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Break time for the broken-hearted

Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner, can sure stir various emotions.

While those with significant others relish this time of the year, there are those who despise the day because of painful memories or unrequited love. If you find yourself in the latter group, we have good news for you. Rather than cry or sulk at couples on Valentine’s Day, why don’t you take this day as an opportunity to treat yourself to a well-deserved break?

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Thankfully, a lot of places in our country are beautiful, exciting and inspiring enough to make you appreciate other things in life besides romance. If you want to escape the mushiness and cheesiness of love season, here are some of the best destinations to find some self-love.

Zambales

Who needs a boyfriend or a girlfriend if you can relax by the beach, catch some waves and go island-hopping? Known for its natural coves and sandy beaches, Zambales features many scenic spots where you can do some soul-searching or just enjoy nature. Anawangin Cove, in particular, allows you to sleep under the stars while being lulled by the ocean. San Narciso, meanwhile, is recommended if you love surfing, whether you’re a professional or newbie.

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Now if you want to challenge yourself and scream your frustrations on a peak, why don’t you try hiking on Mount Pinatubo? While responsible for a major catastrophe in the early ’90s, this majestic volcano has been quiet in recent years and has since become a popular destination for local and international tourists. The volcano serves as a reminder that something wonderful can still come out of a bad experience, whether it be a volcanic eruption or a painful break-up.

Bohol

Now if you’re the type who’s using chocolate as a way to get over your ex, why don’t you go overboard and visit the Chocolate Hills in Bohol? While not really edible, these natural slopes take on a milk-chocolate color during the summer months. If you’re the type who’d rather mingle with animals, however, visit the Bohol Habitat Conservation Conservatory instead. Butterflies, spiders, birds and flowers will serve as your ideal companions if you just don’t want to be with other people right now.

If you feel that you’re losing the will to live, however, get it back immediately at the Danao Extreme Adventure Park. After falling 45 meters and swinging over a lush canyon on “The Plunge” attraction, we bet that you’ll be reminded why it feels so awesome to be alive. Of course, if you just want to enjoy the scenery, the cross-mountain zip line offers a tamer alternative. Either way, both attractions will surely make you realize that you can be independent and strong on your own.

La Union

Do you want to do some soul-searching? If you want to do it while carrying a surf board or exploring a grape farm, head over to La Union. As part of the Ilocos Region at the north of Luzon, this province is perfect for those who want to get away from Manila. It’s accessible through public transportation or via a road trip with friends.

Urbiztondo Beach in San Juan is specifically a must-visit destination in the province due to its amazing waves. It’s approximately just 20 minutes away from San Fernando, the capital where you get dropped off if you’re coming from Manila. If you’d rather try rafting, however, the Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel is populated with bamboo rafts which you can rent and ride. The waterfalls can help drown out your sorrows, and if it doesn’t do the trick, you can always do cliff diving instead.

Siargao

This teardrop-shaped island is the ideal place to shed those unhappy tears. Considered a surfer’s haven, this tiny island in Mindanao offers more than waves and sand. While the General Luna coastline attracts surfers from all over the world, the Cloud 9 Boardwalk and Tower provides a great sunrise backdrop if you prefer to cry your heart out in the early hours of the morning.

There is also the “Secret Spot” which consists of the Doot Beach and a mangrove forest. While not really a secluded area, the Secret Spot is often devoid of the noisy tourists who may interrupt your soul-searching. Rent a small boat and contemplate life in the beautiful, still sea while still being near to civilization in case of emergency.

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Lastly, visit Magpupungko and enjoy the beautiful rocks that are surrounded by natural, clear pools of water. You can swim here peacefully away from surfers, or pose like a mermaid atop the huge boulders that lie along the coast.

Sagada

To cap off our list, we finish with a tourist spot made especially famous by a movie about heartbreak. “That Thing Called Tadhana” by Director Antoinette Jadaone may have put Sagada on our bucket list, but the idyllic destination has long been consoling broken hearts and providing hope even before the Spanish times. The Sugong Hanging Coffins are pre-historic testaments to lost loves.

Kiltepan Peak, meanwhile, offers breathtaking views of the Ifugao terrain and serves as an isolated place where you can scream and cry without being judged by passers-by.

If mountains and treks aren’t your thing, however, you could visit Lake Danum where you can sit by the water and wait for the sunset. You can also check out Lumiang Cave or Bokong Falls for unique adventures. Despite its recent association with heartbreaks, Sagada offers much scenery that will make you forget your loss.

Even if the memory of your ex might creep up on you once in a while in this tourist spot, you can find consolation in the idea that the heroine in the movie found new love in this place, too. The future holds much hope, and Sagada serves as the perfect place to wait out all the pain and fears.

So if you find yourself single and unhappy this coming Valentine’s Day, plan a getaway and explore the sights and sounds of our country. While it doesn’t guarantee you’ll find a new love while you travel, at least you’ll give your heart a chance to mend and recover amid picturesque backdrops and famous tour spots.

Sources: wheninmanila.com; pinoyadventurista.com/; detourista.com; thecrazytourist.com; Allan Ascaño, Dylan Walters and Leocadio Sebastian via flickr.com; JupitReyes via Wikimedia Commons

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