The Philippines with kids
The Philippines is the perfect spot for a family holiday. From gorgeous beaches and stunning natural wonders to colorful festivals alive with music and dance, it has everything you could ask for when searching for an all-round family holiday destination encompassing culture, adventurous activities and opportunities to relax together.
Beach combing and island hopping
The myriad of islands that make up the vast archipelago of the Philippines are framed with countless beaches, from quiet, secluded stretches of sand where you can relax amid nature, play and build sandcastles to bustling, action-packed playas, perfect for watersports and excitement. Some islands even boast the full package: head to world-famous Boracay for a smorgasbord of beach holiday activities. With every kind of resort to choose from, we recommend the Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort, where guests of all ages are catered to. While the grown ups spoil themselves in the luxurious CHI Spa, the Adventure Zone and Entertainment Center will keep the little ones well occupied. Out on the pristine sands, you can all enjoy the crystal clear waters, exploring the underwater world with a snorkel, or try your hand at any number of watersports, including kite surfing, for which the island is famous.
Alternatively, if you’re not satisfied to settle for just one tropical destination, go island hopping. From naturally beautiful Bohol, you can sail out to sea on a mission to spot the whales and dolphins who live in the waters surrounding Panglao Island. Other indigenous wildlife includes the tiny tarsier monkeys who you can find playing in their sanctuary. Marvel at the stunning views when you hike the chocolate mountains, rising from the earth like massive mole-hills. Discover the magic of nearby Siquijor, aka Fire Island, home to fireflies and mystic healers. While you’re there, take a dip in the lagoon at the bottom of Cambugahay Falls among the many butterflies who skitter around the jungle foliage. More wonders await in Dauin, another island considered to harbor magical properties and home to relaxing hot springs as well as a population of sea turtles. The kids will love to watch the babies hatching and take the once-in-a-lifetime chance to go swimming with their massive parents.
A country with a long and fascinating history, the Philippines combines the cultures of its indigenous roots with the colonial influence of Catholicism as well as stunning natural beauty, and the results make for a destination that is packed with many things to see, do and learn.
Discover the wonders of picturesque Sagada as you hike up the limestone cliffs to see the famous Hanging Coffins, handmade and suspended over the plunging drop – a distinctly Catholic ritual in the Philippines. Explore the local area and get some action and adventure while white water rafting on the Upper Chico River and spelunking in Sumaguing Cave. Alternatively, if you and the family prefer something a little more leisurely, drive to the summer capital of Baguio for golfing and a little culture discovering in its museums.
Head to Banaue in northern Luzon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its amazing, emerald-green, mud-walled rice terraces. Hike to vantage points and snap pictures of the stunning scenery and introduce the kids to the Ifugao tribespeople whose ancestors built the terraces, for a fascinating insight into a totally different lifestyle.
Get a sugar high on the gorgeous island of Bacolod, home of the country’s sugar-cane industry. Take a tour among the tall green stalks and learn how it is harvested; try some raw fresh sweetness and get some sugary goodies to take home.
Head to vibrant Kalibo, home to many of the Philippines’ cultural festivals and practices. Dress up in the colorful silks weaved locally from pineapples and favored by the city’s sophisticated elite population. Sample Kalibo’s local eats at a traditional restaurant, dining on fresh seafood and pork or beef al fresco as you watch the colorful world go by. Kalibo is especially unmissable during the third week of January, when the city comes alive for Ati-Atihan festival: join the festivities as the residents of Kalibo celebrate Aklan becoming an independent province with feasting, dancing and music all night and day. The fun culminates in an exuberant parade on the final day.