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Wholesome out-of-town destinations that are worth the trip.

by Doreen Irinco

APRIL 2012

If you’re up to doing a short drive to get away from the hustle bustle of the city and wouldn’t mind splurging for well-being, then here are some options for your wellness weekend getaway.

Southern comforts

Down south, The Farm in San Benito, Lipa, Batangas offers yoga retreats and world class pampering fit for royalty. The 90-minute drive from Manila is worth your while at this lush and verdant multi-award winning wellness resort. A two-day stay can set guests back by five figures in pesos, to avail of programs tailored for achieving the balance of a person’s mental, physical and spiritual state. But frequent visitors here swear by their detoxification diets, based on raw food philosophy, and indulge in various healing treatments—from skin cleansing wraps to soothing massages. As indicated in their website, The Farm’s philosophy states, “We believe disease is preventable and curable, naturally."

Another luxury break fit for stressed-out professionals is Nurture Spa Village in Tagaytay, named one of the top spas in the country by Asia Spa Magazine in 2012. It’s brand of ecotherapy, or healing by and through nature, is assisted by the serenity of the environment, with rooms overlooking lush gardens—just what the doctor ordered for a laid-back and tranquil retreat. Treatments here start at P600 and can reach up to P5,400 for the works. Championing uniquely Filipino healing techniques, Nurture Spa’s menu of services include the Aruga massage and the popular Magsing-irog massage for couples, the later utilizing a blend of essential oils like sandalwood, lavender and ylang ylang to create some sparks during the intimate massage for two.

Northern delights

Mount Pinatubo offers a challenge and its own rewards for those seeking adventure along with their de-stressing fix. Those looking to stretch their legs and soak up the sun can take go to Capas, Tarlac to take the trail towards Pinatubo's caldera. An hour’s worth of rough and rocky riding in a 4x4 vehicle will awaken your senses as you travel along the bumpy stretch of jagged rock formations and eroded hillsides framing the ashen white road leading to the crater. A short trek—30 minutes if you take the Skyway, two to three hours if you opt for the long route—through a desolate but picturesque landscape will take you to the entrance to the volcano’s mouth for the last stretch of the trek. The adventure will be worth it, all exhaustion washed away as you take that very first glimpse of the enchanting caldera lake: A breathtaking lake the color of cyan against the reds, browns and greens of the crater's boundary make for a picture-perfect scene.

Though you have the option to swim in the lake, make sure there are lifeguards around because of the water's depth and due to the reputed instability of the lake’s base. Tourists may also rent a kayak to cruise the lake and explore the boundaries.

But if your muscles have been crying out for some relief after all that trekking, take a stop at Pinatubo Spa Town to soothe them. Residents near Pinatubo discovered the healing properties of springs and volcanic debris left in the wake of the eruption. Hot springs surrounding the area have been tapped for relieving pain, rheumatism, arthritis and various ailments. Even volcanic ash has been used in spa for therapeutic body treatments which last 30 minutes and cost P500: the salt volcanic ash which supposedly lowers cholesterol, and sulfur volcanic ash which locals say helps cure asthma. You may opt to take the one hour and 20 minute soothing Thai and Shiatsu massage at P500, or dip in the mud pool to cap off your treatment. The latter treatment helps soften the skin and cleanse the pores, and costs P1000, but is free if you avail of both Thai-Shiatsu massage and volcanic ash spa.

Contact details

The Farm
Phone: (632) 884 8074 to 75
Mobile: (63) 918 884 8080 or 918 884 8078
Email:, or

Nurture Spa
Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West
Tagaytay City, Cavite, 4120
Mobile: (63) 918 8888SPA
Phone: (632) 584 4228, (046) 483 0805

Pinatubo Spa Town
Bgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac
Mobile: (63) 928 3410402
Landline: (63 45) 4930031

Formerly the Spa Association of the Philippines, the website lists accredited members (Nurture Spa and The Farm are listed) and other destination spas or resort spas in the country worth considering.

For more wellness getaways, grab a copy of HealthToday’s April issue, out now in newsstands and bookstores.

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