You don’t have to be a hermit, of course.
But for the soul harried by city life, El Retiro is the perfect escape. Its gardens–perpetually cloaked in calm greens–evoke serenity: a testament to the religious congregations that have helped transform the hilly terrain into a pocket of paradise.
Located within commuting distance from the commercial district, El Retiro is, first and foremost, a religious retreat. There are three chapels in the compound. The first, which also serves as the Cabid-an chapel, is set amid the ricefields and is visible along the highway. Further up, framed by lush gardens, is the chapel in the compound run by the Sister Servants of the Divine Healer. Up a few more meters is the Monastery of Saint Clare, a favorite among pilgrims.
For the not so religious, El Retiro is a haven of calm just the same. There is something about the trees, the gardens and the grottoes that provides a respite from the aches and cares, the noise and the beat of everyday life.
You can find more great escapes here.