Where to find peace: Dwellings for inner reflection

By , on April 24, 2014


ShutterStock image
ShutterStock image

 

Everybody needs some good, quality “me time.”

Perhaps a day or two to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city; a weekend to get away from a toxic work schedule, a nagging boss, or a suffocating corporate existence; a few days to reflect on one’s self and re-evaluate some things; a couple of hours to re-energize and find the inner peace one has lost months—if not years—ago.

If you’re getting tired of your day-to-day routine that resembles a mechanical contraption or if you’re looking for some peace and quiet away from stress, here are some places you could visit to lose yourself and perhaps find a fresh perspective in life.

 

A few hours from Manila

Tagaytay is a haven for weekend warriors who are looking for the charm of the countryside without losing the conveniences of the city.

At the same time, Tagaytay is teeming with retreat houses and facilities that welcome the weary.

 

Moon Garden 3 - Louie Reformado
Photo by Louie Reformado / Moon Garden Facebook page

Moon Garden is more famous as a couple’s destination, but that doesn’t mean that solo travelers seeking for some quiet time aren’t welcome. Famed for its rooms without TVs and no wifi (other than the common area) and a walk-through bathroom short of being majestic, one can find solace away from the distractions of modern living.

 

Photo courtesy of Sonya's Garden Facebook page
Photo courtesy of Sonya’s Garden Facebook page

Another Tagaytay spot is Sonya’s Garden. It’s not just a place for great vegan food. It also offers accommodations that embrace nature and tranquility. With art lying around everywhere, lush gardens, shabby chic furniture, and great healthy food—one can’t help but feel all the stress flow right out of the body. Be sure to try Sonya’s art in a plate: a salad made of colorful edible flowers.

 

Photo courtesy of Calaruega Facebook page
Photo courtesy of Calaruega Facebook page

About 90 minutes away from Tagaytay is Calaruega in Nasugbu, Batangas—a postcard-perfect Transfiguration Chapel and retreat compound on a hill. It boasts of landscapes that look like as if it came straight out of a magazine. Its perfectly manicured lawns and exquisitely landscaped gardens overlooking the hills of Batulao are open for “people of goodwill longing to be in touch with themselves, with others and with God through prayer and quiet moments.” Calaruega is recommended for spiritual retreats for the faithful (and even the prodigal). The beautiful scenery is the perfect venue to be on a pensive mood.

 

Photo courtesy of The Farm at San Benito official Facebook page
Photo courtesy of The Farm at San Benito Facebook page

If you have some cash in stash for quality me time, why not spend a day or two at another Batangas spot: The Farm at San Benito along the foothills of Mount Malarayat. The Farm has a holistic approach of European inspirations when it comes to taking care of their guests. Their Prevention, Recovery and Wellness Retreat Programs are grounded on the principle that a person’s lifestyle greatly affects his/her mental, emotional, and physical health. The Farm has everything in their compound to pamper all aspects of existence: spa services for the body, organically grown produce and healthy offerings for sustenance, licensed doctors and spa therapists for a holistic health approach, and an atmosphere of relaxation best for meditation and being alone with one’s soul.

 

Soak up the sun

This summer, if you have the time and the money to burn, why not take a much needed vacation to revive your weary spirit? Book a flight, pack your bags, and soak up the sun by the beach. Here are some of the best beaches to soak up the sun with a good book and a cold drink.

Che, the brave soul behind travel blog Backpacking Pilipinas posted about pristine beaches in the country worth seeing this summer.

 

The view from Cape Engano, Palaui Island. Photo by Supermanslash / Wikipedia
The view from Cape Engano, Palaui Island. Photo by Supermanslash / Wikipedia

 

According to Che, “Northern Luzon is home to some of the beaches that you can still call ‘untouched.’ Two of the best are Palaui Island and Anguib Cove which are both located at Sta. Ana, Cagayan. From San Vicente Port in Sta. Ana, you may rent a boat going to Anguib Cove, it has a white sand beach likened by many to the White Beach of Boracay.”

 

The dining area at Country Inn By The Sea, Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Photo courtesy of Country Inn Facebook page.
The dining area at Country Inn By The Sea, Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Photo courtesy of Country Inn Facebook page.

 

When in Sta. Ana, stay at Country Inn By The Sea and enjoy legendary Pinoy hospitality. The hotel also has a dining area overlooking the West Philippine Sea—as if beckoning the waves to take your cares away.

Another beach in Che’s list is Calaguas.

 

Calaguas beach. Photo courtesy of Travel Photology / Wikipedia
Calaguas beach. Photo courtesy of Travel Photology / Wikipedia

 

“Definitely one of the best beaches I’ve seen and despite the attention it’s been getting lately, I still consider it unspoiled for the lack of [infrastructure] near the beach front,” Che wrote.

True to form, Calaguas offers a much needed escape from city life. No mobile phones, no cable, no internet to receive your boss’ emails.

“The best form of entertainment you have is the beach,” she wrote. “Frolic in the superbly fine sand and just be blown away by the crystal clear waters.”

Check out Che and her adventures at www.backpackingpilipinas.com.

 

Sunset at Banana Island. Ching Dee / PCI
Sunset at Banana Island. Photo by Ching Dee.

 

There’s an island in Coron, Palawan dubbed as Banana Island. Well, you guessed it—it’s shaped like a banana. But with its powdery white sand, perfect sunset view, and unspoiled charm, you could almost physically feel all your worries dripping off of you as you step off the boat and onto the island.

 

The jump off at Salagdoong Beach. This writer thought twice about jumping. Photo by Ching Dee
The jump off at Salagdoong Beach. This writer thought twice about jumping. Photo by Ching Dee

 

Siquijor is another destination to check out if you’re looking for some quality time by the beach minus the crowd. Salagdoong Resort offers great food at dirt cheap prices. The beach is small enough to make you feel like as if you’re on your own island without making you feel recklessly abandoned. It’s a bit more developed compared to other hidden gems around the island, but make sure you drop by the resort. Literally, DROP BY. Salagdoong is famous to tourists for its diving platform that goes straight to the turquoise waters. And with a view welcoming your descent, it’s a leap you’d be willing to take.

 

Sunrise at Bantayan Island, Cebu. Photo by Ching Dee.
Sunrise at Bantayan Island, Cebu. Photo by Ching Dee.

 

‘Yolanda’ (international name ‘Haiyan’) may have ravaged the island town of Bantayan in northern Cebu, but like most Filipinos, the brave residents are pulling themselves up from the rubble and starting anew. Its beaches are still immaculate, its people still warm and welcoming, and the waters are as inviting as ever. This destination may very well be your source of inspiration to find the courage to start all over again.

The perfect sunrise is just as beautiful as the future that holds the new and improved you.