RAPHA VALLEY | HEALTH AND WELLNESS DESTINATION
The 2017 heralded beautiful signs of a busy and productive year for me as a travel blogger and as an entrepreneur.
I made my very first 2017 travel trip on the first week of January to Antique. We visited various tourist spots and food destinations starting from Iloilo City as we drove towards the Province of Antique. Many of these destinations will be uploaded to this site and at www.toponmylist.com in the days to come.Moreover, some invitations for some travels are in the bag, not to mention the many other local events and festivals I could hardly visit because of my conflicting schedules.
As an entrepreneur running my handicraft business, the Jojo Vito Designs Gallery made me quite busy designing for some souvenirs and trophies for various clientele. Also,my 2017 training projects with my business consultancy outfit, The INTRASPEC Management Consultancy also started very early this year starting with my seminar engagements in Iloilo and Bacolod City.
While these activities bring the best in me, it also claimed much of my mental, creative and physical energy making me sleep late at night.
This is why when I received a private message from a friend to go to Rapha Valley, a health and wellness destination in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, I readily said yes. It was my plan to really visit the place as I heard so many positive words about this destination.
L-R: Betsy Gazo, Bacolod Tourism Officer Butch Gerasmo, Blogger Claire Algarme, Hazel H. Javier, Philippine Tourism Attachè -Taipei , Dr. Albert Jo, Marilou Jo, Provincial Tourism Officer Tin Mansinares and the author
THE RAPHA VALLEY
Other people thought that Rapha Valley is just an organic farm and a tourist destination in Negros Occidental. While this is also true, the place is first and foremost a health and wellness destination.
Rapha Valley is managed by a medical doctor-turned-organic chef and health guru, Dr. Albert Jo and his wife Marilou, a Pharmacist. The place was created to help people go back into a healthy lifestyle. Guests will be entertained by the owners who never run out of stories and learning sessions all about healthy food and how this food can serve as your medicine.
L-R: Columnist Betsy Gazo, yours truly, Dr. Albert Jo and Blogger/Columnist Claire Algarme during our dinner at Rapha Valley
Located in the green highland of Salvador Benedicto, the Rapha Valley offers a relaxing atmosphere – a great place for personal retreat and being away from the busy city life.
The place has several rooms for their guests which offer hotel-like accommodation. They also have a restaurant which offers only all vegetarian and organic dishes prepared by no less than Dr. Albert Jo himself. The Rapha Valley will surely delight visitors with its great panoramic view and spacious ground which you can do some bonfire during night time. The temperate climate at Salvador Benedicto is also perfect to make a guest relax and fully rest from a stressful urban lifestyle.
Rapha Valley has various accommodations catering to guests visiting the place
Organic Farm Tour
Rapha Valley offers an Organic Farm Tour with the owners being the guide. During our farm tour, Dr. Jo shows various kinds of herbs and vegetables grown in the area. The interactive tour allows guests to smell and taste different herbs and flowers. I was amazed by hearing the various medicinal and nutritional value of each herb.
Walk-in guests are encouraged to visit only between Fridays to Sundays. Group tours are accepted but 2 weeks notice is required. For more details, please contact the Rapha Valley (contact details are provided below).
Our welcome snacks: Black rice puto made from organic black rice with cocount milk and honey; “Tanglad” (Lemon grass) Tea. The black Puto goes with the meatless and bloodless dinuguan using mushrooms ,spices and carob seeds as a replacement for the blood
Rapha Valley offers a Detox program that will be personally supervised by Dr. Albert Jo.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AT RAPHA VALLEY
Pancit Negrense , Twisted Herb Bread, and Tapenade made of capers and sesame seeds
Because we arrived at the place almost lunchtime and with the welcome snack offered to us, we took our lunch a bit late. For our lunch, we just opted for Pancit Negrense, a dish made of sotanghon and egg noodles. This dish is quite different as compared to other noodle dishes. It has a sour flavor using “Sambag” (Tamarind ) Leaves and Batwan (famous fruit in Negros Island) as souring agents and Kadyos Seeds. Our lunch comes with a Gumamela Juice using extracts from the Gumamela Flower.
After our lunch, we rested for a while inside our room. Rapha Valley offers accommodation amenities at par with any hotel. Rooms are complete with a hot and cold bath, TV, etc . Since the place is a health and wellness destination, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Guests are also, discouraged to make some noise so as not to disturb other guests resting.
Top: Guilt free Rapha Adobo | Below : BulKan Kanlaon Dessert
After we rested, we explored the place and took some photographs. Rapha Valley offers a relaxing view which can surely help one refresh his mind.
We took our dinner early to give ourselves more time to unwind and relax. For our dinner, we ordered for Veggie Meat Adobo with Red Organic Rice mildly flavored by Turmeric and Pandan leaves. The Veggie Meat Adobo is Dr. Jo’s winning recipe during the first Adobo Festival held in Silay City, a few years back. We were also made to try their Herb and Flower Salad with Guyabano Fruit and Toasted Sesame Seeds.
The couple also offered to us their signature Bulkan Kanlaon Dessert. The dessert is made from Gluten-free Cassava and Cacao Tablea Cake sprinkled with crushed cashew nuts. The dessert is bursting with Cacao (Chocolate) and Honey lava.
Trivia: Bulkan Kanlaon is a vernacular term for Canlaon Volcano, the highest peak in Negros island.
Top: Organic tea | Below: Herbed Bread with tofu cheese
We woke up early on our day-2 and last day at Rapha Valley. Actually to others, the 7 AM is not early anymore, but for me who used to work on my blogs up to wee hours in the morning, this time is rather too early. Anyway, we were scheduled to have our farm tour and to see the place that morning.
After the organic tour with Dr. Albert Jo, we proceeded to the restaurant for our breakfast.
Rapha Eggs Benedict
I ordered for Rapha Eggs Benedict for my breakfast. This dish is made of 2 organic poached eggs on a bed of Herbed English Muffin. The Rapha Eggs Benedict is topped with asparagus spears, tomatoes, organic cheese, veggie ham, and herb cream cheese.
Dr. Albert and wife Marilou also let us tried their Shii-sig (Rapha’s version of pork Sisig). The dish is made of coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms, eggs, healthy tofu, cream cheese and bits of hot peppers for the kick.
Overall, my short stay at Rapha Valley, made me think about my food intake as well as where and what should I buy for my kitchen supplies. I was also made to realize how to improve my health by just being conscious each time I will feast in the table.
My visit was very short and I guess I need to go back to learn more from the health and wellness guru, Dr. Albert Jo.
Brgy. Kumaliskis, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental 6105.
Telephone Numbers: +63 (34) 473-0816 | +63 921 – 613 – 7928 | +63 917 – 829 – 2023
HOW TO GET TO THE RAPHA VALLEY
The Rapha Valley is located in Brgy. Kumaliskis, Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is to the east of Bacolod and 45-minute ride away from Bacolod City.
If you are taking The Bacolod Silay Airport, you may take a taxi at PHP 500 going to Bacolod City proper or the Shuttle service at PHP 150/person.
Going to Bacolod City by sea from Manila North Harbor is approximately 22 hour trip through 2 Go Shipping.
From Iloilo City, several fast crafts are servicing Iloilo-Bacolod route with an hourly schedule.
Going to Rapha Valley:
The Rapha Valley is found on Kilometer 48 of the Eco Tourism Highway of Salvador Benedicto. If you are driving, just ask people on the streets the moment you arrive at the town proper for easy assistance.
The moment you reach kilometer 48(if you are coming from Bacolod City), you will see signage directing to the right. You should turn right and take the dirt road for approximately 1.5 kilometers to reach the place.
If you are coming from Dumaguete City, take the Ceres Bus to Bacolod via Salvador Benedicto and tell the bus attendant or the driver to drop you at KM 48. The moment you reach the place, just ask the people around for some assistance.