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by Bianca Salonga, Forbes | October, 2017

No one destination or treatment program can fit all health needs and travel expectations.

The Aegle Wellness Center is a health facility located on Balesin Island that offers programs for finding balance and restoring health.

The Philippines, as a travel destination, is most known for pristine shores and clear blue waters. Whenever someone is headed to the country of 7107 islands, the beach remains top-of-mind as far as vacationing is concerned.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

Sprawling jungle landscapes at The Farm at San Benito make for an ideal setting for relaxation and meditation.

There are a number luxury resorts that offer a premium experience of country’s natural wonders. Some of the properties that particularly stand out are those that focus on holistic wellness and healing. The rise in establishments that promote the healthy lifestyle is a response to the growing number of travellers who seek a holiday experiences that promotes overall wellbeing.

Photo courtesy of Anya Resort and Residences

Weekends at Anya Resort and Residences are enhanced by modern Filipino interiors and distinct brand of Philippine hospitality.

These wellness destinations, whether located in the highlands or on a private island provide guests with services, amenities and treatments that help relax, rejuvenate and refresh the mind, body and soul. It is boot camp with a view. And while clean eating and working out is definitely on the menu, healthy Michelin-starred degustation dinners and sunrise yoga sessions are but few of the things that enhance the experience. No one destination or treatment program can fit all health needs and travel expectations. Here's a guide to help you decide with health and wellness destination will work best for you.

Anya Resorts and Residences in Tagaytay

Photo courtesy of Anya Resorts and Residences

All 88 suites at Anya are designed for ultimate comfort with close attention to detail so guests feel right at home.

What To Expect: Anya will never claim to serve only organic fare. “Not everything that is naturally grown is organic. The term is so easily thrown around nowadays and with little caution. At Anya, we pride ourselves for embracing the all natural lifestyle,” explains Marketing Head Joey Silvestre.

A homegrown luxury resort brand in the Philippines, Anya Resort and Residences is sanctuary where “time is the ultimate luxury.” The property aims to offer guests a bespoke getaway experience where one feels like they are in a family home. It is through the smallest details that this is achieved. Bedrooms are set up to suit guests’ preferences.

Which pillows offer you the best comfort? Down or buckwheat? How do you want your beddings done? With a duvet or comforter? What about your morning coffee? Fancy a French press or a classic brew? There is also variety when choosing nibbles in the mini bar. Several jars containing dried fruits and nuts are available in the suites to offer healthy and all natural alternatives to junk food.

Photo courtesy of Anya Resorts and Residences

You know you've found home as soon as you are welcomed by the signature Anya drink made of fresh calamansi, ginger and honey.

A new addition to the Small Luxury Group of Hotels, Anya’s boutique hotel approach enhances a mini break. Upon arrival a warm cup of tablea (local chocolate) or a flute of fresh juice welcome guests. Modern Filipino suites are specially designed for ultimate comfort and pampering. It is the kind of home away from home where one can enjoy the luxury of staying under sheet way past usual waking hours.

There are also several food outlets in the property. Samira is a fine dining establishment that offers a degustation menu created by renowned chef Emmanuel Stroobant. Fine wines or craft beers are an option for those feeling a little indulgent.

Photo courtesy of Anya Resort and Residences

Fine dining restaurant Samira and the poolside food outlet Anila only use the freshest, all natural ingredients.

Don’t Miss:

Photo courtesy of Anya Resort and Residences

Well appointed suites are designed using modern Filipino design sensibilities.

Photo courtesy of Anya Resort and Residences

After a private yoga session or a trek nearby Taal lake, luxuriate in the heated infinity pool.

The cozy set up inside all 88 suites will immediately incline one to stay in all day and night. Room service is impressive to say the least with meals and other requests arriving promptly even on a weekend with full occupancy. Guests who are up for something more active may also ask the Lifestyle Assistants to arrange for private yoga sessions or even a trek along nearby Taal Lake in the early morning. For those travelling with family, the popular activity of choice would be an afternoon in the heated infinity pools followed by a healthy midday snack at the Anila poolside restaurant.

Anya Resort and Residences is located at Buenvista Avenue, Tolentino West, Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines.

The Farm in San Benito in Lipa, Batangas

Photo courtesy of The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito is best known for Detox Cleanse Programs and Mind and Body Rejuvenation weekend stays.

What To Expect: Healing and restoration are two things that The Farm at San Benito does not take lightly. Lauded as one of the first wellness destinations in the country, The Farm offers guests the opportunity to restore and rejuvenate within a sprawling jungle landscape. The environment is both picturesque and tranquil so as to allow the best healer, Mother Nature, to work its magic.

As soon as you check in, all stressors and toxic elements are left at the gate. That means absolutely no smoking, alcohol, junk food or any other element that may keep you from fully enjoying the farm life experience. It may be a little unnerving especially for a guest who likes their city comforts but it’s always a good idea to pack an open mind and heart.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

Treatments at The Farm are designed to help detoxify and restore body, mind and soul.

Vehicles are only allowed up to the reception area after which guests are encouraged to explore the sprawling jungle gardens by foot. There are several treatment programs on offer of at The Farm. Most guests book a three to five day sojourn for the signature Detox Cleanse. It is a program that aims to cleanse the body through medically guided colonics, juice fasting and lymphatic draining. All programs at The Farm merge Western medicinal practices and Eastern healing philosophies.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

The Garden Glass villa is a heaven for deep slumber.

Nature, being the ultimate healer, surrounds the villas and various facility centers of the property. A few nights at The Farms Garden Villa can refresh the mind, body and soul. Apart from premium amenities that blend seamlessly with the properties natural terrain, there are elements in the suites that enhance the farm experience. There is a tea set that includes infusions of Alkaline, Periwinkle and Pito Pito. They are best enjoyed late in the afternoon or at night before dozing off.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

The master villas features a private dipping pool.

The cleansing ritual, which may also be enjoyed  in the outdoor tub, is made more enjoyable with in-house concoctions of organic body scrub, shampoo and conditioner. These fragrant products are 100 percent all-natural and may also be purchased to take back home in the gift shop.

Don’t Miss: A Mind and Body Restoration weekend at The Farm is ideal especially for those who want to take a break from toxic city living. A two and a half drive south from the capital is enough to arrive in time for a healthy lunch at the resort’s Alive restaurant. This food outlet serves gourmet vegan fare. Specialties on the menu include Grilled Tofu Steak and Grilled Aubergine with Ratatouille. The food at Alive is also decidedly glutten free so even the pasta dishes are made of vegetables. Interestingly, they top off a vegan version of Carbonara with nut cheese. As for coffee, it is served with the option to add coconut milk.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

Dishes served at Alive are purely vegan, gluten and diary free.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

Fresh fruit shakes from Alive are concocted to serves as meals in themselves. They are packed with vitamins and nutrients that sustain the body especially during fasting.

Photo courtesy of The Farm in San Benito

Arise before the break of dawn for a restorative yoga sunrise experience.

Each day at The Farm, a schedule of activities are lined up. Among those that guests should make time for are the yoga sessions, food preparation seminars as well as a relaxing morning devoted to Mandala flower arrangement. It is worth waking up earlier that usual for an hour of sunrise yoga. Later in the day, head back to the meditation hut for Yin Yoga. This relaxing work out places is centered on the idea of holding poses for longer periods of time. By sunrise, a stroll towards the Healing Sanctuary is recommended. Enjoy The Farm’s signature fruit shake while lounging poolside. Otherwise, book for an Alkaline Bath or a Skin Kayud And Kalawag Body Detox.

Photo courtesy of The Farm at San Benito

The Kalawag Treatment uses the natural healing properties of ginger and tumeric resulting in the elimination of toxins and visibly moisturized skin.

The Farm at San Benito is located at 119 Barangay Tipakan, Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines.

Aegle Wellness Center at Balesin Island, Quezon

State of the art medical facilities and Thalassotherapy pools distinguish Aegle from other health facilities.

What to Expect:

Located at the Mykonos Village of Balesin Island, the Aegle Wellness Center is a premium wellness destination that distinguishes itself through state-of-the-art medical facilities and worldclass Thalassotherapy pools. Being located in an exclusive island accessible only to members is an added plus.

A weeklong program at Aegle is designed to cover diagnostics, workout routines, detox, nutritional planning as well as spa treatments and yoga sessions. Diagnostics begin with the assessment of a guests’ current state of health through blood analysis and a general medical check up. A customized diet and supplement plan is then recommended. At Aegle, guests are given a month-long supply of vitamins and other supplements tailored to what the body needs. This is complimented with regular consultations with a nutritionist who will help create a diet plan suited to specific health goals, concerns and lifestyle.

Diets and supplements are customized to suit the goals, concerns and lifestyle of each guest.

Photo by Bianca Salonga

Initial consult with the facility’s in-house doctors help to define goals and come up with a sustainable health plan. Each day follows a schedule of early breakfast, one on one workout at the island’s gym, a soothing dip at the Thalassotherapy pool followed by steam bath and lymphatic massage. By midday, there are medical treatments prescribed depending on the condition of the guest. Intravenous Detox drips (also known as Hangover Heaven) or 40 minutes inside the Hyperbaric Chamber are some of the treatments in the facility that help to restore balance to the body and strengthen the immune system.

Consultation with nutritionists and attending physicians take place in a picturesque setting inspired by Greece.

While the idea of spending an entire week to detox may seem like boot camp, there is comfort in knowing that Aegle’s approach to healthy eating is centered on finding the right portions and balance. Meals are taken at various outlets on the island that may also include a portioned dinner of sautéed tenderloin meat and salad at Costa del Sol or grilled fish and couscous for lunch at Mykonos. The nutritionist who will sit with guests each meal to discuss sustainable healthy eating. At Aegle, the trained staff believe in balanced diets without deprivation.

Don’t Miss: Take every opportunity to relax in the Thalassotherapy pools, which are jet pools filled with seawater, minerals and essential oils. Each pool is specifically configured to address inflammation, skin conditions and body sores. It is especially soothing to enjoy a few minutes in the healing waters as you hear the sound of crashing waves and feel a fresh sea breeze on your face.

Thalassotherapy pools use salt water as the main component and is infused with oils and mineral to address inflammation, skin conditions, body sores and tension.

The dips are often followed by massages among them a deep tissue two-hour treatment. This is best enjoyed especially after a full day of HIIT training and biking around. The lymphatic massages at Aegle are ideal not only for detoxifying but also for easing tension and body sores from physical exertion. Pampering hours each day are treats for mind, body and soul to find balance and center.

The Hyperbaric Chamber uses pressure to fill every cell of the body with 100 percent oxygen. The treatment is known to help with treatment of physical injuries

Hesitance and some anxiety over the concept of being enclosed inside a tubular glass casket for 40 minutes is immediately replaced by the renewed burst of energy brought about by the Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy. This treatment uses high levels of pressure to infuse every cell of the body with 100% oxygen. Those who have undergone the treatment have emerged with visibly radiant skin.

While not walk in the park for those who are afraid of needles, the Intravenous Detox Drip is a quick and surprisingly painless way to strengthen the immune system. A cozy suite dedicated for administering the drip looks out to the ocean and is configured with lounge chairs and television while waiting. Attending physicians at Aegle explain that the key to staying healthy is constant hydration and detox from bodily toxins.


Wellness Destinations To Visit In The Philippines

Photo courtesy of Anya Resorts and Residences

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