Whenever I tell friends who are not from here that I live in Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the first sentence out of their mouths is usually something around the lines of, “How do you survive the traffic?” (Answer: I work from home and try not to go anywhere during rush hour). Their second question usually is, “So what can I do there? I’m headed to [insert one of our many beach paradises here] and will be in Manila for a day or two. Well, why not take a tour of the city and learn about what makes a Filipino, Filipino? It isn’t just all adobo and videoke, you know.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when Jericho and I made our way to Pampanga yesterday morning. I had been reading about the real-life crucifixions as part of the Lenten rites all over the Philippines, Cutud, especially, and had wanted to see one for myself for the solemnity, the drama, the stories behind the penitents for mortifying their flesh as an act of contrition every Good Friday.
I’ve recently discovered a magical place in Tagaytay hidden away inside a new developing village which is a home away from home for happy new age hippies such as myself. Relax and let your om mani paddle hum humming self relax and enjoy the fresh air, the plethora of books to get lost in, and discover new tools, crystals, and oils to enhance your current mindful meditation practice at the Bodhi Shop.
Between learning about the benefits of juicing, exploring their organic farm, and melting on the massage table from a two-hour traditional Filipino massage, Jericho and I spent our days in different corners of the big property, either exploring the place by ourselves, catching up on sleep, taking a dip in the pool, or finding a quiet spot to curl up with a book and read ’til we dozed off. The only time we’d actually see each other was during meal times, where we’d meet at the restaurant, Gabriela, to enjoy the healthy cuisine choices they had on offer.
While spending most of my week at Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay, I took a peek at their in-house farm called The Farmacy located on a few acres of land a short walk form the village. Kuya Elmer, one of the farmers and farm resident, came by for Jericho and I after breakfast and we took a 15-minute walk down from the gate of Nurture Wellness Village to that of The Farmacy. I was all giddy like a school girl holding hands with her crush.
I left my laptop at home, barely kept my phone on, and decided to go back to basics for a 3-day stay at Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay to re-learn the bare necessities of life – a quiet mind, a relaxed body, and eating organic and all-natural. I got all of that and so much more, now I can’t wait to go back!
A Tours offers far more interesting things than weekend trips to Vigan, it seems. I jumped on a chance to join their Paranormal Tour of Intramuros (which happened to be free at the time), one of the oldest and most historical cities in Manila. Being intuitive myself, I thought it would be cool to see what myself and other people could pick up during the 3-hour walk. I have never really been to Intramuros at night, and the old fort looked like a shadow of its former self in the moonlight.