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Pearl Farm Beach Resort: Spelling luxury in Mindanao

Paying a visit to – arguably – the most high-end venue in southern Philippines, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, where bliss can be had for the taking.

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Pearl Farm

Davao CityYou may not be the most fervent believer of traditional healing practices – for instance, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that special points in the body (usually at the extremities) correspond to other (usually more vital) parts of the body, so that (as an example) applying pressure at the space between the thumb and the pointer finger could relieve pail (headache, stomachache, and so on).

But after an activity-filled day (island-hopping, snorkeling, road-tripping and the likes) at the Island Garden City of Samal, no matter your way of believing (or seeing), every pressure given by the deft hands of the masseuse/s on the body delivers… relief. While lying on a cushioned white mat, facing Davao’s sea slowly get swallowed by darkness, such is the pleasure derived at the Pearl Farm Ylang Ylang Spa – Pearl Farm Beach Resort’s health and wellness center.

Not that any less ought to be expected, considering that the place’s offerings are (in a word) pricey. Heck, just about everything in this place is pricey.

But in this way, Davao’s Pearl Farm Beach Resort spells luxury in these parts of southern Philippines…

STAYING THE NIGHT

If your concept of “tropical paradise” is Station 1 of Boracay, NOT Stations 2 and 3, then Pearl Farm Beach Resort should satisfy.

Note that – even if it is being sold as in Davao – the resort is actually not in Davao City proper. Instead, it is located in a small island cum province across the strait, poetically called the Island Garden City of Samal. Going to the resort, therefore, takes from 30 minutes (of ferry ride) from the Sasa Wharf on Davao City’s ferry terminal at the Davao Waterfront Insular Hotel.

By the way, don’t expect to see gardens – there aren’t any; but the name is supposed to encapsulate the beauty that can be found in the island.

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort actually housed a farm for the south sea pearls (thus the name). In the 1990s, however, the owners converted it into the luxury resort that it is now.

It is popular to day guests who head to it to swim at its (somewhat small) swimming pools, or take a stroll around the vegetation in the 11-hectare complex, or take a dip at the white sand beach. This day trip is affordable – only costing approximately P2,500 per person (including a meal a boot).

It is when staying over for the night that the resort’s luxe image is highlighted.

There are actually various room types available, ranging from hilltop rooms to those in houses on stilts. If sleeping lulled by the sounds of singing crickets is what’s desired, the former is a must-consider. But for those who want to be pacified by the sound of the waves gently crushing against the rocks, then the latter is recommended.

Davao2As for the room rates? The Balay (a.k.a. hilltop) rooms cost from P8,550 per person (single occupancy); the same price charged for the beach-side (yet located far from the main receiving area) Samal House and Mandaya House. Prices fall (a little) from P6,700 per person for those considering sharing. The prices of the rooms in the houses on stilts start from approximately P9,700 per person per night (minimum of two persons).

These prices come with welcome drinks; one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner; complimentary use of swimming pool, beach area, mini gym, basketball court, badminton court, tennis court and game room; and roundtrip boat transfers.

AMENITIES GALORE

As befits its luxury tag, Pearl Farm Beach Resort has various offerings that will suit various demands. There’s an Aqua Sports Center, where guests can rent out speed boats and outrigger boats for cruising; jet-skis; banana boat rides; kayaks, hobie cats; and snorkeling gear. It also has certified instructors for wind-surfing, water-skiing and scuba diving (the place has two sunken World War II Japanese vessels awaiting discovery). There are the aforementioned (not too big) outdoor swimming pools. There is a tennis/basketball/badminton court. There is a game room. There is a conference room for up to 70 pax. There is a souvenir shop (called Butik). And there is even the Mandaya Weaving Center, where Mandaya tribeswomen skillfully weave their traditional fabrics (called dagmay) and other ornamentation.

But if you’re just looking at spending the days lazy, sipping drinks while enjoying the breeze and getting lost while looking at the distance may be had at Parola Bar (that offers views of the distant Mt. Apo), Maranao Restaurant (offering Filipino and international cuisines, with seafood specialties), or Malipano Gazebo (in a nearby, yet separate island).

JUST TAKING IT SLOW

And it is actually taking it slowly that is what’s best done in Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

So that the stress-busting treatments at Pearl Farm’s Ylang Ylang Spa are worth considering.

The men’s “stress buster”, priced at P1,000, is a combo of Chinese, Swedish and deep tissue techniques. Hilot, priced at P1,250, gives the traditional Filipino massage a twist with the use of heated banana leaves and your choice of VCO, tanglad oil, or Ylang-ylang essential oil. The “Pearl Farm Royal Massage”, priced at P2,500, is a two-our session that makes use of special oil blends as mood therapy. And then there’s the warm stone massage, priced at P1,500, that makes use of (this should be quite obvious) hot stones as tools for the massaging.

For the not-that-adventurous, you can go “common”, by availing of the Swedish oil massage (P1,000), Shiatsu (P1,000), or the Ventosa (P1,625).

Other treatments include: body scrubs (from P1,250), foot treatment (from P875), facials (from P1,000), and hair treatments (from P1,000).

It was, in fact, while getting my feet massaged by the pool that I got to appreciate this place’s (let’s say enduring) appeal. Getting pampered, while taking in the sights and sounds – of the vast blue sea that seem to connect with the infinity pool; and of the insect sounds from the thick foliage enveloping the resort – is how I imagine being blissful to be. And this, truly, may be one of the best ways to achieve that while in these parts of the Philippines.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort is located at Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal, Philippines. For more information, contact: (+6382) 2351234, (+6382) 2351235, or (+6382) 2351236.

Its Davao sales office is located at 3/F Abreeza Ayala Mall, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City. For more information, call (+6382) 2850601 or (+6382) 2850876; or email kadizon@anflocor.com.

Its Manila office is located at Ground Floor ANFLOCOR Building, 411 Quirino Avenue corner NAIA Road, Tambo Parañaque City 1700. For more information, call (+632) 8552741 local 207 and 208, or (+632) 8547892; or email: fslebris@anflocor.com, gbdichosa@anflocor.com, or eftuanio@anflocor.com.

A registered nurse, “Ching” – as many fondly call Rachelle Grace – believes that a holistic approach to health and wellness is what everyone should aim for. She is, therefore, always on the lookout for what could help achieve this. And yes, she shares them openly, believing “knowledge about what works won’t be much use if it’s not known by as many as possible”.

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Travel

Travelling farther away from home linked to better health

How often people travel and the range of places visited are important, with those who regularly travel more than 15 miles away from home more likely to report being in general good health.

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People who travel more outside of their local area feel that they are healthier than those who stay closer to home, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

How often people travel and the range of places visited are important, with those who regularly travel more than 15 miles away from home more likely to report being in general good health.

Those who travel to a wider variety of places are more likely to see friends and family. This increase in social participation is then linked to better health.

Researchers say the results provide strong evidence of the need for investment in medium and long-distance transport options, such as better serviced roads and access to trains and buses.

For the paper, published in Transport & Health, the researchers analysed travel in the north of England, where residents face worse health outcomes than the rest of England and many rural and suburban areas suffer from poor transport accessibility.

Specifically, they looked at the links between perceived constraints to travel outside of the local area, such as a lack of suitable public transport, and self-rated health, considering trip frequency, the number of different places visited, distance travelled, car use and public transport use.

Lead author Dr Paulo Anciaes (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) said: “We expected to find that restrictions on travel through a lack of access to suitable public transport or to a private car would be linked to residents’ perception of their health because of the lack of social participation.

“We explored the links between constraints to travel more than 15 miles from home, demographics and location and social participation in how residents perceived their own health, finding that the key variable is the number of different places people visit outside their local area. This links to more social participation and better health.”

The researchers conducted an online survey of 3,014 nationally representative residents in the north of England. Constraints to travel have previously been identified as contributing to economic disadvantage and a lower sense of wellbeing in the region, but the impact on health hadn’t been analysed before. The team used a research technique called “path analysis”, which uncovers the direct and indirect effects of constraints to travel outside of people’s local area.

The study found that the links between travel constraints, social participation and health are stronger among those aged over 55. Among this group, constraints to the number of different places people can travel to is linked to less frequent contact with friends and participation in clubs and societies.

Dr Anciaes explained: “Those aged over 55 are more likely to face other constraints to travel such as limited mobility. They are also more likely to suffer from loneliness. In the north of England, rural and suburban areas with limited access options are more likely to experience population loss as young people move to the cities in search of work and good travel options. Meanwhile, older generations are left behind in these areas with limited transport options. The range of places they can visit is low, leading to less social participation and lower levels of general health.

“The results of this study emphasise the need for public policies that reduce constraints to travel in the region, by providing better options for private and public transport that allows for more frequent and longer trips.”

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Destinations

The one-and-only Hobbiton from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is now on Airbnb

With access to 44 Hobbit Holes, The Millhouse, The Green Dragon Inn, and other beloved locations from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, guests will take an unexpected journey into Middle-earth for an experience unlike any other.

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For the first time ever, fans from around the world can explore the faraway lands of their favorite holiday films with an exclusive overnight stay at the original Hobbiton™ Movie Set. Russell Alexander is inviting guests to his family’s property to live like Bilbo Baggins and retreat to The Shire for an overnight stay at Hobbiton, as featured in the famed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

Nestled in the picturesque pastures of New Zealand’s Waikato region on a 2,500-acre working farm, the property’s rolling, green hills – bear a striking similarity to The Shire as described by J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, and captivated Sir Peter Jackson’s movie scouts more than two decades ago. The team quickly realized the Hobbits had found their home – and this holiday season, it could be yours.

Alexander will host three individual two-night stays for up to four guests at NZD $10 per night* as an homage to the 10th anniversary of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, courtesy of Airbnb.

With access to 44 Hobbit Holes, The Millhouse, The Green Dragon Inn, and other beloved locations from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, guests will take an unexpected journey into Middle-earth for an experience unlike any other.

With sweeping views of The Shire, they’ll enjoy:

  • Cozy overnight accommodation curated by the trilogies’ Creative Director Brian Massey, including a writing nook fit for Bilbo Baggins at The Millhouse.
  • Private access to a personal Hobbit Hole, set up for relaxing moments of Preciousss  downtime and afternoon tea.
  • An evening banquet in The Green Dragon Inn with a feast featuring beef and ale stew, whole roast chickens, freshly baked breads and plenty of ale, plus Second Breakfast and Elevenses served daily.
  • A behind-the-scenes private tour of Hobbiton Movie Set.

Now, one does not simply walk into Middle-earth. There are rules.

  • No unexpected parties, please –  unless with Gandalf and company.
  • Bare feet are allowed but wipe them first.
  • Magical rings permitted, but keep them secret, keep them safe.
  • Pony parking is provided only at The Green Dragon Inn.
  • Straying far at night is discouraged, thanks to multiple troll sightings of late.
  • No pets are allowed, except Pickles the resident Hobbiton cat.
  • Never laugh at live dragons…

“For more than two decades, we’ve welcomed millions of passionate fans to Hobbiton Movie Set, but never before has anyone had the opportunity to spend a night in Middle-earth. I am delighted to share the beauty of my family’s farm and pleased to be hosting this iconic location on Airbnb for fans from around the world,” shares Host Russel Alexander.

How to book

Hobbits, elves, wizards and others may request to book one of three overnight stays on Wednesday, December 14 from 10:00AM NZDT/5:00AM PHT at airbnb.com/hobbiton. Stays will take place March 2-4, March 9-11, and March 16-18, 2023. You Shall Not Pass! (without requesting to book, of course).

To request to book, guests must have a verified Airbnb profile, a history of positive reviews and be aged 18+. Maximum occupancy is four persons. Two bedrooms are configured, featuring one queen bed, and the other two king-singles.

Guests are responsible for their own transportation to and from Auckland, New Zealand. Round trip car transportation will be provided for the two-hour journey between the airport and the property. (And just as a Wizard is never late, it’s important our guests arrive at their stay precisely when they mean to).

Travellers looking to book should note that this stay’s rules require strict adherence with local COVID-19 guidelines. Guests are responsible for their own travel to and from Auckland. Airbnb is closely monitoring COVID-19 infection rates and government policies and will offer booking guests a refund of the booking fee ($31) and $1,000 USD Airbnb travel credit if Airbnb determines it is necessary to cancel the stay due to COVID-19 guidelines.

*Plus taxes and fees. These three individual two-night stays are not a contest. The Hobbiton Movie Set is privately owned and operated.

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Destinations

Greenfield District in Mandaluyong kicks off its holiday celebration

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,. followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

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Greenfield District, the smart and connected urban center of Greenfield Development Corporation (GDC) in Mandaluyong City, transformed into a holiday wonderland with the launch of GDC’s annual Christmas festivities called “A Christmas for Generations”. 

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,.  followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

“After two years of not having face-to-face yuletide celebrations, Filipinos are surely excited to once again gather with their loved ones to celebrate the country’s festive Christmas season,” said GDC President and Chairman Jeffrey D.Y. Campos.  “Greenfield District is a venue where different generations, from senior citizen grandparents to Gen Z kids, can bond with each other by taking part in the fun holiday activities of the District,” he added.

Ongoing  until December 25, Filipinos of all ages are in for a lot of holiday fun at the District. On December 17, families, especially kids are invited to come and meet  Santa Claus at Greenfield District’s “A Night with Santa” , which will feature merry activities and gift giving.

Meanwhile, adults can start their holiday shopping early as the Greenfield District Central Park will showcase weekend bazaars starting this month until December. Shoppers can look forward to discovering value for money gift ideas, trendy fashion pieces, delicious treats and more. While shopping, visitors can also enjoy a quick food trip and engage in Arts and Crafts activities while immersing at the bazaars dressed in colorful Christmas decorations. 

With a mission to build future-ready and sustainable communities for generations of Filipinos, GDC upholds its tradition of organizing events that promote the value of togetherness and spending quality time with the family.

“At GDC, we are committed to not only building properties for generations but also creating verdant, spacious neighborhoods where Filipino families can create beautiful memories together throughout the years. Christmas is a special occasion for many Filipinos, and we want Greenfield District to be part of their memorable Christmas experience every year,” said GDC Executive Vice President and General Manager Atty. Duane A.X. Santos. 

Located at the corner of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard, Greenfield District is accessible to the public through various routes and roadways from the main business districts of Metro Manila, making it an ideal destination for recreational activities, get-togethers, and shopping this yuletide season.

Visit the Greenfield District with friends and family this holiday season.  To know more about the activities at Greenfield District, visit https://www.facebook.com/greenfielddistrict.

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