Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to commune with nature in the province of La Union along with two other friends. The idea was to simply chill by the beach, enjoy coffee or ice-cold beer as we do our work on our laptops. “Let us allow our weary souls to rest and recharge,” we would say in jest, but in fact, it’s exactly what we needed to do. It’s ironic, yet sometimes you don’t know you’re tired until you’ve rested. Indeed, we were able to rest and enjoy, plus more.
A few days into our retreat, we asked a local guide to take us to Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, La Union. It was a bit of a hike, but the weather was fine, the company was fun. The hike in itself was healing. There are articles and research citing the benefits of nature. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published in August 2017 a review of the benefits of nature experiences. To read the research paper, visit the website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580568/.
As for us, three friends, we needed a respite from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, which in fact, is still bustling despite the pandemic. Also, we needed to do something to cure the pandemic blues. And the beach trip plus the hike to the falls did wonders to our weary souls.
Although it was a few hours of trek before we reach the majestic falls, we enjoyed our talks dotted with hearty laughs along the way. At times we would pause for a rest and a few snaps using our mobile phones. Our guide, a lively fellow, would point out some lovely flora we came across along the way. Upon reaching the destination, it was as if the weariness in my body left and I found this renewed strength of spirit. Now, it wasn’t my first time visiting this particular place, but the feeling is the same every time. Nature has that way of making me feel lighter and altogether fine.
If communing with nature is something you’ve been meaning to do yet you can’t go far from Metro Manila, there are destinations nearby aside from Tagaytay City, which offer a respite from the city life, and if you’re lucky, you’ll achieve that lightness of being that comes after a heavy load of stress has been lifted off your body.
The Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area situated in the southern Sierra Madre range in Baras, Rizal province offers a good hike with fantastic views. One can join an arranged tour through their website: https://www.masungigeoreserve.com.
Within Metro Manila, it’s actually nice to do a walking tour around green patches of land. Intramuros is a good place to rediscover. Even if you’ve been to the place several times, you’ll be surprised to discover hidden gems in the form of interesting or Instagrammable corners you’ve never seen before.
La Mesa Nature Reserve is one place I’ve been meaning to explore. One place I love going back to for a long walk in Quezon City is the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus. It’s accessible and it’s a nice area to explore without you being afraid of getting lost, plus the fire trees are a thing to behold during summer.
Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Rizal is also a favorite place of mine to visit. Although it’s a museum, it is situated in an area that offers nice views of Rizal and some areas of Manila. I find it calming to simply walk around the property.
For sure there are still other beautiful nature destinations nearby that I have failed to mention. One simply needs to look up online. Or, if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, go on a little drive without a destination in mind. And when you find that spot of nature that seems to lull you in, heed its call, stop for a break, bask in its healing properties. You might just be doing your body a favor of giving it the rest it badly needs.