A quick escape from Metro Manila, Laguna is home to various historical spots, nature parks, hot springs, and a popular theme park – Enchanted Kingdom. Does your family want to visit museums and immerse themselves in history? Are they adventure-seekers who want to try wakeboarding or feed the fish at Solenad in Nuvali? Or do the kids want a ride-all-you-can experience at Enchanted Kingdom? With the unlimited options of Laguna, it’s no surprise that this is a family favourite.
Just a 2-3 hour trip from the capital city, Batangas is another great option for families. There are churches and historical spots to visit, mountains to hike, and of course stunning, picturesque beaches. Some of these notable beach spots are Laiya, Calatagan, Nasugbu, Anilao, and Tingloy. Most beaches do not get overcrowded (except during summer) and are often unspoiled. Plus, resorts usually offer water sports and activities such as banana boat and flying fish rides.
For a quick yet memorable road trip from Manila, the City of Tagaytay offers a bunch of family-friendly leisure and outdoor activities at Sky Ranch or Picnic Grove. Various restaurants overlook the beautiful Taal Volcano. Bring your whole family to Sky Ranch and take unlimited rides. Don’t forget to try its main attraction, the Sky Eye, which is the tallest ferris wheel in the Philippines. For a laid-back family bonding experience, have a picnic at Tagaytay’s Picnic Grove while enjoying the cool weather and the breathtaking views of Taal Lake. For relaxed and casual dining, head over to Breakfast at Antonio’s (at any time of day!)
For a relaxing and calming treat, bring the whole family to Baguio City to experience its cool climate and lovely natural environment. This highly-urbanized mountain-top city is best known for its flower festival (Panagbenga Festival), food festivals, and is a favorite honeymoon destination. But because a lot of local and foreign tourists prefer to go to Baguio City, especially during the hot weather, expect heavy vehicular traffic and crowded tourist spots. But don’t fret – walking isn’t a problem because of the cool weather. The whole family will definitely enjoy riding on a boat or strolling along Burnham Park or Session Road, or picking strawberries at the Strawberry Farm.
There’s something about the provinces of Ilocos that make it a favorite family-destination. For starters, the tourist attractions in this province are rich in culture and history, and there are numerous activities for all family members (not just the little ones). Take your kids to experience horseback riding or watch animals at the zoo at Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. The two regions offer a wide array of activities, from visiting wondrous sights to exploring historical spots and nearby beaches.
Top historical sites to visit are Calle Crisologo and Bantay Church Bell Tower in Vigan City, Paoay Church in Paoay, and Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. The best natural attractions to go to are the beaches of Pagudpud to see the barreling waves. Laoag and Paoay sand dunes bring out the adventure-seeker in each family member (just hold onto the rails during the ride). To complete the trip, have a taste of Ilocos’ best dishes together with the whole family.
In Bohol see the tiny creatures called tarsiers, take a jump shot at the Chocolate Hills, and be amazed at the stunning scenery and beautiful beaches (where you can see dolphins and whale sharks). The Chocolate Hills are named as such because they are chocolatey brown in colour at certain times of the year. There are dozens of them, and looking at each side by side is such a sight! If you want to see the tarsiers, it’s best to go to the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, where you’ll find these tiny creatures mostly sleeping on branches. Just remember not to take photos of them using your camera’s flash!
For an alternative dining experience, take the Loboc River Cruise where you can have a buffet lunch on-board while enjoying the sights. And for a sun-worshippers, head over to Panglao Island, where kids can build sandcastles and adults can go on a snorkelling or diving trip. Don’t forget to take a side trip to Bohol Bee Farm and get a taste of their healthy meals.