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Zambales resort brings spiritual vibe to Poblacion

/ 04:10 AM February 21, 2021

Julyan Harrison: artist, farmer, restaurateur. Top left: with mom Rachel. Lower right: their latest project, Zambawood Poblacion. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Every now and then, you stumble upon a place that is special, not just because of its stunning ambiance or masterfully prepared food but because of the energy that makes it come alive.

Zambawood, a 26-hectare resort in San Narciso, Zambales, has been such a place. And now its owner, Rachel Harrison, has opened a satellite experience of it to Poblacion in Makati.

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It started out as Julyan Coffee Spot in 2019, named after Rachel’s son, Julyan (born in July, hence the name) with the purpose of becoming the first social enterprise cafe in the province, employing persons with disabilities who encourage learning the sign language. They closed in June 2020, a casualty of the lockdowns.

But when something is meant to be, it finds a way to come alive no matter the circumstances.

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That same month, Julyan Coffee Spot was resurrected in Poblacion—at the Zambawood Private Event Space.

The new place seeks to bring the spirit of the resort in Zambales to the city.

Zambawood the resort has a tastefully-decorated vacation home that they opened previously to guests, a beach and a farm where they grow not only sunflowers and cherry tomatoes (among other things) but also organic chicken. Now you can enjoy this free-range chicken and other produce at Zambawood Makati.

Harrison is enamored by the feel of the Makati space where their events place now sits: “The house is an original 70s house. [I made] the decor rustic, eclectic, with lots of plants and art by Julyan.”

She also loved the artists’ vibe of Poblacion.

Harrison adds: “Poblacion has an eclectic mix of artists, with creative and very interesting and lovely people. The energy, ideas and synergy from businesses around is truly inspiring and exciting.”

It is the perfect urban vibe for Julyan, who is an immensely talented 28-year-old. Aside from being hands on at the Zambawood farm in Zambales and a talented cook, he also has a gift for painting.

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All the artwork at Zambawood Poblacion are by Julyan. They are colorful and expressive, with a fluidity that is so impressive for a young artist.

Harrison has also made an effort to bring the agricultural experience to Makati.

“As Julyan is also a farmer who eats mostly vegetables, agriculture and focusing on health benefits as an advocacy made a lot of sense,” Harrison shares.

Zambawood Poblacion offers a plant-based alternative for visitors at their pop-up restaurant Feel Well, Live Well. The place has become a nutritional sanctuary for their customers as well.

“The pandemic is an eye opener that our health is our most treasured wealth,” Harrison says. “So during the pandemic, I enrolled in the raw plant-based culinary course in Tagaytay at Studio Plantmaed by chef Mylene Dolonius. I immersed myself learning everything I can about how food is the solution to chronic diseases, feeling well and having quality of life.”

Now the public can benefit from Harrison’s immersion as she offers a special plant-based gourmet menu by reservation: “This is for people looking at improving their physical wellbeing through nutrition. We use organic, fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts to create a recipe that delights the palate, you won’t even know they are all vegetables. It’s a food discovery journey, exploring interesting flavours, spices, textures and colors, and what’s so amazing is, they are exactly what our body needs for health recovery.”

As a bonus, you can also find chef Sau del Rosario’s Cafe Fleur on the ground floor and order from their menu as well.

Best of all, it is a safe space. Aside from the usual precautions of sanitizing regularly and having their staff wear face masks and face shields, there is also an al fresco area.

Harrison adds, “you can reserve exclusively for one group or family for your privacy and safety during these times.” You can use the space for meetings or for special occasions like birthdays and weddings.

The Poblacion events space is an example of the new normal: healthier and with great spirit.

Harrison shares: “I start my day having conversations with Our Higher Power. I believe He blesses me with so much enthusiasm, excitement, exuberance, ideas and energy. Plus, of course, I choose what I eat, mostly plant-based.” This energy is emitted into the space and passed on to the guests.

I like to think that this is the new normal: a new world with a greater awareness for being mentally and spiritually healthy.

And then there’s Julyan, his cooking and his art. To dine here is to experience his talent. He is special.

But beyond that, the love exuded by this mother-son partnership is extraordinary and inspiring. I think that’s what makes both Zambawood in Zambales and now Zambawood in Poblacion come alive. Zambawood is truly special.

Zambawood Poblacion Private Event Space. Upper Floor 5893 Enriquez St, Poblacion, Makati. By reservation only, call +63 917 686 0895. Contactless payment available via GCash, BDO transfer or credit card. Plant-based menu available upon request, with three days’ advance notice. Limited street parking. Not wheelchair accessible. More info on Facebook and Instagram: @Zambawood.

More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram.

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