Boasting over 7,000 islands, 365 days of summer and a world of unique experiences for the whole family, not to mention the short flight time, there’s a reason Hong Kong families flock to the Philippines!
The Philippines is truly a holiday destination for the whole family. Not only will you find some of the most pristine white sand beaches in the world, like Boracay and Palawan, but there are also subterranean river systems to explore, tropical reefs to snorkel and even volcanoes to climb. Let’s not forget the Spanish-era towns such as Vigan with architecture dating back to the 16th century or the UNESCO World Heritage site of Batad Rice Terraces in the Cordillera region. Of course, Filipino food with influences from Spanish, American and Chinese cuisines is also serious motivation for hungry travellers!
The Filipino culture is all about family, so the kids will be welcomed wherever you choose to holiday. Whether you are after a beach-side getaway, a luxury glamping experience or a budget-friendly vacation, pack your bags, load up the family and head off to the Philippines!
Don’t let the mayhem of Manila traffic stop you from exploring this chaotic city. Architectural buffs will love checking out the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Spanish colonial and Neoclassical style buildings. Adventurers and historians can explore the underground tunnels at Fort Bonifacio or the 16th-century structures of the walled city, Intramuros, constructed to protect the city from invasion. Travelling with younger kids? Stop by Rizal Park with a playground, butterfly pavilion and Ocean Park oceanarium.
Read More: The Best Family-Friendly Hotels In Macau
Edsa Shangri-La Manila – Urban oasis hotel perfectly situated for greater Manila exploration
The lush tropical surrounds of the Edsa Shangri-La Manila hotel make a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of metro Manila. Kids will love the Aqua Play Garden with waterspouts and fountains located (conveniently!) beside the pool bar. Take a dip in the main pool or the wading pool for the junior family members, before the kids explore the small playground area nicely shaded with verdant palms.
Sassy Mama Tip: Edsa Shangri-La Manila is currently offering a ‘Family Adventures at Your Urban Oasis’ package that includes a kiddie tent set-up in the room, access to all the Cubs and Cubbies’ daily activities and daily breakfast. Valid for stays through 30 December 2023.
Edsa Shangri-La Manila, www.shangri-la.com
Hotel H2O – Unique aquatic experience for the whole family
Ideally located at the base of Rizal Park overlooking Manila Bay and next door to Ocean Park, rooms at Hotel H2O deliver a unique marine experience with aquariums built into the wall! The kids are sure to be enchanted as they lie in bed watching the jellyfish and fish swim by. After breakfast, encounter more aquatic life at the Sea Lion Show, Penguin Park and Jellies Exhibit within Ocean Park.
Hotel H2O, www.manilaoceanpark.com
Okada Manila – Fun, play and stay at Manila’s luxurious Entertainment City
Okada Manila cleverly caters to adults with its casino and medley of restaurant offerings, while also delivering fun for kids with PLAY, an indoor play centre for those aged 0-16 years. There are eight neighbourhoods including a dedicated space for 0 to 3 years, a multi-level playground and maze and an interactive video game space. Licensed teachers provide a range of learning programs including Music and Movement and Colours and Creations sessions and a snack bar ensures kids fuel up before another round in the Sports Zone.
Okada Manila, www.okadamanila.com
Just over an hour’s flight from Manila, or an easy, direct flight from Hong Kong, Cebu City was the first capital and is the oldest city in the Philippines. Families with little adventurers can sign up for whale shark watching, canyoneering in the numerous waterfalls or swimming with turtles. Eco warriors will love the Lamac Organic Farm School and no one can pass up an opportunity to dine on lechon, the delicious, crispy, juicy pork dish!
Mactan–Cebu International Airport is located across the Mactan Channel on Mactan island, which offers some of the best diving, snorkelling, sailing and cultural activities in the Philippines.
Cebu Safari and Adventure Park – Kids under 7 stay free at this world-class conservation park
This 170-hectare property features 120 different species of animals, a flora walking trail showcasing a million varieties of orchids and a Breeding and Research Centre protecting wildlife and promoting biodiversity. Accommodation options include comfortable, eco-friendly cabins and luxury glamping tents with a private heated pool. Kids under 7 stay free with breakfast and park entrance included. Older kids will be desperate to hit up the Adventure Park with ATV rides, skybikes, giant swings and cave exploration tours.
Cebu Safari and Adventure Park, www.cebusafari.ph
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa – Strict no-tipping policy at this family-friendly Cebu resort
Simple pleasures and happy memories is the unofficial motto at Plantation Bay and it is the perfect place for kids to try some unique activities. Sign up for a round of archery, venture out on a family Botanical Tour or try the garoupa fishing experience organised especially for kids, so success is almost guaranteed! With four freshwater pools, mist caves, volcano fountains, bubble benches, rainmakers and water slides, the aqua-fun is endless. Take a break from the heat with a game of air hockey, foosball or billiards.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, www.plantationbay.com
JPark Island Resort and Waterpark – Water fun with six themed pools at this Mactan resort
Who can pass up the opportunity to stay at a waterpark right on the beachfront? Under 30 minutes from Mactan-Cebu airport is the expansive JPark Island Resort and Waterpark. Captain Hook’s Pool with its pirate ship, mini slides and water splash zone satisfies the mini-Pirates of the family while the towering Space Bowl and Tube Slides reaching nearly 10 metres high each, provide the thrills for older kids and adults. Hit the private beach for daily fish feeding and snorkelling before a round of mini golf or go-karting.
JPark Island Resort and Waterpark, www.jparkislandresort.com
Known the world over for stunningly white beaches, turquoise waters and verdant green palms, Boracay has more to offer than just sun, surf and snorkelling. Kids will love the Butterfly Farm, exploring the Bat Cave near Ilig-Iligan Beach or hiking Mount Luho. As the sun sets on another perfect island day, head to the beach for the spectacular fire-dancing performances – best viewed from a distance!
Shangri La’s Boracay Resort & Spa – Villas come with a private butler for the ultimate hassle-free holiday
As you arrive via the resort’s exclusive welcome lounge at Caticlan jetty before boarding the private speedboat for a 15-minute cruise along the white beaches of Boracay to the resort, you know your stay is going to be luxurious! Kids can escape to the Eco Center for environmental activities like fish feedings and nature treks. For teens, the Entertainment Zone is well-equipped with video and arcade games, table tennis, karaoke and board games. There are multiple swimming pools, including a dedicated kids’ pool, to cool off at the end of a busy day.
Sassy Mama Tip: It is hard to pass up the Family Fun Package with unlimited access to the Adventure Zone for kids, exclusive resort activities including kayak safari, bee apiary tour and cooking lessons, a movie session with complimentary popcorn along with in-room kid’s amenities and souvenir family photo.
Shangri La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, www.shangri-la.com
Fairways and Bluewater Resort Club – Home to Boracay’s only 18-hole championship golf course
This eco-friendly beachside golf resort works in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature reducing single-use plastics across the resort and was a finalist in the Best for Green Practices & Sustainability category of the Condé Nast Awards for Excellence in 2022. Child-friendly perks include six swimming pools, shoreline horseback and Segway rides, and indoor and outdoor playgrounds along with zipline and cable car rides offering birds-eye views of Boracay.
Fairways and Bluewater Resort Club Boracay, www.fairwaysandbluewater.com
Mövenpick Resort and Spa Boracay – Movenpick Chocolate Hour, need we say more!
Sixty minutes of complimentary chocolate indulgence every afternoon is reason enough to stay at this resort! To burn off all that sugar, the playroom for toddlers through to teens, the kid’s pool with water toys and the outdoor playground will do the trick. The Little Birds Club keeps the kids edu-tained with sand-castle building, nature scavenger hunts and swimming activities while the Mövenpick Family Program ensures there is no need to pack baby baths, cots or night lights.
Mövenpick Resort and Spa Boracay, www.movenpick.com
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, breathe fresh air and relax in nature, then El Nido is the place for you! The most sparsely populated region in the country is a short 80-minute flight from Manila. Offering some of the clearest and calmest waters, junior snorkellers to experienced divers will be mesmerised by the amazing array of marine life. Explore the tidal pools of The Secret Lagoon, accessed via a small hole in the side of a cliff or marvel at the towering limestone cliffs of Big Lagoon.
Matinloc Resort – A true escape surrounded by lush forests and a secluded private beach
This family-friendly resort may not have a kid’s club but it more than makes up for it with its location on Matinloc Island providing easy access to the wonders of El Nido. Complimentary use of kayaks and snorkelling equipment allows guests to explore the pristine beaches, sandbars and coves near the resort. Numerous island hopping and fishing tours on the resort’s private boat with knowledgeable local guides ensure the whole family experiences the wonders of nature. Top off your stay with a beach barbeque, a dip in the oceanfront kid’s pool or a stroll along the nature walking trail spotting tropical plants, birds and animals.
Matinloc Resort, www.matinlocresort.com
El Nido Mahogany Resort & Spa – Peaceful beachfront resort with easy access to El Nido
Located on Corong Corong beach and close to El Nido town, this affordable resort oozes genuine Filipino hospitality. Set amongst a coconut grove, cosy bungalows and private plunge pool villas are ideal for families of up to four. Book a sunset zipline adventure from Las Cabanas to Depeldet Island, which can be reached at low tide by walking from the resort or by one of the provided tricycles. Breakfast is included in the room rates and kids under 4 stay free.
El Nido Mahogany Resort & Spa, www.elnido-mahogany.com
Other Family-Friendly Destinations In The Philippines
- Atmosphere Resort & Spa, Dumaguete – Located on Negros Island with amazing family-friendly facilities, kids’ club, kids’ scuba diving and yoga and extensive children’s menus. www.atmosphereresorts.com
- Amorita Resort, Bohol – A cliff-top boutique hotel with a poolside (and bar-side!) playground, two infinity pools and snorkelling at the marine centre. www.amoritaresort.com
- Nacpan Beach Glamping, El Nido – Nine luxury tents set in a tropical jungle facing Nacpan Beach providing an undisturbed and (almost!) off-the-grid stay. www.nacpanbeachglamping.com
- La Luz Beach Resort, Batangas – a privately-owned, small resort with homestyle rooms adjacent to a marine sanctuary. www.laluzbeachresort.com
- The Manor at Camp John Hay, Baguio – Escape the heat and head to this iconic mountain resort with horseback riding, treetop adventures and nightly bonfires. www.campjohnhay.ph
- Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel, Mactan – Contemporary Filipino-Spanish resort set in tropical gardens with kids’ club, playhouse, kids’ pool and waterslide. www.costabellaresort.com
- Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort, Quezon – Historic working coconut plantation showcasing Filipino history, culture and beauty. www.villaescudero.com
- Hotel Luna, Vigan – Step back in time when you stay at the first Museum hotel in the Philippines showcasing rare and vintage artworks through to contemporary artists’ works. www.hotelluna.ph