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Exploring the Philippines: A Travel Guide for Family Adventures (2024)

Traveling to the Philippines with our family is like revisiting a favourite storybook. It’s a country we love to explore together, filled with amazing sights and experiences. The Philippines is made up of many islands, each with its own unique beauty. When we visit, we’re always amazed by the colourful scenery and wonderful smells. There’s so much to do! We can also relax on beautiful beaches, swim in clear blue water full of fish, or go for hikes in the lush forests where we see all kinds of plants and animals.

But the best part of visiting the Philippines is getting to learn about its people and their way of life. We meet friendly locals, try delicious food, and join in fun celebrations that show us what makes the Philippines special.

Geographical highlights of the Philippines

Here’s a brief overview of some prominent geographical features found throughout the country to give you an idea of what to expect when you come here:

  • Islands: The Philippines is famous for its numerous islands, including Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, which are the three main island groups.
  • Mountains: The country is home to several mountain ranges, with the Cordillera Central in Luzon being the most prominent. 
  • Volcanoes: The Philippines is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, resulting in numerous volcanoes. Taal Volcano, located on an island within a lake, is one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes. 
  • Beaches: With its extensive coastline, the Philippines boasts stunning beaches. Boracay, known for its powdery white sand and vibrant nightlife, is a popular tourist destination. El Nido in Palawan offers mesmerising limestone cliffs and clear waters perfect for diving and snorkeling. Siargao is renowned for its surfing spots, including Cloud 9!
  • Rice Terraces: The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and showcase ancient engineering feats, with stunningly carved terraces built by the indigenous Ifugao people over 2,000 years ago.
  • Caves: The Philippines has a multitude of caves, with the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  • Lakes and Rivers: The country has numerous lakes and rivers, with Lake Lanao in Mindanao being the second-largest lake and Laguna de Bay in Luzon being the largest. The Pasig River, running through Metro Manila, is historically significant.

These diverse geographical features make the Philippines a haven for families who love nature, adventure, and breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders!

Visa requirements and travel tips

For your upcoming trip to the Philippines, it’s important to ensure you have the necessary documents for entry. As a general requirement, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay. Depending on your nationality, you might need a visa for entry. Many countries enjoy visa-free access for tourism stays ranging from 14 to 59 days, but longer stays or specific purposes like work or study may require a visa obtained from the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate before your arrival. 

Additionally, be prepared to present a return or onward ticket, proof of ample funds to cover your stay, and any supporting documents that clarify the purpose of your visit, such as an invitation letter or itinerary. Double-check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality to ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry into the beautiful Philippines!

Best time to visit the Philippines

Bohol, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

The Philippines holds its charm throughout the year, but for an unforgettable visit, we highly recommend planning your trip between December and May. This period marks the dry season according to PAGASA, offering splendid weather conditions with plenty of sunshine and cooler temperatures, perfect for exploring the country’s diverse landscapes and engaging in various outdoor activities. And as someone who has experienced the beauty of the Philippines firsthand, we found this time of the year particularly delightful for beach adventures, cultural festivals, and immersing oneself in the warm hospitality of the locals. However, do keep in mind that the wet season, from June to November, brings heavy rains and occasional typhoons, affecting travel plans. To truly savour the best of the Philippines, aiming for a visit during the dry season promises an incredible and memorable journey!

Tip: Planning to visit Siargao Island? Here’s a quick heads-up: It tends to rain a lot from December to February, so keep that in mind when scheduling. For the best weather, aim for May to August. If you’re into surfing, September is your go-to month for consistently clean waves.

Transportation within the country

Jeepney – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

Embarking on your family travel through the Philippines will introduce you to a variety of transportation options suited to explore the country’s stunning and varied landscapes. This becomes all the more crucial due to the Philippines’ unique archipelagic nature, boasting over 7,000 captivating islands. Given this geographical diversity, an assortment of transportation modes caters precisely to your diverse needs and preferences as a traveler, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable exploration across this beautiful nation. Here are some of the transportation options you’ll find:

  • Jeepneys: Colourfully decorated vehicles for urban and provincial travel.
  • Taxis and Ride-Hailing Services: Such as Grab, widely available in major cities for convenience.
  • Tricycles, Motorcycle-Taxis, and Pedicabs: Common for navigating local neighbourhoods and narrow streets in the provinces.
  • Ferries and Boats: Connect islands, providing scenic travel between destinations.
  • Buses and Vans: Reliable options for longer journeys between provinces, catering to different budgets and preferences.
  • Airplane: Domestic flights connect major cities and remote areas, offering a faster way to travel between different islands or regions within the Philippines. 

Top Destinations

manila philippines family travel
Manila Cathedral, Manila, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

The Philippines is a treasure trove of diverse and mesmerising destinations, each offering a unique experience that stays etched in the memory of every traveler. As passionate explorers, we’ve had the opportunity to roam through Manila’s bustling streets, steeped in its rich history while enjoying the vibrant city life. Furthermore, the powdered coasts of Boracay captivated us, with its turquoise waters and active nightlife offering an incredible beach getaway.

Palawan, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

You’ve certainly heard about Palawan’s ethereal beauty, which, from the Underground River to El Nido’s limestone cliffs, leaves visitors in awe of nature’s treasures. Cebu’s historical monuments and lovely beaches, as well as Bohol’s famed Chocolate Hills and adorable tarsiers, round out your Philippine journey. Finally, Siargao’s laid-back attitude and exhilarating surf can provide a haven of relaxation and exhilaration. Each place in the Philippines has added a unique tale to anyone’s travel journal, making this country a haven for different discoveries and amazing recollections.

We truly grasp the challenge of choosing among the diverse destinations the Philippines has to offer. It’s a tough call, considering the multitude of options. Our advice? Set aside a generous two-week window to soak in the sheer magnificence of this country.

To make your travel in the Philippines smoother, we’ve tailored a sample guide or itinerary just for you:


boracay philippines family travel guide
Boracay, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

Day 1: Arrival and Sunset

When you arrive in Boracay, enjoy the excitement of your journey as you check into your hotel. Take your time to relax and get comfortable in the welcoming atmosphere, whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, or with kids or family. You can either unwind on the beach, feeling the soft sand between your toes, or explore the lively areas nearby like Dmall or Station 2. As you settle in, embrace the true spirit of the island and feel the anticipation of the adventures ahead. And don’t forget to experience the breathtaking Boracay sunset as the sun sets, marking the perfect start to your getaway.

Day 2: Island Adventure

Today, let the magic of the island enchant you on an amazing island-hopping adventure, perfect for families traveling in the Philippines. Explore hidden gems like Crystal Cove and the famous Puka Beach, where everyone can have a blast. Dive into the clear waters for snorkeling and enjoy swimming together. Let the kids play in the waves while you relax on the beach. With lots of fun activities like building sandcastles and playing beach games, there’s something for everyone. After an exciting day, head back to your hotel for a celebratory dinner, where you can share stories and memories of your adventures.

Day 3: Thrilling Water Sports

Gear up for a day brimming with excitement as you dive into a variety of thrilling water sports options, ideal for family travel in the Philippines. Whether you’re soaring high with parasailing, exploring the mesmerizing underwater world through diving, racing the waves on a jet ski, or gracefully maneuvering on a paddleboard, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy. Seize the chance to create unforgettable moments and bond over shared experiences in the water. As the day unfolds and you’ve had your fill of adventures, you can also consider concluding your escapades with the tranquility of a Parawsailing sunset, a serene and beautiful way to end the day together.

Day 4: Exploring and Farewell

This day, you can engage in a more personal and immersive experience by exploring the lively local markets adorned with vibrant culture, captivating art, and an assortment of flavours waiting to be savored. Treat everyone to the gastronomic wonders at nearby restaurants, relishing the unique fusion of island cuisines that tantalise your taste buds.  Food stops in Boracay that we believe you shouldn’t miss include: The Sunny Side Cafe, Spicebird, Jonah’s Fruitshake, and Coco Mama.

Once you’ve indulged in the offerings of these popular food spots, get ready to check out from the hotel and bid a heartfelt farewell to this enchanting island paradise. From Boracay Island, AirSWIFT offers direct flights between Caticlan and El Nido.

El Nido

el nido philippines family travel guide
El Nido, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

Day 4: Arrival

Board a flight to El Nido, where an exciting new adventure awaits you. Upon arrival, immerse yourselves in the charm of El Nido by checking into your accommodation. Take this day to unwind from your journey and explore the local streets, savouring the unique atmosphere and perhaps trying some local delicacies.

Day 6: Island Hopping

Today, prepare for an unforgettable Island Hopping Tour A, a must-do for family travel in the Philippines. Booking a tour ensures a hassle-free experience, especially when traveling with family, as everything is organised for you. You can check Klook for group rates, or alternatively, opt for a private tour once you arrive on the island, offering flexibility to accommodate your family’s needs and preferences.

During this tour, get ready to be mesmerised as you visit Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Payong Payong Beach, and Seven Commandos Beach. With a guide leading the way, you’ll have expert insights into each location, making the experience both educational and enjoyable for the whole family.

Day 7: Island Hopping

Keep this day reserved for another captivating island hopping experience. We highly recommend embarking on Island Tour C—an adventure that reveals hidden gems such as the Matinloc Shrine, Helicopter Island, or Secret Beach. Dive deeper into the breathtaking landscapes of El Nido. For a more personalised and intimate experience, consider arranging a private tour with your guide, including a serene stop at Cadlao Lagoon!

Day 8: Thrilling adventures

On this day, we encourage you to partake in activities that align with your adventurous spirit. Consider either kayaking around limestone cliffs or embarking on a hike to Taraw Cliff for breathtaking panoramic views. Please note that the hike to Taraw Cliff may not be advisable for kids or elders due to its strenuous nature. Instead, they might opt for alternative activities within the comfort of the hotel, such as enjoying the swimming pool, indulging in spa treatments, or exploring nearby attractions that are more accessible for all ages.

If time permits, unwind and relax at Nacpan Beach or Las Cabanas Beach, where the whole family can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea without the need for strenuous activities.

Day 9: Chill and check-out

Enjoy the rest of your time by unwinding at the hotel, particularly if you’ve selected one boasting a beachfront view. As your remarkable journey in El Nido draws to a close, proceed to check out from your hotel. Take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had amidst the stunning landscapes of El Nido!

Honestly, we think this itinerary already offers a complete experience of both tourist destinations in the Philippines. But if you want to extend your trip, consider adding a stop in Siargao! We’ve created an extended itinerary, especially great if you’re traveling from May to September.


siargao philippines family travel guide
Siargao Island, Philippines – Family Travel Guide (Image Source: Unsplash)

As of our last knowledge, there were no direct flights between El Nido and Siargao. Travelers typically had to take connecting flights via Manila or Cebu to reach Siargao from El Nido. 

Day 10: Arrival in Siargao

Upon arriving in Siargao, take some time to settle into your chosen accommodation and relax, immersing yourself in the local atmosphere. After that, you can venture to Cloud 9 Pier to witness a breathtaking sunset that will leave a lasting impression. Afterwards, treat yourself and the entire family to a delicious dinner at one of General Luna’s charming local restaurants that will surely satisfy your palate.

Day 11: Surfing

On this day, you can try to experience the exhilaration of the waves at Cloud 9 with an early morning surfing session. However, keep in mind that surfing may not be suitable for young kids or elders due to the challenging nature of the activity. If you’re traveling with family members who may find surfing too strenuous, consider alternative beach activities like building sandcastles, beachcombing, or simply enjoying the sea breeze from the shore.

You can also start your day by indulging in breakfast at a nearby cafe or beachfront spot, setting the tone before exploring picturesque beaches such as Quicksilver, Jacking Horse, or Daku Island. For lunch, we recommend a place infused with the essence of the sea at a beachside cafe or restaurant. Some popular spots include Shaka Cafes Siargao, La Carinderia, and Kalinaw Resort Restaurant. As the day winds down, unwind and soak in the relaxed atmosphere at popular bars like Harana Surf Resort or Buddha’s Surf Resort.

Day 12: Island Hopping

Dedicate this day to unforgettable island hopping, exploring Naked, Guyam, and Daku Islands for hidden treasures and stunning landscapes. Immerse in the local market’s lively vibe or explore the vibrant art and culture scene of the town for a rich experience. Complete your day by savoring freshly caught seafood at one of General Luna’s renowned restaurants, indulging in exquisite flavours. Our recommendations would be the CEV: Ceviche & Kinilaw Shack and Karagatan Restaurant!

Day 13: Adventurous Activities

Today is all about embracing the stunning beauty of Sugba Lagoon. Enjoy a full day filled with adventurous activities such as kayaking, swimming, and serene bamboo raft rides. Take time to savor a delightful lunch, whether it’s at Sugba Lagoon or one of the nearby spots. As the day’s adventures wind down, return to General Luna for a relaxing evening or an exploration of the vibrant nightlife. If you’re up for a night out, consider visiting spots like Mama Coco, El Lobo, or Siargao Beach Club. While there are plenty of other options to choose from, it’s wise to check the latest Siargao party schedule to align with your free night.

Day 14: Exploring rock formations

If you’re up for a magical experience, head over to the captivating Magpupungko Tidal Pools during low tide. You’ll be in for a treat with natural rock pools perfect for swimming and adventurous cliff jumps. Take a moment to admire the stunning nearby rock formations; they’re truly something special. As the day unfolds, feel free to take it easy—stroll through the vibrant local markets or simply unwind on the serene beaches. To wrap up your day on a memorable note, consider a heartfelt farewell dinner at your accommodation. It’s the perfect time to reflect with your family on all the amazing experiences you’ve had during your travel to the Philippines!

Day 15: Chill & check-out

After all the exciting activities, why not indulge in a leisurely morning of relaxation before checking out? Take advantage of your accommodation’s amenities or enjoy a peaceful stroll along the nearby beach once you’ve finished packing. With that, your wonderful family trip to the Philippines draws to a close. It’s time to head back to Manila for your flight home.

We know how mesmerising Siargao is, so it might be a little hard to say goodbye. With so much to do on the island, extending your stay is understandable and encouraged for a fulfilling experience. If you do, here are our suggestions for you:

For an extended stay, be sure to indulge in a delightful lunch at Haole, where you can savour their delectable fried chicken and sisig. Afterward, head over to ShakaBrah Siargao for a refreshing drink while relishing the stunning beachfront scenery. If you’re a fan of skating, don’t miss out on their fantastic skating rink. It’s the perfect way to complement your extended stay with a mix of delicious cuisine, scenic views, and some active recreation.

Accommodation options – Best Resorts for Family Travel in the Philippines

Choosing where to stay is often the trickiest part of planning for family travel in the Philippines. Your accommodation choice hinges on the type of trip you’re after or the kind of traveler you are. However, it can truly make or break your vacation experience, especially when traveling with family. Whether you lean towards a luxurious 5-star resort or a cosy hostel, ensuring you get the most out of your stay is key. We understand that navigating online reviews can be overwhelming, so we’re here to recommend our favourite family-friendly stays below!

Boracay: Ambassador in Paradise

Ambassador in Paradise family travel philippines
Ambassador in Paradise – Best Resort for Family Travel in the Philippines

Unlike most of its neighbouring resorts, Ambassador in Paradise Resort is perfect for family travel in Boracay. It boasts a distinctive and unrestricted layout that seamlessly extends onto Boracay’s iconic White Beach. Imagine indulging in a sumptuous breakfast suspended by the beach, with the most breathtaking landscape serving as your backdrop. It’s a setting that doesn’t just evoke thoughts of paradise—it embodies paradise itself. Plus, if you want to experience splashing around the beach with your family, you can do so in just a few seconds!

Read our full article here > 

El Nido: Seda Lio

Seda Lio family travel philippines
Seda Lio – Best Resort for Family Travel in the Philippines

Situated within the Lio Ecotourism Estate, Sedo Lio is perfect for family travel in the Philippines. It is one of the first in El Nido to offer complete facilities to their guests! Enjoy traditional Filipino massage and Seda’s signature treatments at Seda Spa, while the young and young at heart can have a blast in Seda’s game room with video games and air hockey tables. For more active pursuits, indulge in aqua sports like windsurfing and kayaking in Lio’s lagoons, or explore the vast beauty of the estate on a bamboo bike ride.

Each room at Seda Lio has its own veranda to enjoy the views of the resort and the sea. Misto, its in-house restaurant, serves local and international cuisine, perfect for family dining. If you’re up for a food crawl, the Lio Ecotourism Estate offers many establishments to visit. Also Kalye Artisano for local eco-friendly goods, including artworks and handicrafts by local artists, perfect for unique souvenirs.

Read our full article here > 

Siargao: Sandy Feet

Sandy Feet Siargao family travel philippines
Sandy Feet Siargao – Best Resorts for Family Travel in the Philippines

Sandy Feet Siargao is not just for couples; it’s also a fantastic option for families looking for a peaceful getaway in the Philippines. Located in a quiet area of General Luna, this bed and breakfast offers resort-styled beachfront accommodations perfect for families. Enjoy unparalleled serenity and comfort while overlooking Siargao’s three most famous islands: Guyam, Dako, and Naked Island.

Aside from the stunning views, Sandy Feet Siargao provides all the conveniences of home, ensuring a comfortable stay for your family. Spend lazy days lounging around and soaking up the sun, or let the kids splash and swim in the Pacific’s crystal-clear blue waters. In the evening, keep things relaxed by firing up the grill and dining alfresco on the large veranda, which also has additional seating for enjoying the cool sea breeze. It’s the ideal setting for creating lasting family memories in a serene and beautiful environment.

Read our full article here > 


Having explored the Philippines with family multiple times, we confirm it as a gem for breathtaking landscapes, cultural immersion, and unique experiences. Exploring this diverse country reveals beauty and rich heritage, creating memorable experiences with loved ones. From personal experience, here are some more travel tips and guides honed through our numerous visits to the Philippines:

  • Pack light, breathable clothes for the tropical climate, essential for diverse island travels, especially with kids or elders. Choose comfy shoes, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield against the strong sun while exploring.
  • When traveling with kids or elderly family members, it’s essential to prioritise their comfort and well-being. Plan for frequent breaks and rest stops during excursions to avoid fatigue and overheating. Also bring along plenty of snacks, water, and any necessary medications to keep everyone energised and hydrated throughout the day.
  • Lastly, prioritise family health with updates on advisories, vaccinations, and precautions against mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever.
With this travel guide, navigate the Philippines easily and discover its enchanting essence. We hope our Philippines family travel guide has helped you prepare for your trip. Here’s to a safe and unforgettable journey, where every moment becomes a treasured memory for you and your loved ones!