The Forest of Vraja in Laguna: A Place for Wellness and Eat Guilt - free Food


Now that I have reached 30's, I have learned to embrace a different kind of travel. This time, it is all about  less hassle and more comfortable kind of trips. No party hostels and bunk beds for me anymore. I am really trying hard to start incorporating wellness and healthy lifestyle in my vacations. This is a gift I give to myself that I haven't done so previously.That's why when there's a chance to visit Forest of Vraja, an eco and retreat village in Laguna, I said yes despite of my hectic schedule. 




Forest of Vraja is located in between two mountains that are known for emitting healing energies: Mount Banahaw and Mount Makiling. A nine-hectare place for relaxation, Forest of Vraja wants to be known as a sanctuary where their guests can experience self-awareness of body, mind, and spirit through the healing sciences of yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation, luxuriate in gentle massage, enjoy delicious organic foods from produce grown on the farm, and absorb the beauty and wonder of nature, birdsong, and waterways. 


vegetarian buffet in laguna forest of vraja


Together with my two sisters, we took a 2-hour bus to Alaminos then a 10-minute tricycle to reach Forest of Vraja. We left at 8 am and reached around 10 am in the morning.  It was a weekend trip - no heavy traffic for us. I was stunned seeing the huge main gate at the entrance of Forest of Vraja which I was told was handpainted/decorated by various artists from around the world. We then followed a cemented pathway to reach the Gazebo hall where we can see a group of people waiting for us.  We were greeted with warm welcome by women wearing sari and men wearing Indian clothes. At first, I was curious why these fellow Filipinos wearing such attire at the same time I admire how beautiful these dresses are that I wanted to try to wear one as well.


FOREST OF VRAJA LAGUNA BLOG


A moment of yoga
Our first activity was yoga. I have joined several basic yoga classes before but due to my fast-paced lifestyle, it's time that I can't afford anymore to visit yoga studios in Manila. Sure, watching Youtube videos can help but I am the type of person who would be more attentive if it is done live. Oh the irony of life! Back when I have too many free time, I am as broke AF.  Now that I have a steady income, time seems to be more precious than gold!

We were guided by a couple who both practice yoga for decades already. We did some stretches and deep breathing techniques amid silence. I loved the feeling of lying down the mat and eyes closed doing nothing but listening to the winds created by the swaying branches of the nearby trees.

The yoga lasted for only an hour but to me I felt I was fully recharged the whole day.  I felt very light afterwards that all the worries I have in my mind that day were replaced by positive thoughts. 

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Meeting a Holy Man
It is not usual that a monk or a holy man visits Forest of Vraja in Laguna but that day was different. Wearing a yellow robe, we were treated with a short program of chanting, meditation and a short talk about vegetarianism. This travelling monk is a Filipino by blood but a US citizen who is living in India. While I admit it is super hard for me to become a vegetarian, just listening to him made me more conscious of what I ate today. If there's always a chance, I favor eating a plant-based meal compared to a dish made entirely of meat.  
The meat from animals that are struggling hard and fighting for their lives while they are killed (esp by butchers) are very perilous to our health both mental and physical.  Eating more meat, eggs and dairy product mean producing lots of carbon footprints which are not good to our environment.
hare krishna philippines iskcon



The Vegetarian Buffet
After the talk, we were treated with a buffet lunch that is 100% vegetarian. Actually, this is the first time I had experienced eating purely plant-based dishes. To tell you the truth, I was impressed that vegetarian food is also very tasty! As a matter of fact, they served dishes that resemble or a version of some of our beloved food made of meat like tinola. It's a ginger and onion based soup with chicken as the usual main ingredient. The taste is almost the same even without any meat involved. By the way, onions and mushrooms even though are classified as non-meat aren't used in cooking vegetarian food. I learned that these are "aphrodisiac" which means eating these increase our libido or sexual desires.  

Forest of vraja philippines


We had Kofta balls, pumpkin soup and chopsuey.  Couldn't remember the names of the rest of the food we ate but all I can is that it was a very hearty meal for me. I was also able to eat a slice of chocolate cake and leche flan both prepared without egg - I almost fainted. The sweet tooth in me loved it so much. Deep inside I was screaming, how can these taste so good without the egg?! 

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MORE Reasons to visit Forest of Vraja   
The only way to burn the food we ate is to walk around so we decided to see what's more in the Forest of Vraja.  For me who is a city rat, this place is a respite away from the chaotic sites and sounds in the metro.  

  • Villas. All villas that you can rent for at least a night here are made of onduline roof. A longer and peaceful sleep is more guaranteed because the roof is sound-proof. There are two kinds of rooms: Deluxe Room and Spa Villa. What I like so much about these villas is that it has a homey vibe. It doesn't look like a hotel that has this commercial vibe. Staying here is just like you're at home for me. I give Forest of Vraja 1, 000 points for choosing native designs and use of local products. For the rates and inclusions, you can click HERE.
  • Beauty treatments. For the ladies, you’ll love this for sure. Forest of Vraja also offers body scrub, anti-aging oxygen facial, Philippine pilot, head massage, Himalayan healing hot stone massage, Hair spa rejuvenating scalp & hair treatment, pink Himalayan salt body scrub and more.
  • Hare Krishna Temple.  Inside Forest of Vraja is a small but beautiful temple honoring Krishna.  You have the free will to get to know this religion that originated from the India.  


forest of vraja alaminos laguna
    hare krishna laguna
    FOREST OF VRAJA  ISKCON PHILIPPINES

    Our stay at Forest of Vraja in Laguna was short but sweet. We wanted to try the Kalimasada or the farm tour but due to shortage of time, we were not able to do it. Hope there's next time for that. Btw, they offer catering services to corporate and private events. The next time you have your birthday or a company outing, maybe you can try something new by feasting on a vegetarian buffet from them?   

    Rates: Rooms, Villas & Wellness packages
    Forest of vraja room rates

    forest of vraja wellness spa rates


    How to go to Forest of Vraja  
    From Edsa Kamias Bus Station,  you can take a Jac or Jam liner going to Lucena. Then take off at Alaminos Bayan (Palengke).  At the back there are tricycles you can hire to bring you there.  We were charged Php 60 for one way trip.

    To get in touch with Forest of Vraja, please check the following information below:
    Facebook Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/forestofvraja/ 
    Website: https://www.forestofvraja.com/
    Contact number: +63.908.889.4761

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