Manila is a great city to live in or visit, and there are endless family attractions to see. Sometimes though, the stressful and chaotic urban environment can be a bit too much. Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially parents who usually can only dream of a relaxing day on a sunny beach. Fortunately, the Philippines offers so many amazing locations that the only problem is choosing where to go.
Going out on a day trip or even staying somewhere overnight can be a great bonding experience, where you and your family can create long lasting memories together. There is, however, also the risk of unexpected complications – we all know travelling with children can be nerve wrecking at times.
These top 5 destinations near Manila are the ones most likely to provide a positive experience. They are all extremely close to the city, helping you avoid the long exhausting drives. All locations are also well developed and tourist oriented – so you are guaranteed to find good hotels, restaurants and plenty of child-friendly activities.
#1 Corregidor island
How to get there : Sun Cruises has a daily ferry departing at 8 AM. The trip takes slightly more than an hour.
Budget : 2550 per adult and 1500 for child between 3-11. Adults pay 200 extra on weekends and holidays.
Things to do : Day tour and free lunch buffet, view the historical sites and visit the museums, add other optional activities to your tour such as kayaking, zip-line or sunset viewing.
Travel tips : This guided tour is a great learning experience, but it’s better suited for older kids who can appreciate the rich history and diversity presented before them.
More information : http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/
How to get there : At least 6 different bus companies run lines to Batangas, from all terminals in Manila. If you want to get to Lian or Nasugbu you can also take the bus bound for Tagaytay.
Budget : Bus ticket costs between 130 and 200 – depending on the company and your exact destination in Batangas. Other than that, it’s really up to you how much to spend there.
Things to do : Popular beaches such as Laiya or Nasugbo, more secluded white sand beaches on tiny nearby islands, Lighthouse at Calatagan and the churches of Lipa.
Travel tips : if you travel with kids aged 8 or older, consider going to Anilao where they can learn how to dive – it’s one of the best places for beginners in the country. Anilao also has some very good resorts for those who want to stay the night, but the downside is the beaches are a bit rocky and not as nice as other parts of Batangas. You can still spend your time in the swimming pool, so it can be just as nice.
More information : http://www.pehpot.com/2012/10/weekends-tagaytay-batangas.html
#3 Puerto Galera
How to get there : take an hour long ferry from Batangas Pier.
Budget : Ferry ride costs 330 per person. Puerto Galera is more of a weekend destination than a day tour since it takes 4 hours or so to get there from Manila. Beach resorts in White Beach or Sabang, the most popular areas are very accommodating to large families. Rates can go as low as 600 per night, depending on your standards.
Things to do : Spend your time at the beautiful beaches, go island hopping, snorkeling or scuba diving. Discover one of the 30+ less known beaches and enjoy a private beach experience. Kids would also love the watersports and extreme rides, they are perfectly safe and a lot of fun. You can also visit Tamaraw Falls for another relaxing, beautiful adventure.
Travel tips : If you avoid the 2 popular beaches, hotel rates drop significantly. In any case, try and book as early as you can and avoid holiday seasons if possible. There are a lot of travel agencies offering tour packages, which can help you save even more and enjoy group discounts.
More information : http://www.philippinestravelpackage.com/puerto-galera/
#4 Subic Bay
How to get there : There’s a Victory Liner bus bound for Olongapo leaving every 30 minutes. You can catch the bus at either EDSA pasay or Cubao. Getting to Subic will take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on traffic.
Budget : Depends if your’e interested in a day trip or planning an overnight stay. The bus ride costs 235 and you’ll also need to find a ride from Olongapo to the bay area. There are many family hotels in Subic, and some of them are very affordable. Beach resorts tend to be a bit more expansive, but if you book an hotel in Olongapo instead you can find extremely low rates.
Things to do : Both Ocean Adventure Park and the Zoobic Safari are great ways to spend the whole day. Kids will absolutely love these – there are many shows and animals everywhere. If you are looking for a nice beach, check out Baloy beach or White Sand. Of course, you can also just drive to Nagsasa Cove (35-40 minutes away).
Travel tips : Some of the nicest beachfront resorts are actually found in Camayan island, right next to the Ocean Adventure park. With so many hotels, the competition is fierce, so there are promos and deals to be found all the time. If you are staying for the night, try to fit in a tour at the Pamulaklakin forest as well.
More information : http://www.metrodeal.com/catalog/?q=subic
How to get there : Many different buses, depending on where exactly you want to go. JAC and JAM liners are the best companies to check. The bus ride will take 3 to 5 hours, based on your location of choice and traffic.
Budget : Laguna is perfect for a day trip, so you can easily make this trip happen even on a tight budget.
Things to do : visit the lakes of San Pablo or the Cavinti underground river. Take the kayak tour to Pagsanjan Falls. Calamba has some nice water sports and beach activities such as wakeboards for example. There are also hot and cold springs resorts scattered all around Laguna – this could be a really relaxing way to pass the day.
Travel tips : it’s probably better to head back to Manila at night, and not bother with Laguna hotels. If you do decide to book a night there, don’t expect much. Hotels are fairly basic, so just look for one which is clean and has a nice swimming pool.
More information : http://www.philippinestravelpackage.com/manila/