Travel As A Religious Experience

by Jan Geronimo on September 9, 2009

Travel, I have long found out, makes one appreciate life more, sometimes to the point of being religious. You see all these beautiful things around you and you have to wonder whether all these wonders are there by accident; whether these are  indeed created by some random cosmic incident, as the big bang theorists would have us believe.

I’ve seen rivers feeding seas, and seas flowing to rivers, and waterfalls, and painfully beautiful beaches, that even the most hardened skeptic in me can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, all of these things were made by a loving hand. It’s true that some of the most beautiful things are born out of struggle, or violence if you will; but these things, this kind of beauty, surely, surely, these have got to be molded by something gentler, something more forgiving.

I’ve never been a deeply religious person, at least not for a long time now, but every time I travel and see all these wonderful places, it gives me pause. It seems to me that the real religious experiences I’ve had are not those that I experienced within the confines of a church’s four walls. The same four walls that reverberate from a priest’s sermon promising hellfire and damnation to men of sin like myself.

I see the onslaught of water falling from great heights, the pure colors of the sea, the stillness of a river, and I involuntarily fall down on my knees, sensing the presence of a master creator.

bonnie sanchez

Bonnie Sanchez

About the Author: Bonnie Sanchez  is an avid traveler and a certified blogging maniac.  He blogs about his travels to different Philippine destinations at Philippines Travel Blog.  Somewhere in between he manages a number of blogs, conducts informal SEO lessons to online buddies and teaches the fine art of  tongue-in-cheek humor in a fun group blog called Influenza Bloggers.  Follow him in Twitter where he’s known as @thirdworldgeek

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  • Philippines is already in my to-be-visited list. Hope I can visit there soon. Thanks for the motivation! ;)
  • You can really appreciate more the beauty of nature when you are often to visit the beautiful places. The breathtaking places created by the Almighty God.
  • Philippines have many beautiful spots. All the provinces have their tourist spots. Visiting the natural beauty of nature makes you realized that these are all done by the power of God. That HE is really great.
  • There are many beautiful places here in the Philippines where you can feel that God really created the world powerfully. Traveling to beautiful places are good and very exciting . But you can save some time and money if you get the great deals and services of LMT. I can stay in a good hotel with a good price and can enjoy more my vacation because of their great deals. You can try them too..
  • Dee
    I feel the same way whenever I'm surrounded by the beauty of nature - I always think that God is so good and wonderful! :)
  • And I bet my good friend Luke is saying the same thing every day. :)

    Gravatar is associated with the email you used in blog commenting. Use one that you registered and tied in with your gravatar. Disqus is good blog commenting platform - it will not spam you, Dee. No worries. :)
  • Dee
    Oh, why is my picture not showing? Hehe.
  • I find traveling foremost to be an escape from life - then again - isn't enjoying the sand at your feet, or the enchanting flicker of fireflies, or the fresh air atop a mountain - isn't THAT called LIVING? lol.

    I am an avid traveler as well Bonnie. When is your next trip? Sama kami! Hehe.
  • Enchanting comment. That's Rey. A mere video can make him wax poetic. :)
    Me - I have to get drunk first siguro - to sing or to be able to write
    poems. Ahahaha.

    But if you make me walk on a stretch of hot sand? I'd take the pen and
    write a poem instead. Kayo naman di na mabiro. lols. And that goes for
    walking on live coals, too. Take note.
  • Do you mean if you're drunk enough, we can make you walk on live coals? WoW! Pang youtube yan lol!

    I was actually more taken by the writing. I think photos and videos don't do justice to the awesomeness of nature. :D
  • In travelling, sometimes we find peace. We find peace from the stress of work, from the day to day bad news from newspapers, and all negative vibes out there.

    It is also a time for us not only to relax and enjoy ourselves but also to ponder about things in life. Witnessing the beauty of nature connects us from the creator of all these things which is of course, God.

  • Face to face with beauty of nature - this indeed can be soothing for frayed nerves. It's like detoxifying our mind and body, eh? And for once negative vibes seem not to matter. It's a great equalizer.

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Tyrone. :)
  • An inspiring post: I know that feeling. Maybe someday I'll get travel through the Philippines. It looks like nowhere I've ever been.
  • That's good to hear, Kathleen. :) And if you do, do tell us so we can help you get to places you'd want to see. Consider us your travel advisory board. Bonnie here for one knows lots of beautiful places unspoiled by commercialism.

    I'm sorry for being too flippant about my comment on men needing to pray for self-control as regards beautiful women in beauty contests. Ugh. Thanks for pointing it out. :)
  • Jan,
    Hey, I was teasing about men praying for self-control. It's just beauty
    contests that I don't like that much. But as I said, I like you.
    And wouldn't that be great? If I could visit the Philippines?
    Big Up, K
  • That's a relief, Kathleen... And yes, that will be great if you can include that in bucket list of wishes. ",)
  • gusto ko rin laging nagta-travel. tulad niyo, kakaibang pakiramdam din yung dala niya sakin. ang sarap. all the beauty around me makes me believe more in a higher power.
  • All the beauty around you makes you believe in a higher power. E paano na
    if you get recruited to judge a beauty contest? I bet you'd drop to your
    knees and pray, too? "Lord, give me strength and self-control. Now na."
    Ahahaha. Badongskie, where is your province? What beautiful places is it
    known for? Hayan ha, binawi ko ng serious na tanong. lols.
  • sounds emabarrassing but I've never been to any of my parents' hometown! My dad's from Capiz while my mom's from Iloilo.
  • A beauty contest, Jan? I won't mention anything about sexism, which is my usual response to beauty contests. Maybe you're finally helping me to see it from a different perspective: nothing wrong with men finding inspiration in feminine beauty. (And maybe the phrases in Filipino or whatever change how one reads the other part.)
    Yet, I doubt I'd appreciate a "man's beauty" contest. Most women do see masculine beauty as inspirational and, yes, good reason to pray for self-control. But they see that beauty in terms of one man to one women. Not overall popularity.
    Nobody can or even necessarily should try to change what, or who, inspires him or her. And--I'm not humorless. Your observation's fun across all cultures. But it's also cultural, or conditioning--I think--that tells boys this is what beautiful woman looks like: we all agree. While the same culture, if it tells girls anything about beautiful men, tells them to see for herself in a way that allows her to see beauty differently.
    Yet no matter what boring old me might say, you, jangeronimo, should never change.
    Big Up, K.
  • All the beauty around you makes you believe in a higher power. E paano na
    if you get recruited to judge a beauty contest? I bet you'd drop to your
    knees and pray, too? "Lord, give me strength and self-control. Now na."
    Ahahaha. Badongskie, where is your province? What beautiful places is it
    known for? Hayan ha, binawi ko ng serious na tanong. lols.
  • the serious side of bonnie, and not anymore the bloody adventures of naruto. haha.

  • This looks like a post, but it sounds like a poem. Did you notice? May cadence, di ba? And music? Ah well, that's another side of Bonnie all right. And I bloody like it, too.
  • lemuel
    hi, i love to travel too. here in the Philippines there are lots of places to see other than the famous spots like boracay, palawan, bohol, baguio, subic, cebu and davao. there are a lot of places that have yet to be discovered by tourists.
    jan, have you visited pandan island and apo reef? both places are very nice and are within mindoro area... there are affordable accommodations too...
  • Just between you and me, Lemuel. I still haven't. Yeah, it's that bad, huh? But there's still time. I'd make it up for it someday. :)
  • It is really nice to travel around and appreciate nature. It somehow awakens what has been long sleeping inside us, may it be in the spiritual aspect, environmental, etc.

    As for me, whenever I travel, I always make sure that I would visit the church of the place. Feels more comfortable.
  • And as I kneel down to thank my creator, I ask myself next, "Will this church do? Is it a good place to tie the knot with the man of my dreams? What do you say to that, Jesus? Huh? Agree?"


    Thanks, Minniemadz.
  • Ha ha ha Jan, how did you know? LOL!

    They say you have to make a wish when it is your first time Ü
  • Gulat naman ako... akala ko jan ikaw na yung nagtatravel at abot hanggang surigao... jijijijijiji
  • Gotcha! Ahahahaha. Bonnie's just like you - a wanderlust. You're doing a fine job of chronicling the places you've been to yourself, Jaydee. I just wish you'd mix it up more often with videos. You have a good speaking voice and the video cam loves you. For me that's a great formula. Use it, Jaydee. :)
  • I was born in Mindanao surrounded with beauty. See YouTube video.

    A place where trucks loaded with dead trees,
    Passing hourly 24/7 in our streets.
    We stopped playing our "tumba lata" to give way to the machines.
    I wondered where they going?

    I grew up in a place where dead trees - barks as thick as the face of the logging company and its cohorts...When someday, I saw reality - the forests were left raped and shaved.

    When someday I was free to see...
    I saw dead trees floating as far as my little eyes could see.

    That was the yester years, I wish I didn't see.
    The destruction a trauma left in me.
    There was beauty until 'THEY" CAME.
  • thirdworldgeek
    Hi Darbs, seems to me like you're from Northern Mindanao where illegal logging is rampant. :( Still, it's home for me.
  • @thirdworldgeek, you guess it right. Their logging operation went on for decades - seventies, maybe as early as sixties up to the end of 80's. Then nag spread na yan to Basilan hanggang Palawan.

    Salamat pala sa comment na iniwan mo "doon sa blog" . I will respond na lang. Kailangan lang kasi ng reflection.
  • It's feels like a poem written on the fly, Darbs. And it feels like a gift to us reading your comment. Thank you, Darbs.

    Yeah, there's something to be said about men bringing about the gravest peril to our environment - the place we call home. Makes your blood run cold, isn't it? These places make up the emotional landscape of our childhood after all . And these beasts with their machines are tearing the place up. Jesus.

    Bonnie's post maybe short, but its tone, its rhythm drives us to reflect. Oh boy.

    Thanks, Darbs. :)
  • @Jan,
    thanks.I wish I could write better. but hey! what else to give? what else to write ? if you are limited to what you have?

    here's something to be said about men bringing about the gravest peril to our environment - the place we call home.

    Bummer ha? Instead of beauty, it is Mental Graffiti that is...
  • thirdworldgeek
    I wouldn't want to take a lot of your blog space jan. :)
  • JenIsle
    Hello Bonnie,

    It's the first time I was compelled to visit a travel blog- yours, and I find it rewarding. Did you ever experience standing atop a mountain crest and feel the overpowering presence of a superior being?

    The overwhelming beauty and wonder of Mother Nature always bring forth the puny existence of man and the realization that there is indeed a power that transcends humanity and everything in between.

    People call this "power" in different names - Allah, Bathala, Jehovah, God. Whatever it is, common sense tells you that it definitely exists. I am not a pious person, but I do believe that there is a God!

    Thanks for this wonderful and profound post.
  • thirdworldgeek
    Hi Jena, yes I have. It's a very good exercise in humility. No matter how important I thought I've become or how grand the things I've achieved, looking down at the sheer beauty in front of me makes me realize how foolish I am to even imagine those things.
  • Yeah, the puny existence of man. The beauty of nature - its force, its whimsy, its mysteries - can indeed be overpowering. Yeah, just like women. Both are majestic creations.

    You just don't run afoul of both forces of nature without somehow paying for it, eh?

    We arrive at a place like conquering heroes. We are mighty, we are invincible. What utter foolishness. This place will still be here long after puny brains had turned to dust.
  • Traveling is a hobby I can't afford. I've seen the world only in television. But I also have an adventure of my own similar to yours. And it's in my "to be written" list.

    Great post btw!
  • thirdworldgeek
    Lyle, a little peso saved here and there makes all the difference. It also helped that the places I've been to don't have luxury hotels or big restos; omissions that I guess only encouraged me to visit.
  • JenIsle

    You could go visiting the chico river in Kalinga. Not very expensive but very adventurous. Water rafting too is a sport there.
  • Nice point, Bonnie. Big hotels, first class restaurants and other amenities
    all conspire to devalue the place in terms of experience. What unique
    experience can be had in a place, however beautiful it may be, if it has
    been heavily commercialized? It will look as if you'd never left the
    Taking a vacation can mean literally to take a vacation. And therein lies
    its value. That is to unplug from the hive, to break free from the incessant
    demand for attention from mobile phones, television, social media. All
    these trappings of modern living can be just that - entrapments. It's great
    to break free once in a while and to really listen and hear ourselves think.

    Take it from a man who has not had a vacation in a long while. lols
  • I can't afford traveling, too. I'm seeing the world through the eyes of bloggers only, but it's a good kind of traveling though - I've the real feel of the place via the bloggers emotional investment in their fave places.

    I've always looked forward to retirement. And my idea of it is to hole up in my room and blast away writing, writing. Bonnie offers a fantastic alternative. It's expensive, but there's room for it if this early I save for the good ones.

    I already have a backpack that has compartment for a macbook pro or a humble netbook - if it comes to that. In lieu of the netbook - are my cheap notebooks, ballpens, post-its, hundreds of index cards. What can I say - I'm hard core! lols
  • thirdworldgeek
    I'm sure you have a few of those moleskine notebooks stashed there somewhere jan, like hemingway. :)
  • thirdworldgeek
    Wow, my big face is actually up there. lol.

    Thanks Jan, for indulging me.

    Hey Roy, don't even think about it. Just pack your bags and go! Bring your kids with you though. More fun that way. :)
  • Roy
    That's definitely going to be the case Bonnie, wherever I go, they go.

    I can't imagine myself going anywhere without them

  • Roy
    Aah... yes, nothing can really connect you more to the Creator that being a witness to the magnificent beauty of His creations...

    What a beautiful write-up, makes me want to pack my bags and get out of here to witness all these splendor you described ;)

  • Wow - quick to the draw. Don't tell me you're still having writer's block?lols. On a serious note, don't you find this side of Bonnie a pleasant surprise? Who would have thought! Bonnie - peace! Ahahaha. It took me by surprise when I first read this. :)
  • Roy
    Not after his latest post on his travel blog... I say he has a 'wide' scope, it's like he notices everything

    very observant indeed, a real traveller

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