By KC Santos
SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- Perched on a plateau along a the stretch of souvenir shops and restaurants is a store that promotes balance of the mind, body, and culture.
Cosmic Tea Herbs and Fruits is a yoga and souvenir shop owned by yoga instructor and entrepreneur Madhu Matti.
The seemingly ambiguous concept for a store is what Madhu really intended to offer to a community which is not very familiar with the concept of meditative healing.
“I don’t want yoga to be perceived as just exercise. I want people to look at yoga as both therapeutic treatment and a preventive medicine,” says Madhu, who’s been teaching yoga for over 30 years now.
Initially, Cosmic Tea Herbs and Fruits was a souvenir shop where Madhu sells hand-painted shirts which she personally makes along with three other artists from Benguet.
Her shirts cost P100 to P300while the accessories she made from recyclable materials cost at least P150.
As foreigners started to frequent her store for yoga lessons, she finally decided to make her small reception area open for regular yoga sessions. Soon, even locals showed interest in learning yoga.
Her small store is cramped with all sorts of hand-made items ranging from accessories to canvas bags. In one corner is her personal chair and kitchenette where she brews her special Cosmic Tea (P35) and Soya Coffee (P30).
Talking to Madhu was somehow therapeutic to me. She had this soothing voice and a demeanor that makes for a longer conversation.
Her Cosmic Tea, which I got to try was basically boiled mountain leaves, but made “cosmic” with herbs and spices like celery bits was light, sweet and gingery. The warm and honey-infused concoction suppressed the symptoms of a cold about to ensue.
Her yoga and art lessons are also popular among children. In her café, she says, children are encouraged to drink soya coffee since it doesn’t have caffeine and proven rich in calcium perfect for the fragile bone structure of the young “yogis” as she calls them.
If you’re the type of traveler who really delves into the culture of a place, staying inside Madhu’s store feels like your experiencing the culture of Sagada.
Most of her hand-painted shirts bear designs that have something to do with Sagada rituals, beliefs, and the environment. Through her art, she also educates visitors on how to deal and communicate with locals.
Get more information about Cosmic Tea Herbs and Fruits
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