10 kid-friendly activities in the Philippines

If you are nervous about the thought of traveling with your kids to the Philippines, don’t be! While it may be chaotic, it is actually easy to keep kids preoccupied in the Philippines because there’s just too many possibilities and options for fun activities to do in the country.

10 kid-friendly activities in the Philippines

Kids are naturally curious and there are a lot of things that may be new to them (especially the kids from a foreign country) and that will certainly interest them. Local kids are also very friendly and inquisitive and they speak a bit of English so your kids can automatically have a playmate. Rest your mind easy. The Philippines has never been known to be a boring country. There will always be something for everyone, especially for kids. Read on and find out what fun activities can you do with your kids in the Philippines.

1. Go on island-hopping adventures: The Philippines has more than 7500 islands and each island offers something different than the other. Some islands only consist of a sandbar while others have mountains and hills. One good place to go to is the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan. When you visit the place, you can already check 100 islands off the 7500 on your list. There are only 4 islands that can be explored in the national park and one is dedicated for kids. Children’s island is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The beach area is wider and bigger than most of the islands (which are rocky and boats cannot dock on them) so kids can play on the white sand without any problem. Older kids can actually participate in banana boat rides, zip line and also do some helmet diving to see giant clams.

Island-hopping is the most recommended activity when you travel the Philippine countryside. Kids will love going on boat rides or sailing, they can do some island activities like snorkeling, fish-feeding, swimming, picnics and building sand castles.  This kind of activity can be done no matter where you go to, and it’s easy to incorporate into your vacation in the Philippines.

2. Visit zoos and animal sanctuaries: Kids love animals and wherever they go they will always be excited to visit the zoos and animal sanctuaries, basically any place with animals is enough to keep tantrums at bay. There are numerous zoos in the Philippines. Practically every province and cities got a zoo and animal sanctuaries are not that rare either. In Manila, Ark Avilon Zoo is the best. There is Zoobic Safari in Pampanga and Calauit sanctuary in Coron, Palawan. There are also numerous butterfly gardens in every province. In Bohol, you and your kids can visit the tarsier sanctuary. They will definitely be amazed at how small and cute the tarsiers are. In Palawan, there is also the crocodile farm in Puerto Princesa, and in Davao kids can marvel at the majestic monkey-eating eagle.

3. Visit Oceanariums: When a kid visits a house and there is an aquarium, the kid will automatically direct his attention to the aquarium. Oceanariums are massive aquariums and they will undoubtedly keep the kids preoccupied for hours. It can also be an educational moment for them seeing familiar marine species alive and swimming in their seemingly natural habitat while learning new species at the same time. In Manila Oceanpark for example, kids can get close encounters with the mantas and sea lions and they can touch them. They can also see sharks, eels, starfish, jellyfish, penguins and other marine species. Other notable Oceanariums are in Boracay, Cebu, Subic and Malabon.

4. Ride a glass-bottom boat: Much like snorkeling but safer, glass-bottom boats let you see underwater life without getting yourself into the water. These boats come in different sizes and shapes. You can even use a transparent kayak if your kids are old and brave enough to kayak. There are a lot of tour companies offering glass-bottom boat rides for reasonable prices. The tour usually lasts a minimum of 2 hours but can also go for a whole day. Glass-bottom boats are easy to find in Boracay, hundred islands in Pangasinan, Bohol, Cebu and Palawan.

5. Enjoy waterparks: I don’t know why but kids love the water. They love playing in the rain, rolling in the mud, swimming at the pool or just getting splashed with water from the faucet. It follows then, that kids will have tons of fun at waterparks. The Philippines is surrounded by water and therefore there are numerous waterparks in the country but some of the most note-worthy are in Bulacan, Cebu, Puerto Galera, Bohol, Palawan, Manila, Laguna and Subic.

6. Explore nature and farms: Mother nature is the greatest teacher. Kids learn a lot when they play outside and explore. Fortunately, the Philippines is rich in nature. Whether it is above the ground or underwater, your kids will surely have fun while learning. There are numerous flower farms in Cebu and the city of Baguio and Tagaytay are also ideal for fruit harvestings like strawberries, oranges, apples and pineapples. They can also learn about herbs, birds and fishes. They can watch farmers plant or harvest vegetables in the tropics like eggplant, squash, pepper, cabbages, peanuts and potatoes. Some farms also offer animal rides with carabaos (water buffalo), horses and cows.

7. Camping: There is nothing better and more fun for kids than camping complete with bonfire, marshmallow grilling and hunting. Older kids might find it a bit too much (too boring) but younger kids will surely enjoy it. If you teach them fishing then they will remember that moment for a long time and brag about it with their friends especially when they are able to catch fish.

Some of the best camping grounds in the country are in Bulacan, Sagada, Zambales coves (anawangin and nagsasa), Bohol, Ilocos, Baguio, Tagaytay, and Bicol. Since all these places are off the beaten path, it is much better to book these camping trips as part of a vacation package through a local travel agency. That way you’ll have a local guide with you and someone to help out should anything go wrong. Alternatively, in Palawan there are several organized expeditions which take you between various stunning islands and include overnight camping. These are also great, but are much more commercialized and lack the rawness you might be after when choosing to go for outdoor camping.

8. Participate in Community-immersions: This activity is recommended for both younger and older kids. This is primarily educational but it is also fun. Some of the activities they can participate in while in community immersions are: handicrafts, learning how to cook some local menus, planting trees, feeding the animals, helping the local people with fishing or farming, learning some local dances and songs, learning how to play local instruments, weaving, participating in local sports and games or painting. Community immersions could also mean that the whole family will stay with the locals and experience the local lifestyle. This means no use of modern gadgets for a few days which is really helpful if you want your kids to actually learn and enjoy the moment.

Some places that offer community immersion tours are in the mountain provinces, Baguio city, Sagada, Ifugao and Benguet.

9. Attend the hot-air balloon festival and ride in one at Clark Freeport Zone: There is only one place in the country where you and your family can participate in a hot air balloon festival like the one in Turkey and that is in Clark, Pampanga. Every year, crowds gather in Clark Freeport Zone to witness the largest aviation gathering in the Philippines. There will be tons of colorful and weirdly-designed hot air balloons in the sky. The festival lasts for three days and a wide array of activities are in place like kite flying, powered paragliding, gliding, aircraft exhibitions, search and rescue flight demonstrations, and skydiving. You and your family can also rent a hot air balloon and fly over some of the best views of the mainland down below.

10.  Have fun at adventure parks found throughout the country: When it comes to adventure facilities, the Philippines probably has the most number of places in South-east Asia. Filipinos are fun-loving people and the fun never stops anywhere you go. It only gets better. One awesome place to try is the Masungi Georeserve in Tanay, Rizal. The place is perfect for the whole family (except for the oldies and babies). The tour usually lasts between 3-4 hours and a series of hanging nets and wires will give you and your kids a feeling of floating and walking above the beautiful rock formations.

Another notable adventure park is the Danao Eco Adventure where extreme adventure awaits like “the plunge” (where you will be dropped from a 200-meter high gorge then be launched on a pendulum swing of up to 100 meters in diameter). This is certainly for adults and older kids.

There is also one adventure Park close to Manila. It is called the Sand Box Adventure Park and it is in Porac, Pampanga. It has the country’s tallest swing at 10 meters above the ground. It also offers the aerial walk challenge which is a series of high rope walkways and nets that will test your kid’s balance, agility and stamina. Lastly, there is avatar one – the only roller-coaster zip line in the country launched from a 12-meter high jump-off point.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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