After a week of travelling, Amy and I decided we deserved a break from our backpacks and checked in to Bahay Kalipay: a yoga, meditation and raw food retreat in Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
I know the expectations are that if you write a food blog you’re all yoga, kale and coconuts but I must admit, yoga is something I’ve never quite got the hang of. So we were both slightly nervous not knowing what to expect and hoping we wouldn’t completely embarrass ourselves.
As soon as we arrived, my worries disappeared. All the instructors and volunteers were so welcoming and keen to share their knowledge on yoga, meditation and everything else. The accommodation was like nowhere I’ve stayed before – all constructed from wood and open making you feel “at one” with nature. There were a number of communal areas for private meditation or relaxation full of motivational quotes, dreamcatchers and hammocks – so dreamy!
Over the three days we spent there we had lessons in various types of yoga including hatha, yin, ashtanga and fly high. It was really great being able to experience such variety. We liked yin yoga the best – this is a more slow-paced meditative style of yoga. The fly high class was also really fun – I never thought I’d be hanging upside down by the end of it!
One of the highlights during our time at Bahay Kalipay was the food. All strictly raw vegan which worried us slightly at first – would we be going hungry? The answer was definitely not. The meals were all so delicious – fresh fruit, chia pudding and oat balls for breakfast and all sorts of creative dishes for lunch and dinner. 11am was green smoothie time and 3pm was snack time where we got to enjoy delicious raw cakes, pies or vegan ice cream. There were also coconuts available all day if you wanted fresh coconut water. It really was any health blogger’s dream.
We were even lucky enough to get a cooking lesson with a trained raw food chef who taught us how to make raw vegan tacos using just processed miso paste, tahini, cumin, paprika, salt, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds for the filling and lettuce as the wrap which is all then put together in a dehydrator. So delicious and FODMAP-friendly – I can’t wait to remake this at home!
Another great tip we picked up during the retreat was the benefits of oil pulling. This involves swirling coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes every morning before brushing your teeth. This cleans your mouth of toxins and is a natural teeth whitener.
Overall we had an amazing few days at Bahay Kalipay and wish we could have stayed longer. We met such interesting people and have already begun researching yoga lessons back in London.
If you’ve never tried yoga before I would definitely recommend it. It’s the perfect relaxation, especially for IBS sufferers who need help managing their stress, whilst also being a great form of exercise at the same time. I’d also recommend trying a vegan diet even if only for a couple of weeks as it’s a great way to detox and cleanse your body.
If you do happen to find yourself in the Philippines, check in to Bahay Kalipay for an experience you won’t forget!