Muni on this:
Have you ever thought of the origin of the saying “stop and smell the roses”?
One online reference says it came from a conversation between two friends. One friend worked so hard on her garden that she did not take the time to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Her friend gently reminded her to pause for a moment and experience the beauty she had created. Now, it is often used as an expression to take the time away from the hectic city life and just slow down. It sounds so simple, but it is one of the greatest challenges in our multi-tasking society that is left numb with overstimulation.
No place could better help us literally and figuratively stop and smell the roses, practice the art of doing nothing, and in effect, become that much more acutely aware of everything than Sonya’s Garden, Bed & Breakfast in Cavite.
A lot has been written about Sonya’s Garden already, and it has become a popular wedding reception destination, and a place to bring balikbayans or other guests for a day trip. I’ve been here a couple of times before to dine at the restaurant and attend a wedding reception, but it is only in staying at Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast that I’ve understood what Sonya hopes for this haven to be.
Here, there are no TVs or Wi-Fi in the rooms, and while that might be reason to complain at other hotels, it serves as the very thing that gathers family and friends around the dinner table on a lazy afternoon, languor in delightful conversation over limitless fresh fruits & vegetables, freshly baked bread and pasta, and freshly picked tarragon tea served in charming tea cups and dinnerware.
(Click on individual photos for a larger view)
Guests staying over can also opt to take part in an Art of Doing Nothing activity. You can choose from gardening, wreath-making, flower arrangement or cooking with herbs.
Come evening, couples, families or barkadas, can head back to their beautiful rooms for more bonding, or puto bumbong, if it’s available. Sonya’s rooms are what I might call Filipino shabby chic, the realized interior design vision of someone who is obviously well-traveled and has developed a distinct style that melds traditional Filipino elements, vintage accessories, and other travel keepsakes.
If you find yourself in Sonya’s Garden, you might as well find your way to the spa. My mom said that her massage was one of the best she’s had, and that says a lot because she’s quite particular about her massages. But the more notable part of this story is how obviously extremely uncomfortable (fearful, even) my dad was with the idea of getting a massage, but came out looking so relaxed, saying only good things about the massage, and already planning our next stay at Sonya’s.
I also met with Tita Sonya herself, who’s a lovely spirit to be around. One can feel immediately relaxed and at ease with her, and at the same time, she’s bursting with the life and energy that her sprawling garden possesses as well. Her eyes lit up when we talked about mindful living, slow food and the art of doing nothing. But more notable is that Sonya’s Garden has been around since 1998, her Bed & Breakfast since 2002, and spa since 2003, and they have continuously provided livelihood for a lot of the locals, no longer compelling them to leave their homes and families to look for “better” opportunities in Manila.
You can feel good on so many levels at Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast: from the deliberate slowing down of time, the warm and friendly staff, the fresh food and newly baked bread, gorgeous rooms and ambiance, tension-relieving spa, easy company of friends and family, and knowing that you’re helping a community thrive with your stay.
It was hard for us to leave, but now that I’m back in Manila, I’m constantly reminded to stop and smell the roses when I fondly remember our stay.
In what other ways do you “stop and smell the roses”?