Travel : San Benito Farm, Phillipines
THE CETAPHIL EXPERIENCE
About two weeks ago, I visited The Phillipines with a fellow blogger/best friend Sonia Eryka for a special occasion away from the loud city center in a place called The Farm at San Benito. The two of us were invited to the land by Cetaphil (in case you never heard of it, it's one of the world's leading skincare brand particularly for sensitive and acne-rpone skin) to join a weekend gathering called The Cetaphil Experience. We will meet another groups of beauty bloggers from another ASEAN countries such Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Phillipines and spend the whole weekend togather in guidance of Cetaphil's professional team and dhermatologist. From what we know beforehand, we were going to learn more about skincare and positive confidence throughout the retreat weekend. I can't be more excited! By this post, I'm going to divide the whole experience into several sections based on the main activity (due to the huge amount of pictures). Let's start!
THE FARM AT SAN BENITO
We arrived at The Farm of San Benito in the afternoon, after a 6-hours flight from Jakarta and a couple hours in the aiport waiting for everybody else to arrived. The Farm at San Benito is located about an hour and half from the airport, in a city called Lipa in Batangas, Phillipines. The Farm itself has been known as an award-winning retreat and spiritual sanctuary for wellness and healthy living (the ones that appeared in one of Real Housewives of Atlanta episode), so we were super thrilled to stay there! During the stay, we had some free time to explore around, and I took some pictures from the amazing greenery scenes around below.
An accomodation for two at Sulu Terrace - reminds me of a fairy house!
Me and Sonia shared the room, and we got fresh fruits plus water served all the time.
There are many chairs to sit around and relax in the gardens...
Walls and vines, good together.
Tiny flowers <3
Dining in the woods, maybe?
A secret garden we found during exploration
The place is so huge that we have to take a break from walking sometimes.
I have a thing with wooden chair below the trees.
A narrow passage around the Main Villa
This is the view you'll get if you join the Yoga session.
Leaves and vines <3
The oldest tree, said to be 50 years old!
A walk to the main Villa
Last but not least... Infinite pool!
Did you see how full of fresh energy The Farm at San Benito is? Yes, everything there felt so refreshing and natural. We stayed for thee days, but we hadn't quite exploring the whole facility yet! I think there were more to discover but it needs a second visit. From the chosen place itself, I believe you can relate to Cetaphil already - it's very environment friendly, it's healthy-looking and full of greens. The best place to have a retreat, really!
THE HEALTHY ORGANIC FOOD
Yes, throughout the whole stay, we were only allowed to eat organic vegan food for detox. I was scared at first because I was pretty conscious about how much I'm a carnivora myself, but my mind was completely changed after the first lunch session. Every meal they served is top-quality, they cooked and combine the ingredients perfectly that it didn't taste like eating a bunch of bitter vegetables at all. They have soup that felt like chicken soup or curry, and they have this whole peanut sauce dressing over faux sausages that was just delicious. I can eat everything!
Alright : this is the winner. Fruit salad with organic mayonnaise... HEAVEN.
The girls and our table situation everyday...
Avocado blend and whole-wheat granola for breakfast!
Organic beans with sour salsa to spice up a bit!
My goal was to complete tasting the whole list of healthy drinks they offer!
Winner of shake? This Chocolate Mint Chip with raw cacao and banana!
Healthy menu for a healthier soul.
We also had chips! Organic soy chips!
And what's a good day without vegan steak?
Even the cookies are delicious and vegan - glutten free!
Gurls looking so excited on picking their snack during workshop!
We regularly have 3 main meals everyday, from breakfast to lunch and dinner. But during activities we also had healthy snacks like granola, fruits, friend cassava and soy crackers! They even allowed us to order extra menu outside the meal time (because we girls actually ate a lot!), so we also tried the vegan pasta (my favorite is their Aglio Olio Spagetti) and Curry Rice. The whole purpose of having this distinctive "detox diet" is to purify our body as our mind is trying to relax. I have to say the weekend was totally the best weekend of health in my life, and thank you Cetaphil for that!
THE SOOTHING SPA
Alright, so besides getting healthy food, we were also spoiled by the spa ritual in the morning. The Farm at San Benito is also known for its spa treatments, and I got the chance to try the Purification Treatment, one of their best specialty. It was absolutely relaxing - they will pour a hot scrub oil to your body, from your foot to the palm of your hand, slowly until the oil absorbed and felt warm. Then they will do the massage based on your requested strength for the body pressure, from toe-to-head, finished by a comprehensive head-massage that I wished will never end. This particular treatment is suggested especially for stressed-out individuals - which totally defines ME.
The hot massage oil that smells like a heavenly combination of citrus and vanilla.
The ambiance of our massage room, dominated in calming dark green color.
The beautician welcoming us with a brief of introduction to the massaging procedures.
Sonia took a very dreamy picture of me!
Preparing the session...
We shared the room so we can take each other's picture!
After 90 minutes of massage continued by a shower outdoor, me and Sonia were completely refreshed! The natural ingredients that the massage oil contains of was really soothing and making our skin felt instantly smoother. Moist, also. Can't be happier to get to explore The Farm after such relaxing moment!
THE INSIGHTFUL WORKSHOP
Along with all the perks, we also get some sessions of personality and beauty workshop from the Cetaphil's life coach team and dermatologist. In the beginning of our stay, we were given a book, each to be filled with our opinion, concerns and commitments until the end of our stay. It's like having a girly diary focusing on your skin condition and character building. We also had fun quiz discussing about skin myth and answering questions from the coach. The workshop is designed to stimulate our understanding about ourselves, and to encourage us (the participants) to define what it means to be a Cetaphil woman. We had to make faux commercials, exchanging thoughts in smaller groups, and passing moments of reflecting what we truly believe from our own beauty. It was challenging but eventually everybody started to help one another through discussion, and that's what made me feel so happy about: the fact that we were able to have important conversations among our peers. Even though we're not teenagers anymore, having positive support from woman community is still very fundamental for our well-being.
One workshop session is about discovering your skin condition with a help from the dermatologist...
And this was about the skin myth quiz I mentioned earlier!
Our life coach, Martina Fink, who pushed us to discover our confidence and self-love better!
We also had to fill several commitments we want to bring home after the experience.
Udhara was explaining some general brief before the workshop started
Jamie, my team partner from Singapore, and her task page.
The girls was seated in different small tables to make group discussion easier.
Marlene and her volunteering act during the facial workshop.
Both topics about rediscovering our skin condition and our self-confidence are essential for bringing complete wellness into our life. Beauty is not only about what can be seen, but also what we can't easily see. To be able to feel confidence, we have to train ourselves to have sensitive upbringing - to notice what's bad for us and stay away from them, and indulging in activities or people who have positive impact to our life. Also, to always have faith in our struggles... either in skin problems, or personal matters. I'm going to share the commitment I made during the workshop here, as a reminder for us:
- To take care of my skin better, by understanding what it needs and do the best to make it healthy, not by comparing my skin to other's and rushing to instant makeover.
- To be more patient during bad times such as acne break out or itchy skin due to sensitivity, and knowing that it's part of the healing.
- To let my skin breathe more fresh air and experience healthy sunlights, instead of being locked indoor for months.
- To love myself more and by doing that, able to love others more regardless of what imperfection the have (but still being very vocal to anything that's harmful and degrading woman's confidence).
- To keep being grateful and know how to feel enough.
- To reach out more women in the community that I'm involved in, and building better understanding about each other in real life rather than being cold online-fellows.
The commitment we made were basically united in one harmony of positiveness, which lead to acceptance and confidence. I also want to practice more compassion and start eating more healthy food from now on!
THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS
First group shot with Rachel, Rosseane, Sara, Ana, Kristine, Sonia, Jamie and me.
The cheerful Charise from Malaysia!
Selfies during meal time has became an obligatory.
Five Cancerians were celebrating their shared birthday together!
Midnight swimming and eating organic pasta time!
Some of us gathered together at the Malaysian group villa to hang out on the last night.
Always amazed by this particular calm and determined girl; the beautiful Rosseane.