Give your dad an unforgettable wellness travel experience

According to the Global Wellness Summit (an international organization that shapes the future of the global wellness industry by bringing leaders and visionaries together), wellness travel is one of the biggest wellness trends this year. A wellness-focused trip aims to improve one’s overall health and well-being. Healthy lifestyle habits such as managing stress, eating healthy, and moving more can still be continued while people are away from home.
I used to travel regularly with my husband before the pandemic to unwind, try various cuisines and witness different cultures. We would always include physical activities such as hiking, climbing mountains, running, and hotel workouts as part of our travel agenda. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Bicol with my dad and my father-in-law to give them a well-deserved vacation and wellness travel experience. It was one whole week of family bonding and active travel, to celebrate Father’s Day in advance as well. I believe that at this point in time, especially after years of being stuck at home during the pandemic, they prefer experiences like traveling with the family over material things.
Misibis Bay Resort in Cagraray Island, Bacacay, Albay
Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon
I am sharing my recent travel escapades to give you tips and ideas on how you can plan and give your loved ones a wellness trip that will positively engage their senses. Wellness travel is a great opportunity to bond with your loved ones while improving everyone’s mental, physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Preparing a wellness trip

Consider the travel preference of your companions

Make sure that your travel preference can match your companions’ taste so the whole group can surely enjoy the trip. Our dads are very simple, and easy to please and they usually trust our choices when it comes to travel. They prefer a combination of adventurous and relaxing experiences in new and interesting places so they can share their stories and photos with their friends and family.

Plan early so you can save money

Do not be too impulsive when it comes to traveling so you can avoid expensive airline tickets and resorts or hotels. Last Christmas, we already discussed the possibility of going to Bicol this year. I booked airline tickets two months in advance to avail of a cheaper rate. 

Research well about your chosen destination

Give some time to research your desired travel destination so you can strategically plan the sequence of your trip. I usually give time to ask for suggestions from my friends and clients and check online articles, travel blogs, YouTube, and Google Maps at least a month before the trip. A well-planned vacation can help you save time, energy, and money during the actual trip.

Give your group the whole picture of the trip

Discuss with your family the concept of a wellness trip – staying active while exploring new places, relaxing the mind, and enjoying good food. My husband and I have always packed light, ever since and we wanted our dads to experience an action-packed trip in Bicol.  So we asked them to pack light and bring extra clothes needed for physical activities such as water sports and light hiking. 

Include relaxation as part of the wellness trip

You can schedule a stress-free vacation during the last few days of your vacation as a well-deserved reward after the action-packed part of the trip. Traveling from one place to another can also be stressful. We had to transfer to three different places in Sorsogon, so I decided to include a luxurious resort experience in Albay during the last part of our trip. 

Share your itinerary with the group 

A few days before the trip, share your complete itinerary with the group – so they can still research the place and at least know what to expect and know what type of clothes to bring. I shared our final itinerary with our dads a couple of days before the trip and it made them more excited and physically and mentally ready when we met them at the airport.
The adventure-filled wellness escape
Create a wellness vacation based on your lifestyle, travel preferences, travel companions, and goals while applying the major aspects of wellness (physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual) to make it more meaningful.

Make it a point to engage in any form of physical activity such as brisk walking, doing body weight strength exercises, running, light hiking, or water sports. You can do this alone and involve your family in some doable activities that match their fitness level. 
Eat good meals by always making it balanced and always including fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and the must-try dishes and local delicacies of your chosen destination. 
Explore different places and meet different people to stimulate one’s interest, mood, and energy.
Don’t forget to include the most relaxing activities such as spending a peaceful time at the beach, massage, and meditation to clear the mind from worries and stress.

Early morning body weight beach workout in Rizal beach, Sorsogon
A peaceful morning run
We stayed in Gubat, Sorsogon during the first three days of our trip. We stayed at Lacsa Hilton Beach Resort, a simple accommodation along Rizal beach. My husband, Armand managed to do a 5km run twice and some bodyweight exercises one morning for strength training.
Bigaho Eco Park
The Bigaho Island with my dad
The Bulusan lake and volcano
Before heading to Matnog, Sorsogon, we went to Bigaho Island and Eco-Park in Prieto Diaz. We did a short hike to Bigaho Island using the bamboo bridge.  We also did a side trip to Bulusan lake to take some photos of the magnificent view of the lake and the volcano (the volcano that just recently erupted exactly a week after our visit).
Casa tente Boutique Hotel
Then we had an overnight stay in Casa Tente Boutique Hotel near Matnog Port and we did long hours of night swimming as a family. 
Matnog port market
The next morning, we bought seafood and vegetables in the public market of Matnog port before heading straight to the most talked-about Subic Beach.
Juag Lagoon
Calintaan Cave
The boat brought us to Juan Lagoon for a quick fish-feeding and to Calintaan cave for an hour of swimming, as part of the island-hopping adventure tour.
Dulay’s Place in Subic Beach
We had an overnight stay in Dulay’s place and cooked our own food and had one memorable night of family bonding once again.
The first part of our trip to Bicol was filled with adventure and activities that are very emotionally enriching.  Exercising, moving from one place to another, and briefly adjusting to new locations could be stressful, but witnessing the excitement of our dads in facing new experiences and places really made our hearts full.
A luxurious wellness travel experience
Schedule the most relaxing experience at the end of your trip to experience the rewards of a comfortable resort stay, impeccable service, sumptuous food, calm ambiance and picturesque views. 
Misibis Bay Resort- a room with a view
Armand’s bonding moment with his dad
From Matnog Sorsogon, we traveled two hours to Misibis Bay in Cagraray Island.  I’ve been to this place a number of times already.  In fact, we had our very first out-of-town wellness retreat here. I also brought my whole family here one year before my mom passed away which happened 10 years ago and became our last trip as a whole family.  So beautiful memories came back when we visited the place.
Afternoon gym workout
Preparing for a morning Zoom workout class
As soon as we arrived at the newly renovated  Misibis Bay Resort, we had a short nap, then we went straight to the gym to burn the extra calories we had from our buffet lunch in Waway’s Legazpi. The next day, I conducted a special morning Zoom cardio and strength workout class with my clients. Thanks to Zoom, I can now do workout classes even while on a trip. We ordered again Bicolano foods for dinner and ended the night with Videoke.
Afternoon paddle boarding
The next day, we did so numerous physical activities such as gym workouts, walking around the resort, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. 
Outdoor dining experience
Bicol Express
We also had a very impressive and unforgettable outdoor dining experience on our last day. Of course, we ordered our favorite laing and Bicol express.
Exploring the city
Before you end your trip, while there is still time, do not miss the chance of exploring some of the most popular attractions of your destination, eat the most popular foods and buy your pasalubong foods.
Hotel St. Ellis in Legazpi City
The room where we openly discussed various issues as a family
From Misibis Bay, we traveled for about an hour to Hotel St Ellis in Legazpi City, where we spent our final night. Our stay in this hotel was very memorable because we had an open forum as a group and I truly felt that the bond between the group became stronger than ever.
Afternoon run in Legazpi Boulevard with the majestic Mayon Volcano
I was still able to walk and run around Legazpi Boulevard while seeing the majestic Mayon Volcano and passed by some famous Legazpi City attractions such as Embarcadero de Legaspi, Sleeping Lion Hill and Sawangan Park. 
1st Colonial Grills’s Sili Ice Cream
We spent the rest of the day in the City visiting the market to buy pili nuts and other unique Bicol pasalubong. Then we went to SM City to eat Bicolano dinner in 1st Colonial Grill serving the most authentic Bicol viands and the most popular Sili ice cream.  
We left Legazpi the next day. I felt so happy and fulfilled because I was able to share a part of myself with my family during the whole trip. Our dads went to new places, tried something for the very first time, did some activities they haven’t done for a long time, and enjoyed the beauty of nature once again stimulating their senses, reminding them of their past, and giving them more motivation to take care of their health, mind, and body so they can still enjoy life to the fullest with their loved ones. I can’t wait for the next family wellness travel adventure. 
Email the author at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza

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