September 6, 2016

Orissa Garden of Wellness: Sanctuary of Love and Peace

When you can tell the story without feeling any pain, you know you are healed.

Pain is a universal feeling. They say that the greater your capacity to love, the greater your capacity to feel the pain. For those feeling weary, broken-hearted or suffering inside, there’s an idyllic place for healing situated at the foot of Mt. Arayat in Magalang, Pampanga. It goes by the name Orissa.

Orissa is a historical and cultural place in India filled with exquisite temples and monuments, as well as breathtaking natural landscapes. For health and wellness guru Riza Lim, it is a heavenly place to relax, and nurture the mind, body and spirit. She named her 2.2 hectare property after her favorite Indian province, which coincidentally also rhymes with her first name. I have read about her inspiring story, which started from losing her mother to cancer, breaking up with her ex-husband, and her journey to healing and recovery which eventually led to the opening of Orissa. Pain and grief proved to be good motivators because they prompted her to do a sort of Eat Pray Love thing, taking her to India, Tibet, Thailand, Japan and California, meeting and learning from extra-ordinary people, before launching her natural healing center, considered the first of its kind in her very own home province.

I had the chance to meet Riza personally (who by the way is beautiful inside and out) and discover her wonderful oasis that offers alternative healing and holistic approach in treating people with all sorts of ailments and illnesses.

The pathway leading to the main house is lined with guided light posts and trees, giving an impression that it is a road to wellness.

The main house is a fusion of native and modern Filipino architecture with touches of Japanese-zen and Indian mysticism. The furniture, especially the chairs of various elegant designs, is simply gorgeous. I particularly love the cocoon chair which symbolizes change and beautiful transformation.

The spacious and homey shala and function room is where Riza usually teaches her students some yoga and meditation lessons. In a corner, is a low table crowded with raw crystals and crystal balls, believed to help deflect negative vibes and energy.

The spa services of Orissa include different massages and scrubs ranging from foot and hand accu-pressure, relaxation therapy, Namikoshi, Doterra 100% aroma healing touch, glow body scrub to Orissa signature massage. Its Healing and Detox Program, on the other hand, covers different therapies and sessions such as magnetic healing, crystal healing, Chakra balance, spiritual cleansing, holistic health program, colon cleanse detox, kidney detox, weight loss program and Zapper programs. I was in awe upon seeing the colorful crystal stone collection of Riza that she uses in one of her therapies.

Orissa has romantic kubo-inspired accommodations aptly named ku-villa good for couples and families who want to feel recharged from a well-deserve rest. The one-bedroom single detach villa with balcony is equipped with modern amenities such as queen size bed, air condition, hot and cold spring water shower.

The Five Elements, the in-house vegetarian restaurant of Orissa, offers sumptuous and healthy organic food to nourish the body, the vehicle of the soul. The crispy tapa, chicken curry and tocino really taste good, I almost believe they aren’t mock meat and made from vegetables. I also relished partaking the ensalata ala Noel, Sagada rice, pancakes and oatmeal.

Some of the fresh fruits served in the restaurant are harvested right from their orchard with fruit-bearing trees of pomelo, papaya and mango.    

Since Orissa is an ideal homebase for hiking the northwestern portion of Mt. Arayat, Riza suggested that I visit two famous dayhike destinations in the area– the Stations of the Cross and the White Rock. I was able to get a guide from the DENR outpost to lead me the way.  

Every Holy Week, Catholic devotees flock to the pilgrimage site to pray in all the life-size Stations of the Cross. Completing the Via Crucis is an easy feat.

While getting to White Rock (an andesitic dome which according to legend was the home of Kapampangan sun god Aring Sinukuan) is an arduous, almost two-hour and mostly assault trek. But the trail has interesting flora and fauna. And upon reaching the summit, I was rewarded with the sweetest view of the lush mountain surrounded with mist and the neighboring towns of Pampanga and Tarlac.

It may be a little scary to sit on the edge of the rock but it made me ponder that  sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.  

The trek was a tiring but fun activity. The first thing I did when I returned to Orissa was to take a dip in the refreshing spring water pool. The mineral water, sourced from the mountain, was quite soothing to my dog-tired body.

I wish I had the luxury of time, as well as resources so I could stay for one more day, even just for the food. But as they say, all good things and experiences must soon come to an end.

But I felt rejuvenated and re-energized communing with nature, reflecting and just appreciating the simplicity and serenity of the place. Orissa and the miraculous mountain of Arayat really have that mystical power to restore you whole, physically and spiritually.

Riza and her fiancĂ© were still in the middle of their lunch date when I left. They look happy together. A picture perfect embodiment for that saying “Someday all the love you’ve given away, will find its way back to you, and it will finally stay.” Except that her someday has already arrived today. 

Orissa Garden of Wellness
Orchard Village, Brgy. Ayala
Magalang Pampanga
Tel. No.: 0977-1480386
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