My Yoga Retreat in the Philippines

I recently spent a life changing week at Bahay Kalipay, an intentional community and healing center on Palawan Island in the Philippines. BK is what you make of it. It could be a detox program, a yoga and wellness routine, a therapeutic experience, or a schooling in energy and meditation. It’s an extremely reasonably priced all inclusive getaway- but not a resort spa. They do have healing massages, but it’s not an environment where you can expect pampering and luxury.

The whole group of guests and volunteers when I visited

I felt healthier than I have in years during my week at Bahay Kalipay. They only serve raw food, which was surprisingly diverse and creative. Each bite of a raw food meal feels good going down, as if your body is thanking you for taking care of it. Without the distractions of caffeine, processed food, shopping and makeup, addictions, crushes, cigarettes, alcohol, technology, and all else superficial, not only does your natural self shine through, but also some deep rooted issues. Things you may have pushed down for months or years trying to avoid creep up to the surface. This may be because your body senses that you are ready to take your demons head on, you are in a safe, nurturing environment. That was my take anyways. Your soul, brain, and body left to their own devices to sort their shit out.

This is me in my happy place- I sat here every day from 2-3 and read

Here is what an average day might look like: 
  • We would wake up each morning and do a cleanse routine of drinking water, swishing coconut oil to pull toxins and bacteria from our gums, and then drinking a rinse of calamansi juice and salt. 
  • Next was an hour and a half of yoga or tai chi, followed by a raw food breakfast of fruits and coconut flakes. 
  • Morning sessions varied (art, meditation, etc.), but there was also a green smoothie around 11. 
  • A lunch of raw veggies and sauces at 1 was followed by an afternoon session of yoga, cooking classes, therapy, spa services, or a hammock nap if you’d like! 
  • Afternoon snacks were often yummy dehydrated fruit chews, and finally an elaborate dinner such as raw lasagna. 
  • Everyone sits around the communal table for meals and checks in on their progress- except for on the 24 hour silent coconut fast day, that is!
  • After dinner each evening there was some activity planned- movie screenings, inner dance, group discussions, etc.
  • There are optional excursions as well to places like the eco-village nearby, hot springs, beaches, or other islands!
Some of the raw food meals

Bahay Kalipay is also an energy school, with sessions in meditation, inner dance, reiki, and craniosacral therapy. This was the hardest part for me. Doing yoga twice a day was a physical challenge but nothing I couldn’t handle. Sitting still for two hours and focusing on my third eye pushed me way further outside of my comfort zone. You can choose whether or not to attend these sorts of sessions, or any sessions at all really. If you want to spend the whole week just getting colonics and walking circles around the labyrinth, no one is going to stop you.

On a trip into town with some of my retreat friends

This was my roommate Wendy- a seriously rad Australian chick!

I’m gonna wrap up talking about the facilities at BK. Spartan might be the most appropriate term, if the compound wasn’t so damn beautiful. Everything is outdoors, and only the beds have mosquito nets, but when there is a jungle where the fourth wall of your bedroom should be, you don’t really mind. Wifi is available in the reception tiki hut if you’re desperate, but the rest of the place barely has electricity. Bring a head lamp, and toilet paper if you’re into that, because yep, they rinse themselves off with a pail at BK. Toilets don’t flush either, you throw water from a pipe into the basin using a pail. Showers are done the same way (splashing water on yourself using a pail). I began to look forward to those cold rinses. But there are gardens and art installations and tiki huts and palm trees and a mangrove beach a few blocks away, so running around barefoot without the hum of air conditioning units and generators in the background is really perfect.

The view from my bed

Disclaimer: This post took me about 3 weeks to put together because I just wasn't sure how to describe my experience. Bahay Kalipay can be as physical or spiritual as you want it to be. I went in extremely cynical- thinking I would maybe lose a few pounds, and now I meditate on the public buses here in Hong Kong. My insecurities have been wiped away as irrelevant superficialities, and my self acceptance and personal body image is completely at peace. I went in close-minded and I left changed for the better. If you feel like you could open your heart to an experience like this, you really can't lose.

Me getting in the zone in the yoga studio


  1. So you are wearing no makeup, no cosmetics, no fancy hair/clothes, yet you are absolutely gorgeous in every one of these photos, hmmm...

  2. Thank you so much for posting these for global use!
    You are making the world a better place!

    Yantra Yoga | Yoga Healing Philippines

  3. This one is really useful resource of information. I'm glad to see this post over here.

    Yoga Workshop Philippines | Certified Yoga Training Centre

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing post of retreats in Philippines session. I love yoga retreats, meditation and reiki. I would like to suggest rishikesh. Rishikesh is the world capital of yoga. Here, Tattvaa Yogashala is a oldest and premier institute of yoga teacher training and yoga retreats center in rishikesh


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