can i smoke?


Tobacco smoking is only permitted in a designated outdoor smoking area. Please let us know so we can show you where to go.

Smokers must bring all their own tobacco supplies. To minimize odors we ask you to wash your hands after smoking and not to wear smoke-filled clothing in the meditation hall. Smoking is not permitted indoors or elsewhere on the grounds or in the woods.

when do i arrive and leave the retreat?


Please arrive at the retreat between 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on the opening day of your course. If you’ve never been here before, we ask that you arrive by 5:00 pm at the latest. This will give you time to register and settle in to your room, before taking an orientation tour of the center and having a light dinner. The retreat will begin in the early evening.

Most courses end in the late morning on the final day of the course. After a closing ceremony, there is an opportunity to talk with fellow participants.

meditate


Eat

what about the flu?


With many people living closely together while on retreat, it’s important that everyone take some simple steps to minimize the transmission of infectious diseases, such as the flu. We ask your help with the following:

— Please do not come if you are sick with flu symptoms – we will charge you our minimum cancellation fee only, and issue a refund for the balance. Call our office for more details.

— If you start to experience flu-like symptoms while on retreat, please see our staff immediately – they will assist with an appropriate course of action. If you stay on, we will provide a face mask that can be worn in common spaces. If you return home, we will refund you for any retreat time missed.

— While at on retreat, it is essential that all retreatants, staff and teachers clean their hands frequently and thoroughly, either with soap and water or using the hand sanitizer provided.

— Cover any coughs and sneezes.

arrive

&

Settle

who do i contact if i have more questions?


If you have any further questions about your stay during the retreat, please call 956-026-9753, or email imee_contreras@me.com

We hope you have a fruitful and inspiring retreat with us, and we look forward to greeting you in person!

are there ethical guidelines i need to follow while on retreat?


While on retreat, all participants undertake:

— To refrain from harming any living, sentient beings – not to kill or intentionally hurt any person or creature, even an insect.
— To refrain from taking what is not freely given – not to steal or ‘borrow’ without the consent of the giver; to accept what is offered and not try to change it or get more.
— To abstain from sexual activity.
— To practice noble silence and to refrain from harming by one’s speech – not to lie, gossip or use harsh or hurtful language.
— To abstain from using alcohol, recreational drugs and other intoxicants that cloud the mind and harm the body. (This does not apply to prescription medicines.)

what if i get sick on retreat?


Important health care information

While our wish is to provide all who come on retreat with an environment most conducive to deepening meditation practice, there are practical limitations regarding the level of support we can reasonably offer. The following information outlines these limitations – please read this before your retreat begins.

In particular, we are unable and unqualified to provide medical and psychological care. For this reason, we request that – apart from unforeseen emergencies – you take care of your own health needs during your retreat with Imee Contreras.

Participation in our programs is at the discretion of the teachers and administration at all times. If, in the opinion of Imee Contreras, you are unable to continue to participate productively in your retreat, you may be asked to leave.

Mental health

If you are seeing a therapist and/or any other mental health professional, please inform them of your intention to participate in a silent retreat. If they have any concerns about your attendance, it is important to follow their recommendations.

Waiver of liability

On your arrival, you will be asked to sign a waiver of liability and to provide details regarding an emergency contact. Your cooperation with this is necessary in order for you to attend the retreat – you will not be allowed to participate unless we are given this information.

We will make every effort to communicate with your contact person in the event of an emergency. She/he should be someone who can either collect you from the venue or help to make transportation arrangements if you need to leave your retreat early.

Retreat location

Our venue facilities are located in an area that is approximately 20 minutes away from the nearest hospital but there is no public transportation nor a taxi service in the area to take you there.

Because of the small size of our staff, we cannot, as a general rule, provide transportation for you into town. If certain circumstances do allow us to do this, there is a fee to help cover our expenses.

Prescription medications

If you are taking prescription medications for any reason, please ensure you bring enough supplies with you to continue treatment for the full duration of your retreat. Discontinuing taking your prescription medications during a retreat is grounds to be asked to leave the retreat.

On your arrival, we will also ask for some details regarding your prescription medications. This is so that, in the event of an emergency, we can give the necessary information to Emergency Medical Services personnel. Otherwise, such details remain entirely confidential.

Checklist

Before arriving for your retreat, please make sure that you have the following in place:

— The name and contact details of your emergency contact person.

— Health insurance, or the ability to pay for expenses in the event of illness or a medical emergency. Any costs incurred for health services are your responsibility and not the responsibility of Imee Contreras.

— Contact details for your physician, therapist and/or any other medical professionals whose treatment you are under.

— An adequate supply of any prescription medications to cover the full duration of your retreat.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact us before you come.

what if i have a disability or chronic health issue?


We welcome all who are genuinely interested in meditation and who wish to participate in our programs.

If you have a disability or chronic health issue, it is extremely important to let us know as soon as you are considering registering or applying for a retreat, so that we can discuss how retreat life may impact you, and the level of support that we can realistically offer. 

For those with mobility issues, our venue facilities provide direct and easy access to our meditation and dining halls, as well as to most of our accommodations and bathrooms.


is a retreat appropriate for me at this time?


An intensive silent retreat can be a positive and life transforming experience. At the same time, meditation practice can be strenuous and requires some stability of physical and psychological health.

If you have recently experienced considerable trauma, significant depression or anxiety, or are currently experiencing strong PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), a silent retreat may not be appropriate for you at this time in your life. A therapist can help you assess the wisest course duration for you, or if it’s best to wait a while before signing up. Daily life practice may be more beneficial meanwhile.

what if i cancel?


If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible. Cancellation fees are Php. 10,000 if you cancel four or more weeks before a course begins; if you cancel less than four weeks before your retreat begins, your full deposit is forfeited. 

Cancellation fees apply if you are confirmed into a course from the wait list and do not accept. So please notify us immediately if you decide you no longer wish to attend.

can i light candles or incense?


Due to fire regulations, we do not allow you to light candles or burn incense, or light fires of any kind on retreat property. Exceptions to this rule are:

— Smokers’ use of the smoking area at each center – please see above.

— During certain retreats, teachers have permission to light ceremonial candles and incense in the meditation hall.

why is simplicity supportive of meditation practice?


We have given careful consideration to creating the conditions most conducive to deepening the qualities of tranquility, kindness and understanding. Silence and simplicity stand as two core pillars of our retreat culture and provide the framework for stepping back from the busyness and complexity of our lives and moving into a quieter way of being and living.

In this spirit, we request that you please:

– Turn off your cell phones for the duration of your stay.
– Leave behind your laptops, iPods, iPads and other communication devices.
– Accept the simple accommodations and meals that are offered.
– Keep your silence with friends and family members that are on retreat with you.

This allows you to commit to your retreat wholeheartedly and reap the benefits of that commitment. Since walls are thin at our venue and everyone lives together in close community, your willingness to embrace the silence and simplicity helps us all. It not only acts as a support for your own practice but is also a direct way of supporting your fellow retreatants.

Feel free to give our number to a family member or close friend to use in case of emergency so that you do not have to check your cell phone. If you have fragile or dependent family members that you need to stay in contact with, please notify us so arrangements can be made.

Inquire 


Learn

what other essential items should i bring?


— Indoor-only, soft-soled shoes or slippers. This helps contribute to the silence and overall cleanliness of our retreat environment.

— All necessary special foods and beverages.

— Plastic containers for special foods.

— Medicines, vitamins, supplements, etc. If you have an existing medical condition, bring enough of all prescription medicines to last throughout the retreat.


— Insect repellent and/or head net. You may want to bring insect repellent and a head net to protect yourself from especially-carnivorous, biting tropical insects. Please remember, however, that strong-smelling repellent should not be worn in the meditation hall.

— Unscented personal hygiene products. We ask that you anticipate your needs and bring unscented soap, body lotion and other hygiene products with you. (We stock a small selection of these items, for those with travel weight restrictions.)

— Please consider washing the items you bring with an unscented laundry detergent and softener before you come. Please do not wear any scented products on the day of your arrival and throughout the retreat.

— If you are acutely chemically sensitive, please let our office know.

— If you have ever been to an emergency room because of a medical condition, bring your doctor’s telephone number in case the condition comes up while you’re on retreat.


— A small flashlight.

how do i share a ride?


This is a wonderful way to connect with fellow retreatants while simultaneously conserving financial and environment resources.  If you can offer a ride to or from the retreat venue, or are seeking a ride, please contact us so we can help connect you.

can i speak with a teacher while on retreat?


Although retreats are conducted in silence, there are scheduled times for retreatants to speak with teachers and ask questions about meditation practice. Retreat managers are also available to answer questions in the front office during regular hours posted at the office door.

what to expect


We take utmost care and consideration when planning your retreat.  We choose simple yet comfortable accommodations and meals that will support you as you deepen your practice.  We strive to provide an open and inclusive space so that everyone's needs are met during our time together.  Please read the FAQ below to get a better view of what you can expect on retreat.

what clothing should i pack?


There are two mottos for clothing during your retreat – “Be prepared” and “Be comfortable.”

Weather these days is unpredictable so we recommend that you come well prepared, with clothing selected for comfort rather than style.  The tropics can be hot, and modest lightweight clothing is the norm, including shorts. Please do not bring clothing in noise-making, rustling fabrics such as nylon.

As your meditation practice deepens, cool weather may affect you more than usual. For indoor air-conditioned wear, you may appreciate warm sweaters or a shawl and socks.


A swimming pool is available for your use during break times.  Please bring modest swim wear, nothing too revealing and distracting for other retreatants.  Pool towels will be available for your use.

For your comfort in the dormitory accommodations, be sure to bring loose sweat suits, a bathrobe or other kinds of clothing that allow you to go with ease between your room and the bathroom facilities.

Please bring a sufficient supply of clothing to last the duration of your course. There are no laundry facilities are available.

What is retreat life like? 


Most courses follow a typical daily schedule that starts at 5:30 am and ends at 10:00 pm. The day is spent in silent practice with alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation. Three meals are served – breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. Comprehensive meditation instruction and teachings are offered daily. In addition, group or individual meetings with the teacher about meditation practice take place at regular intervals.

what about sensitivity to fragrance and chemicals?


Because meditation retreat practice can lead to a heightened sense of awareness, some participants may develop a sensitivity to odors and perfumes, and some are allergic to many chemicals. Please do not bring or use perfumes or scented shampoos, ointments or lotions, or laundry products containing fragrance. We suggest that you bring unscented products with you, if possible. We stock a small selection of such items that can be purchased on arrival or during your retreat.

If you are acutely chemically sensitive, please let us know.

what should i not bring or use on retreat?


Please don’t bring on retreat any scented hygiene or laundry products, since these can significantly affect fellow retreatants with chemical sensitivities. In addition, don’t pack candles, incense or ‘noisy’, rustling clothing.

Once your retreat starts, we ask that you refrain from using cell phones or other communication devices. And please make sure your watch doesn’t beep.

why are retreats in silence?


Once your course begins, you will be asked to honor what is known as ‘noble silence’ – a quieting of the body and voice that helps cultivate a calm and peaceful retreat environment. This powerful tool greatly enhances the deepening of concentration and awareness. Noble silence also fosters a sense of safety and spiritual refuge, even in a course filled with up to 100 participants.

Since the walls are thin and everyone lives together in close community, your willingness to embrace the silence and simplicity helps everyone – it not only acts as a support for your own practice but is also a direct way of supporting your fellow retreatants.

Our teacher requests that you not engage in other forms of communication while on retreat. Please turn off your cell phones for the duration of your stay and leave behind your laptops, iPods, iPads and other communication devices so that you can commit to your retreat wholeheartedly and reap the benefits of that commitment. Noble silence includes not reading, writing, keeping a journal, receiving mail, or otherwise keeping busy and distracted. By leaving at home the many activities and communications that worldly life entails, you offer yourself the gift of stillness.

Please give us a number to a family member or close friend to use in case of emergency so you do not have to check your cell phone. If you have fragile or dependent family members that you need to stay in contact with, please notify us office so arrangements can be made.

Silence is broken at the end of the courses, in time to allow you to talk and share your experience with other participants.