You Won’t Live Forever: Healthy-Living and Nation-building at Tagaytay’s Nurture Wellness Village

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We were sitting comfortably on a coaster, going surprisingly smooth across the road to the nearest highland from the Metro. After munching on complementary chocolate chip kale cookies – a prelude to what was to come, I remember thinking – I couldn’t help dozing off. It was a Wednesday. The sky was a tad overcast and I only had four hours of sleep. My legs were a bit tingly.

I went running the day before – I haven’t been for a very long time. I had realized how badly out of shape I was when my heart had started roaring a few minutes into the run. And napping on the back seat of the coaster, my dreams were plagued with wheezing breaths and clogged arteries. It was pretty weird. I woke up out of breath, cautiously looking over to my seatmate and fellow blogger Nicole. Luckily, she was busy taking snapshots of the scenic route.

The thing is, these days, my eating habits are horrible. I’ve no proper exercise. I stay up until the wee hours of the morning. So, when seasoned traveler and foodie Mae Ilagan sent an invite to When In Manila’s community of writers for #NurtureMeDay at Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay, I had taken it as a sign from the Universe. It was time for a change of pace.

Looking out the window, the familiar landscape of Tagaytay sped right past us. A couple more moments later, we found ourselves on a rather isolated street that reminded me of the movie Wrong Turn. All thoughts of grim and morbid possibilities, however, were washed away by the spicy ginger tea I sipped upon setting foot in the Village.
Nurture Wellness Village is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city 

The Nature Walk
It was a grand entrance, I must say. Complete with a live folk marching band, the traditional kulintang providing the beat. Ms. Cathy Brillantes-Turvill, who co-owns Nurture with her British-national husband Mike, personally welcomed us. “I feel like royalty,” I thought, as one of the staffs showered us with pink and red petals.
Refreshing "blue ternate" drink
We were directed into a breezy function hall where more of the staffs – dressed in rural garbs, no less – offered us snacks. I had this refreshing drink made from Blue Ternate and malunggay pandesal. As I munched on my pandesal, Ms. Cathy gave a brief welcome speech before sending us off for the tour of the Village.
Malunggay pandesal topped with strips of chicken
Our tour guide, Nurture’s resident tai chi gong instructor and all-around nice guy sir Querube, showed us the different rooms. He also spoke to us about “glamping” or glamour camping, which is basically camping without the hassle. Expert masseuses demonstrated the different pampering services offered by the spa – from the traditional hilot to the more modern ventosa. Interestingly, Nurture uses their own signature oils, concocted by Ms. Cathy’s husband who is a licensed doctor of Organic Chemistry.
Mae and sir Querube discussing about the organic farm
Inside one of the Ifugao suites
In one of the dorm-style rooms
The playground - perfect for family bonding!
Inside a "glamping" tent
With fellow bloggers, around the bonfire pit
Foot spa is one of Nurture Wellness Village's services
Nilaib - Nurture's signature massage using heated sands wrapped in banana leaves
The place also offers Ventosa
This one is the traditional hilot
Mae traipsing along the "Healing Path" which is a self-performed foot massage
Simply strolling around the place seemed to relax me, like my mind was telling me, “It’s ok to slow down now. You’re safe here.”

Gabriela: A Living Heritage Museum and Comfort Foods to Cleanse your Soul
After the tour, we witnessed the unveiling of Gabriela – the newest addition to Nurture’s long list of fun and meaningful amenities.
Ms. Cathy Brilliantes - Turvill talking about the concept of Gabriela
Named after the Filipina heroine, Gabriela features a glimpse to the traditional Filipino way of life. Various implements like tiyakad (wooden stilts), kudkuran ng niyog (coconut grater), and husung at ahu (mortar and pestle) are available for everyone to try. You could not help but feel nostalgic – makes you want to go back to the old ways.
Going on a tiyakad is harder than it looks!
Old school coconut-grating
Manual labor is alive in Gabriela
Aside from these, Gabriela also showcases an organic garden where you can “pick and eat”. Kale, lettuce, and an assortment of tea and herbs are all ready for harvest. You can ask the chefs to prepare you a fresh salad using  the veggies you picked.
One of the guests harvesting from the organic farm
There is also an eat-all-you-can red rice arrozcaldo, kakanin, tablea chocolate drink, and beef tapa so fresh and so good it will make you weep.
Fish and tapa bar
Arrozcaldo, fried sardines, and pandan iced tea for lunch!
Every food, every dish, served is organic and fresh – comfort foods at their very best.

Wellness is a Journey; Start Early
Ms. Cathy also talked about how it is important to take care of ourselves now. And I couldn't agree more.

When I decided to become a fulltime adventurer, I realized how important it is to be healthy. I have to exercise and make the right choices when it comes to food, because a wheezing and out-of-shape dork will not last long in the mountains. I won’t last long if I continue with my bad habits. I won’t be able to go backpacking when I have poor health and tire easily. It’s true that when we’re young, we are inflicted with a sense of invulnerability. We believe that we’re immortals. Well, we’re not.

And unless we make changes and stick to them, we won’t be able to go on any more adventures. And that thought alone is very depressing.

Fortunately, there are places like Nurture Wellness Village that have taken it as their personal mission to make people understand that wellness can be achieved while having fun. You don’t have to give up meat entirely, just listen to your body and don’t let stress get the better of you. Nurture can help you achieve and maintain a healthy mind and body through their holistic approach to wellness. They will take care of everything! From assessing your health state via the Digital Meridian System (DMS) which uses the principles of Acupuncture to pinpoint the parts of your body that need the most help. Through this assessment, Nurture will design and recommend a program that best suits you. It will include meal plans, meditation techniques, and massages. They will even teach you how to make the healthiest and best tasting juices!
Nicole having a DMS health check
The liver-friendly juice: Lemon, Apple, Carrot, and Kale
The point here is to rid ourselves off of the notion that youth will last forever. We have to remind ourselves that we won’t be healthy in the future if we don’t take care of ourselves in the present. Nurture points out that simple things, like drinking lots of water, can do wonders for the body.

Wellness as a Vital Tool for Nation-building
As a professor of Business Studies and an HR practitioner, I can attest to the impact of stress on productivity. Why, I, myself, suffered from stress-related lethargy during my days in the corporate world.  The need for organizations to provide health and wellness programs is undeniable. Nurture Wellness Village can be a great corporate partner for helping employees to find their way to long-term wellness.

Studies have also shown that there is an increase of younger people being diagnosed with hypertension, heart complications, kidney problems, and other fatal diseases. The concern here is much more alarming when you consider the big picture: how can the Philippines compete globally if her young professionals are weighed down by sickness? With the ASEAN Integration happening in 2015, it is even more important that we foster a nation of healthy – in every sense of the word – Filipinos, ensuring that the workforce we have is able to keep pace with those of other countries.

I applaud Nurture Wellness Village for their commitment to health and wellness. Institutions like this are essential in order to not only uplift and provide avenues for sustainable and community-based ways of living, but also to serve as a reminder to young professionals (such as this dorky adventurer) that health is indeed wealth.
Me trying out the head-and-shoulder massage

For inquiries, bookings, rates, services of Nature Wellness Village, you may check out their website: Nurture Wellness Village.

Cheers to the next adventure!

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