Monday, May 21, 2007
Relax... at The Farm
I have to thank Pats for introducing me to... The Farm at San Benito :D After a 2 hour drive south of Manila at 6am (!), we reached Lipa City in Batangas. And even then, we had to travel through tiny roads and villages... past wooded areas and more farmlands before we finally reached our destination! A former coconut plantation, The Farm was developed as the "Hippocrates Health Resort of Asia" and has won many awards for it's spa treatment, holistic packages and vegan cuisine. Imagine, it even has a "colon clinic" ;D
A night's stay costs at least US$200, but fortunately for us mere mortals, The Farm has a Day Package ($150+) that includes to/fro transport from Manila, breakfast/lunch, guided tour, full use of fitness facilities and a 1 hour body massage. I tried their Tibetan Yoga class (which had a lot of "spinning" moves before heading to cool off at their Salus Per Aqua (aka spa) :) After dumping our stuff at the shower/locker room, we were led into a rustic looking massage "hut" with an outdoor shower (totally decadent!)... definitely worth the 2 hour journey!
We had some time to while away before leaving The Farm so we headed straight for the famed pool at the spa, with it's verdant view of coconut trees and the majestic mountains in the distance.
My post would be incomplete without special mention of their vegan cuisine :D Here's what we enjoyed (or at least I did!) during the 5 course lunch: Three peppercorn crusted almond cheese with dates and orange chutney.
And my favourite - Warm pineapple almond rolls with coconut lime ice cream and strawberries! Look at the presentation... feels like I'm orbiting around my dessert :D
And the crazy Manila traffic we had to endure on the way back!
Deb Ang at 10:29 pm
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Manila - M Cafe!
M Cafe was numero uno on my "Foodie Hit List", so much so that Pats agreed to bring me there for my first meal in the Philippines :D The "M" stands for "museum" and as the name goes, the cafe is located next to a contemporary museum between Ayala/Makati avenues. Doubling as the museum shop, it also has ethnic/arty pieces as decor.
M Cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating (underneath trees with colourful strings of lights!). But it was the fanciful globe-lights and er, the air-con that won me over ;D Everything about the cafe was tres chic and I felt as though I was dining at some upscale cafe back home!
After settling into the plush sofa in a quiet corner, a pretty slip of a waitress served us a starter of crackers and vegetable dips before taking charge of our menus. M Cafe is well known for its Asian fusion cuisine and we took an indecently long time to order... everything just sounded so good! We finally settled for their Curried Pumpkin Soup, which they thoughtfully served in two portions when we said "to share". Pat's recommendation was a delicious one as the soup teemed with fresh Indian spices - a real treat after our long journey :)
I wanted something local and their interpretation of the ubiquitous Chicken adobo & foie gras (chicken stewed with soy sauce, sugar and spices) while a tad too salty, was in fact complemented by the fragrant garlic rice. A new discovery that night was the local "dalandan" juice, a refreshingly sweet and citrus-y drink :D
Danie had the Grilled seafood with Tandoori dressing. Simple and light.
A truly metropolitan city despite it's third world status, Manila impressed me with her gastronomic talent and exceptional service industry from the word "go"!
Deb Ang at 2:33 pm