A healthy weekend

’twas the weekend before Christmas… so we decided to go on a healthy weekend break.  We’d heard about The Farm at San Benito through the Lonely Planet originally and then from friends who mentioned it during our time in Manila.  It’s a coconut plantation which has been transformed into a health farm/retreat.  It sounded wonderful, if a bit expensive.  And if I’m completely honest, I never thought that we’d manage a break there.But, we decided to treat ourselves.  Our options for getting out of the city are becoming more and more limited as the due date of the baby nears.  The Farm is only a drive away.  And it’s Christmas, so why not treat ourselves!

We were picked up by The Farm’s transport on Friday afternoon.  Traffic was thick getting out of the city, but once we were past the airport the rest of the drive was fairly quiet.  On arrival, we were given cold coconut water with a slice of cucumber – very refreshing.  It was dark, but the whole resort was atmospherically lit, including our room.  We stayed in one of the Sulu Terrace rooms.  On the ground level there is the bathroom and a Thai-style chill out area.  On the first floor, the small but perfectly formed sleeping quarters.

Photo of Sulu Terrace at The Farm at San Benito

With my big belly and increased need for night-time toilet visits I was a bit wary of the steep steps up to the room.  But, this is where we were to stay so we just compared it to camping and got on with it.  There were no broken bones to report at the end of the trip.

Upon check-in we were reminded that the resort only serves vegan food.  The receptionist was keen to double-check with Mr H that this was ok.  His face must have given away the impression that he couldn’t survive 2 nights without meat!

The food throughout our stay (2 dinners, 1 afternoon tea and 2 breakfasts) was very impressive.  I just couldn’t believe the variety you could achieve using only vegan ingredients.  The highlights were the chocolate and pecan pie on the first night and the granola for the first breakfast.

Collage of vegan meals at The Farm at San Benito

The portion sizes are not vast, but if you go for the set menu you can choose between 2 to 5 courses.  On the first evening, we weren’t sure we were going to be full, so we ordered some bread.  It was delicious, and it came with 3 spreads (cashew ‘butter’, pesto and coconut ‘butter’) but it was rather overpriced for what you got – 300 Pesos (almost £5) for 6 very thin and small slices of bread.

What is there to do at a health farm?  Each day there is a set of activities which you can choose to join, or you can simply find one of the chill-out points around the resort and enjoy the silence doing nothing.  There were 3 yoga classes a day, various other exercise classes, walks around the resort and flower arranging.  We didn’t do any of these.  We lay by the pool, or in the chill-out area under our hut and just really relaxed.  I’ve been having really swollen feet recently, and at the end of the weekend my feet were back to normal size.  It was brilliant.

It was all over too quickly, even though it was nice having 2 nights in a place for a change.  As we headed back to Manila, the air became thicker and smoggier.  But it was wonderful to have fresh, clean air for a whole weekend.

I’d recommend a trip to The Farm, even more so if you can get a good offer.  It’s not cheap, but it is very special.

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