from my semi-paradise in Philippines

I am writing from my detox and yoga retreat called Bahay Kalipay, in Palawan island. It’s a holistic wellbeing center, located in a densely wooded area, a few minutes’ walk away from the sea.

The huts are simple but with rustic charm. The main sitting/yoga area is decorated with wooden masks and carvings and Tibetan pray flags. Life is simple too. No hot shower. There isn’t even toilet paper. All eco-friendly.

I was looking forward to coming to the place but had reservation about food. Actually food has been delicious. Breakfast consisted of sliced papaya, mango, banana, toppled with dried coconut bits and crushed nuts, washed down with a home-made chocolate drink. Last night, we had veggie spring rolls and sweet corn salad.

This coming Saturday, there will be a food workshop to demonstrate how to make such delicious vegan food. I can’t wait!

There are about ten of us staying here at the moment, mostly women as you can imagine. Half of them are yoga teachers or volunteers. We do yoga, meditation, energy workshop and such. For more pleasure parts, there’s massage and body scrub.

I simply can’t get over how beautiful and quiet this place is. I love to look at the brilliant stars at night, such a treat for someone like me from smog choked Beijing. This morning, I went to the beach to watch the sunrise and did yoga right on the beach. There are a lot of white birds – cranes I think, in the nearby marsh. From the forest behind me, all sorts of birds were singing. It was a very memorable experience.

What’s the down side? Well today is the day for silence, which I can manage. It’s also the coconut fasting day, meaning the only thing you can eat is coconut. I am not sure how I am going to survive this.

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2 thoughts on “from my semi-paradise in Philippines

  1. The Asia-Pacific and China that my parents and grandparents once knew and experienced are being corroded today by rapid urbanization, high-rises, euro-chic, the bling-bling lifestyle exemplified by Beijing, Shanghai, HKG, Shenzhen, Singapore.
    There is very little “cultural lampposts” left.
    Sad to say, the Philippines, with 7,100 islands, is wracked by a feudal culture and strangled by its oligarchic class of landed gentry, descendants of the Spaniards, mixed breeds of native Malays, Spaniards, Chinese, and the former colonial landed class.
    Poverty outside of Metropolitan Manila area, with 12 million inhabitants, is pathetic.
    All this “semi-paradise” vacationing is designed to lure affluent tourists around a theme of “eco-tourism” and de-toxification from the modern over-saturation of the “bling.”
    I hope you are not being gouged for those simple tropical fruits and vegetables that are so inexpensive in the rural provinces.
    For westerners, attracted to that mythical “Shangri-La,” experience, and flying monks who can levitate, and meditative exercise, Palawan and some of the outlying islands are indeed very pristine and attractive.
    But I would not pay an “arm and a leg” for this hooey. There are indeed pristine, simple niche in rural Philippines. But avoid being ripped-off.

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