“We really want Gabriela to be a venue for families and friends to hold reunions.”
As Cathy Brillantes-Turvill, co-founder and President of Nurture Wellness Village, spoke these words, I took a quick look around the al fresco dining area where we were enjoying our late afternoon snack and couldn’t help but agree in silence.
Cathy Brillantes-Turvill, co-founder and President of Nurture Wellness Village
The place is very homey but in an I-grew-up-wearing-designer-clothes-everyday sort of way. It could be said that its overall design is a modern-day interpretation of an Ilustrado’s home—dark wood doors with heavy metal frames flanked by pillars of stained glasses separate the dining area from the herb garden; all the walls and pillars are painted with a clean white finish; long white linens provide the high pawid (nipa palm) ceilings with a sense of effortless elegance; and traditional Filipino tools are cleverly placed in certain areas to give guests a better understanding of how Filipinos of the past prepared their food and entertained themselves during their free time. Of course, there were also balls made of capiz that served lamps.
But the most impressive thing about this restaurant-slash-museum of herbs and vegetables is the way it seamlessly flows to the rest of Nurture Wellness Village. From where I sat, I could see one of the property’s many gardens stretching to the nearby Glamping site, behind which, a lush forest can be seen.
Mrs. Turvill continues, “Just imagine spending an afternoon or even an entire day in this place with your loved ones, surrounded by this beautiful landscape and trees, and enjoying the great food prepared by our chef.”
One word from her statement stood out for me—food. My plate is empty, and after all the walking and herb picking we just did, I could definitely use an extra plate of that organic chicken arroz caldo. I stood up and—with my head held high—bravely marched outside with the intent of filling up my bowl with that deliciously comforting porridge for the third or fourth time.
Across the arroz caldo y tapa station was another one dedicated to traditional Filipino sweets and teas. Upon catching sight of it, I decided to change course and try some of the treats served there. Armed with the fervent desire to try everything that looks good (a.k.a. everything), I quickly filled my plate with good for sharing servings of kakanin. I also took a cup each of duhat bark tea and tarragon tea, which according to Ryan Alvarez, Gabriela’s F&B Supervisor, were good for my digestion.
I left Gabriela and Nurture Wellness Village that day feeling more refreshed than I’ve ever been in months. Perhaps it was the fact that the place benefits very well from the cool Tagaytay air. Maybe it was because I had the chance to eat organic (yes, I had to emphasize that) food whose ingredients were harvested merely minutes before they are cooked. It could also be the fact that I just spent half the day in a place that was founded on the premise of healing the body and mind through and by nature.
Whatever it was, I am glad that I discovered Gabriela and Nurture Wellness Village.
written by: Joel Quizon
Nurture Wellness Village is located at Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West, Cavite, Tagaytay. For inquiries or reservations, you can call +63 2 401 9030, +63 2 710 9786, +63 46 512 627, +63 917 687 8873 or +63 918 888 8772.
Nurture Wellness Village is owned jointly by Dr. Mike Turvill, a British national and his Fllipina wife Cathy Brilliantes-Turvill. Mike is a Doctor in Organic Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK while Cathy is an internationally licensed therapist (CIBTAC, UK) and Certified Wellness Specialist from the USA. They own two spa-related companies: Hotel and Spa Essentials, a supplier of spa and hotel products to five star spas and resorts and Spa and Wellness Professionals which offers spa training and consultancy services. Cathy was the Founding President of the Spa Association of the Philippines and is a Board member of the Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition and TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority). Mike is the immediate Past President of the Cosmetics Chamber of the Philippines.