Bahay Kalipay – a Yoga Retreat in the Philippines

Late last November, my dear friend Julia and I spent three days yoga-ing, meditating, connecting and eating at Bahay Kalipay on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. Bahay Kalipay is a well-established, genuine community and retreat centre that allows visitors to press pause on life, practice yoga, open their minds to new ideas, and detox if they wish to do so. It is set simply and beautifully an hour or so off Puerto Princesa’s airport. Unlike many other retreats I have come across, BK seemingly places a broad focus on simplicity and sustainability. Such values translate into a strict zero waste policy (note: only bring biodegradable toiletries), bucket showers, raw vegan meals, and, lucky for the traveller on a shoestring, seriously affordable pricing.

Accommodation-wise, expect comfort stripped down to the bare minimal. The entire experience is cleverly designed to give a sense of groundedness and purity. Throughout the day, a choice of workshops on all things wellness, yoga, and food with a side of nature-related activities [think a walk through the rainforest or a day at the beach] awaits. I found the raw food so packed with flavour it was hard to believe it was, in fact, raw. In saying that, I have been vegan for three years. However, the many, many Tripadvisor and Facebook reviews are with me on this one.

Depending on your experience in the yoga world and that of staying in humble abodes across Asia, a stay at Bahay Kalipay may push one or two boundaries or raise an eyebrow here or there. Most importantly, however, it will give you a chance to become more [self-]aware, connect with your body and learn how to incorporate more of such [one might say, alternative] ways of living into your everyday life back at the place you call home. One final aspect I thoroughly enjoyed was getting to know the local staff and fellow Filipino yogis, who gave way to an untainted, honest view into culture and customs; setting Julia and I up perfectly for our onward travels around the archipelago. As we went off to our next adventure, our hearts were filled with pure gratitude for all that we’ve learned and all whom we’ve met. Namaste!

We yearn to learn how the tide is turned, to understand each grain of sand we know. When all we ought to be, is moving in rhythm with ebb and flow.

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