LIVE and breathe nature at Ybonita Farm and Villas.

There is something almost otherworldly about being away from the buzz and grit the Metro inflicts on every city dweller who can’t get enough of the ever-moving urban jungle that is Manila.

Still, one can’t help but feel the need for a hard reboot every now and then – to thrust one’s senses into a new environment, preferably the opposite of the almost inconducive one we are so used to.

Most might opt to hit the beaches with their soft white sand, vibrant waters and the comforting embrace of salty air. Others may seek mountain breezes or the refreshing piney ambiance of forests. But the past decade has seen another option rise for those seeking tranquility while still at the center of nature – this in the form of farm bed and breakfast resorts.

Ybonita Farm and Villas is among the first of these vacation spots to offer this unique experience.

Located in the green plains of Calatagan, Batangas, this 2.3-hectare establishment has everything for an immersive farm experience while also serving as a good retreat venue for visitors.

Owner Yvonne Caunan says the place was originally meant to serve as a rest house for her family with only two villas constructed first in 2017. The Ipugo and Caceres were to house her daughters PY, Olivia, Monique and her son Patrick whenever they were home from overseas.

The family spent many happy times in their farm. It was no surprise then that when her children decided to settle back in the country, they thought of transforming the estate into a bed and breakfast.

This led to the construction of two additional villas: the intimate Conconino and the spacious Yvatan. All houses were opened to visitors.

Caunan added that her son Patrick, an established interior designer, oversees the aesthetic appeal of the villas.

The designs draw inspiration from various cultural influences from places they’ve traveled across the Philippines. For instance, the Ipugo design reflects elements from Ifugao, while the Caceres incorporates Filipino-Spanish aesthetics from the Bicol region. The large Yvatan features details reminiscent of traditional Batanes houses; and the Conconino mirrors the charm of a quaint bahay kubo, complete with a thatched roof.

Meanwhile, Monique, formally trained in the culinary arts, manages the day-to-day operations of the farm as its general manager, while also serving as the head chef. Their father, Henry Caunan, provides assistance in preparing the hearty Filipino dishes they serve to guests – just as if it’s your home away from home.

The path that leads into the farm is lined with luscious mahogany trees that welcomes you as if it were out of a fairy tale — definitely not your usual sight if you’re so used to seeing towering skyscrapers.

When you have had a chance to explore, you will find a secret garden where one can reflect and ponder on life or recent events, as well as lanais where a group of friends or families can bond over meals or just hang around for an intimate quality time.

And of course, a farm isn’t a farm without the presence of animals such as horses, goats, sheep and a whole lot of dogs.

Ybonita’s homey privacy has even attracted high-profile celebrities such as Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Bea Alonzo and couple Arjo Atayde and Maine Mendoza, among others.

A passion project fueled by family values and the creativity of its members built a relaxing and spirit-rekindling sanctuary that was once a private affair — now shared among those yearning to find the same experience.