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Learn the Art of Letting Go at The Farm at San Benito

by Marla Miniano-Umali
March 9, 2019

“Here at The Farm, we believe the body’s natural tendency is to be well,” says Michelle Carbonel, M.D.

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It is a sunny Tuesday in February, warm but with a slight breeze dancing overhead, and we are gathered around for a Live Blood Analysis in what seems to be an ordinary clinic—sterile interiors, framed medical diagrams hanging on the walls, an innocuous couch in the corner—except when you look out the glass window, instead of a stressful urban landscape, you see vibrant, thriving greenery and a slice of the clear, cloudless sky painted a calming blue hue.

Dr. Carbonel isn’t your typical doctor, and this room isn’t your typical clinic: she’s a holistic health practitioner, and the room is tucked not in a stark hospital wing but in the airy, welcoming Holistic Sanctuary at The Farm at San Benito. With The Farm’s team of doctors’ comprehensive, exhaustive approach to health, you get a 360-degree perspective of your well-being, allowing you to understand not just your body and its issues and needs, but your mind and spirit as well.

“As humans, we’re meant to evolve, not to become worse versions of ourselves,” Dr. Carbonel says. “So if there’s something in our body that’s not supposed to be there, it’s actually blocking your natural tendency to be well. You have to let go of things you don’t need—in your body, mind, and spirit. That’s exactly what we do here at The Farm. We help you let go.”

Release through movement

IMAGE: Lorenzo Arceo

It’s a comforting thought, the reassurance that our bodies are naturally made up of good stuff and not bad. Dr. Carbonel goes on to talk about the different elimination organs in the body, all of which are activated by The Farm’s various activities.

Dr. Carbonel tells us that it’s not a coincidence that facilities are spaced out across the 48-hectare property nestled in a coconut and coffee plantation. As much as the lush tropical jungle does inspire rest, exploring the vast property involves a lot of walking and movement. “That’s why we encourage exercise,” Dr. Carbonel says. “When you move, your skin releases toxins through sweat; your lungs release carbon dioxide as you exhale; and your lymphatic system, which activates when your muscles do, is able to suck out toxins and remove excess water.”

IMAGE: Lorenzo Arceo

At The Farm, surrounded by spectacular views and isolated from the daily grind, challenging yourself physically becomes enjoyable—a reward in itself. Make use of the gym’s weights, Cybex machines, and mini trampolines, go for an invigorating power walk, attend a functional fitness or aqua aerobics class, or swim in any of the resort’s three public pools. At the Amphitheater, which easily provides the most magnificent view of the resort’s scenery, practicing yoga is a glorious experience. Choose among the straightforward Hatha, the more vigorous Ashtanga, and the seamless flow of breath-centric Vinyasa. As a melodic chorus of “oms” reverberates from the yoga pavilion and floats across the sun-dappled lake, you feel grounded, centered, and completely at peace—one with yourself and with nature.

Cleansing inside and out

“There’s also such a thing as passive lymphatic drainage, which is activated when you get a massage,” says Dr. Carbonel. At The Farm’s Healing Sanctuary, the power of touch becomes even more potent when infused with its mindful, skilled therapists’ distinctly Filipino way of nurturing and caring for others. Among the more popular forms of massage are the traditional Hilot, which uses firm and deliberate strokes, and the simultaneously soothing and stimulating Hampol, which makes use of a heated compress and rejuvenating local herbs such as tanglad, camphor, ginger, and eucalyptus.

IMAGE: Lorenzo Arceo

“Can you guess the other two ways to let go?” Dr. Carbonel asks us with a smile. We guess correctly: through our digestive and urinary systems, when we eat or drink. “That’s why we serve lots of vegetables and food high in fiber,” she says. “We help people bring balance to their bodies, to focus on food that nourishes and gives them energy. The body has the capacity to recycle, but you always want to supply your body with new material.” And because you are what you eat, in-house vegan restaurant Alive! serves nutritious, all-natural dishes using only the freshest ingredients, including herbs from their very own organic garden. Think you’ll find it difficult to eat nothing but greens and fruits? Good news for pescatarians: The Farm is also building a Mediterranean restaurant, which will serve fish and feature an outdoor dining deck.

Learning to let go

IMAGE: Lorenzo Arceo

“You have to let go of the things that do not serve you or your body,” Dr. Carbonel says. “No two things can occupy the same space at once, so you need to release some things to make way for new ones.

“But at the same time,” she continues, “we’re not just bodies. Sometimes the blockages aren’t simply physical; so letting go should be mental, emotional, and spiritual, too. Define and protect your space, then cleanse yourself of negative things that don’t belong in it.”

Even a brief stay at The Farm can inspire you to let go of bad patterns—whether it’s unhealthy eating habits, a cycle of negative emotions (their early morning meditation classes work wonders in clearing the mind and revitalizing the heart), or harmful, toxic energy you didn’t even know you’d been holding on to. In itself, coming to The Farm is already an act of letting go, a decision you make for yourself not only to seek rest and relaxation, but to intentionally retreat from your everyday life so you can return to it with a renewed sense of purpose and a better grasp of your overall health and wellness. It is a holistic, transformative experience, one you’ll carry with you for a long time.

“The Farm has the tools to educate you and teach you how your body works,” says Dr. Carbonel. “Because when you know this, you can be more mindful and empowered. You’ll make healthier choices, and you’ll be equipped with the reasons behind them, even after you’ve gone home—and this is a lot more sustainable.”

We thank Dr. Carbonel, and as we step out of the room and into the waiting embrace of the stunning landscape around us, a peacock’s shrill cry pierces the crisp mountainside air. It is mating season, we learn, which means this colorful, regal creature is ready to welcome the winds of change. Ready to surrender to its most natural state. Truth be told, so are we.

Bask in a life-changing escape with The Farm at San Benito's exclusive deals: A Day at The Farm, 4-Course Vegan Feast for 2 at Alive! Restaurant, Garden Villa Stay for 2, Palmera Suite Stay for 2, 3D/2N Stay in a Palmera Suite for 2, and 3D/2N Anahaw Family Villa for 4.

The Farm at San Benito
119 Barangay Tipakan
Lipa City, Batangas

For Inquiries & Reservations:
Manila Sales Office
Shop 12, G/F The Peninsula Manila, Makati
(02) 8884 8074
(0918) 884 8080

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This article was last edited on February 14, 2020 by the DG Traveler team.

About Marla
Marla Miniano-Umali is the former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan Philippines, Candy Magazine, and Summit Books. She has written four YA novels and two short story collections, and co-authored two poetry anthologies—including the travel-inspired The Maps that Contain Us. She likes long drives, snack pit stops, and adventures on and off the page.

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