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10 Family Friendly Destinations

10 Family Friendly Destinations in the Philippines

There are many family friendly destinations in the Philippines – this article is going to show you the best of them and exactly how to get there. Excited? Then read on!

A family with kids can still have modern comforts while still feeling that adventurous vibe, even in remote islands. With the locals’ warm hospitality, they’re always ready to lend a helping hand if you needed it.

The Philippines has so much to offer when it comes to wonderful places to go to. Take your wandering feet to amazing city tours, travel back in time to heritage sites, recharge your senses in nature parks and go backpacking in several islands (there are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines.)

The country made it to the list of most avid backpackers and tourists as one of the “must-visit” destinations not only because of patches of paradise here and there, but also because planning itineraries in the Philippines, even with your kids tagging along, is a breeze.

If you still think travelling with kids might be complicated, think again and go over this list of family friendly destinations in these beautiful Philippine islands.

Here are some of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines

1. Boracay – Paradise Island

Why it’s one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines:

Boracay, world-renowned for its powdery, talcum-fine white sand, palm-fringed shores and scenic crystal blue seascape, remains one of the flag beach destinations of the Philippines. Boracay attracts people from all walks of life- the adventurers, the party-goers, the solo travelers, backpackers and families with kids in tow – mainly because it offers something for everyone – and that includes the little ones. It is popularly known for its touristy and beach party vibe, but there are hotels and accommodations in Boracay that are located away from the beach crowd for those who just want a quieter ambience – exactly what you need from family friendly destinations in the Philippines.

You’ll never run out of enjoyable activities like cliff-diving, parasailing, scuba-diving, island-hopping and zip-lining for the adventurous tourists. You can do practically every activity you can think of doing in a beach – and did I mention mermaid-swimming? It’s all that and more. If you bring your kids with you, there are malls, restaurants, hotels and guesthouse accommodations that can meet your needs as a traveling family. White Beach, the main beach, has the finest sand. It is divided in 3 stations- Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3. Stations 1 and 2 are lined with bars and restaurants that turn the tranquil scenery into a beach party scene at night. Station 3 is recommended for family friendly vacations, as it is located at the tranquil, quiet end of the beach.

How to Get There:

The best and fastest way to get there from Manila is by plane. Take the 45-minute flight to either Kalibo Airport or Caticlan Airport from Manila. Kalibo is a popular jump-off since the fare tends to be much cheaper than the airfare going to Caticlan. From Kalibo Airport, you can either get on a two-hour trip via bus (200 pesos) or van going to Caticlan Jetty Port. If you’re coming from Caticlan Airport, it would be just a 10-minute walk to Caticlan Jetty Port or you can ride a tricycle going there. Either way you’ll end up at Caticlan Jetty Port, where a ferry ride (25 pesos ferry fare + 75 pesos environmental fee + 100 pesos terminal fee) will take you to Cagban or Tambisaan Port. From there, tricycles can take you to your hotel. If you’re headed to White Beach, tricycle fare is 100 pesos for 4 to 6 persons.

How Much It Costs:

There are a lot of Boracay packages that offer all-in features that include two-way airfare,3 days- two nights’ accommodation, bus/van transfers, with free meals or beach activity thrown in for as low as approximately 5000 pesos to 8000 pesos per person in a standard 2-star or 3 –star hotel accommodation. Otherwise, if you plan a DIY tour itinerary, you can get budget guesthouse accommodations for your family for as low as 1000 per night or less at accommodations a few minutes’ walk away from the beachfront in off-peak season. The months from June to October 31 are considered low season. Don’t worry about the weather – the weather is unpredictable and you can always check the weather forecast if a thunderstorm is coming. Peak season starts in November onwards. Expect the prices to go up a little higher then.

2. Bohol – Heart of Visayas

Why it’s one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines:

Bohol, located at the heart of the Visayas region, lured nature-loving tourists from all parts of the globe. Touted as one of the island jewels of the Philippines, its white sand beaches and mysterious islands are one of the best in the world. This is the tenth largest island in the Philippines, and one of my favorite family friendly destinations in the Philippines.
family friendly destinations in the Philippines

Chocolate Hills, its most famous landmark, is a favorite tourist spot located at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Carmen, Bohol. They look like hundreds of giant mounds of chocolate when they turn brown in dry season. The island is dotted with waterfalls, caves and other natural attractions like butterfly sanctuary and the Tarsier Conservation Area, home of the world’s smallest primate.

Your family will love the countryside tour in the main island of Bohol, usually offered as a package tour by travel agencies where you travel around town in a private van. Your kids will gape in awe at the man-made forest of mahogany trees lining up a 2 kilometer road. Take a refreshing dip during the tour and delight in the beauty of Mag-Aso Falls (one of the many falls in Bohol).

Your family will never forget a unique cruising experience at Loboc River. Loboc River Cruise tour is usually done at midday. This is where you can enjoy a sumptuous eat-all-you-can lunch buffet. You’ll be serenaded by local musicians as the boat cruises along the length of the river.

Ride a boat and go island hopping to nearby islands like the Virgin Island or locally known as Pungtud Island, Balicasag Island (dolphin-watching and snorkeling), and Panglao Island. Virgin Island has a long, snake-like stretch of a beautiful, powdery white sandbar. Alona Beach is located at Panglao Island. This place is a good option for a family to stay in Bohol as it has modern infrastructures. It is definitely not a party beach, making it a perfect family friendly destination in the Philippines.

How to Get There:

From Manila or Cebu take the flight to Bohol’s capital, Tagbilaran City. The travel time from Manila takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. A 25-hour boat ride from Manila is also possible if you have a lot of time to spare and you love traveling by sea.

How Much It Costs:

It would be more convenient for a family to rent a car or a van. Car rental ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 pesos. The car rental usually comes with a driver who can take you on a heritage sites tour and to other highlights of Bohol. Sightseeing in Bohol includes a visit to animal sanctuaries,

If you want to explore nearby islands, you can hire a boat. A boat that can seat 10 people would cost around 1,500 to 2,500 pesos.

Most hotels in Bohol offer packaged countryside tours and island hopping tours for a group, which you can take advantage of. These packaged tours can range from approximately 2,500 up to 5,000 per head depending on the number of people in the group and the number of destinations, together with a 3-day, 2-night accommodation. These hotels and guesthouses are all family friendly.

3. Cebu – Oldest City of the Philippines

Why it’s one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines:

Cebu is an island province located in Visayas, and touted as the oldest city of the Philippines. It is home to heritage sites owing to its historical background being the first Spanish settlement in the country. A city tour will take you back in time when the Spaniards first set foot in Philippine soil, commemorated by Magellan’s Cross, one of the popular heritage sites in Cebu. Other heritage sites include the oldest religious relic of the Sto. Nino, dating back to 1521, housed at Basilica del Santo Nino.

While in the city and if you’re not much of a history buff, take your kids to Crown Regency Hotel for a taste of urban adventure. Try the Edge Coaster, a two- seater coaster plying around the edge of the hotel’s rooftop. It can incline up to almost 90 degrees from a height of 130 meters off the ground. You can control the degree of incline or just remain in a sitting position.

The hotel also offers the Sky Walk, where you walk around on clear fiberglass pathway without rails around the edge at the same height of 130 meters off the ground – strapped with harnesses and safety ropes. It’s activities like these, hidden in otherwise unexciting places that make Cebu one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines. Last but not the least – don’t forget to taste the famous Cebu lechon, the most delicious roasted pig in the world, according to Anthony Bourdain.

Cebu City is the major jump-off to most islands in the Visayas, and smaller islands like the Bantayan Island, Malapascua Island and Camotes Islands, also forming the Cebu group of islands. All of them boast of white sand, tranquil beaches that offer quiet sand and sea retreats for the whole family. You can get to these island beaches surrounding Cebu city via public ferry transport. From the Cebu City North Terminal, catch a bus going to Hagnaya Port, San Remigio. Bus travel time is 3 hours. From Hagnaya Port, board a ferry going to Santa Fe, which takes an hour of travel. Bantayan Island offers budget and high-end beach resorts for tourists, and from there you can visit other islands like Malapascua Island.

How to Get There:

Cebu is a destination from most Asian cities. You can easily take direct flights from major cities around the world to Cebu. Otherwise, if you’re coming from Manila, it’s a 45-minute flight to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Note that you need to pay for a domestic terminal fee of 200 pesos.

How Much It Costs:

Cebu is the central hub in the Visayan region and getting around and finding a place to stay will not be difficult for a travelling family. A city tour will cost you a thousand pesos more or less.

A jeepney fare costs less than 10 pesos, and a taxi ride costs 120 to 150 pesos going from one point to another. If you’re staying at a hotel, standard family rooms can range from approximately 1,500 to 2,500 a night up.

The adventure rides at Crown Regency Hotel roughly costs 500 pesos per head and costs less if you avail of two rides or more. It also houses Cebu’s first 6D cinema so you might want to entertain your kids here as well.

Bus fare going to Hagnaya Port is 160 pesos. The 1 hour ferry ride to Bantayan Island costs 17 pesos per head. At Bantayan Islands beach resorts offer room rates for as low as 500 pesos per person for a night’s stay. Both budget and high-end accommodations are available at the island. These are approximate rates only just to give you an idea how much it costs to venture in and around Cebu.

4. Puerto Princesa, Palawan – The “City in a Forest”

Why it’s one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines:

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Puerto Princesa city owes its title to its natural wonders. Kids will definitely enjoy travelling here with all the adventures and biodiversity the place has to offer. Anyone would lose track of time once you set foot in the cleanest and greenest city as well as the longest, navigable underground river in the world. This is truly one of the best family friendly destinations in the Philippines.

Allow your kids to witness the beauty of nature’s wonders within the national park where the underground river is located. Go island-hopping, as the city is also the jump-off to commercial and secluded fine white sand beaches nearby. From Honda Bay, boats can take you to snorkeling sites and nearby islands where you can have family picnics and snorkeling activities. Indeed, it is touted as a “city in a forest” for good reason. This is truly an adventurous vacation for your kids at the country’s “last frontier” without worrying about losing modern conveniences. Everything in it seems to have a modern, rustic appeal.

How to Get There:

The Puerto Princesa Airport is the main gateway for all arrivals and departures. It is located a few minutes from the city. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirPhil Express and Zest Air all offer direct flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Average flight time is 1 hour and 15 minutes if coming from Manila.

If you choose to travel by sea, you can inquire at 2Go Travel, a ferry managed by Aboitiz Super Ferry that docks directly at Puerto Princesa from Manila.

How Much It Costs:

Family friendly, family room accommodations can range from 1,500 to 3,000 pesos per day. A city tour in Puerto Princesa would cost around 600 per person, and the nature-adventure tour costs around 1,100 per person. Dining can range from 100 to 200 pesos for a dish.

To access the whole article, please follow the link below:


(Credits to: Ryazan Duray-Tristram and writer Ms. Mye Enrile, July 21, 2015


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