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“Alive!”

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The Farm at San Benito
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Lipa City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 2, 2014

So who has ever spent time at a health farm? If it is something you enjoy, let me recommend The Farm at San Benito. This heavenly spot, tucked away amongst lush, green, jungle-wrapped hills, only a ninety minute drive from Makati. The grounds are picture perfect, as manicured as a tropical Disneyland with peacocks, ducks and geese lazing around deep ponds and swimming pools, or drifting aimlessly across thick green lawns. Walking paths wind past twenty four cottages and suites camouflaged by trees and thick shrubbery, and venture into hidden nooks and crannies where you can relax and meditate beside quiet pools and man-made waterfalls. Over one thousand feet above sea level, The Farm is bordered by 50 acres of organic coconut plantation, and the climate is delicious after the oppressive humidity of the city. Yet I don't go for the spas but for the food, as The Farm has a wonderful in-house restaurant: “Alive!”
Alive! feels like a tree house, light and spacious amongst the tree tops. The menu is vegan and mostly raw, and the philosophy is holistic – a new slant on the gourmand’s old adage, “you are what you eat.” In the kitchens at The Farm, they create meals in the belief that body and mind will suffer from a diet based on processed food and genetically modified ingredients, but that raw food can provide a positive outlook on life as well as the health benefits of increased energy, clearer skin, improved appearance, and a stronger immune system.
The culinary creativity is mind-boggling to someone whose dread of health farms and limited imagination had created a lunch consisting of a bowl of nuts and birdseed, lettuce and raw carrot. Instead, the chefs use real magic to transform raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and flowers into indescribably tasty and beautifully presented meals. With a large portfolio of recipes and a large vegetable garden a stone’s throw from the kitchen, the results include a five course set menu that changes daily. What is more, these experienced vegan chefs are quite happy to share a selection of their recipes in a beautiful cookbook: Raw.
‘Specially designed dehydrators… give raw foods a variety of textures resembling cooked foods, without destroying the nutritional properties and enzymes of the foods.’ Their attitude has won them numerous awards and many fans. And much to my delight, The Farm is realistic about such a diet, explaining that they do not recommend total abstinence from cooked food, but suggest 30% cooked, 70% raw, and their recipes follow suit.
So we sat down to a five course set menu.
A Vegetable Napoleon that defies description, but introduced me to an entirely new concept in food preparation, was followed by a bright and refreshing cold tomato and galangal soup.
The delectable Som Tam Salad is low in calories and high in fibre, with the common Asian preference for combining sweet, sour, hot and salty in a zesty dish of green papaya and lime, chili, fish sauce and honey.
A creamy coconut milk and vegetable curry served with potato crusted tofu and brown rice, this dish varies with the seasons. Wrapped in potato noodles and deep fried in olive oil, the tofu is a fascinating combination of firm tofu and crunchy potato.
The Bounty bar ice-cream, takes you into a different universe for desserts. Fresh coconut ice-cream topped with a thick layer of dark chocolate almost had me levitating with delight. On which note, I have nothing left to add...

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Alexandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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237 - 243 of 400 reviews

Reviewed December 21, 2013

It was recommended by a friend but I never thought the resort was that good. We stayed in the garden villa that offered intimacy to nature and privacy. Air con was not necessary at night. Peacocks were the first greeters in our garden.

The food was good although my wife and I are not vegetarian. They have different menus for 14 days.

At first I thought we would be bored if staying for more than 2 nights. But in fact we enjoyed the activities and picture-taking so much that we would have stayed 2 extra nights, if we had more holidays.

The Farm is a bit pricy especially the spa services but it's worth the money and time you spend.

Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Alan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

We wanted to try the place so we only stayed one night and boy do I regret it !! What a wonderful place, genuine hospitality, lots of activities and the food is simply divine (my husband who could never have a meal without meat is finally thinking that a vegan dish can be real good food) ! We cannot wait to go again and stay longer.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank nounouchine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2013

i was at the Farm in July for 3 weeks, I had an amazing experience ! I definitely found the peace and quiet I was looking for ! The staff was genuinly very kind and helpul at all times ! i was on an organic weight loss program and weight I lost! treatments were high level, also yoga classes and power walks were great ! the place itself is overly beautiful and if paradise ever existed it looked like this! I never felt so great then after those 3 weeks! Cleansed and energised on every level! I will definitely return!

Room Tip: i would definitely chose for a Narra Pool Villa
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank 13kathleen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2013

I loved my experience at The Farm. I was specifically looking for a health retreat to rejuvenate and realign. I was happy with the resort, customer care, food (5*vegan), daily yoga and accommodation. It's a luxury resort that doesn't come cheap, but I enjoyed the exclusivity and 121 attention ( more like 3:1). I stayed for 8 days at palmera suite, and was noticeably thinner/glowing afterwards. I learnt a lot about health, nutrition and the benefits of veganism (tho' I still love my meat):

Highlights:
- Personalised care: As soon as I arrived, I had an appointment with nutritionists/doctors to talk about my health goals. I wanted to detox and rebalance. I was given a personalized schedule shortly afterwards: healthy food, juices and treatments - massage therapy (awesome!), Colema and colon cleansing (first time, felt strange but got use to it). Staff and therapists were v. Professional
- Activities: I'm a yoga fan, so was happy to do yoga twice a day at the main pavilion. It was serene and peaceful. Range of activities is quite limited so bring books etc... I enjoyed walking around town and the vegan cooking workshops
- Gourmet Vegan: Initially had low expectations at the thought of eating rabbit food, but I was really surprised at how delicious, varied and gourmet it was. Never had much exposure to vegan food in the past, but this has honestly changed my viewpoint. My daily diet consisted of vitamins, two juices and one three course meal (changed daily). I looked forward to mealtimes, was pleasantly full and did not crave meat/dairy. Everyday, a staff member would bring freshly sqeezed juices to me, no matter where I was. They have an organic garden and produce their own coconut oil.
- Palerma Suite: Clean, spacious, high ceiling, totally private, green and luxurious. I loved the outdoor showe (felt like an Amazon Queen). The Farm also make soaps, coconut body scrub, mosquito repellent which are provided. Note that there's no TV, but you can rent films (fast food nation, food inc etc). I was happy to not have the distraction
- Environment: beautiful oasis where you can get away and be at peace. I loved the greenery, gardens, secret spots, spa area and free roaming peacocks. There are limited rooms so you can walk around the Farm and literally see no one.

Cons:
- Yes, it's pricey but you pay for the exclusivity. My eight day stay cost around US3,000, but I felt it was worth it.
- The Farm is located in Batangas, 90 mins from Manila airport. taxi roundtrip is pretty expensive, but convenient.
- They should buy newer fitness equipment and expand the gym. Should also include a wider selection of activities b/c it can get boring, ESP I you are a solo traveller
- There are lots of Mosquitos as it is located by the jungle.
- F &B ordered separately from your dietary schedule is charged at extra cost. It isn't all inclusive (but definitely should be considering the price).

All in all, I would recommend the place. I still eat meat and dairy products now, but have cut down as I am more health conscious

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Judy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Beware - this establishment is uncompromisingly Vegan. There are no alternatives. No dairy, no eggs, just about nothing comestible that is not either lettuce or coconut. They must have a cottage industry - 101 things to do with a coconut. We had coconut butter, coconut sugar, even coconut 'bacon'. This is overpriced nonsense for fat folk with more money than sense, who are seduced by the pseudo-scientific claptrap into thinking that they can become fit and healthy with no effort. Even the dietary advice is a decade out of date. The dining room was like a morgue and the menu was as enticing as the order of service at a funeral!
All of this is a crying shame. The location is stunning and the territory beautifully laid out. The rooms are delightfully appointed, and the staff first class. If they could curtail the Vegan Gestapo and serve some genuinely healthy food, this could be one of the best resorts on the planet. As it is, I wouldn't go back if I were offered a free stay. My wife's birthday treat was an unmitigated disaster. Having talked to one of the owners, just before we left, it does seem that good sense will eventually prevail. They are considering building a new restaurant, which will serve real food alongside the present Vegan one, which will continue as at present, for the deluded.
I wish them luck.

Antony Moore

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank antonymoore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2013

After a long and windy drive (due to typhoon Yolanda) we finally made our way to the tree lined roads leading to The Farm. And we are suddenly smitten with the tranquility of the place. Rooms was really beautiful and comfortable with a fantastic T&B area.

The FOOD part was a bit of a challenge for us especially i am a happy meat eater, Alive Restaurant practices a very natural approach towards food and this is the reason why they only serve vegan meals here. Although we were happy with their desserts, we were ailing for something else hehehe.

Perfect place for people who is going through a lot of stress at work.

Thank you very much to the kind staff of The Farm

Room Tip: Palmera Suites have enough space and unique t&b. Fantastic Rooms
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ALM335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Farm at San Benito

Address: 119 Barangay Tipakan, Lipa City, Luzon 4217, Philippines
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Lipa City
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Lipa City
Price Range: $194 - $660 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Farm at San Benito 5*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled within the Philippines’ Batangas hinterland, The Farm is likened to health nirvana. Choose between pool, garden or jungle-style accommodation before sampling our fresh, award-winning gourmet menu.Practice sunrise/sunset salutations at our lakeside amphitheatre or hit our well-equipped ‘jungle gym’. Our specialists administer complementary and integrative medical therapy within a serene environment and first-class facilities.We don’t do boot camps or subscribe to deprivation. Retreat to The Farm for nourishment and rejuvenation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Farm At San Benito Hotel Lipa City
Farm At San Benito Batangas
The Farm At San Benito Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines

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