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MANILA, Philippines - I breathed in the fresh Tagaytay air as I got off the car and waited outside the gate of naturopathic doctor Dr. Day Tormo Montano’s family rest house, now a wellness center called Home of the Living Hope.
The bright reds and greens of a large anthurium garden greeted me and my companions; a charming house of sun-yellow and various shades of red rose above the garden. A pile of fresh pineapples near the doorstep beckoned.
Inside, bright and warm sunlight fell on a rainbow of fresh organic produce on the dining table, kitchen counters, and floor. Lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, bananas, mangoes, cauliflowers, broccoli, and wansoy were just some of what I remember seeing.
“Those tomatoes and bell peppers look plastic!” one of my companions exclaimed in disbelief.
I took a closer look. Indeed, the fruits were so colorful, with a waxy sheen. Most of the fresh produce, in fact, looked like they belonged in Photoshopped advertisements or stock photos.
And they’re organic! I later found out that many of them came from Dr. Day’s farm, also in Cavite.
After that visual overload, I looked forward to what we would have for lunch. A fresh, subtle aroma of herbs and vegetables wafted from the kitchen, where Dr. Day, her family, friends, and staff prepared the meal.
Dr. Day, a certified Hallelujah Diet health minister, raw food chef, and professor, explained that the menu for each day changes according to the available produce. But all meals are vegan, with some — if not all — dishes raw, following the principles of the Hallelujah Diet.
Taste was not compromised in favor of health. Our lunch certainly proved that. From our herbed and spiced squash soup to our fresh salad and vegan spaghetti, and finally a raw chocolate mousse dessert that tasted almost like its usual dairy and sugary version (and topped with red organic strawberries!), I was in foodie heaven.
In the past, I enjoyed the healthy options in some of Tagaytay’s garden restaurants; but this experience was different. It was just like eating at home, although in a different home that truly embodied health. That health could also be seen in the glow on the faces of Dr. Day, her family, and the people who frequent the wellness center.
Most striking was close family friend Julie Saprid, fondly called "Nanay Julie," who did not look her age of 83. Much like an extended family as she is the mother of Dr. Day's best friend, she visits the wellness center for detoxification treatments. During my visit, she led me and other guests in a spontaneous aerobic exercise routine.
What makes the meals at this home and wellness center different is that even the health conscious and gravely ill can eat to their heart’s content without worries — and under doctor’s orders. After all, it is Dr. Day who prepares the menu.
It is in this home that Dr. Day welcomes not only the health conscious craving for a good meal but also people with terminal or debilitating illnesses; even those with minor health complaints. She has worked with and facilitated the healing of patients with cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses.
One of the patients I met during my visit reported a marked improvement. Due to a kidney disease that almost had him go for dialysis, he almost could not walk the first time he was at the center. During my visit, I saw him with a spring to his step — literally. He went for a few rounds on the wellness center’s trampoline!
Dr. Day said that the philosophy of her wellness center is the “healing of mind, body, and soul.”
Prior to opening the doors of her family’s rest house to the public as a wellness center, she already worked with patients. With a center, though, she could offer more complete, holistic healing services.
“You can come here for wellness and respite, for a natural way to heal, to cleanse, and to get a taste of great healthy living food,” she explained.
Aside from healthy meals, the center offers detoxification and alternative healing procedures like colonics and acupuncture.
So the next time you plan a road trip to Tagaytay, why not schedule a visit to this healthy home-turned-wellness center as well? - Rappler.com
(Home of the Living Hope is at 172A Crisanto de los Reyes Avenue, Tagaytay City. For appointments, call 0922-8990128 or 0927-5767187, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Traveling Light.Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog,
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