(SPOT.ph) Finding a healthy patch of grass—let alone a farm—in Metro Manila is a challenge because "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot," as the Joni Mitchell song goes. Fortunately, there are a number of resorts around the country where you can still feel the soft earth on your feet, pick fresh fruits from a tree, and chase butterflies and dragonflies to your heart's content.
We round up 10 countryside resorts for days when you're just tired of looking at the same old buildings.
The Farm at San Benito
119 Barangay Tipakan, Lipa City, Batangas
Rates start at P14,000
Tucked in the tropical forests of Batangas, The Farm at San Benito provides a much-needed retreat and "healing journey" for those who step into its lush gardens. It offers soothing spa treatments, dishes made with fresh ingredients, and detoxification programs through healthy diet and meditation exercises. The luxury villas reflect the natural setting of this oasis, from wood-beamed ceilings to roofs made of thatched straw, but still maintain modern amenities such as WiFi, iPod docking stations, and a heated pool with hydro jets.
Preziosa Botanic Park & Farm Resort
Sulsugin, Alfonso, Cavite
Rates start at P4,800++
Preziosa, designed by urban planner and landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren, boasts Asian-themed villas and a camping area with a zip line and wall climbing facilities. It used to be a simple crop cultivation site before becoming a full-fledged botanic park and farm resort in 2008, so it doesn't come as a surprise that it grows a variety of crops and fruit trees: from eggplant to watermelon, from squash to bitter gourd, from cassava to lemon grass, from dragon fruit to dayap.
Garinfarm Pilgrimage Resort
Purok 2, San Joaquin, Iloilo
Rates start at P1,500++
Garinfarm integrates agriculture, leisure, and pilgrimage in its 14-hectare compound. There's a man-made lagoon for water ball riding, boating, kayaking, and fishing; a 300-meter zip line; and grassland for horseback riding and an ATV adventure. At the peak of the inland resort is a huge cross which can be reached by climbing a hundred steps. You'll also see life-sized statues depicting various scenes in the Bible such as stories of the creation, Noah's Ark, and the passion and death of Jesus Christ in the area. All the rooms at Garinfarm have floor-to-ceiling glass windows which provide unobstructed views of the private gardens.
Gratchi Farm Resort
Cabangaan, Silang, Cavite
Rates start at P2,200++
The six-hectare stretch of Gratchi Farm Resort has amenities for team building, educational tours, or even plain and simple relaxation. It has a large infinity pool with two cascading waterfalls, a pavilion with a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape, a planting and farming area for demo tours and school field trips, the Artist's Nook for meditation through creativity, and its very own Mushroom House. Vacationists thirsty for an adrenaline rush can also try out their ATV and bike trail, a High Ropes obstacle course and mud slide, a one-hour river trek, or a ride on the zip line.
Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort
Kilometer 89, Alfonso-Maragondon Road, Pantihan 2, Maragondon, Cavite
Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort has been accredited as an agri-tourism farm/site by the Department of Tourism and caters to families and friends who want to check out life at the farm. It has a tree house perched on an old narra tree where you can have a good view of the property's natural landscape. After a night on the forest cabins or a tent (depending on your choice), you can feed the chickens and ducks in the morning then spend the rest of the afternoon harvesting tomatoes, squash, or eggplants. You can also sing “Bahay Kubo” while you're at it to complete the experience.
Bohol Bee Farm
Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol
Contact: (038) 510-1822
Rates start at P3,000++
Bohol Bee Farm doesn't only offer a farm life experience but is also dedicated to organic farming and bee cultivation. It encourages local farmers to choose composting and companion planting over spending for expensive fertilizers that could just harm the ecosystem. Interested guests can also be part of a 30-minute walking tour around the bee farm premises, the organic herb and vegetable garden, and a crafting area. It also sells bottled honey, honeyed papaya soap, and even honeyed salabat.
Loreland Farm Resort
Sitio Loreland, San Roque, Antipolo City
Packages start at P6,000++
Loreland Farm Resort's claim-to-fame is Luljetta's, dubbed as the first and only hanging gardens spa in the Philippines, located on its eight-hectare property. Overnight packages include bed and breakfast in the resort's standard rooms and access to the sauna, hydro massage, fish spa, and meditation lounge of the spa. If you're looking to release all your worries through a massage while enjoying the great Antipolo view, then Loreland is your best bet.
Green Canyon Eco Art Resort
San Vicente Road, Clark, Pampanga
Contact: (045) 499-4800
Rates start at P5,300
This family-owned business turned a former farm warehouse into a 47-room art hotel made of upcycled old wood and filled with wooden furniture. It also sells the art pieces featured inside the rooms and the lobby. After a nice swim at the large pool, guests can also enjoy the biking and ATV trail or the wave pool; try out their green thumb at the organic farm; or just continue relaxing through a massage.
The Quiet Place Farm Resort
San Juan Street, Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental
Contact: (034) 731-0100
Rates start at P3,200++
Negros Occidental in the Visayas region is known for its sugarcane industry. One of the cities with a number of agricultural estates is Bago, which now houses The Quiet Place Farm Resort—a 25-hectare tropical paradise. It only has 26 rooms, ensuring privacy and much-needed solitude, all heavily scented by the surrounding ylang-ylang trees and serenaded by the unique orchestra of crickets and frogs at night. Its own tropical spa, Ayo Spa and Wellness Center, offers traditional massages using herbs and products plucked from its own soil.
Sitio Panlilingan, Pestaño Farm Road, Antipolo
Rates start at P2,000++
Owned by the Pestaño Family, Phillip's Sanctuary is the vision of their late son Ensign Philip Andrew A. Pestaño, P.N. who once wanted to develop a facility where military and non-military groups can train and exercise on a regular basis. The 12-hectare property offers military-grade obstacle courses for team building activities, dirt roads for weekend bikers, and cottages for those who just want to experience the serenity of the hills. Its endless rows of trees and crisscrossing trails welcome anyone who just want to spend the morning walking around and taking in what nature has to offer. In the other pockets of the farm are vegetable and fruit gardens, a butterfly habitat, and a small river for fishing.