The Best Wellness Retreats in the Philippines
Yoga Outdoors | © Jon Fife / Flickr
Everyone needs a break – be it from work, school, or a busy city. Thankfully today, more and more establishments cater specifically to those in need of this escape. Many of these places promote being closer to nature, a healthier diet, spiritual activities like yoga
, and the forgotten importance of basic rest and relaxation. Here’s a list of the best wellness havens in the Philippines
Located just an hour’s drive from stunning El Nido, in the world-renowned island of Palawan, is Qi Palawan
. Far from the noise and crowds of El Nido town proper, with only seven rooms, and no other neighboring resorts, the location is absolutely serene. Early each morning, free yoga classes are held at their open-air rooftop studio, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the ocean, views of treetops and the morning sky. For complete relaxation, their spa offers both Swedish and traditional Filipino massages, as well as herbal baths. At meal times, enjoy delicious Spanish-Filipino cuisine and fresh salads straight from the resort’s own organic garden. Not only sustainable, their rooms are also a perfect balance between comfort and charming Filipino style so guests are reassured absolute relaxation from yoga hour ’til bedtime.
The Farm at San Benito
The epitome of luxurious wellness retreats can be experienced within the tropical jungles of Batangas, a mere hour and a half away from busy Manila
. The Farm at San Benito
boasts of holistic wellness services for the mind, body, and spirit. With its numerous programs such as detox cleanses and mind and body restorations, and its truly extensive list
of all kinds of treatments, this wellness resort has something for absolutely everyone. Making all these possible is their large team, which also includes numerous medical doctors, a nutritionist, a fitness coach, and a yoga instructor. Encompassing 50 hectares of lush acreage, the resort houses several deluxe villas, a massive spa, a vegan restaurant, organic gardens which provide for the restaurant, a gym, swimming pools, and ample greenery. Perhaps the most upscale in the country, and though quite hefty on the budget, The Farm at San Benito provides a one-of-a-kind, luxurious wellness escape.
For a more rustic, back-to-basics wellness retreat, Bahay Kalipay, which literally translated means “Happy House”, is a peaceful oasis in the otherwise busy capital of Palawan. This center brings guests closer to nature and back to necessities. They promote a raw-food lifestyle and the calm, introspective practice of “inner dance”. Their community is formed by teachers, healers, spiritual seekers, and those exploring the raw food lifestyle, all who aim to share their spiritual experiences and themselves with those who visit. They offer different retreats such as the Inner Dance Energy School, Deep Nature Cleanses, and Wellness Yoga Programs, some lasting for just a weekend, and others for as long as 12 days. They even offer a Resident Volunteer Program for those interested in a more immersive, long-term stay. The absence of material luxuries allows retreaters to reconnect with themselves and interconnect with the community they become part of in Bahay Kalipay.
Lot 38E Hagedorn Road Extension Bgy. San Pedro, 5300 Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, (+63) 939 914 3414 / (+63) 927 547 7871
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa
Over on the island of Visayas, within an old coconut plantation in the province of Negros Oriental, is Atmosphere Resorts and Spa
. Situated near the sea and amongst nature, Atmosphere boasts a beautiful, relaxed environment. Within its grounds are pools, a tree house for daily yoga sessions, and their Sanctuary Spa where they offer a long list of treatments. They have several types of massages, facials, detox treatments, and body treatments (try their body wraps and experience the solace of being wrapped in banana leaves). They also boast a heated pool for water shiatsu treatments. Even better, this wellness resort is family friendly, making available a list of treatments especially for the little ones. But the most amazing part about this establishment is that the owners behind it make conscious efforts towards local community and environmental responsibility, as well as sustainability. Their facilities and accommodations are designed accordingly, they source products locally, they minimize consumption and regulate waste, and they’ve even established a soup kitchen for children in need, open five days a week.
Also by the sea and at the heart of surfers’ paradise is Lotus Shores. Located on the southeastern coast of Siargao (a beautiful island that’s a retreat in itself), this sweet escape is determined to assist individuals in achieving peace, health, and wholeness, as well as in reconnecting them with nature. To do this, they’ve got resident yoga teachers, chefs who cook according to a plant-based diet, body work therapists, and even surf guides on board their team. They offer up to four varied classes of yoga each day for their yoga immersion program, which they conduct at their “Dojo”, a special place they’ve dedicated to the practice. Their yoga teachers hail from different parts of the country and from all over the world. As part of their detoxification program, a plant-based diet is followed, which they encourage visitors to pursue even after their stay by openly providing them with recipes and any helpful information they might need. At this center, guests can choose to stay in solo rooms, couple rooms, or shared dormitory rooms that accommodate up to three people.
Purok 5 Poblacion, General Luna Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, (+63) 917 838 5743
Nurture Wellness Village
For Metro dwellers, another quick and easy getaway from the hectic urban jungle is Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay. The grounds are calm and picturesque, inviting guests to turn away from stress and to focus on themselves with health-centered pampering. Several holistic health services are offered, such as charcoal body wraps, biomat therapy, and acupuncture, but their experienced team of wellness nurses and therapists can also customize treatment plans according to guests’ specific needs. They also have a complete range of Filipino spa treatments with several types of massages and scrubs, many of which are done outdoors, under their traditional nipa roofs and alongside nature.
Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West Cavite, Tagaytay, (046) 512 6273
Mandala Spa & Resort Villas
Villa, Spa Hotel, Resort
Another luxurious wellness escape rests on the adored island of Boracay. The Mandala Spa & Resort Villas
was tastefully designed to blend in with its lush natural environment. This tropical hideaway allows guests to begin every morning with a soothing yoga session and to spend the rest of the day trying out their renowned spa treatments. These include massages, body wraps and scrubs, and facials which, though pricier than most on the island, are consistently referred to as sublime. They also offer spa treatments specifically designed for men. For a more luxurious healing treatment, they offer water therapy in the form of watsu
or water shiatsu. The resort houses 15 luxurious villas which, despite the world-renowned beach waiting right outside, make it difficult to leave its comforts.