Transforming idle land to a cozy bed and breakfast


The author believes that land must be cultivated as a source of healing food and sustainable green tourism. PHOTOS BY CLANG GARCIA

Every land must be cultivated as a source of healing food and sustainable green tourism: an opportunity to support rural communities, generate jobs, celebrate the Filipino brand of hospitality, and advance inclusive growth.

Sonya’s Garden has been in the business of bliss for 22 years: having pioneered the elegant plot-to-table dining experience, and countryside bed-and-breakfast business in the Philippines, seducing travelers around the country and across the globe. Its business principle is consciously anchored on creating an ethical and sustainable tourism enterprise.

I started building my dreams with the support of one staff that slowly grew into 130 employees, hiring my neighbors from Buck Estate Alfonso, Cavite. Sonya’s Garden has since evolved from an organic garden restaurant into an integrated tourism company replete with a country bed and breakfast, Sensuous Spa, wedding and events venue, Panaderia, Country Store, Sonya’s Botanicals, and now a medically-supervised healing vacation destination.

After reaching the pinnacle of success, a stream of thoughts usher in to finally share my blessings and all the lessons that I have learned to others, who share the same passion for clean, green organic and healthy lifestyle: by conducting a “Master Class on Filipino Bed and Breakfast.” During the initial announcement, people from different parts of the Philippines traveled all the way to Sonya’s Garden to learn its secrets. Below are the pearls of wisdom shared to the Master Class participants.

Sonya’s Garden has been in the business of bliss for 22 years, pioneering the countryside bed-and-breakfast business in the Philippines.

1 Transform an idle piece of land into a bed and breakfast. Land is meant to be cultivated as a source of healing food and oxygen and developed into a sanctuary of bliss to generate jobs that provide dignity, create economic activities, and eventually, help alleviate poverty.

2 Create the “Social Fencing” principle. Hire the people around your community, treat them well and transform their lives for the better, and they will collectively take care of your business.

Sonya’s Garden is famous for its elegant plot-to-table dining experience.

3 Be in the business of protecting the planet. We are all transients in this world. Our task is to respect and celebrate the divine gift of nature bestowed upon us by way of planting organic crops, providing healing through foods and clean air, and using ethical products that do not pollute the environment.

4 The Filipino Bed & Breakfast is a strategic destination marketing strategy. It can escalate economic growth and gain pride of place and heritage. It will support the badly beaten tourism industry by way of providing healing accommodations and rejuvenating experiences, while applying the protocols for the new normal.

Many flock here for a restful stay.

5 Finding blessings in adversities. Every business will always be battered by complex adversities. It is all about grasping the lessons, embracing it, and allowing us to be chiseled to become the better version of who we are.

Business is not all about profit. It is an inner reflection of finding joy in enriching the lives of others, becoming a productive citizen of the country, while safeguarding the only planet that we have. The primary mission is to leave this earth better than when we have found it.

From being an organic garden restaurant, Sonya’s Garden has since evolved into an integrated tourism company.

If you have been inspired by Sonya’s Garden, join us in our three-day “Master Class on Filipino Bed & Breakfast,” on Feb. 25 to 27 in Alfonso, Cavite. To participate, please send an email to [email protected], call 0917-533-5140 or follow our Facebook page.

The author is the founder and owner of Sonya’s Garden

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