When you live in the Philippines, the beach is never that far away. A few hours of driving is all it takes to get you to sun, sand and sea. If you haven’t been visiting our beaches that often, maybe it’s time you and the kids took advantage. “Blue space,” meaning the ocean and other water-related spaces, is associated with lower stress levels and better mental health, particularly if you live near it and see it often, a study shows.
It’s because the human brain has a natural inclination to natural environments, like oceans, fields, and forests, compared to human-made environments like the bustling, noisy city, according to researchers.
Citing another earlier study, NYmag.com says nature offers relatively less stimulation as well, so it’s easier on the eyes and ears, leading to health benefits along the way. “You’re more likely to be physically active; you’re more likely to run into people and talk to them,” adds the article on Science of Us.
Led by researcher Daniel Nutsford from the University of Canterbury, the study analyzed data from the New Zealand government’s national health survey that included scores measuring psychological health. Using a method the researchers designed themselves, which they called the “vertical visibility index,” the psychological scores were then compared to the resident’s approximation to the sea; how much they could see it from their homes, for example.
Results showed that having views of the Pacific Ocean was “significantly associated with lower psychological distress.” It was true even when accounting for personal income, housing quality, neighborhood population density, and crime. Better mental health was linked to simply getting enough vitamin sea! How refreshingly cool is that?
More research is needed to find evidence for a cause and effect. It could be that these associations were observed simply because people with low-stress levels are more drawn to living near the sea. Nevertheless, if there’s a takeaway from all of this, it’s this: we need more trips to the beach!
Ready to hit the waves? Slather on sunblock and check out family-friendly beaches near Metro Manila (you may also to check the top family-friendly resorts of 2016 here). 1. Camaya Coast Location: Mariveles, Bataan Approx. travel time from Manila: 3 hours Camayacoast.com
“Camaya Coast’s beach has fine sand comparable to that of Boracay. The water is so clean and clear, you can spot the fishes while you swim. Aside from the beach, it also has a big infinity pool, as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi.” —Malet Villacorte Madera, college professor; mom to Jyro, 4
The resort has summer promos especially for families until March 31. Check them out here. 2. Aquaria Beach Resort Location: Calatagan, Batangas Approx. travel time from Manila: 2 hours Aquaria.com.ph
“We loved our stay at Aquaria Beach Resort because it’s kid-friendly. Kids have a choice to swim either on the beach or in the pools. They can create their own sand castles on the beach, or enjoy the sprinklers, kiddie rides, or the pool slide. Aquaria also offers a lot of activities like snorkeling, wind surfing, and kayaking.” —Levy Martinez, blogger; mom to Ren Nathaniel, 9
3. Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa Location: San Juan, La Union Approx. travel time from Manila: 4 hours Kahunaresort.com
“Kahuna Beach Resort fits the bill to a T. We were lucky enough to get a room where there is a pool located right in front of it. This was very convenient, because I was easily able to grab things like goggles, water, lotion, and snacks without being away from my kids for so long. Accessibility to the beach is another plus. Hearing the sound of the waves made our stay very relaxing.” —Jennifer Ng, comptroller at Insurance Experts Agency Inc.; mom to Raja, 9, Rajon, 6, and Jillianne, 4
To see more beach resorts that you can reach by car, click here.
Beach suggestions and interviews by Jacyln Lutanco-Chua from the April 2015 issue of Smart Parenting Magazine.