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The dazzling tropical island of Boracay is no longer the hidden gem it once was – thanks to its photogenic beaches and picture-perfect landscapes, it’s become one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines. But while a flurry of interest from chic travel mags has made it a favorite destination among honeymooners and the fashion set, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had for families in Boracay. At just 4.5 miles long, the island punches above its weight when it comes to attractions and activities, and there’s a lot more to Boracay than the famous White Beach, golf and luxury resorts.  

Active families in Boracay will be in their element here, and it’s surprisingly easy to give crowds the slip and indulge a sense of adventure with activities and attractions that still feel refreshingly off the beaten track…at least for now.

Set the Alarm Early for Crowd-Free Kite Surfing

The aptly-named White Beach is without a doubt the most famous of Boracay’s strands, and the 3-mile long strip of soft white sand is the first port of call for visitors looking for long, lazy days swimming, shopping and sipping cocktails. Those who like their beach vacays a little more active tend to flock to Bulabog Beach, which has become the main hub for water sports adventures on Boracay. Once the sun is high in the sky the beach and the water get packed with kite surfers and wind surfers, but early risers will be rewarded with blissfully crowd-free waters and a stunning sunrise. There are any number of kite surfing schools along the water’s edge, and families in Boracay with not-so-little kids can rent equipment and get pro tips whatever their level of experience and expertise. (toddlers and kids too young to ride the wind can have immense amounts of fun paddling and watching parents and siblings splash around…) There are simple accommodations on the beachfront too, aimed squarely at the kitesurfing crowd, so visitors can just prep their own breakfast and head straight to the beach. Once the crowds arrive you can head back for a nap – or refuel and head off for adventures elsewhere.

Hire Bikes or Trikes

Bicycle hire is a good way to get off Boracay’s main thoroughfare (there’s essentially one main road on the island, full of honking horns and speeding scooters). There are several bicycle hire companies on White Beach, and kids whose little legs are not up to cycling can take it easy on the back of a tandem bike and let their parents or older brothers and sisters do the legwork. Families in Boracay can cycle through coconut palm-lined trails up to to some of the highest peaks on the island for glorious views – at around 100 meters above sea level, Mount Luho is the island’s loftiest vantage point, and families who brave the tough(ish) trails to reach the top will likely be rewarded with glimpses of 🐒 monkeys and colorful birds. A small viewing platform at the top is a good spot to rest and have a picnic. If that sounds too strenuous, families in Boracay can rent a manned ‘Trike’ – an adapted ‘taxi-bike’ with space to carry more passengers and luggage than most people would think possible (or safe). For peace of mind, families can hire the entire trike and driver for a few hours (agree a price in advance), and head off to hidden beaches and other beauty spots.

Enjoy Island-Hopping Adventures…Minus the Crowds

There are any number of companies offering beach-hopping boat trips around Boracay, ranging from boozy party boats to luxury ‘sail and dine’ options. But for only a little more than the price of a tour, families in Boracay can hire paraw sailboats (make sure you ask for life vests, and hire a skipper too if you’re not experienced in life on the open waves). Bring food and snacks, and set your own agenda – enjoy dazzling sunsets, head off to hidden beaches, escape to tiny, deserted islets…it’s your call. Ask for word of mouth recommendations about reputable operators, and be prepared to haggle for the best prices.

Get to Know the Taho Man

For cheap eats with real local flavor during your family trip to Boracay, you need to get to know Taho. Listen out for the call of ‘Tahoooo’ and you’ll soon spot a vendor strolling the sands (they are almost always on the sands), with metal pails slung over his shoulders. Catering mainly to the locals, they’re selling an energy-rich mix of silken tofu with tapioca pearls and a sweet, syrupy mix called arnibul (essentially a caramelized sugar syrup). Imagine a cross between custard and bubble tea, and you’re somewhere close, but this is way tastier than the sum of its parts, and the soft texture and sweet taste makes it an easy way to get protein into little ones.  Locals love it for breakfast, and as it costs mere cents, it’s an affordable way to fuel up for a day’s adventure.
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Here’s a list of family friendly hotels in Boracay
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With its incredible beaches, equally impressive diving spots, teeny tiny Tarsiers and famous ‘Chocolate Hills’, Bohol Island is one of the best destinations in the Philippines for families. It’s an easy ferry ride from Cebu, so it’s hardly surprising that the island attracts a fair number of tourists, all keen to see this tropical paradise for themselves. The grand Spanish-built churches add to the island’s appeal for architecture buffs (although kids may be less impressed), and there’s endless opportunity for snapping envy-inducing photos. But while the Instagram brigade are very much in evidence at this supremely photogenic island, there’s no shortage of opportunity for families in Bohol to leave the crowds behind and find off-the-beaten track adventures. Be prepared to spend some time gazing out the window of vans and buses, and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Paddle Through an Enormous Mangrove Plantation

Most visitors to Bohol make a beeline for the beaches, but some of the most awe-inspiring boat rides and stand up paddle opportunities can be found inland, at Banacon Island Mangrove Forest. Spanning an incredible 425 hectares, this watery region, in the north of the island, is said to be the largest man-made mangrove plantation in Asia, and is notable for its incredible biodiversity, with all manner of colorful fish and curious crustaceans hiding out under the water. Although it’s growing as an eco-tourism attraction, the island remains refreshingly under-the-radar, and it’s worth the effort to get here (a bus ride of around three hours from the provincial capital, Tagbilaran City, to Getafe Wharf, followed by fun 20-minute pump boat ride). Once on the island, families in Bohol can try their hand at kayaking or Stand up Paddle, or just let somebody else do the legwork by taking a boat tour along the waterways. It’s a glorious way to escape the crowds and see a different side to Bohol than the white sand beaches.

Discover Hidden Waterfalls at Candijay

Boho’s tallest and most beautiful waterfalls have traditionally been overlooked by international visitors to the island, due to some slightly tricky transport options. Better roads and increased marketing efforts are starting to change that, but – for now at least – families in Bohol are likely to be the only foreigners in sight at Can-Umantad Falls, in the stunningly beautiful town of Candijay, some 90km east of Tagbilaran City. As well as vivid green rice terraces – widely regarded as the most beautiful in Bohol, visitors will find caves, mangrove swamp and the town’s biggest attraction  – the Can-Umantad Falls. The water that nourishes the rice paddies above rushes down here to create a series of cascades, the tallest of which crashes down from a height of 60 feet to reach a pool below. Getting here requires a bus or van ride of around two hours, followed by local cab or habal habal ride (the latter, a kind of modified motorbike capable of carrying multiple passengers, has a dubious safety record) to the rice paddies, and a 15-minute trek to the falls. Bring snacks, swimming gear and make this a worthy side trip by booking into one of the town’s guest houses and spending a couple of days exploring.

See a Super-Rare Double Barrier Reef at Danajon Bank

Divers – prepare to get excited. Danajon Bank is one of only six double barrier reefs in the world, and spans some 90-miles off the northern coast of Bohol. It’s home to some of the most incredible marine life anywhere on the planet, yet is virtually unheard of internationally. The super-rare geological formation sees two sets of coral reefs, thought to have formed over 6000 years,  teem with mind-boggling numbers of fish and sea creatures,can be reached as part of a dive trip either from Bohol or from Mactan in Cebu. Can’t dive? There are plenty of PADI schools in Bohol for adventurous families keen start their underwater adventures.

for more diving adventures click here.

Eat Here: Buzzzzz Cafe

Panglao Island is a top-spot for families looking for ridiculously scenic beaches and world-class diving. It’s no longer under-the-radar, but families in Bohol can still find virtually deserted stretches of sand after a little trekking. Reward little ones for their activity with a visit to Buzzz Cafe, tucked away on a little street next to Bohol Bee Farm. A kids’ play area will keep younger visitors happy, while the delicious ice creams – made with honey from the farm, as well as other delicious ingredients such as fresh ginger – mean this place is worth getting back on the tourist track for.

Spice Up Your Trip With Some Of The Lesser Known Activities For Families Traveling to Palawan

By Philippines standards at least, Palawan is a big deal in terms of tourism. The largest region in the country, the Palawan archipelago has become the subject of much interest among the high-end travel press, with writers enthusing about the pristine beaches, paradise islands and magnificent marine life. The jungle-covered rocky islands shooting straight out of crystalline waters are picture perfect, and international tourists are increasingly heading to the towns of El Nido and Coron, in particular.  But families in Palawan needn’t worry – it’s not yet become the destination of choice for the full moon party brigade, and the region remains little-visited in comparison with many other Asian destinations. It’s not hard to dodge the crowds here, and travelers visiting Palawan with kids will find plenty of opportunity for off-the-beaten track adventures in spots that are unlikely to house luxury hotel resorts anytime soon.


🎅A word to the wise – hiring a bike is a cheap and practical way to zip around from one beauty spot to another with the fam.


Go Snorkeling at Port Barton

Shhh, don’t mention the village of Port Barton to folks back home. This still unspoilt beauty spot remains somewhat under the radar among foreign visitors to Palawan, and families will likely have the ocean to themselves as the island-hop their way around the waters surrounding this laid-back village, where noisy bars and upscale restaurants are conspicuous by their absence. There are a handful of simple guest houses in town, and local guides will happily ship visitors out to the impossibly-scenic nearby islands of Exotic Island, German Island and Paradise Island. The snorkelling is some of the best in the Philippines, and families can get up close and personal with all manner of colorful sea creatures at the appropriately-named Aquarium 1 and Aquarium 2 (open water sites that genuinely feel like being inside a vast aquarium). Don’t expect fast internet connections (or indeed any internet connection at all, much of the time) at this sedate locale some three hours north of Palawan’s capital, Puerto Princesa, but set aside some time just to soak up the incredible seascapes and the laid back vibe.

Island-hop Around Araceli

If you’re after blissful isolation during your family trip to Palawan, head for the remote northeastern municipality of Araceli. Still untroubled by tourism, this stunning part of the archipelago takes some reaching (a two-hour boat ride from Puerto Princesa to Roxas, followed by a four-hour boat ride), but once there your brood will be able to race unhindered down long stretches of sand where the only inhabitants they’re likely to disturb are flocks of colorful birds and crowds of chittering monkeys.  The fresh-caught lobster make a ridiculously tasty dinner after a day’s swimming alongside Nemo-esque clown fish, among the ocean’s other inhabitants. Nature-spotting trails are another way to pass the time here, but really, you’re unlikely to want to tear yourself away from the beaches. There are a few unpretentious spots to stay her, the real luxury is the opportunity to unplug and enjoy the island escapes and the superb coral reefs Angoy, Kutad and Marakit islands. Ask around at the pier, and you and the family will find a fishing boat with a skipper ready to whisk you off.

Follow the Trails Around Olangoan Falls

One of relatively few real beauty spots close to the Palawan capital Puerto Princesa (although, who are we kidding, everything in Palawan is pretty easy on the eye…) the Olangoan Falls, Binduyan, is around two hours’ motorcycle or jeepney ride north of Puerto Princesa, followed by some scenic trekking through jungle paths (bring plenty of water and sensible shoes, and prepare for some steep climbs), to reach a series of pretty waterfalls and cooling natural pools. Crowds gather here at weekends and holidays, but come midweek and things will be blissfully quiet, or just cool off and then trek a little more to find a secluded spot for a family picnic.   

🍨 Eat Here: Baker’s Hill

It’s a hill! With a bakery at the top! This Puerto Princesa cafe is firmly established on the tourist trail, but still worth exploring – entice the kids onto their bikes by telling them that they’ll be rewarded for their uphill pedaling with cheesecake, cookies and house speciality banana cream pudding. Not only that, but there’s a small, Disney-themed playground at the top, complete with strolling peacocks, and views for the parents to admire while the brood are burning off that sugar high. It’s possible to wander a little farther afield for some crowd-free trekking, too.

Here are some family friendly hotels in Palawan you can check.

Spice up your Vacation With Some Under the Radar Family Adventures in Cebu City

The province of Cebu is home to nearly 170 islands in addition to Cebu Island itself. It stands to reason, therefore,  that many visitors coming to Cebu with kids head straight for the cool waters and sandy beaches. In their rush to get their snorkel on, many families overlook Cebu City more fool them, as this well-developed city has a lot going for it from both a kiddy and a parental perspective. In addition to the usual high adrenaline water parks, modern malls with soft play centers, ornate temples and plenty of green spaces, this friendly city has some more satisfyingly off-the-beaten track sights and activities, where you’re unlikely to be battling for space with an army of backpackers and cruise ship tourists. Cebu City also lacks the rush and crush of Manila and some other big cities, making it an ideal point of entry for families looking to get gradually accustomed to South East Asian cities.

Take a Tour of the San Pedro Fort

This centrally-located fort in the city’s port area attracts little by the way of crowds, but kids tend to love rampaging around the ramparts, while the tropical gardens provide respite from the city swelter. Entrance is less than a dollar (and kids go free!) and it’s even possible to arrange personal guided tours (again, these are free – making this a very cheap and cheerful day out). Built in the mid-1500s to defend the city from attack  by seafaring Portuguese, and the fort’s more recent incarnations have included stints as a prison and as a zoo. Today it’s a low-key attraction, but all the more appealing for that – families in Cebu City can take a slow-paced tour and soak up the silence in the scenic gardens. The nearby Plaza de Independencia is a good place to let the kids race around as you watch local life unfurl.

Check out Weird and Wonderful Stalls at the Carbon Market

Cebu city has its fair share of smart, modern malls, with family-friendly food courts, and dedicated kids’ play areas. Which is all very nice and handy, but few families come to the Philippines to sit in a shopping center. Head instead to the waterfront Carbon Market instead, for an altogether more colorful shopping experience. The oldest and largest market in the city, this waterfront trading center has been doing business for well over a century (the name comes from the massive quantities of locally-mined coal that used to be bought and sold here back) is where locals come to pick up clothes, culinary staples and everything in between, all at bargain bucket prices. It’s something of a sensory overload – from the yelling traders to the smells and the somewhat ‘out there’ nature of some of the culinary wares – but it’s well worth setting aside a few hours to really get the most out of the market. Come early in the morning for the freshest produce at the best possible prices (you can even turn it into a game and challenge the kids to find their favorite fruit or other edible treat at the lowest price, or to seek out ultra-rare culinary goodies such as kesong puti (white cheese). It’s also a good place to pick up local handicrafts and other souvenirs (just don’t try to haggle too hard, prices are already low and most products are a result of a lot of hard work!). Like many busy downtown spots, take the usual safety precautions, but don’t let safety fears putting you off a trip to the Carbon Market when visiting Cebu with your kids.

Ride the Jeepneys

It’s impossible not to notice Cebu City’s jeepneys – those brightly-painted, jam-packed little buses that race their way through the city streets. But while they sure as heck look like fun to ride, they’re not about putting on a show for tourists – these are in fact by far the cheapest way to get around the city, and the public transport option of choice for most locals. Just one problem – working out how to use these blinged up vehicles m can be a bit of a mind-boggler. There are pretty much no ‘official’ jeepney stops other than the beginning and end of a line, so it’s fine to flag one down pretty much anywhere. Note down your intended destination, and show this to a friendly-looking face among the crowds that gather along major roads. Maybe best to aim for somewhere at the end of a route if it’s your first jeepney journey, and have emergency taxi fare in case it goes awry – the ride itself is a fun experience for families in Cebu. Show the driver where you want to get off (if you’re able to get close enough, otherwise show a fellow passenger), carry small change for your fare, and be prepared to shout or loudly clink coins on the handrail when you want to jump off 🙂 Get the hang of it, and you’ll be seeing the sights for an awful lot less than the price of a cab, and having fun into the bargain.

🍉 Eat here:  Ga-as Adventure Cafe

This is definitely one aimed squarely at tourists, but it would be rude not to take your little adventurers to Ga-as Adventure Cafe, a kid-friendly paradise where diners can zip-line, rappel and trek their way to hearty appetite. Part of the Ga-As Eco Adventure Park, the Adventure Cafe is a destination in its own right, and there’s even a ‘stress wall’, where visitors are encouraged to throw plates at a wall and get those travel stresses right out of their system. It’s billed as the Philippines’ first Adventure-Themed restaurant, and while it’s a 35-45 minute ride out of town in Balamban, it’s worth a trip out, and  the menu has plenty of fairly-priced dishes that range from local favorites such as tinolang manok (a gingery chicken broth) to guaranteed kid-pleasers such as pasta, burgers and steaks.

Spice Up Your Family Vacation To The Philippines With Some off the Beaten Track Activities in Manila

Manila, Manila…the crazy capital of the Philippines sometimes gets a bad rep for its pollution, honking traffic and its reputation for petty crime. But while Manila is often seen as a mere starting point for beach-hopping fun, here’s a whole lot for families to love about the city. Once they’ve got to grips with the noise and the hectic pace of life, offspring of all ages are likely to fall in love with a city where they can learn trapeze skills, visit brightly colored theme parks and where marshmallows regularly crop up in salads. Older kids and teens will likely pile on the pressure for their parents to take them to brag-worthy mainstream attractions such as Splash Island waterpark, the kid-sized city that is Kidzania and the city’s several amusement parks, but parents looking for more satisfyingly under-the-radar family fun will find that Manila really delivers the goods. From hidden foodie adventures in Metro Manila itself to exciting escapades outside the city limits, these under-the-radar activities will add extra oomph to your family trip to Manila.

Explore Quiapo, Chinatown and the Muslim Quarter.

Many family visitors to Manila give the city’s somewhat down-at-heel historic downtown a miss, preferring instead to take the usual tourist route around Intramuros – the walled, Spanish-founded ‘city within a city’. But concerns about safety shouldn’t deter families in Manila from visiting Quiapo – while it’s wise to take the usual safety precautions (don’t flash expensive belongings, keep wallets in front pockets, keep kids close by…), there’s a whole lot of adventuring to be had in the maze of streets that make up the Old Town. There are several companies offering walking, shopping and tasting tours of Quiapo, but intrepid visitors can certainly go it alone – along with the near-obligatory visit to the Black Nazarene statue, said to have miraculous healing powers, there are heaving produce markets, street food galore, and endless opportunities for all members of the family to practice their haggling skills, pick up all manner of ‘magical’ potions, and even have their fortunes told. Look out for the Ocampo Pagoda – a castle/pagoda hybrid that looks like something from a Studio Ghibli film.   Families can continue their cross-cultural explorations by crossing the Quezon Bridge to the Muslim Quarter, notable for its grand Golden Mosque, and the crowds of locals that come here to pick up keepsakes. Meanwhile, the city’s busy Chinatown, between Binondo and Santa Cruz, is the oldest in the world, and the place to come for delicious dumplings, sticky rice and ‘pork floss’, as well as posing by the grand arch that marks the entrance to the district.


🥤 Tip: In Manila they use paper straws, so make sure to not let them sit inside the drinks for too long… 


See the City from the Water on the Pasig River Ferry

It’s impossible not to be struck by the scale of the traffic chaos in Manila. Bottlenecks make getting from A to B a time-consuming affair, and the choking fumes are an unfortunate part of life in the city. One way to skip the backed-up traffic and get an alternative view of the city is to take the Pasig River Ferry, which carries a mainly local crowd of commuters from Pasig to Intramuros. Making a total of 12 stops,  Pasig River Ferry Service is the only water-based transportation in Metro Manila that cruises Pasig to Intramuros in the City of Manila, taking in sights such as the grand Presidential Palace (no photos!) and offering a chance to jump on and off at the 12 stops, along the route, neatly dodging the traffic. The trip costs around a dollar, and it’s both a fun boat trip and a practical way to get around.

Go Shopping at Greenhills

Forget the slick, modern malls, and do your souvenir shopping at this vast network of indoor and outdoor markets and boutiques, Brush up on your haggling skills (it’s not unreasonable to expect vendors to drop their original price by up to 50 per cent) and set aside the best part of a day to fully explore the flea-market style, 1970s-built Greenhills Shopping Center, which is easily reached by metro, and buzzes with sellers hawking everything from knock-off designer label fashions and genuinely bargainous phones and gadgets, to artsy knick knacks, gourmet goodies and local handicrafts. It’s also the place to come for genuine pearls, if that’s your bag (it’s also the place to come for bags…). Stalls and cafes selling easy eats such as burgers and donuts will keep kids’ energy levels up.

🐶 Eat at a Dog Cafe

Taiwan gave the world the concept of the Cat Cafe, but Manila has upped the ante with its kid-pleasing Dog Cafes, where diners can pet and pat friendly pooches as they sip chow down on burgers and slurp up coffees and milkshakes. The original Manila Dog Cafe, Barkin’ Blends, has a dedicated, santized ‘Dog Zone’, where visitors can spend up to two hours cuddling (but strictly no carrying!) their new furry pals. The kid-pleasing menu includes brightly-hued burgers (the Fiona Burger comes on a pink bun) and Skyeghetti (presumably named for canine superheroine Skye from Paw Patrol) with meatballs. Dog-loving diners can relax in the knowledge that the four-legged friends here are treated with kindness, and strict rules ensure that the visits are as much fun for the hounds as they are for hungry clients.

And when you come to book a hotel, make sure you check these family friendly hotels first.

The Philippines isn’t the easiest place to travel: many people don’t speak English and tourist facilities are severely lacking in most areas. On the other hand, Filipino nationals are very welcoming and hospitality is a cultural value, so it is an ideal destination for families. There are many ways to make your family’s Filipino jaunt smoother! Here are my top 6 tips for family travel in the Philippines:

1. Friday is flyday.

In The Philippines everyone flies on Fridays. If you’re planning to catch a flight on a Friday, be sure to book it far in advance and make sure to get to the airport even earlier than usual. In addition, many businesses and offices are closed on Fridays, so just don’t plan anything of significant importance on Fridays.

 

2. Beware of typhoon season.

Typhoon season in the Philippines is from June to October. Although they can be benign, an unexpected typhoon does have the potential to ruin your plans for a few days. During these storms, you cannot dive or snorkel, and most ferries and airplanes wont take off. Be flexible with your planning.

 

3. Use water dispensers.

They’re everywhere! At only a peso ($0.05 USD) for 200 mL or 5 pesos for a liter. You can either use the little plastic baggies provided at the dispensers, or choose the eco-friendly version and refill your personal bottles. You wouldn’t believe how many times it saved us from thirst on a hot day in the market!

 

4. ATM 411

In The Philippines, it can be difficult to find an ATM because cards are uncommon amongst locals. It’s always better to stock up on cash before leaving the bigger cities. These days, money changers and Western Union seem to have conquered The Philippines, so many Filipinos work abroad and send money back home.

 

5. SIM-portant!

Acquiring a local SIM card is very important. There’s not a lot of WiFi, so talking with family members back home can be difficult without a SIM card (and mobile data tends to be much faster than any WiFi you’ll find). Smart network has better coverage, but Globe’s mobile data is faster. Keep in mind that phone calls in the Philippines are outrageously expensive. If at all possible, send texts to save money.

 

6. Island-hopping

Island-hopping, snorkeling, and diving are probably the best activities in the Philippines–the biodiversity of the reefs is unmatched. But before you can enjoy these activities, you have to rent a boat and a driver. When you arrive on each island, you have to pay “taxes” that drivers seem to make up on the spot. Reasons for these charges include “keeping the island clean,” and “to walk on the island,” or “to swim in island waters.” When you go island-hopping, keep these hidden fees in mind. Plan ahead because for a family those do add up. Of course, the most important thing to remember about snorkeling or diving is that you’re coming to the fish’s home. Respect the environment and everything that lives in it.

 

7. Don’t forget your underwater camera!

Did you read the tip above? snorkeling and diving are the best things you can do around the Philippines, and you definitely want to have a camera with you to document your new fishy friends. You can’t post a photo you couldn’t take on social media!

 

Bonus tip: It does get very hot in The Philippines, and who doesn’t love ice cream? Try the local purple (yes, purple!) ice cream called ube which is made from purple yams. Sweet potato ice cream–now what could possibly be bad about that?

 

Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family in Asia? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!

An extended trip to the Philippines is never going to be your traditional family vacation. The topography–islands, islands, islands as far as the eye can see–means that any itinerary will involve a different type of planning than most family trips. Those who get their head around the logistics of family nature breaks in the Philippines will be richly rewarded for their efforts, though: As well as gorgeous beaches and uninhabited islands, the archipelago offers everything from mysterious mountain towns to some of the most spectacular beaches on the planet.

There’s a lot to pack in, but our 30-day itinerary for a nature-packed trip to the Philippines with kids allows plenty of time for R&R as well as action-packed adventures, and can be adapted to suit everybody from toddlers to teens.

Day 1-5 Cebu and surrounds

Many international visitors heading to the Philippines with kids fly straight to the capital, Manila. It’s not the best place to touch down though, and here’s why: Manila’s a traffic-choked, noisy and cramped city, and can be too much too soon for younger family members. For a gentler introduction to the Filipino pace of life, fly into Cebu, and use it as a base for exploring the islands. With some good value places to stay, eat and drink, it’s worth spending a day or so in the Philippines’ laid-back second city (it’s also the oldest, and as such has plenty of historic attractions), but the real draws for nature-loving families in Cebu lie outside the city proper, in the coral reefs and white sand beaches of nearby Mactan and Oslob (whale watching is an option here, but does raise a few ethical issues and families may want to think twice before signing up).

here is our favorite, family feindly hotel in cebu.


?Boxout: Surfing in Siargao

The Philippines rarely gets a mention as a top surfing destination, but the island of Siargao, some 400km from Cebu (one daily flight, with Cebu Pacific prices from around $100 pp if booked in advance) is beginning to make headlines for its world class waves. There are lessons for everybody from experienced surfers to absolute beginners, and what kid wouldn’t want to return from their break to the Philippines boasting that they’ve learned to ride the waves? If you want to see some stellar surfers at play in this still under-the-radar destination (for now) this is your chance.


Day 7-12 Bohol

Boats leave Cebu’s port for the gorgeous island of Bohol, and it’s well worth setting up camp here (possibly literally–should you feel like sleeping under the stars, there are some good family campsites here as well as guest houses and hotels) for at least five or six days in order to make the most of the magnificent natural attractions. Landing at Tagbilaran, the island’s colorful capital, you’ll be well placed for treks through the Chocolate Hills (maybe pre-warn younger kids that these perfectly-round humps are named for their brown hue, and are not actually edible hills!) and boat trips (or kayaking) along the Abatan River, as well as zip-lining through the jungle canopy and other high-energy kid-pleasing pursuits.


? Box Out: Tiny Tarsiers: No nature-based family trip to Bohol is complete without checking out the teeny Tarsier monkeys at the dedicated sanctuary here (Tarsier Sanctuary Rd, Corella). These titchy, tree-inhabiting primates are endemic to the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and for a few dollars entry visitors can watch them napping in their natural habitat (they’re nocturnal animals, so don’t expect to catch them up and about).


Day 13-16 Boracay

You’ll need to head back to Cebu for the next leg of your trip, up to the northern islands around Boracay. Inexpensive flights (from around $40 pp) leave Cebu for Boracay’s airport at Caticlan and the journey takes less than an hour. Once here, families can check out the famous (and aptly-named) White Beach, try windsurfing or kite surfing at the Bulabog Beach, or goggle at colorful sea creatures on a snorkeling (or scuba diving, there are several PADI schools here) adventure around the coral reefs.

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Day 17-22 El Nido, Palawan

While there’s plenty to do on Boracay it’s a little too popular with partiers for some families’ tastes, so nature-loving families are likely to appreciate the more under-the-radar vibe at El Nido.

As of 2017 there are direct 45-minute flights between Boracay and Palawan islands, and while El Nido town itself is a little underwhelming, there is enormous joy to be had in exploring the 40-plus small islands that surround it. Here are pristine dive spots, mangrove rivers, caverns and caves, and an awful lot more elbow room on the picture-perfect beaches than you’ll find at more celebrated spots.


? Box out: A Giant Adventure Playground

The island of Palawan has been the subject of something of a buzz in the international travel press of late, but El Nido remains largely off the beaten tourist trail. It’s unspoilt beaches are like a giant adventure playground for kids, and prices are still among the cheapest in the area. From a base at Coron Coron or Orange Pearl beach (interconnected and dazzlingly beautiful strands) visitors can take to the waters on paddle board or kayak, or for more leisurely days, jump aboard a beach hopping cruise. Backed by enormous rocky mountains and with monkey-filled jungle spilling right down to the town it’s a wild adventure that will linger long in the memory.


Day 23-25: Manilla

Ok, after some serious chilling on the beaches, families in the Philippines should be ready for the sensory assault that is Manilla. There are direct flights to the capital from El Nido, with AirSwift making the 70-minute journey (prices from $100 pp) around five times per day.

This smog-filled city isn’t the ideal spot for families looking to explore wild nature, so spend just a day or two exploring the scenic Old Town, with a side trip to the wonderful volcanic hot springs Hidden Valley Springs Resort. The naturally heated pools sit amid tropical jungle, and are an easy day trip from Manila (around one hour’s drive) at idden Valley Springs Resort. Take in the natural beauty and lush vegetation of this tropical region. Explore the resort’s massive crater, believed to have been formed by a violent volcanic upheaval thousands of years ago. Take a refreshing dip in one of the naturally heated, volcanic water pools. Visitors can stay overnight at the resort, or head back to the big city.

Day 26-30 North of Manilla

North of the capital, Luzon Island (the Philippines’ largest) the big city gives way to pristine nature, and families can board overnight buses up to the beautiful Mountain Province of Benguet, where treks through centuries’ old rice terraces at Banaue offer magnificent views and the freshest of fresh air, as well as the impressive Tapia Falls where the mighty rush of water feeds into freshwater pools that make for incredibly refreshing dips – bring your swimwear.. Sagada, a beautiful mountain town, is a kid-pleaser thanks to its famous hanging coffins, creepy caves, natural swimming pools and the chance to mingle with the Igarot tribes people that inhabit the region.


? Boxout: The Hanging Coffins of Sagada

For some 2,000 years, the Igarot people have been burying their dead in coffins that are tied or nailed to the sides of cliffs. The bodies are placed in the foetal position, wrapped in blankets and carried in a procession to the burial place, resulting in an unusual tourist attraction that will thrill kids with a taste for the macabre.


Day 30-Manila, and home

Take another overnight bus back to Manila, where you might want to overnight, take a direct flight home, or take a connection back to the starting point at Cebu.

Here is another route for families going to the Philippines.

Food-loving families, get set for an island-hopping culinary adventure like no other. The islands’ eclectic, zingy cuisine is currently being spoken of in reverential tones among foodie movers and shakers–Bizarre Foods presenter has been citing it as the next big foodie trend for years, and others are starting to cotton on. But while Zimmerman famously chowed down on all manner of gag-worthy grubs during his televised trip around the island, families on a foodie trip to the Philippines can rest safe in the knowledge that there’s much more to local dishes than the bird embryos of foodie legend.

A nation made up of over 7,000 impossibly scenic islands, visitors will find enormous variations in the style and substance of dishes as they travel around the Philippines, but one constant theme is the warm welcome extended to families–the local culture firmly embraces family dining, and children will be enthusiastically catered for, rather than stiffly tolerated, at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and cafes.

A relatively safe place for family travel, the Philippines offers such family-pleasing treats as endless soft sandy beaches, plentiful snorkeling opportunities, colorful theme parks, bright and beautiful flora and fauna, and an endless supply of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables (Parents may be interested to know that many of these are whizzed up into delicious and dangerously affordable cocktails).

The nature of the terrain means that a family trip to the Philippines will involved a fair bit of air travel, and visitors should brace themselves for a few bumpy prop plane rides, but puddle-jumping plane rides are neither expensive nor difficult to arrange. Follow our 30-day itinerary for a month-long break that will linger long in the memory as well as on the taste buds.

Tip: The December-April dry season is the best time of year for family travel to the Philippines. Visitors should note, however, that rates soar and rooms get booked up fast around the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Day 1-2 Manila

The busy, bustling capital of the Philippines, Manila is the starting point for adventures on the archipelago. With a skyline dominated by high rise malls and apartment blocks, the noisy, chaotic city sprawls across Luzon, the largest island on the archipelago. It’s no peaceful island paradise, and families will find more enticing adventures elsewhere. However, it’s worth taking a day or so to explore the Spanish-accented historic center, and to try some kid-pleasing treats from the many sidewalk stands (often manned by kids and their parents). For the equivalent of less than a dollar a pop, you can try all manner of weird and wonderful delights. Dodge the Balut, and the chicken feet and intestines on a stick (unless you’re feeling brave), and head for the banana-q (skewered banana covered in sugar and deep fried) or icecream stands. KwekKwek (quial eggs in a bright orange batter) is a good bet for a quick protein fix. You’ll find street stands on literally every corner, but there’s currently a bit of a buzz about those on the Kapitolyo food strip, in Pasig.

Tip: Watch kids’ eyes light up at the sight of Halo Halo – this legendary Manila street snack is a hot (well, actually cool…) mess of purple yam ice cream and shaved ice, topped with any number of sweet treats such as jelly beans, coconut, condensed milk, fresh or jellied fruit, and sometimes sago (tapioca balls). No two Halo Halo stands are alike, and families can have great fun hunting out their favorite. On average, you can expect to pay a little over $0.50 for a Halo Halo on the street.

Day 3-8 Boracay

After a couple of days in the city, it’s time to relax on the beach. And beaches don’t get much better than those of Boracay, so plan to stay at least five days here. There are no direct flights, so plan to fly to either Caticlan (the closest option) or Kalibo (60 km farther from the port but served by cheaper flights), followed by a taxi to the jetty port at Caticlan and a 20-minute boat ride across to Boracay. Expect to pay upwards of around $40 for a one-way trip.
Once on the island, get set for a few days of swimming, snorkeling and surf lessons, while tucking into super-fresh seafood at restaurants where you can dine with your feet (sometimes literally) in the sea. Mangoes, bananas and other kid-pleasing fruits grow in abundance here, and crop up in many street snacks (and are also used to make amazing cocktails at the many many Happy Hours… Juice shacks abound, and picky kids looking for something more familiar will find international fare such as tacos and pasta at Boracay’s modern Food Market at Station 2, where you’ll pay around $2-3 for a plate of food. The fish and seafood market at D’Talipapa, is a feast for the eyes, too, and kids will enjoy goggling at things even if they don’t want to eat them.

Day 9-15 Palawan

Just when you thought your family foodie break in the Philippines couldn’t get any more idyllic, you get to Palawan. Often cited among the best beach islands in the world, this ridiculously picturesque spot offers dolphin-watching, safari parks and other kid-pleasing attractions, but the real appeal will be the pristine waters, boat trips and beach adventures. Fly into Puerto Princesa (2 hr 50, flights from around $100 one way) and spend a day or two tucking into tropical fruit and fresh fish and seafood at simple waterfront restaurants (a main meal can be had for less than $5) (most hotels also serve pasta, pizza and other family favorites) before taking the bus to El Nido, where boat tours lead to hidden beaches, each of which is more beautiful than the next. Most trip operators include food-from fresh fruit to full BBQs-and drinkin the price.

Tip: Don’t miss Baker’s Hill in Puerto Princesa. Visitors can cycle (bikes are big in Palawan) up to the top of a hill where, you guessed it, several bakers sell their delicious wares. There’s a mini theme park, playground and strutting peacocks to up the fun factor even more.

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Day 16-19: Cebu

It’s a flight of around 70 minutes (from around $60 one way pp) from Puerto Princesa, where waterfalls, tiny islands and excellent diving abound, and families visiting Cebu can find crowd-free beaches where coconut palms and fruit trees frame picture-perfect sands. Try trips to Bantayan or Malapascua islands for a true taste of paradise on your family trip to the Philippines. Cebu City itself has lots of international restaurants, some of which are on the pricey side, but for more authentic eats at better prices, check out local spots such as Kusina Uno, which specialises in giant portions of pochero (spicy, meaty stews with a big hunk of beef and bone marrow), where a $2-3 serving satisfies up to 4 hungry tummies.


 

? Box out: Not for the faint hearted, Cebu speciality Tuslob Buwa (rough translation ‘dip’ and ‘froth’ sees pork brain, liver, garlic and seasonings and served with rice wrapped in palm leaves. It’s surprisingly tasty, and very cheap at less than $1 a go from most street sellers.


 

Day 20-24 Bohol

Regular speedy ferries make the crossing from Cebu to similarly gorgeous Bohol, where the jungle-covered hills make a dramatic backdrop to the beaches, and a trip to Bohol with kids offers a chance to zipline through the trees, and marvel at tiny tarsier monkeys at a hugely popular sanctuary. The famous ‘Chocolate Hills’ are named for their brownish color at certain times of year rather than for anything edible, but a visit to the famous Bee Farm in Panglao (actually a separate island, accessible via bridge) should sugar the pill. This working honey farm sells dishes made from local organic fruit and vegetables, and visitors can see the bees doing their magic. The ice-creams, made with unusual tropical fruits and herbs such as malunggay (a medicinal tea leaf) are unforgettable.

Here is a more in-depth article about Bohol

Day 25-20 The Cordilleros

Time to bid the beaches bye bye and head for the mountains and rice terraces of the Cordilleros.Take a flight to Manilla (regular flights with local airlines make the 80-minute flight), then onwards by plane or car to the north of Luzon island. Families with kids in the Cordilleros won’t be doing too much climbing in the spiny peaks, but there are many foodie adventures to be had in this magnificent part of the Philippines. The rice terraces are often cited as the 8th Wonder of the World, and are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one might expect, rice features in various forms, including kiddie-pleasing sweet ones such as Sinuman and Patupat rice cakes. Snails harvested from local creeks are among the more adventurous eats.


 

? Box out: If you happen to be here during the summer season, you’ll see ant eggs cropping up on the menu. Abuos are the eggs of large red ants, collected by poking holes in their treetop nests. They’re they fried with garlic, tomatoes and onions to make a famous local speciality much loved by the local Igarot tribespeople, and increasingly enjoyed by out of towners too.


Day 30 Back to Manila –

if you have a long wait for a flight, it’s worth checking out the impressive food courts at many shopping malls – and home to start dreaming of all those delicious foods you’ve just eaten.

For recommended family friendly hotels click here.

The Philippines offer the very best of exotic vacations. It has everything you imagine when you think about a luxurious beach vacation. The soft white sandy beaches, the clear turquoise water, the fresh coconuts, sweet juicy fruits, happy-get-lucky locals (that speak English!), and lots of green jungles. An immense feeling of freedom.

Cheaper than Thailand.

And most importantly- jumping (real life!) dolphins! Free! We saw them while on ferries several times. They just show up, whole pods of them, swimming and jumping right next to the boat.

A few shorts words on the Philippines:

The Philippines are divided to four main districts. North (Luzon), center (Visayas), the south (Mindanao), and the island Palawan which is west of Visayas, towards Malaysia.

The archipelago consists of over 7,000 islands, and the main venues of transportation between them is by using the excellent ferry network (depending on the distance between islands, sometimes it’s a small ferry, sometimes a big one, almost a bus, and sometimes it’s a huge ferry that takes you 24 hours or more on the ocean waves), or by flight. You can also take a bus, I mean- you take the bus, and it goes on a ferry, and continues on another island:-).

The locals are charming, welcoming and hospitable, and always happy to help. But there’s two things they don’t believe in in the Philippines that it’s important you know about: hot water in the shower, and blankets.
Meaning you’ll only have hot water in medium level hotels and above. And the same goes for blankets.

It’s simply too hot there for either anyway.

The capital: is Manila, and she’s not welcoming to families. There’s a lot of traffic and sometimes the city just doesn’t feel safe. There are areas that bunch together strip clubs and gambling establishments. But together with all that- it’s the place to go shopping, there are crazy big malls there, with all the biggest brands. Personally I only go there to freshen up my wardrobe. My favorite place is called ‘Glorietta’ and it’s actually 4 connected malls. There are also some pretty big attractions (which I haven’t visited) like chinatown.

Family vacations- recommended hotels in the philippines

Money: the local currency is called Peso. $1=50 Pesos. You can find ATM mechines, but it’s not always easy, especially if you leave the highly touristic areas. Anyway the feeling is that there aren’t enough of them. Sometimes the line is very long. What they do have there are lots of money changers, and international money transfer. There are everywhere.

Visa: most people get free visa upon arrival of somewhere between 21-30 days but it always pays to check in advance. The most important thing is to have an exist ticket to somewhere.

Best seasons: it’s always hot in the Philippines. They have a rainy season and a typhoon season. December to May is the best time to visit. For vacations- Christmas! But summer vacation can also work, provided you can stay for a longer time, allowing for flexibility.

Food: it’s a tropical country so there’s a wide selection of fruits, dozens of types of Mango and Avocado, Coconuts, Jackfruit, and a lot of other we don’t even know about in the west. Most of their food is rice based, they have different kinds of white and pink and red rice… and a ton of seafood (goes without saying) as well as chicken and pork. They love their barbecue, and grill every type of meat they can find. You’ll see people fanning the flames everywhere. You choose the slice and they grill it for you on the spot. Try the chicken legs, a local favorite.

I will now write a recommendation for a fun route you can go on with the kids, based around central Philippines. I built it around the center on purpose as it’s considered the area best protected from typhoons, and therefore better at summer (and summer vacation). It’s flexible from a days-per-location perspective, so you could twist it to fit however long you have available.

1. Cebu

The route starts in Cebu. The second largest island in the Philippines.

You can stay in Cebu city, of find quieter places. I like recommending this hotel, on Mactan Island that is connected to mainland(ish) Cebu by bridge (the international airport is also on this island). It’s not cheap but will provide an excellent opening to any vacation.

Take two-three days to get over the flight and just have a good family time, then fly from Cebu to the tiny volcanic island “Cameguin”.

2. Cameguin

During the flight the staff entertains the passengers with riddle games. There are even prizes:-).
This tiny island sits on a volcano, which turns some of the beaches black. Beyond that, despite the size of the island it has many fun activities. There are some nice waterfalls (where you can swim), a site with a few hot spring pools, each with a different temperature. There’s a Zipline near the beach that goes above a sweet water lake, kayaking and other sea activities, and a site with giant clams (careful, they swallow everything!). A few museums and even an ostrich farm.

We’ve visited this island twice. Zig-zagged all across it on a bike we rented and discovered some lovely isolated corners. Climbed one of the mountains, and at the top we found a beautiful waterfall and remnants of volcanic ash.

When we went to the Zipline booking office the kids really wanted to go. For me it was enough to just see the cable stretched over the water to give up the pleasure. But the Zipline rules say you have to go in twos, so found myself being launched (twice! It’s a two-leg journey…) together with my youngest daughter.

I recommend to sleep in the hot spring campus called “Ardent”, that way you could go for a swim any time you want (the pools are open 24 hours), even after the kids fell asleep… :-). They have simple rooms with an A/C and a family room. Costs $80 a night.

There’s a restaurant there that’s not fantastic but it’s not bad either and the staff is nice. There are also a few stands just outside the campus. Basically, sausages and corn are readily available.

After three-four days of rest, day trips and being spoiled, take the ferry to Bohol Island. The ferry leaves every day at morning and by noon makes port in the city Jagna at central Bohol.

The journey takes about three-four hours.

My kids like Jagna because you can find the Filipino delicacy Calamay everywhere. Calamay is a sort of a sweet spread/jelly made of coconuts that they sell in a coconut shell packaging.

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3. Bohol

A word about ferries in the Philippines: I recommend that you bring some food with you, because the food on the ferry is expensive and the options are usually very limited.

And another thing- there’s no problem getting tickets in the port. Just make sure to get there some time ahead. Usually, especially before the ferry leaves, there are long lines. You’ll need to pay for the tickets (=first line), harbor tax (=second line), and for your suitcases (=third line). Children under 10 get a discount. Ask for the A/C class (=most expensive), or outside (=cheapest, and there’s a breeze:-))

When you get to Jagna you’ll have two options:

You can take a taxi or a minivan (air conditioned) to the biggest city in Bohol called Tagbilaran. Most tourists on the island go to its most famous beach, which is near Tagbilaran. It’s called “Alona beach” and it really is a nice beach with many nice restaurants, an ATM, agencies offering day trips and island-hopping, stores for beachwear, etc…

Family vacations- recommended hotels in the philippines

If you don’t want to party with all the tourists, you can always look for a guesthouse or a hotel in the city proper (it has a few nice malls, my favorite is ICM that has some video games in the top floor and even a 3D cinema). Or you can look around the road that surrounds the island, and soak in the magnificent ocean view. Another nice area is the town “Anda”, and near it the resort “Peace 1”, that has a private beach frequented by some sea turtles.

A minivan from Jagna to Tagbilaran costs 100 pesos per person.

Bohol is a relatively small island but it has a lot of attractions, and it’s a fun place to spend a few days. You can go on tours and watch dolphins, snorkel in the oceanic nature reserves near the island. There are kayak trips, an Extreme Park, river boating, a beautiful natural phenomenon called “chocolates hills” (yeah yeah) and some incredibly sweet creatures called “Filipino monkey” that became the island’s symbol. Professional name: Tarsier.

You can get almost any tye of food there, from real local food to big fast-food chains like McDonald’s, KFC and domino’s pizza. And of course Dunkin Donuts, that took over the Philippines and apparently conquered them.

We lived in Bohol twice, for a few months each time. We rented a small house with a private beach in a small fishing village and just lived with the locals and the ocean. We would shop at the local market, go for walks in the village, play with the locals, and learn from them about sea life.

We loved going to some nearby islands called Pamilican and Balicasag. On the way to them we usually saw dolphins. Near the islands there are beautiful reserves and we would jump off our little boat and snorkel for hours. We even saw small sharks and sea turtles. The boat’s driver would throw some breadcrumbs to attract the fish to us, to the great joy of my youngest daughter, that didn’t want to go too far from the boat.

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4. Siquijor

After Bohol, take another ferry to Siquijor. This is a small, peaceful island, with incredible quiet beaches. It’s also called the “Isle of Fire”, because of the millions of fireflies that fly near its beaches at night.

The island itself offer a number of activities, most of which are nature related (waterfalls, springs, ancient trees, night walks to see the fireflies).

And of course there’s diving and snorkeling.

We arrived there completely on accident. While visiting Dumaguete, we met at the hotela Filipino friend. After an interesting conversation with him, he told us that he has a resort in Siquijor (a quick boat ride away from Dumaguete) and invited us to stay there. So we found ourselves, a few weeks afterwards, in Siquijor :-).

Most of our time there we spent in the great swimming pool in the resort. It was so fun and relaxed we didn’t even need to leave.

4.5 Optional: Dumaguete

From Siquijor you can go slowly to Cebu Island. Before that take a short ferry to Dumaguete.if you have time you can explore it, it’s another nice island with plenty of activities.

Another article giving details about those four places, including costs, you can find here.

The Philippines have two types of public transport that I haven’t seen anywhere else. The Tricycle, which is a bit like the Thai Tok-Tok or the Indian Rickshaw, meaning, they took a motorbike and added a contraption with seats on it. The Filipinos like stuffing as many people as possible into those. It comes in different sizes, some only fit three people, and others fit six or more. The other vehicle is called a Jeepney and it’s actually a jeep that has been turned into a bus. They make it themselves, so every Jeepney looks a little different. They paint it in screaming colors, add some designs and sometimes even add a few quotes. It’s similar to an open bus, and there too they stuff as many people as they possibly can. Try to ride both those vehicles at least once. It’s an experience of a different type:-).

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5. Cebu

From the city Dumaguete leaves a (air conditioned) bus that goes on the ferry to Cebu with you inside it, and continues until Cebu City. You can also get off halfway there, in south Cebu there is a (debatable) attraction that offers diving/swimming/watching Whale Sharks. These are sharks that feed only on Plankton and, despite their huge size, they’re very gentle creatures. This activity is not cheap at $150 per person.

After you get back to Cebu City, you can finish the journey with some shopping in a few of the huge malls in the city. All the brands you know and then some:-).

More details to help you plan your trip and budget for it you can find here.

If you’re coming to the Philippines, the first thing you have to prepare yourself for is that everyone will call you either sir or madam.

The best time to visit the Philippines is from December to May. Which means Christmas vacation is perfect. but summer vacation can also work if you can stay for a relatively long time (at least three weeks or more).

⇒In the Philippines they make all sorts of treats from a purple sweetpotato called Ube. Even ice cream! Water cost 10-20 Pesos (0.25$-0.5$) for a liter and a half, and bus tickets cost 8 Pesos (0.15$)

Hotels:
To get out list of recommended hotels in different destinations in the Philippines, including prices, please click here

Independent traveling:

Families that want to plan their trip to the Philippines by themselves can talk with me over the phone and get a lot of helpful recommendations, tips, and important information for correct planning. Answers to all the little questions and details you can’t find anywhere else. Send me an email (familytravelsquare@gmail.com) and we’ll settle on a time.

In general it’s possible to say that a trip (for the whole family) in a low budget will cost about 80$ a day, a medium budget trip about 150$ a day, and a high budget trip can get to any amount you want:-). In the Philippines there are R-E-A-L-L-Y nice luxury resorts, right besides simple Bamboo huts.

⇒Alcohol: the locals in the Philippines drink homemade Coconut wine. It’s worth a try, just take under consideration that you have to get used to it slowly otherwise you’ll get a stomachache. Excellent local Beer costs 30 pesos (0.65$) for half a liter.

 

Vacation packages and organized tours:

Many websites and agencies offer packages both for solo travelers and families that want to come to the Philippines. The packages include planning a route, with a guide, accommodation, and transportation. Usually the tour length us between 8-19 days. The cost moves from 75$ to 150$ per person per day (not including flights). And they depend on the agency and the quality of accommodation and transportation.

Trips in specific destinations:

You can book those in your own country or from the variety of agencies spread throughout the Philippines. We’re talking about “island hopping” trips of all sorts, and all kinds of special attractions such as sea kayaking, rice terrace tour, the underground caves, Palawan, and more. The prices also vary and the cost is between 15$ per day per person (a short trip of boating and visiting a few stations) and up to 80$-100$ per day per person (a tour to more distant locations or a unique trek)

Organized tours:

Organized tours to the Philippines there are plenty. In each one of the websites offering tours they offer a slightly different route and a varying day count. The average cost is between 270$-300$ per day per person. The selection offered to families, on the other hand, when it comes to organized tours is fairly small.

To those with strong stomachs: they have a traditional delicacy called Balut, which is basically a Duck egg boiled with the embryo still inside. You can find it in almost every street stall in the city or the country. It’s usually painted purple or red to distinguish it from the other (regular) eggs.

Click here to get a month’s worth of food filled adventure in the Philippines.

Further tips and info:

Visa:

Citizens of most nationalities get 30 days free visa upon arrival, and can later extend their visa for a month or two, for a period of up to two years.

For visa information for your county click here

For visa extension cost click here

Currency and exchange rate:

In the Philippines the used Pesos. One Dollar is worth 50 Pesos, one Euro is worth 60 Pesos, one British pound is worth 70 Pesos, and 10 Indian Rupees are worth 8 Pesos.

Recommended seasons:

The best season in from November to February, and from March until May, when it rains the least and it’s not too hot. In the rest of the year it rains more but it’ll be hot, and the moment the rain stops the sun creeps back. In Eastern Philippines it rains year-round, but when ut doesn’t rain it’s sunny.

Internal transportation:

In the Philippines there are several airline companies, we especially recommend Cebu Pacific, an international airliner that offers domestic flights at reasonable prices.

A lot of the transportation between islands is done by ferries and these are best companies: Oceanjet, Oceanfast, and 2Go

Booking ferry tickets- not recommended to do through the internet. It’s a long and tiring process that requires showing all sorts of passport photocopies when you collect the tickets. It’s better to go to the ticketing office and buy directly. That way you can also make sure you have good sits and that all the family members share the same sleeping compartment (don’t forget to make sure of that again and again).

The public transportation in the Philippines is also excellent and cheap. Always when you get to a new island you can take a bus to anywhere on it.

In the Philippines you can find buses, air-conditioned mini-vans, rickshaws (normally referred to as ‘tricycles’), motorcycle taxis, and Jeepneys- a jeep-engine powered bus that is very very cheap (and the experience is free) 🙂
In bus stations and in the ferries they sell Bananas-deep-fried-in-Sugar-on-a-stick

⇒roosters: in the Philippines Rooster fights are legal. In almost every house you can see Chickens and Roosters. They take very good care of their Roosters, and across the whole country you can find stores that sell only Rooster care equipment. You can even find a special Shampoo for shiny feathers.

Useful information:

The most important thing to know about the Philippines is that against the common opinion, you don’t have to fly from island to island. It’s much cheaper to sail and take buses, and even if it takes a bit longer, there’s nothing quite like feeling the ocean wind and see the Dolphins jumping among the waves while sailing in the Philippines. Not to mention you get to avoid the whole headache around airports.

What is also important to know is that the Filipinos love their Seafood and Pork, and those that keep kosher might find it difficult. Chabad houses can be found in Manila and Cebu, the two biggest cities in the Philippines.

Money- in the Philippines there are ATM machines, but they’re sparse. In the big cities you can find one pretty easily, but in the villages sometimes there are none. And when you do find an ATM (even in the big cities) there’s sometimes a very long line. Commission-wise it’s better to go to the foreign banks because they don’t charge a commission for a withdrawal and in most cases you can withdraw larger amounts (HSBC, metrobank)
Money changers, however, are everywhere.

Sim card and mobile network- in the Philippines there are several companies that provide mobile network we recommend Globe (faster network) or Smart.

⇒Because it’s so hot in the Philippines sometimes, you can buy cold mineral water in a bug, from a machine. You should try, especially with kids

 

and one last tip: come with a waterproof camera.