The Farm at San Benito
By Cai U. Ordinario
THE Farm at San Benito has earned a reputation for being an expensive resort—with enough reason. Its highest package for a five-day detoxification retreat stay was P63,000 per person and its lowest package for a tour of the farm, use of the swimming pool, a meal at the Gourmet restaurant and boutique items is P900.
One Thursday I motored to San Benito, with some media people, to know what the buzz was all about. When we arrived, the smell of fresh air, the sweet chirping of songbirds, and cold glasses of buko juice greeted our group—a fine welcome for a most expensive respite.
The morning was made more perfect by a mid-morning yoga session that removed our sleepy dispositions. By midday, we had our fill of a hearty five-course pure vegetarian cuisine composed of seed chips, tomato soup, fresh salads, a choice between enchaladas and sweet pumpkin, and banana split. The rest of the afternoon was spent with movement yoga under one of the huge mango trees in the farm.
These are just some of the things you can do at the Farm at San Benito, a nine-hectare wellness and health resort dedicated to the tenets of alternative medicine. Also known as the Hippocrates Resort of Asia, the Farm at San Benito is a hospital and resort in one that caters to individuals willing to take on an all-natural way of healing and lifestyle.
Hippocrates inspired philosophy
Eckard Rempe, a German who has been living in the country for 30 years, is a firm believer of the benefits of alternative medicine. Having imbibed Hippocrates’ philosophy on well-being achieved through natural methods and not complex scientific processes, Rempe has been an advocate of natural methods to good health.
In 1999, together with his Filipina wife, Perla, Eckard started building on a 48-hectare property at the foothills of Mount Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas. The huge verdant property, which spans two barangays, barangay Tipakan and San Benito, was a former coconut and coffee plantation rich with natural amenities—gardens, ponds, moun-tains, rivers, lagoons and waterfalls.
Patterned after the health spas in Bali, Indonesia, the resort was formally opened on December 14, 2002. Focusing on Hippocrates’ holistic medical principles, the Farm offers clients the best alternative healing experience through its yoga and meditation pavilions, spa facilities, purely vegetarian restaurant and accommo-dations.
“Our staff of experts is able to assist each individual by concentrating on the whole person: body, mind and spirit, in order to identify the cause of any particular disease. The actual ‘work’ is done through the introduction of an optimum health-supporting diet, physical detoxification programs, mental detoxification, and reconnecting with one’s higher consciousness in order to release negative emotions and childhood condi-tioning,” the Rempes said.
Meditation and medicine
There are two health centers at the Farm, the Salus Per Aqua Spa and the Hippo-crates Health Institute of Asia. These two centers promote the Farm’s vision of a “proactive, preventive stance toward health” for all its guests.
The Salus Per Aqua Spa offers foot reflexology, deep relaxation massage, Thai massage, therapeutic and stone massage. It also includes body scrubs such as the popular lulur and boreh, as well as the more exotic moxa ventoza.
The Farm also offers “massage under the stars” where guests can enjoy a soothing view of Mount Malarayat at dusk with a romantic atmosphere provided by candlelights surrounding the sides of the infinity pool.
On top of that, all massages utilize virgin coconut oil, which the Farm produces. The virgin coconut oil they produce, though it does not carry its own brand, has recently been accredited by the Philippine Coconut Authority, said Jennifer Sanvictores, the Farm’s marketing manager.
Meanwhile, the health institute offers one-hour medical consultation, iris analysis, dark field microscopy, kirilian electrophotography, colon hydrotherapy and colema treatments, derma ray massage and psycho-emotional analysis.
The institute also focuses on toxin elimination from the body through a special detoxification program. This program includes effective bowel movement, skin brushing, high-enzyme raw vegetarian nutri-tion, moderated exercise, and spiritual and emotional renewal.
The institute, through its doctors, nurses, and other medical profes-sionals, has also taken under its wing several patients suffering from serious degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer. These medical professionals help patients through holistic health methods that include enhancing the immune system’s function, rebuilding of health from the cellular level and reversing the degenerative effects of aging, poor nutrition and stress.
Being a vegan, Rempe has built a purely vegetarian gourmet restaurant, 85/15 Gourmet Cuisine Restaurant, inside the resort. Their menu includes a host of soups, salads, and favorites like enchiladas, croquettes, sushi rolls, cheeses, tropical sorbetes, cakes, pies and parfaits made from fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.
However, though the food is the main attraction of the restaurant, the ambience adds much to the Farm’s complete dining experience. Gourmet’s all-natural cuisine can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors, whichever way a guest prefers eating their meal.
The Gourmet serves 85 percent of its food raw to preserve the natural enzymes that are removed by cooking. The restaurant cooks food at only 42 degrees Celsius since a hotter temperature would destroy the natural enzymes.
“We use specially designed dehydrators that give raw foods the appearance of being cooked without overheating and destroying the enzymes. The soup (is also) served warm rather than hot in order to preserve these valuable nutritional rejuvenators,” the Farm stated.
Since most of the Farm’s health packages come with overnight or several days stay, the Farm has also assured their guests of top-of the line accommodations. There are four to choose from: the Sulu Terrace, Palmera Suite, Anahaw Villa and the Garden Villa, each one with its own style and ambience.
The Sulu Terrace is characterized by individual nipa-hut styled rooms with cozy interiors. These are modeled after the “traditional rice barns” of the Visayas with wood-beamed ceilings, thatched roofs and a sitting area under the main room. All huts are airconditioned.
The Palmera Suite, on the other hand, is designed in a tropical modern style surrounded by a spacious garden, which can be enjoyed from private lanais. Each suite is also provided with open-air showers and comfortable 12-foot ceilings.
Meanwhile, the Anahaw Villas are native two-floor accommodations located at the hillside overlooking the west side stream bordering the Farm. This is a small-scale version of the Garden Villas which are the first class accommodations at the Farm.
The six Garden Villas provide guests with the most private atmosphere at the Farm. Each villa has its own lanai and garden. Villa accents include four canopied poster beds, Thai silk beddings and curtains, vaulted ceilings, and a full bath with private outdoor bathtub and shower.
As of press time, the Farm at San Benito does not have an office in Manila. For inquiries and reservations, please call or text 90917)536-8879 or call 822-9056/ 6963795 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.thefarm.com.ph