Sunday Lifestyle

A ‘workcation’ at Sonya’s paradise

RENDEZVOUs - Christine S. Dayrit - The Philippine Star
A âworkcationâ at Sonyaâs paradise
Listen to the refreshing sound of the gurgling stream, the birds and cicadas while you work in Sonya’s Garden.

The pandemic has given birth to new words like “workcation.” It’s the combination of work and vacation, where professionalism is observed while inhaling the freshest breezes. It’s like bringing the boardroom or your office desk to the beach or resort.

Workcation is a far cry from work-at-home, because, as a friend told me, “You also get burned out working from home.” More than a year of WFH can prove to be taxing, too. For many, decision-making processes can be hampered or creativity can be stalled when one worries about the virus and deadlines.

After so many months of staying alive, one also thinks one deserves a break. So to a paradise one hastens to go if only to change one’s surroundings or to renew one’s drying creative juices. The exercise is good for the preservation of mental health — and mental health is paramount to work productivity.

Workcation is working from paradise. Some of the people I know who are working in the office or BPOs in Manila are at the beach. They follow all the safety protocols and are armed with laptops and 4G pocket Wi-Fi. By the beach they accomplish their work, their toes burrowed in the sand, their gaze towards the sunset. There’s fire in their hearts and fire in the sky. At the end of the day, work is done — with a tan.

Celebrity YouTube sensation Mikey Bustos loves the workcation at Sonya’s Garden, where he can decompress his mind, body and spirit.

But for those who wish to experience the soothing and calming breeze of a mountain resort, they could experience it at Sonya’s Garden, where each of the 22 cottages and many of its gardens are equipped with a strong Wi-Fi connection.

“Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast is your safe, paradisiacal escape from the monotony of WFH,” says Sonya Garcia, the “royal innkeeper” of Sonya’s Garden. “In the time of ‘workcation’ where the office is brought to a desired destination for work and vacation to merge, we offer you an irresistible experience.”

As a regular of Sonya’s Garden, I know for a fact that the cottages of this paradise are built for social distancing — long before social distancing became a household term. Not only are they apart, they are also separated — and connected — by beautiful gardens.

You can avail yourself of a weekly or monthly workcation at a special rate per person. The setup comes with breakfast, lunch and dinner and two snacks in between. Laundry service comes for free, as well as the buko that you sip before you take a dip in the natural spring pools at Sonya’s Healing Haven and Sonya’s Secret Haven. (I heard a Wi-Fi connection is being set up in the two natural pool areas in Kaytuhod and Sinaliw in Alfonso, which are located 20 minutes away by car from the B&B.) A couple from the US even booked a stay for nine months for healing and wellness. They simply loved it.

With a strong Wi-Fi connection at Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast, working is a breeze, whether in the lush gardens or cozy cottages. Working from paradise, as experienced for two weeks by award-winning journalist Bum D. Tenorio Jr. before the ECQ, is “both blessing and bliss, heaven and haven,” as he wrote his stories by the waterfalls near his cottage, or as he does his interviews via Zoom in the middle of a greenhouse of lollo rosa, romaine, kale and arugula at Sonya’s Lifestyle Haven.

Award-winning columnist Büm Tenorio Jr. combines working with a magnificent vacation mode for two weeks in Sonya’s Garden.

One becomes more prolific when one works in paradise. That’s according to YouTube celebrity Mikey Bustos, who, together with his partner, RJ Garcia, has been in workcation mode at Sonya’s Garden for months now. They got “locked down” in Sonya’s Garden long before the new ECQ was implemented.

“I've been hearing about the famous Sonya's Garden for many years, and my partner and I were looking for an ideal place where we could relax, be with nature, and most of all bring our dogs, who are like our kids. After our first stay in one of the very cute and homey cottages, we fell in love with Sonya’s Garden,” says Mikey.

He adds, “What I love about staying at Sonya's Garden is how I feel like I am decompressing at all key levels of being: the mind, the body, and the spirit. I love that there is peace and quiet here, very conducive to meditation. We eat organic, healthy meals, and being amid nature is soul cleansing. I also love getting massages and listening to all the birds and animal sounds all around. It's the perfect place for productivity, inspiration, and work!”

Mikey says he’s familiar with how toxic an office or cubicle of a work building can be, “but I assure you, if you are able to work remotely, Sonya's Garden will feel like working in paradise. When I edit videos here at Sonya's Garden, the work passes like breathing. Work feels almost effortless and, in a weird way, relaxing. I also feel this way while working out here and exercising here (I brought my dumbbells and workout to fitness YouTube videos). It's like effortless work, no matter what kind of work,” says the famed vlogger. “The staff is extremely friendly, well-trained, and safe. You get to sleep in a beautifully interior-decorated cottage with a hybrid Old English-Pinoy feel, complete with vintage stained glass mixed with capiz windows, lamps, chandeliers, beds with the whitest linens ever, hand-carved furniture, various fragrant herbs hung all over the place, fresh plants and flowers in pots, and vintage books. The living spaces are breezy and there are lots of windows to watch the tropical forest and garden outside.”

He continues, “The food is spectacular! Every meal is a culinary surprise, serving a variety of foods, often from different countries. Here I've eaten Japanese, Thai, Italian, Filipino, and American. All produce is fresh and organic. Aside from the classic pasta menu, they serve steak, lamb chops, chicken, pork, fish and seafood, a variety of veggies, mushrooms of all kinds, and delicious fresh fruit.

“There are many places providing a broad array of different ambiances at Sonya’s Garden, where you can station yourself to work. I love working right next to my viewing deck window, which faces a lush forest. I am also a bird fanatic and have seen some beautiful species of birds reveal themselves to say ‘hi’ as I work.

“Sonya’s Garden also offers premium massages/treatments, river and natural spring swimming, various Master Classes (I've taken the amazing three-day B&B Master Class, and I highly recommend it). They have many goodies at their bakery, and also sell several eco-friendly products that I've been obsessed with. I love their lavender soap, shampoo bar, and fragrant conditioner. I could go on and on, but I'll leave the remaining details for you to discover when you stay here,” Mikey says.

Sonya’s Garden in Alfonso, Cavite, is under MECQ now and as soon as guests are allowed to stay at the B&B, workcation mode will resume. Restaurants, however, are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Experience your workcation at Sonya’s Garden and let the sweet breeze, cacophony of cicadas and the symphony of birds join you in your most productive day at work, um, vacation.

Sonya’s Garden also accepts long-staying guests in cottages with their own kitchenettes where you can even cook meals. For workcation availability at Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast, call 0917-533-5140 or 0917-503-1080.

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E-mail me at miladay.star@gmail.com

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