Feeling lost and don’t know what to do with your life? Are you looking for inner peace and enlightenment? Then, let your sense of wanderlust take over, and travel to some of the most breathtaking destinations in the Philippines, as you try to discover who truly are and what you really want out of your life. From the steep and panoramic Mount Pulag to the mystical river of Hinatuan, the Philippines is home to dozens of scenic places that can rejuvenate your weary soul as well as bring you joy, enlightenment and inner peace.
For a memorable soul-searching escape in the Philippines, make sure to check out these picks and suggestions:
Bohol, famous for its striking landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and historic treasures, certainly has all the elements of a perfect soul-searching destination in the Philippines. Not only does it feature a rather soothing laid-back ambiance, but there are plenty of places in Bohol where you can retreat and do some reflection as well, such as Anda and Panglao. What’s more, it has a plethora of wondrous natural wonders that would remind us of how blessed we are and how beautiful life can be.
2. Batad, Ifugao
Batad, one of the most underrated destinations in the Philippines, is a serene and secluded village that offers the best and most stunning vistas of the iconic Banaue Rice Terraces. Billed as the “Eight Wonder of the World”, the Banaue Rice Terraces are a picturesque man-made marvel and a UNESCO World heritage site that every visitor in the Philippines must visit. In addition to world-famous rice terraces, there are plenty of other mesmerizing sights and undervalued gems in this peaceful hamlet like Patpat Sitio and Tappiyah Waterfalls.
3. Isla Doong, Bantayan, Cebu
Doesn’t ring a bell? In the country’s tourism industry, the island of Doong is practically nonexistent. As a matter of fact, the majority of the people who live in Cebu don’t even know that this small island exists. But make no mistake about it – Isla Doong is a lovely remote and serene cove with charming locals and an easygoing vibe, making it an idyllic place for those who are troubled, weary and lost. Plus, it is surrounded with other smaller and beautiful isles like the Mambacayao Island, which dazzles with crystal clear waters and sands that are white as snow. To top it all off, the seafood in Doong is extremely fresh and delicious.
While there’s no shopping boutique or electricity in Calaguas, it is the island’s untamed splendor that makes this cove special and a perfect soul-searching destination in the Philippines. In Calaguas, there won’t be any Instagram images, Facebook statuses and melancholic teleseryes to distract you. Instead, a visit to Calaguas will let you get back to the basics, and get a true taste of the bucolic island life. With its laid-back feel, powdery white sands and crystal clear green waters, Calaguas is a true haven for anyone who wants to escape the crowded urban jungles of the Philippines.
5. El Nido
In recent years, El Nido has been gaining a lot of attention from foreign and local travelers alike, thanks to its white-sand beaches, awe-inspiring lagoons and verdant mangrove forests. And though it has become quite popular lately, it still has a rustic setting that can give you a comforting respite away from the hustle bustle city life. By the way, CNNGo named it as one of the best island and beach destinations in the Philippines in 2014.
Getting there is, by no means, a walk in the park, even for some seasoned hikers and travelers. But trust me, every step of the long and grueling 10-hour commute is worth it. Once you catch sight of its eerie Hanging coffins, the Kiltepan peak as well as the Lumiang and Sumaguin caves, you’ll feel a glow of happiness and contentment.
Batanes, fittingly labeled as the “Scotland of the East”, is a surreal paradise that will delight you with its extraordinary landscapes, diverse beaches, interesting culture and tasty seafood. Known as of the most sought-after destinations in the Philippines, Batanes also has a very small population, meaning anyone who’s up for a quiet soul-searching vacation will love this place.
8. Oslob, Cebu
Just because the Queen City of the South is currently having traffic congestion problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a peaceful soul-searching getaway in Cebu. When the daily city grind becomes overwhelming, the folks down south would usually go to Oslob, to take a refreshing dip at the Tumalog Falls, or swim alongside the gigantic yet friendly butandings (whale sharks in English).
9. Bellarocca Island, Marinduque
Bellarocca Island, with its majestic sea waters and Santorini-inspired buildings, is an absolute treat to the eyes for travelers and troubled souls. Although some of the island’s parts are industrialized, Bellarocca still has a cornucopia of fun-filled outdoor thrills to offer to its visitors, such as windsurfing, trekking, spelunking and a whole lot more.
10. Bantayan Island, Cebu
Deemed as the ultimate Holy Week destination in the Philippines, Bantayan Island is a dramatic and tranquil sanctuary that has enchanting beaches lined with palm trees. Even though Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged houses, building and the flora on this island, it remains a breathtaking utopia to this day.
11. Palaui Island, Cagayan
Palaui is a remote island located at Luzon’s northeastern section. In this breezy destination, you may enjoy a handful of activities that will let you refresh your mind, including bathing in refreshing a waterfall, trekking through dense forests, and visiting the island’s lighthouses.
Siquijor is a tiny island province in the Philippines that has always been associated with supernatural beings, sorcery and voodoo. For years, countless of people all over the Philippines have been suggesting that the island is drenched mystery, witchcraft and magic. Whether these claims are true or not, travelers who will come to Siquijor will be enchanted by splendor of its nature parks, waterfalls and beaches.
13. Hinatuan Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur
Mystical and simply gorgeous, Hinatuan Enchanted River is an astonishing must-visit destination in the Philippines. With its enchanting blue waters, rock pools and palm trees, Hinatuan Enchanted River is nothing short of paradise.
14. Mount Apo, Davao City
Mount Apo – the highest mountain in the Philippines – is an incredible destination that will give you an unforgettable soul-searching escape. With an impressive elevation of over 9,000 feet, Mount Apo offers outstanding sweeping panoramas that will awestruck even some of the seasoned nature photographers in the Philippines. Even if you’re into mountain climbing or outdoor adventures, you can still enjoy the mountain’s majestic sight from below while munching on Davao’s delectable delicacies, such as Durian and fresh seafood.
15. Sambawan Island, Biliran
Sambawan is an immaculately beautiful island blessed with spectacular sandy beaches, rich marine life, and prismatic coral gardens, making it a superb destination for snorkelers and intrepid divers. In addition, the island has a magnificent coastline and a heart-melting sunrise.
16. Mount Pulag
Reaching the summit of Mount Pulag is not only fulfilling, but it will let you do some reflection on your life as well. Aptly nicknamed as “the playground of the gods”, Mount Pulag also has breathtaking vistas that will make your realize how beautiful Mother Nature’s creations are.
17. Apo Island, Negros Island
Listed by the Sport Diver Magazine as one of the world’s top diving spots, Apo Island is a marvelous place that will wow you as well as heal your troubled soul with its colorful marine life, eye-catching rock formations and fabulous white sands.
Honestly, the places mentioned in this list are just the tip of the iceberg. With over 7,000 beautiful islands to visit, the Philippines indeed has a whole slew of scenic places and serene coves to offer to folks who are longing for a soul-searching layoff. So, start exploring the Philippines now, and discover its endless array of wonders, spectacles and treasures.