15 Breathtaking Places To Go Soul-Searching In The Philippines

There's more to life than strawberry picking and ube jam.

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The long bus/jeepney/car ride is worth it if it means seeing the world from above the clouds. Aside from the laid-back vibe, Sagada and the rest of the municipalities in Mountain Province have a lot to offer to travelers looking for adventure. Popular places of interest include Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves, the Hanging Coffins, and the Rice Terraces.

Pro tip: If you're looking for the perfect place to hoard rice and coffee from, this is it.

Vinzons and Paracale, Camarines Norte, hold administrative jurisdiction to Calaguas Island, which is composed of two major and several other minor group of islands. One of the lesser-known beaches in the Philippines, Calaguas Island maintains its powdery white sands that campers and backpackers enjoy.

With an elevation of more than 9,000 feet, Mount Apo is the highest mountain the Philippines. The peak overlooks a couple of cities including Digos City and Kidapawan City. If you're not a mountain-climbing type, you can still enjoy the majestic sight of the mountain from below while munching on Davao delicacies such as fresh seafood and durian.

Located at the extreme northern part of the Philippines, Batanes has conquered a lot of devastating storms but still stands today as one of the most beautiful provinces in the country. The least populated province in the Philippines, Batanes could easily give anyone the peace of mind they are looking for.

Maybe it took the Spaniards 300 years to leave the Philippines because they fell in love with the beauty of Cebu when they first landed on its shores. Aside from the pristine beach, Oslob also offers tranquil waterfalls, historical ruins, and a chance to swim with whale sharks.

Located at the northern end of Cebu, Bantayan Island offers beaches with coasts lined with palm trees. Typhoon Haiyan may have caused damage to the island but Bantayan remains breathtaking up to this day. It's also known as "Boracay sans the crowd."

The first man-made forest in the country, the Mahogany Forest of Bohol stretches to up to two kilometers of mahogany trees. Aside from the Lord of The Rings ~feels~, the thick density of trees also provides a drop in temperature, giving tourists a refreshing break from the heat.

Located at around 80 kilometers east of Zamboanga City, Merloquet Falls gets extremely busy, especially during the summer. The beautiful rock formations and the cool, refreshing water, however, could make anyone look past the crowd and acquire some much-needed chill.

Located at the extreme northeast of the Philippines, Palaui is a remote island and home to 21 commercial species of fishes and about 50 hectares of undisturbed corals. After a trekking through grasslands and forests, with side trips to lighthouses and waterfalls, who wouldn't want to end the day with a dip in the Philippine Sea?

Siquijor is popularly known as a place of magic, sorcery, and other supernatural entities, simultaneously attracting and warding off tourists. But look beyond the mysterious vibe of the island and Siquijor's beaches, waterfalls, and nature parks will enchant you with their beauty.

Since it's also located in western Panay Island, Antique makes for a great pitstop before heading to crowded Boracay. The whole coastal stretch of Antique would satisfy scuba diving enthusiasts, while tourists who are in need of a place to relax can drop by Sira-An hot spring, a place known for its medicinal purposes.

AKA nature's way of doing the gradient effect on Photoshop. The darker parts indicate the deepest sections of river — parts so deep that no one has actually reached the bottom. While the river flows into the Philippine Sea, no one can say for sure where the water actually comes from, hence the name Enchanted River.

Situated off the southwest coast of Marinduque, Bellarocca Island is a feast for the eyes with its Santorini-inspired architecture and clear sea waters. Though some parts are industrialized, there's still a lot of nature-tripping activities tourists can enjoy — spelunking, trekking, and windsurfing, among others.

From towering cliffs to lush mangrove forests to breathtaking lagoons, not to mention the white sand beaches, El Nido has gained attention from both local and foreign travelers in the recent years. It was named the Best Beach and Island Destination in the Philippines by CNNGo.