Not gonna lie, adjusting to life here at Bahay Kalipay was kind of a struggle.
I’m generally a calm, relaxed person who’s always found it manageable to find ease in any situation. Otherwise I fake it ’til I make it – which is exactly what I ended up doing for the first few days. Outwardly I was calm but inside I was restless, rushing to get used to my new environment as if I was on deadline. If you’re from the city and you’re used to living life from one task to the next, you can fully count on feeling the same.
Yeah, it took me a few days but I feel like I’m settling in and finding my place 🙂
If you’re coming, here’s what you can expect.
SPACE. What really struck out for me right off the bat was the amount of space. Bahay Kalipay is not a huge piece of land and the structures aren’t exactly big either but it just feels so spacious. You feel like you can breathe and that maybe you’ve been holding back your breathe just a little bit the whole time before you arrived. And it’s not just the place. The people who work and live here have a real lightness to them that’s different from just being relaxed – they feel… unburdened, free. But when you hear their stories you realize, they weren’t always like this. It took them time too.
Having the time and the space to just rest completely in an accepting environment is either totally liberating, or totally frightening. For me it was the latter. I had a lot of things on my mind and the sudden prospect of having the opportunity to recognize all of them and try to sort them through before putting them aside — ugh. All I could do was wait for it to be okay and, it’s happening slowly, like candle wax melting.
RAW FOOD. Raw food all day, errday. Absolutely all the food here is raw fruits and vegetables. Nothing is cooked. But it’s not just sliced cucumbers or peeled papayas. So far I’ve had “burgers, fries, sushi, rice, porridge, all kinds of soup,” etc. etc. etc. I’m always excited for the next meal just to see what they’ve come up with.
If you’re a big meat eater, uncooked food and veggies could totally be a surprise but if you’re here for just a short while, what’s the harm? Even if you’re not on Bahay Kalipay’s detox program, you’ll get your cleansing just from the food you’re eating. And you never really get hungry.
My physical detox has been boring-ly uneventful so far. For the first three days I had a light headache, and I went to the bathroom after every meal which is actually kinda normal for me. Aside from that other reactions you may have are vomiting, feeling tired and weak, change in complexion, etc. The more unhealthy your daily diet is, the more intense your reactions might be but that’s a good thing 🙂 It’s what your body needs.
VULNERABILITY. Bahay Kalipay is a wellness detox retreat center. The wellness, the detox, and the retreat doesn’t just come from the food they serve you. Our schedule is filled with yoga, art therapy classes, soul journaling, guided meditation, inner dance, and nature trips. While you’re on raw food and surrounded by all this space, you’re going to detox emotions too – that’s a sure thing. I felt like my detox process was more emotional than physical, actually. The classes are there to help you release all of it and take it a step further. It may sound crazy right now but trust me, it’s like your puking out your feelings and you’re not gonna like having them all over the places – take the classes as guides. Bahay Kalipay is a safe space to just let yourself be sensitive to everything. If not here, where else?
While I’m here this April, I’m leading the yoga and the soul journaling classes.
SIMPLICITY AND SEVA. We practice loving seva, which basically means you clean as you go. They serve us all our food (3 meals a day, a snack and maybe a smoothie), but we wash the dishes, clear the tables, and bring everything back. If you see something that needs putting away (e.g. yoga mats), anything that needs to be put in the fridge (e.g. leftover smoothies, sauces, leftover fruits), refilling buckets with water from the well, take the initiative and practice seva.
Bahay Kalipay isn’t a resort. In the traditional Filipino way, we live in nipa huts (“bah kubo”) made from wood and coconut by-products. It’s simple but it’s homey. As a guest you’ll be given a basket of things you’ll need, you’ll be served your meals, and you can request for anything else you might need (e.g. extra blankets, a sarong) but beyond that, we all work together to keep our space clean. Bahay Kalipay means “home of happiness,” and you’re invited into this home to enjoy it and also respect it.
ROUTINE. For everyone, the day starts with a morning routine of oil-pulling. There’s yoga every morning and sometimes in the afternoon. And there are different classes in between. On Thursdays we have our coconut fast, silent, non-doing day. Etc etc. So you won’t get completely lost in time and space 🙂
COMMUNITY. The people here are the best. Everyone’s extremely friendly and open and you can talk to them about basically anything. Everyone’s from a different country so it’s a learning experience in how other people live and think. I’m slowly coming to realize that people will come and I will truly enjoy their company, and they will leave.
I’m really enjoying my work here though. So happy to be here 🙂 Most of the people who come here to rest, release, or both and it’s such a joy for me to serve them and find out what yoga reveals for them. In just the first week, we’ve all realized a lot and that’s a first for me to – to have students talk to me deeply about how they feel after, even outside the physical. It really is about the work and I mean that in the best way possible.
My internet here is kinda sketchy (another thing to expect) so if you want to know what it’s like just go to their site, or search the #bahaykalipay tag on Instagram. I’ve also been posting a picture a day of my stay here on my own Instagram account, check it out if you’re curious 🙂
Week one, down.