I’ve never seen a microscopic close-up of my blood – until my health orientation with Dr Lim.

“Your red blood cells are very sticky,” remarked the man who ripped open my dislike for needles; I pinched the cotton bud more tightly still against the puncture hole on my finger: his next sentence may contain a morbid diagnosis.

“That means high concentration of protein in your bloodstream, so you may have a deficiency in protein-digesting enzymes.”

Ah. So I’m not dying.

“You’re also low on vitamin B.”

So I wasn’t fit for spawning healthy unicorns, either. Combine that with a chronic digestion problem that I really should address, this mid-twenties cognitive suggestion of my bodily invincibility could well be the biggest lie I’ve told myself. Yet visiting The Farm at San Benito, a wellness retreat in a jungle enclosure nestled within Lipa City, I wasn’t expecting that comprehensive a wakeup slap than getting pricked on the finger.

Neither was I underwhelmed by the scientific advancement of The Farm’s examination equipment and treatments, backing up traditional methodologies, offered to its health-conscious guests, who frequented the establishment not only for a massage and the odd sunrise yoga session, but also for alternative therapeutics to effectively rid of nagging ailments.

In the following days, I learned all about what the healers of The Farm could concoct to help restore and prolong their patrons’ physical and mental wellbeing. Over peppermint tea, naturally.


Miracle cures weren’t what The Farm administers, but the key ingredients to stimulate and nourish the body’s ability to heal itself – that was the ethos resonated with every service provided at The Farm.

And this magnetic clay footbath I’d dipped in my toes to heels for the past 30 minutes was supposed to do just that: to reverse the effects my outward frequent flyer, mobile phone addict and smoker has invisibly wrought on my form.

Later, I was back in Dr Lim’s medical chamber at the mercy of his needles once more: this time, getting squeamish at acupuncture – one ancient Chinese technique I was convinced would relief my chronic medical conditions.

While the integrated medical services analyse and fine-hone specific parts and organs in treated bodies, the healing sanctuary targets, detoxifies and heals the overall with its needle-free spa indulgences.

Under the dextrous hands of another Filipino therapist, who had learned the practices from his community healer grandmother, I underwent a rejuvenation kneaded rigorously onto my weary muscles – following a herbal bath and hot steam treatment, part of the Tres Banyos Lunas ceremony still performed by local herbalists, yet rarely available to outsiders.

It guaranteed fluid retention and strengthening of immune system, but as far as promised effects went, I did afterwards have the most restful sleep I’ve had in years.


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