Developing Health + Wellness Resort Hotels: An Option to Rural Land , Best Use

Yesterday, we discussed the importance and need to decongest Manila. One of the reasons why we should  consider moving out of Metro Manila,  is for Health and Wellness. I received an Email , asking for my opinion, on  what one can do to his raw lands , located at BINAGONAN, Rizal. After having done my usual study, and Alternative Land Uses, I concluded in one of the options that there is a need and demand for Resort Hotels that are for Health + Wellness.


Since the yield my client was getting for his rural lands were very low, we were given the task to look at  the Highest and Best Use, given certain limiting conditions and Market Demand. After the study of the different feasible alternatives and options, we concluded that A Resort Hotel with Health and Wellness facilities of world class quality and in compliance with international Tourism standards, would be the Best Land Use.

 Although unfamiliar to many, the Philippines  provides a variety of Health and Wellness Resorts with Spa Services. Tourists enjoy the experience, variety of choices ,  to suit every need, or taste -from beaches, to mountains, lakes, hot springs, rivers, and tropical gardens . In these relaxing, healing  and  luxurious surroundings, one can find a wholesome place for a retreat. One needs to rest  from the daily grind and be revitalized ,  by the best and popular therapies, or just simply being one with nature.

 To name a few popular destinations, places that i particularly know, that transformed raw underutilized land, into successful  Health and wellness resorts and spas. These are:

The Farm at San Benito. Tucked away in the foothills of Mount Malarayat, two hours away from Manila, is The Farm at San Benito, a former coconut and coffee plantation which is steadily gaining popularity as an alternative healing center and one of the world’s few truly medical spas. It combines a spa resort and a medical facility to target those seeking relaxation and relief.

Founded with the aim of helping people maintain or regain their good health, The Farm specializes in alternative, non-western therapies and the treatment of degenerative, acute and chronic diseases. Visitors can opt for an Overnight Wellness Program which includes a one-hour medical consultation, or a Medical Vacation which aims to jumpstart their health through a cocktail of detoxification, exercise, skin cleansing and bowel cleansing for five days.

To pamper the body, there’s a wide choice of treatments at the Salus Per Aqua Spa including reflexology, various types of massages plus foot scrubs and facials and traditional Asian body scrubs. Tibetan exercise, yoga, meditation, and breathing and walking exercises are also available at the resort.

They also offer Filipino Body Treatment like “Hilot Haplos” Coco Cocoa Body Scrub, Coconut Cream Milk Bath & Hilot Massage feed your skin and relax tense muscles with this fresh scrub made from coconut cream and powdered cocoa that is spread over the body. Following the scrub indulge in a luscious bath of freshly squeezed warm coconut milk. After the bath a sensationally luxurious Hilot Massage, a traditional Filipino treatment, is sure to leave you wanting for more. “Tres Banos Lunas” is especially effective in treating energy stagnation while improving vitality. It also releases impacted toxins, commonly attributed to fluid retention, while strengthening the immune system. Regarded as one of the most soothing experiences – it will fine tune the aura, astral and etheric bodies, reducing stress to invoke regular restful and healing sleep. Hilot Lakan A.K.A. “The Noble Man” The treatment begins with a ritualistic cleansing of the feet, followed by a herbal body polish of fresh, local medicinal herbs to detoxify and purify the skin, infusing nutrients and enzymes to draw out toxins while renewing skin cells naturally. Firm massage releases stored emotional stress and built-up lactic acid, while invigorating the circulatory system for improved liver and kidney function.

 An invigorating yet healing herbal bath, naturally fragranced by the soothing smell of sandalwood marks the end of this masculine experience.

North Haven Spa Baguio City (Mountain High).The chilly Cordillera air in Baguio City is not the only attraction the destination has to offer these days. The North Haven Spa in the City of Pines is, without a doubt, the perfect reason to escape from the hurly burly grind of the city.

Their Strawberry Organic Scrub, Cordillera Rice Scrub and Benguet Coffee Scrub are among the varied highlights for a totally skin tingling experience. One must definitely experience their invigorating local massages such as the Dagdagis, a local foot rub that is definitely a treat which your aching feet deserve from all that tramping around the city. There’s also the indigenous head massage of the Mountain Province, the Gisgisto and the body massage, Taltaladtad, which are just a few of the special indigenous techniques passed down from their elders. With the North Haven Spa Signature Massage, you can smoothen out the rough edges and emerge feeling revitalized and ready to take on whatever may come your way.

A visit at the North Haven Spa is an intimate, personalized spa experience that reflects the transcendent beauty of the Cordillera’s natural mountain environment.

 But the problem here is that, the place is getting polluted and because of that, the Pine trees which are one of its main attractions are getting damaged. It is shameful to the foreigners isn’t it?

Sonya’s Garden (Master the Art of Doing Nothing). The colorful charm surrounding Sonya’s Garden hidden in the cool hills of Tagaytay will captivate you as you await your massage under this beautiful Bed and Breakfast’s serene atmosphere.

For the first timers in this blissful sanctuary, Sonya’s Signature Massage is a must-try. Get to experience this full-body massage filled with intense relaxing strokes infused with scented oils that will fully unite you with your harmonious environment. Detoxify under the sweet smelling fragrance of roses with their Aromatherapy Steam Bath. They also have singers to serenade you and it is soothing to the ears.

 Tirta Spa (Royal Spa Grandeur). Known as the first “premier spa” in Boracay, Tirta boasts of opulent Balinese and Asian-inspired architecture and elements. Its signature hue is the color purple which Ms. En Calvert, the spa director of Tirta, revealed has a relaxing effect on the mind and body. It is also the color of royalty — a likeness to how the staff treats you as soon as you enter its magnificent gates.

What makes Tirta Spa more exciting is its passion to create innovative treatments to satisfy every guest. The Before and After Sun Treatment is a highly-recommended spa package for those who love to soak under the sun. Before hitting the beach, try the Boracay Sunrise which includes facial and body exfoliation topped with a body massage for that even glow. The Boracay Sunset is ideal after a day at the beach. Cool pink clay (a botanical skin care product from Australia) is applied all over your body to revitalize your skin and help it maintain its youthful appearance. Tirta Spa also has a customized package to make your wedding moments more memorable. The Pulot Gata (Honeymoon Ritual) can be a pre- or post-wedding beauty ritual. Immerse yourself into this 3.5-hour session of pampering and relaxation fit for royalty.

Tirta Spa also uses Biodroga products manufactured exclusively in Baden, Germany. Made only from natural ingredients, these spa creations provide special care for your skin needs, leaving you more relaxed and radiant than before.

Mandala Spa and Villas Boracay (Island Wellness Sanctuary). Mandala Spa is a great choice for discerning spa enthusiasts visiting Boracay, one of the best beaches in the world. It is renowned for its award-winning spa treatments, elegant facilities, healthy cuisine and legendary service.

Enjoy their signature treatments and rejuvenation programs including the Shodhana Karma Ayurvedic detoxifying treatment– inspired by the ancient Ayurvedic system of well-being. The Princess Treatment or the Boracay Bliss is the ritual where you can experience the pleasure of a scrub or wrap of your choice, allowing aromatic oils to penetrate your skin. The resort also features the Prana Restaurant which serves vegetarian spa cuisine.

Great care has been taken to provide a profound experience — where the senses are drawn inward through the right blend of oils, freshly prepared natural ingredients, hand-picked flowers, the unmistakable Mandala healing touch and legendary service with a soul. These are the fine details that allow each moment to gently unfold and deliver one to wellness.

 Ylang-Ylang Spa at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort (Fragrant Pearl Discovery). The Ylang-Ylang Spa at The Pearl Farm Resort in Samal Island of Davao provides a perfect refuge for travelers seeking sun, sea and sand. The spa is located outdoors, surrounded by trees and thick foliage for more privacy. The ambiance of the place is part of the total spa experience.

Ylang-Ylang Spa relies mainly on ancient recipes from oriental and Philippine folk traditions. Try their signature treatments that uses focused pressure and a traditional local mix of oils to release muscle tension. With certified massage therapists and licensed aestheticians, Ylang-Ylang Spa at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort boasts of a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience which offers specific and effective approaches to suit one’s needs by combining the power of aromatherapy, massage techniques and the latest spa services.

The Ylang-Ylang Spa experience envelopes your every sense. Everything is an oasis of tranquility and world-class pampering that is unique. As it has been told and retold, one comes to Ylang-Ylang Spa to do nothing but to be one with nature.

 Badian Island Resort and Spa (Cebu’s Best Kept Secret). Dubbed as Cebu’s best kept secret, The Badian Island Resort and Spa is the ultimate refuge for the body and mind. A five-star romantic haven positioned in the sunset side of Cebu City, Badian Island Resort and Spa invites guests to step away from life’s everyday stress for utmost pampering, relaxation and rejuvenation.

The 8-hectare private hideaway boasts of large and highly comfortable suites facing the picturesque Badian Bay. The resort’s spa village offers therapeutic treatments in their open-air pavilions and new wellness rituals using fresh seaweed in heated seawater done at the open-air Badehaus. Their Thalasso facilities feature healing properties from seawater wading pools and cascading waterfalls. Lounge in huge seashells and bubble beds where wellness seekers can find the ultimate relaxation and enjoyment with a picture-perfect view of the island. The sauna next door is the perfect ending to this extraordinary experience.

Badian Island Resort and Spa is a destination in itself, where every guest is assured of a customized spa and fitness experience to revive their spirit.

Springs of Los Baños aguna. Laguna is popular for hot springs also known to be “healing”. Located southeast of Metro Manila and an hour’s drive from the southern Manila cities of Paranaque and Las Pinas, this province has the most hot spring resorts in the country. The heat coming from the water of the hot springs helps improve a person’s blood circulation through increase in oxygen flow. This also helps relax the muscles and remove toxins through perspiration.

 The only problem here is that, this is not yet developed, but once it is developed, it will surely attract tourists.

collage LAKE

Laguna Hot Spring (left), Taal Lake (right)

Sulfuric Waters of Taal Lake, Talisay Batangas. Tagaytay is particularly famous for the Taal Volcano. It is one of the Philippines’ popular destinations due to proximity to Manila. Tgaytay is attractive to tourists because of its cold weather. Although often described as one of the smallest volcanoes in the world, it is actually one of the largest. The entire Tagaytay ridge is the crater’s edge and the Taal Lake is the caldera of the volcano. The little ‘volcano’ you see in the centre of the lake is merely a ‘vent’. Taal volcano is known as the largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island. But Tagaytay is also congested and the traffic on Holy week is horrible!

 There are many other places that offers Health and Wellness facilities but the problem is that, like in Mindoro, it is a very beautiful and enchanting place but they do not have airport, which is an important aspect of attracting people to go to the place. In Palawan, there are five airports, but the place lacks of high-end spas with health and wellness facilities which complies with the international standards.

 One of the biggest problems is infrastructure. In my blog Business Opportunities in Philippine Tourism posted on February 5, 2014, I made“6- Aces” of Tourism Development for the Philippines: AFFECTION & The World Class Filipino Smile, ACCESS & Tourism Infrastructure, ACTIVITIES & FUN Filipino Culture & Cuisine, ACCESSIBILITY: Tourism infrastructure and the “Seamless Travel” concept, ACCOMMODATIONS: The need and Demand for World Class Hotels & Resorts, AIRPORTS: Point of Entry, the First impression and our “face to the world”.

 These are very important key points that we can use to achieve a great opportunity in tourism.

 To conclude, there is a lot of rural lands in the Philippines not best used which could cater to tourism like in some parts of Rizal-Cardona, Morong, Tanay, Pililla, and Teressa.

 Some of our advantages is the “Filipino care”, ability to heal through “hilot”, our herbal plants with healing properties like Coconut oil, Pito-pito, Niyog-niyogan etc.

Coconut oil (left), Niyog-niyogan (middle), Pito-pito (right) sources:,,

Coconut oil (left), Niyog-niyogan (middle), Pito-pito (right)  Photo sources:,,

We  recommend ,  that one with the necessary resources and conditions, to Develop our Raw Rural Lands, into    Resort Hotels, with Health + Wellness Services.

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