Family Vacation in The Philippines: 10 Best Destinations

10 Best Spots for Family Vacations in the Philippines

There’s never a shortage of amazing places around this archipelago!

Editor’s Note: As of publication date, the Philippine destinations included in this article are only open to local travellers. This disclaimer will be removed once the Philippines opens its borders to international travellers.

Dig deep into your childhood and most likely, some of the best memories you will have are from fun, family outings. There’s nothing quite like seeing the world with bright-eyed wonder, which is why we try to repeat the same experience when we have our own families.

COVID-19 may have us staying at home these days, but we’re pretty sure a general sense of wanderlust will follow the world’s recovery. For a destination like no other, make your way to the Philippines!

Health tip: Remember to always wear a face mask and sanitize your hands regularly during these uncertain times. Don’t forget to maintain proper social distancing, follow health and safety policies, and stay updated on travel advisories for your chosen Philippine destinations!


With more than 7,600 islands, there’s never a shortage of amazing places around this sun-soaked archipelago. Each destination welcomes you with its rich culture, stunning sights, one-of-a-kind hospitality, and delicious cuisine that will surely make you want to come back for more. A family vacation in the Philippines is definitely more fun — and these Philippine destinations will prove that!

Also read: Slowly But Surely: Here’s What Tourism Reopening Looks Like in The Philippines

1. Bohol

vacation in the Philippines

Image credit: hams Nocete

The island province of Bohol is home to many natural wonders that will leave you in awe. For starters, the spectacular Chocolate Hills is best seen during the dry season around November to May. During this time, the hills turn a rich, chocolatey hue. The rainy season is just as beautiful. The hills become a lush, bright green landscape that will take your breath away.

Beaches may be far and many around the Philippines, but few evoke as much serenity as the ones found in Bohol. The most famous is Alona Beach on Panglao Island.

Make the most of the moment and enjoy the beach with fewer people around while enjoying much-needed family bonding! Here, you can go kayaking and jet-skiing. Why not destress on a yacht while enjoying the sights onboard?

Image credit: Christine Wehrmeier (left); Billycruz (right)

Meanwhile Loboc River, despite being a popular Bohol attraction, is one of the cleanest rivers in the country. Enjoy a scrumptious lunch at the Floating Restaurant, which comes with a cultural show. It’ll make you feel like you’re attending a real Filipino fiesta! For now, it’s best to forgo kamayan (a common local practice where you eat with your bare hands) and use utensils that have been thoroughly cleaned. Remember, whip out those disinfectants before your first bite.

Up for something a bit more exciting? We dare you to cross Sipatan Hanging Bridge — while looking down at the Sevilla River! Also, don’t forget to meet some of the island’s local fauna.  

Bohol is one of the few places in the world where you can find tarsiers. Get to meet the world’s smallest primates at the Tarsier Conservation Area. (Just remind your kids not to use flash photography when taking pictures of these critters!)

Meanwhile, in Habitat Butterflies Conservation Center, you can observe hundreds of butterfly species fluttering around and snap that Instagram-worthy photo.

2. Baguio

Image credit: patrickroque01

Yearning for the cool weather and pine-scented air of the highlands? Head north to Baguio, A.K.A. The City of Pines. Beyond the beaches and tropical destinations, Baguio offers a different kind of relaxation for your family vacation in the Philippines.

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard — this city has been praised for their impressive contact tracing methods! So, make sure to follow local protocols accordingly. 

Tour tip: Did you know that Baguio is part of an exciting tourism loop called Ridge and Reef Corridor? It includes the provinces of Baguio, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte! The Ridge and Reef Corridor tour bubble makes for a complete and exciting getaway for friends and families because it presents some of the Philippines’ best travel highlights.

What’s more, these neighbouring provinces are safely accessible by land travel from Manila, so you need not fret about several connecting flights!

Mountainside chilling awaits in Baguio, where cool weather prevails. Savour seaside getaways in Pangasinan and La Union, a surfing capital in Luzon! Last but certainly not least, indulge in food trips and heritage tours in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur — home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Paoay Church and Vigan, respectively.


vacation in the Philippines

Kids will enjoy running around the grassy courtyard of The Manor. | Image credit: Camp John Hay Official Website

Start off with downtown Baguio. At Burnham Park, you can ride a bike, row around the lagoon on a swan-shaped boat, or take a stroll around the lush gardens. You’ll see why it’s one of the most popular parks in the country!

A few minutes’ drive away is The Mansion, the official summer residence of the Philippine president. Architecture buffs will surely be impressed by its elegant Spanish Colonial Revival style. In between exploring, make sure to drop by a Baguio café or 10 — a cup of native hot chocolate (tsokolate de batirol) is a must! If you can, bring your own mug or tumbler as an extra safety (and pro-environment!) measure. 

Another crowd favourite among locals and tourists alike is Camp John Hay, a former military resort turned mixed-use development. There’s quite a lot to do here, like playing mini-golf, jogging/hiking around the trails, ziplining through the woods, or having a picnic! Opt to stay at The Manor Hotel, where you’ll be welcomed by cosy cabin-style rooms. 

Museo Kordilyera is the first ethnographic museum in the Northern part of the Philippines. | Image credit: Museo Kordilyera Official Facebook Page

The Philippines’ very first UNESCO Creative City, Baguio also houses several museums and art villages that give tourists a glimpse of Cordillera culture and heritage. Tam-Awan Village offers an immersive experience, with its Ifugao huts and Kalinga houses that show what a traditional village looks like. You can even interact with locals and tribespeople, see their works of art, and attend a woodcarving workshop! For further insight on indigenous history, visit Museo Kordilyera, which is housed in the University of the Philippines Baguio campus. 

What’s more, Baguio ensures the safety of its tourists through its innovative multiplatform travel regulation system called Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (or VIS.I.T.A.). VIS.I.T.A. helps guests accomplish health declarations easily, and allows you to pre-arrange Baguio tours hassle-free.

Tour tip: Visiting Baguio for its cultural sights and activities? Don’t miss out! Click on the button below to stay updated about Baguio events, and even get access to a “Creative Crawl Map” that allows you to craft a culturally rich itinerary for your trip to the “City of Pines”.


3. Boracay

vacation in the Philippines

A family vacation on this well-loved, successfully rehabilitated island is surely going to be one for the books! | Image credit: The Wandering Angel

Of course, we have one of the most popular Philippine destinations: Boracay.

There are many reasons why this chill paradise is a hit with travellers of all ages! Imagine: Your kids could spend the whole day frolicking around White Beach while you sunbathe and take in the view. No-fuss, no hassle, no babysitter required! Just remember to teach your kids about social distancing, too.

Monofin swimming, A.K.A. mermaid swimming, is a definite must-try when in Boracay! | Image credit: Ricki Salud

True to its name, Boracay’s powder-like shores are especially tempting. For some water-filled fun, take your pick among the many watersports you have to try when borders reopen: from parasailing to (socially-distanced) banana boat rides and even mermaid swimming. That’s not to say on-land activities pale in comparison. On the contrary, they’re just as exciting! Hop aboard an ATV and explore the island, including its highest peak: Mount Luho. Want stunning views of the sea? Take the zipline and look out for some colourful paraws (sailboats) sailing nearby. 

Health tip: Aside from face masks, it’s best to bring your own goggles, snorkelling masks, and other basic swimming gear. The island highly discourages rental of such equipment at this time. This precaution safeguards your health, too!


vacation in the Philippines

Dig into yummy seafood and oyster sisig, a variation of the Filipino dish that even the late Anthony Bourdain fell in love with! | Image credit: Discovery Shores Official Facebook Page (left); Two Seasons Boracay Resort Official Facebook Page (right)

Charge up with some delicious food in between activities! The island is brimming with restaurants serving up mouthwatering dishes such as fresh seafood, four-cheese pizza, and calamansi muffin. Top it all off with a fruit shake (or five!) from Jonah’s. You’ll definitely want to try these during your vacation in the Philippines! (Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly before digging in).This popular destination went through a six-month rehabilitation back in 2018, which paved the way for a total transformation. From being a party hotspot, Boracay is now a family-friendly destination that teaches tourists the value of responsible tourism. Since then, the local government has implemented certain measures geared towards sustainable tourism. This meant doing away with beachfront parties and fireworks, banning smoking and eating on the actual beach, and setting a 30-metre distance of all establishments from the shore.

These measures are definitely a great example to show the next generation of responsible travellers how sustainable tourism is achieved.

4. Cebu

Image credit: Burak Ceviz

Welcome to Cebu, where you’ll find options, options, and more options! Wherever you go, there’s always something fun to see and experience here for a fun family vacation in the Philippines. Beaches, gardens, city life, historic sites, art, food — you name it, they have it! 

Image credit: Lapping

Cebu City is the oldest city in the country, so make sure to visit the historical sites dating back to the Spanish Colonial Era. There’s Fort San Pedro, Magellan’s Cross, and Casa Gorordo Museum.

Up for a more modern adventure? Try out the Crown Regency’s Edge Coaster, where you’ll walk along a glass floor as you circle the perimeter of the 38th floor! We recommend visiting these downtown attractions early in the day to avoid crowds, as well as be the first in line since most places will have reduced carrying capacity to protect guests’ safety. 

vacation in the Philippines

Instagrammable spots await at Sirao Flower Garden! Just look at those fresh blooms. | Image credit: Ysa Fonacier

For picture-perfect sights, head over to the Temple of Leah, Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden, and Sirao Flower Garden. Don’t forget to try the scrumptious meals this city has to offer: fresh seafood from the sutukil (fresh seafood restaurants) and of course, the famous Cebu lechon

The famous Moalboal sardine run is an underwater spectacle you shouldn’t miss! | Image credit: Giachen’s World

In the neighbouring cities and islands, you’ll find many beach stays — from the swanky resorts in Mactan to the more lowkey ones in Bantayan Island. You can even try out glamping in Sumilon Island, or simply enjoy some quiet time in Santiago Bay.

Head over to Moalboal for some snorkelling and if you’re lucky, you and your kids might even spot a sea turtle… or millions of sardines! How’s that for an unforgettable family vacation in the Philippines?

Health tip: Rest assured there’s an abundance of certified hotels and resorts in the Philippines that follow strict guidelines under the new normal. These establishments prioritise visitors’ health and safety, so make sure to do your part by adhering to their policies like social distancing, temperature checks, and cashless payments.


5. Iloilo

Image credit: June Famur

Aside from being called the Heart of the Philippines because of its geographical location, the capital of Iloilo is also fondly nicknamed the City of Love. True enough, few Philippine destinations embody romance and beauty the way Iloilo does! 

The Lopez Mansion, a Beaux Art heritage house that’s now also called Nelly’s Garden — named after the founder Don Vicente Lopez’s daughter. | Image credit: Nelly Garden Iloilo Official Facebook Page

Its heritage mansions take you back to the early 1900s: the height of the city’s grandeur. There are plenty to add to your list — from the palatial Lopez Mansion to the manors-turned-modern establishments along Calle Real. In between exploring, make sure to try out local dishes like La Paz batchoy, daraag (charcoal-roasted native chicken), and pancit Molo! There are a handful of restaurants and eateries that offer these in the city, so make sure to visit the ones with adequate health and safety protocols. 

Classical mythology and religion intertwine at the neighbouring Molo Church and Molo Plaza. | Image credit: Allan Jay Quesada

For further cultural immersion, visit the centuries-old Molo Church, a Catholic church made of white coral rock. Right across from it is Molo Plaza, where you’ll find statues of Greek deities. Downtown Iloilo has several museums that your kids will enjoy — like the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art. There’s also the Western Visayas Regional Museum, a branch of the National Museum that’s housed inside a former state-of-the-art prison. How cool is that? 

Despite having a handful of must-see attractions, Iloilo City has managed to retain its steady-paced environment. It’s also a great place to bike around, which has now become highly recommended as it allows safe social distancing while exploring!

In 2019, the city won the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Award 2020–2022. As the name suggests, this award is given to eco-friendly cities with awesome initiatives towards more sustainable tourism. 

vacation in the Philippines

Climb up the mini hills of Cabugao Gamay Island, after a fun dip in the beach. | Image credit: Ella Uy

Thought you’ve seen everything in the city? Not quite! Head up north to see what else Iloilo province has to offer for your vacation in the Philippines. Hint: pristine beaches, secret caves, and idyllic lagoons!

Take an island-hopping tour around Islas de Gigantes. Social distancing still applies when moving around these islands, so don’t be surprised if there are only a few people allowed per bangka or boat.

P.S. — With so many things to do all around Iloilo, it’s best to build up your resistance with vitamins, water, proper diet, enough sleep, and exercise. This mainly applies to pre-travel prep, but hey, it’s definitely better if you keep it up even during your trip.

6. Camiguin

vacation in the Philippines

Image credit: Wolfgang Hägele

Camiguin is an enchanting pearl-shaped island with seven volcanoes, hence the moniker Island Born of Fire. It might be one of the smallest provinces, but its stunning attractions are far and many. Nonetheless, since it’s one of the more underrated Philippine destinations, physical distancing here is definitely easier. 

Like most islands with volcanoes, you can expect a handful of hot springs. The most famous one is Ardent Hot Spring, and its natural mineral water comes from the equally famous Mount Hibok-Hibok. On the other side of the island lies Santo Niño Cold Spring, a swimming hole in the middle of the jungle. Meanwhile, the 250-feet-high Katibawasan Falls cascades from the boulders of Mount Timpoong. No hike needed — so a dip in its icy waters is easily at hand. 

Speaking of swimming, there’s more of that around Camiguin. There’s White Island, an immaculately white sand bar whose shape varies depending on the tide. Here you can enjoy front-row seats to breathtaking views of the volcanoes and mountains lining the sea. In Mantigue Island, your kids can enjoy riding a glass-bottom boat for a close-up view of marine life. You can see really huge clams up close at the Kibila Giant Clam Conservatory; they look unreal! 

Given that you’ll be visiting a lot of public swimming spots, make sure that you’re feeling well before your visit. If you feel like you’re coming down with something, it would be best to observe the symptoms — though, let’s hope these don’t worsen. In case of the latter, make sure to let your accommodation know so that you can get assistance for testing and medical care.

Image credit: Iravillanueva

On the adventurous side, go for a hike at Mount Vulcan (or the “Old Volcano”). It’s a relatively easy trek, so your kids can definitely come along! Once you get to the summit, enjoy panoramic views of the nearby mountains, as well as the Cross Marker of the eerie Sunken Cemetery.

7. Samal Island

Image credit: Michael E. Peligro

With its captivating and unspoiled beauty, it’s no wonder Samal Island in Davao is often called the Island Garden City. It’s also the largest resort city in the Philippines!

Before anything else though, make sure to remind your family about proper mask-wearing all throughout your stay. If it’s a medical mask, wear it the proper way; if it’s a cloth mask, bring some filters. Don’t forget to dispose of these properly, too!

Have a luxurious time at the world-famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort. Stay at one of their overwater villas, which are designed with native materials. Looking for something more adrenaline-pumping? Head over to Maxima Aqua Fun, where they have a 40-metre water slide that sends you straight to the deep sea! (Don’t worry, there’ll be life vests for you and your kids.)

Another must-do in Samal Island is island hopping and exploring over 50 beach resorts. Visit premier diving sites and snorkelling destinations Talikud Island, Isla Reta, Coral Garden, and Kaputian Beach. There’s also the Vanishing Island, a protected marine reserve that can only be seen during low tide, as its name implies. Surely, this vacation in the Philippines is one that you won’t forget. 

8. Albay

vacation in the Philippines

With its stunningly symmetric shape, this volcano can rival the likes of Mount Fuji. | Image credit: Archie Binamira 

Here’s the first thing you need to know about the Province of Albay: it’s home to the Philippines’ Perfect Cone, Mayon Volcano. Situated in the Bicol Region, it’s dubbed by many as the most perfectly shaped volcano in the world.

During the 1814 Mayon eruption, hundreds of inhabitants reportedly evacuated to Cagsawa Church.

If you’re arriving from the airport, make a beeline for Legazpi Boulevard. This coastal road is especially lovely at sunrise, paired with a view of Mayon Volcano and the glistening gulf. Afterwards, head to Cagsawa Ruins Park, which is arguably the most iconic Albay tourist spot. There, you’ll find the Cagsawa Church tower; its lower part got buried in lava when the volcano erupted in 1814.

Take your fam on an ATV ride and explore the rice fields, creeks, and rivers around Mayon Volcano National Park. | Image credit: Archie Binamira

Want a closer look at this natural wonder? Make your way to Mayon Volcano National Park. You can either ride an ATV or jeep to explore the landscape or go hiking at the volcano base. Just make sure to check the travel advisory prior to your trip — it is an active volcano, after all! 

There’s also Ligñon Hill Nature Park, if you’re up for more sporty activities like zip-lining, rappelling, and crossing a hanging bridge. All these while enjoying panoramic views of the volcano, of course! 

Bicol express is often hailed as the most iconic dish from the Bicol Region. It’s best paired with lots of rice to complement the spicy taste!

Treat your taste buds to some excellent Bicolano cuisine! We recommend crowd favourites like laing, Bicol express, and kinunot. All dishes brim with coconut milk and chili. Speaking of these ingredients, sili ice cream is another must-try during your family vacation in the Philippines. It’s made with chili pepper and coconut milk, so think of it as fire and ice in gastronomical form! 

Health tip: In between exploring these Albay attractions (or any Philippine attraction, really), it’s best not to reuse worn clothes. Not that we have anything against outfit-repeating, but if you wish to re-wear something, it’s best to have these laundered first! Don’t forget to store your dirty clothes properly and completely separate from the clean or unused ones. Remember, now is the time for impeccable hygiene!


9. Puerto Princesa

vacation in the Philippines

Image credit: RioHondo

Welcome to Puerto Princesa, the capital of the famed Palawan archipelago! While most tourists make a beeline northwards to El Nido or Coron, make sure to stop by here, especially if it’s your first visit. 

First stop: the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River. Hop aboard a paddle boat that will take you inside this UNESCO World Heritage site. For a river adventure at night, you can go on a cruise along the Iwahig River. Here, you’ll find a captivating display of fireflies glowing around the mangroves on the riverbank. Don’t forget to apply DEET-free mosquito repellant, which keeps mosquitoes away without harming other creatures you may encounter. 

Lato vinaigrette salad (left) and fresh crabs, squid, and fish (right) — just some of the mouthwatering seafood you have to try in Palawan! | Image credit: Obsidian Soul (left); nybanez (right)

Meanwhile in downtown Puerto Princesa, the streets are filled with homegrown restaurants offering local cuisine that will leave you asking for more! Aside from freshly caught and grilled seafood, how about trying some exotic dishes during your family vacation in the Philippines? We recommend crocodile sisig and tamilok (a type of mollusk living inside mangrove trees). Your tastebuds will thank you!

10. El Nido

vacation in the Philippines

Row, row, row your boat gently down the Big Lagoon of Miniloc Island! | Image credit: Ehmir Bautista

Calling El Nido a ‘tropical paradise’ is an understatement. It’s hard to find any other place that comes close to its exuberance and splendour! Once you get there, you’ll see why it’s among the top picks for a fun vacation in the Philippines. 

Number one on your Palawan bucket list should definitely be island-hopping around Bacuit Archipelago: home to 45 limestone islands and countless white-sand beaches, lagoons, and coves. You can either take four standardised tours per day, or charter your own boat (~US$85 or SG$117) and visit your choice spots. We recommend the latter to ensure full-on physical distancing. 

Take a tricycle or motorbike to Nacpan Beach, a quick ride away from downtown El Nido. | Image credit: Arlyn Grace Supnet

Matinloc Island has the famed Secret Beach, where you have to swim through an opening to get inside. For more idyllic ‘secret’ swimming holes, go to Miniloc Island. It has a Secret Lagoon, which you can enter through a hole in the cliff — pretty cool, right? Afterward, kayak around astounding Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon. Opt for a clear kayak if you can to fully appreciate what’s beneath those crystal clear waters! 

For some snorkelling, Shimizu Island is your best bet with its many coral reefs and colourful fishes off its coast. Meanwhile, Nacpan Beach is about a 45-minute ride away from downtown El Nido. With its towering palm trees and powdery golden sands, it’s no wonder many have dubbed it as the best beach in ‘mainland’ El Nido! 

Enjoy mesmerising views from the peak of Taraw Cliff. | Image credit: Carla Cervantes

Make your family vacation in the Philippines extra special by staying in an overwater villa! Few things are better than unwinding in a dreamy El Nido island resort after a long day. Before leaving, you have to climb on top of Taraw Cliff, the highest point of El Nido! The trek is a bit intense, so if you want to see the view minus the bouldering, opt for the Ferrata Canopy Walk

A final note for your dream vacation in the Philippines

Since most borders haven’t reopened and travelling as a family (i.e., potentially a bigger group) is not exactly advisable as of writing, we encourage travelling in bigger groups only when it’s completely safe again. In the meantime, you can either bookmark these for your future trip or do a ‘digital ocular’ for your future family vacation in the Philippines!

Either way, you might want to read about some of the things you shouldn’t do while you’re here — pandemic or no pandemic. While you’re at it, why not find out about the local delicacies and souvenirs that you should look out for during your visit?

Also read: Quarantine in the Philippines: Is It More Fun? These Foreigners Tell All

Indeed, the Philippines is brimming with destinations that are perfect for family vacations. Be part of the fun and explore its many different islands, each with its own unique sights and experiences. Top that off with warm hospitality from the locals, great cuisine, and fascinating cultures — really, what more can you ask for?

For more information, please visit,, and DOT’s official Facebook page.

Brought to you by Department of Tourism – Philippines. 

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.