, or even just to feed the birds which was fun enough.
OSMEÑA PARK is among the three parks that are located in the heart of Davao. This park is lush with trees and another favorite location for people who want to relax or play checkers with friends.
Not far away from the city hall is the oldest church in Davao city, SAN PEDRO CATHEDRAL which was built in 1847 during the Spanish era. The first time I looked at the front church, it reminded me of a boat. This church is so different from the other churches I've visited before but the faith of the people remain strong just as in any of the other churches.
Our trip to Davao was not complete without a visit to the DAVAO CROCODILE PARK. I was amazed when I saw the size of other crocodiles in the park. Aside from the crocodiles, you will see other animals in captivity and also in an open area. A must watch in the park is the animal show where birds and other primates put on a show which was very entertaining. I also like the fact that they integrated the care for the environment like the 3R's in the program.
Also a walk away from the Crocodile Park is a cultural village called TRIBU K'MINDANAWAN. Here you will get to discover more about the vibrant culture of Davao. Do not forget to watch the amazing fire dance show and a cultural performance held at Kaonanan Restaurant .
Our adventure was not over yet, if you want to see the city of Davao at night, then drive to Shrine Hills Rd, and check out JACK'S RIDGE. Aside from the amazing view of the city, this place is surrounded by different cafes and restaurants that will surely satisfy your taste buds.
While I was in Europe, one place we did visit was the STATUE OF DAVID in Florence. And when Olan told us that they also have a replica of the statue, we immediately checked it out because I was so curious. The statue is located on the Sea Wall of Davao or Queensland. There are only few replicas of this masterpiece in the whole world. Though not exactly the same, I admire the fact that Davao is one of the few places where you can find a replica like this.
Not far away from Marco Polo Hotel where we were staying. We walked to a street which becomes busy at night. ROXAS NIGHT MARKET is bustling with different street foods and other trading activities in the area.
People from all walks of life come here just to enjoy the evening and food. I don't know if I am ready to try Durian fruit yet, but I was able to enjoy it in the form of Ice Cream! Ha ha!
Unfortunately, the Roxas Night Market was struck by a bomb explosion that killed 14 innocent people last September 2, 2016. It was a very sad moment for the people of Davao and also for the country. But the people were very resilient and though the security in Davao was on high alert, business has to go on.
I am so thankful I was able to visit this beautiful city of Davao. Though our stay was short, I am definitely coming back! I would personally like to thank the following people who were with me, Atty Mark Estur, Kirk Acebron, Darwin Miranda Cayetano for being such a great company during the whole trip.
I would also like to thank Olan Fernandez for his great hospitality and also for touring us around the city.