This holiday break, rather than going to the mall (which will surely be crowded), take the family on a roadtrip in a nearby province north or south of Manila and have a unique and fun adventure!
PAMPANGA The capital city of San Fernando, Pampanga is not only known for its culinary delights but also for its natural wonders and historical sites.
Where to go: For adventurous souls, Mt. Pinatubo should be the first on your list. Families can book a tour that starts with a 4x4 ride across the rugged landscape of the volcano, where you can also see rich vegetation, cross multiple streams and climb over rocks. Kids must be 8 years old and above to join.
A perfect place for a family picnic is just a 10-minute drive from the busy streets of Angeles City, Pampanga. The Stotsenburg Park is the place to create memories with your family. You can fly kites with your kids, play sports, and even bring your pets with you.
A day of fun activities is guaranteed at the Sandbox. You can ride on the country’s tallest swing, do the aerial walk challenge, rappelling and wall climbing, ride on the roller coaster zipline, and do outdoor archery. Most rides are suitable for kids at least 7 years old.
How to get there: It only takes less than two hours to go to Pampanga through North Luzon Expressway from Balintawak to San Fernando exit.
BATAAN Aside from having rich historical attractions, Bataan is also known to have rising ecotourism destinations, from World War II Memorials and the Nuclear Power Plant, to mountains, beaches, turtle sanctuaries, springs and waterfalls.
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Where to go: If you are feeling adventurous, the Nuclear Power Plant which is located at Napot Point in the coastal town of Morong is a must-see destination for you. It is open only during weekends and the entrance fee for students is P100; P200 for non-students.
A place to stay is not a problem with the Westnuk Beach Resort, a government-owned beach resort located nearby. It is also known for having one of the nicest white sand beachfronts in the Philippines.
Your kids would love the Pawikan Conservation Center, a hatchery and sanctuary for injured turtles. You can visit for only P30 per head.
The Balanga Wetland and Nature Park, home to at least 35 species and 15 families of birds, is also located here. You can visit one of the country’s bird-watching havens for only P20 per person.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is an extremely photogenic resort. It is open for day trips and overnight stays, with the fee ranging from P999 to P1,999, depending on meal and transportation packages.
How to get there: •From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway and drive to the San Fernando toll exit, then proceed to Jose Abad Santos Avenue all the way to Lubao, Pampanga and Dinalupihan, Bataan.
•At the Layac Junction, take the Roman Super Highway and turn left and drive all the way to the City Center of Balanga, Bataan.
•You can also drive along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), then take the Dinalupihan exit and turn right at Roman Super Highway.
CAVITE Cavite is known as the historical capital of the Philippines and the closest province in the south of Manila, making it one of the most accessible vacation getaways for you and your family.
Where to go: Aguinaldo Shrine is probably the most popular destination in Cavite. A trip to the shrine is not only about history but is also full of wonder, like the secret passages and the hidden compartments for weapons and documents. Your family can also visit the mansion where Aguinaldo was born and buried in 1964.
A place that’s best for families with children is the Water Camp located in Panamitan, Kawit, Cavite. The kids will surely enjoy their Lazy River, interactive pool with sprouts and fountains, and their Dunk Pool with slides.
One of the four islands that played an enormous role during the World War II is the Corregidor Island which is indeed a great place to visit. For a fee, you can also enter the 836-foot-long Malinta Tunnel.
How to get there: •Take Roxas Boulevard-Coastal Road
CALATAGAN, BATANGAS Calatagan, Batangas is known for its pure and wondrous beaches, and is gaining popularity as an alternative to Nasugbu.
Where to go: Discover the breathtaking paradise of the “Maldives of the Philippines”, the Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort where you and your family can relax, unwind, and have fun at the same time in any of its three sandy beaches.
There’s also the Aquaria Beach Resort where your family can have an exciting tropical getaway while enjoying their fine stretch of white sand. It is located in Playa Calatagan and they provide great accommodations.
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How to get there: •It will only take you three hours to go to Calatagan Batangas. You can either pass through Tagaytay or Star Tollway and drive along the Balayan route from Batangas City.
LAGUNA Paradise is not always made with sand and saltwater. We have more to discover in Laguna, from the Southern Tagalog cuisines and historical towns to magnificent waterfalls.
Where to go: The most famous tourist attraction in Laguna is the Pagsanjan Falls. For a fee, boatmen will take you on a scenic boat ride where you can take in sights of other minor falls, lush vegetation, and natural rock formations.
Another place that kids will surely enjoy spending time in is Splash Island in Biñan, Laguna. It is considered as the largest water park in the country, with large water slides and rides for the family’s fun and amusement.
Who doesn’t love amusement parks? No matter how many times you’ve been to Enchanted Kingdom, the various attractions never cease to amaze. There are numerous rides that are suitable for kids of different ages, food stalls, and restaurants to satisfy your hunger after a day of fun.
How to get there: •You can either take South Luzon Expressway or Manila East Road, depending of which area you are coming from.