Summer is synonymous to vacations, and vacations are best taken as a family. However, if you’re on a budget, planning trips to faraway places might not be economical in the long run. You don't have to miss out on the fun, though, as you can opt for a more economical adventure -- go on a series of daytrips! Here are 5 places you can visit for a short but memorable family vacation.
1. Antipolo How to get there: If you’re traveling in a private car, it will only take you roughly 20-30 minutes via Marcos Highway or EDSA. You can also ride a bus to Cubao and take the LRT 2 to Santolan station. From there, you can ride an FX or jeep to Antipolo.
What to do: Antipolo is a place rich in history and art. You can visit the famous Our Lady of Antipolo Shrine and Boso Boso Church. There’s also the Mystical Cave, which is said to have religious images on its walls and stone minerals with healing properties.
Boso Boso Church, photo from husayno.com
If you are into the arts, Antipolo is home to plenty of galleries and museums. Take your kids to visit the Pinto Art Museum (entrance fee is P150 for adults, P75 for children). For the sporty family, one of the must-sees is Hinulugang Taktak, a beautiful falls you can reach by trekking.
2. Pampanga How to get there: Driving there will only take about 1 hour and 30 minutes via North Luzon Express Way. Aletrnatively, you can take a bus from Cubao to Dau Bus Station. From there, you can take a shuttle to other parts of Pampanga.
What to do: Pampanga has a lot of kid-friendly attractions, from Dinosaur Island to Nayong Pilipino. There’s also Sandbox at Alviera in Porac, Pampanga, where you could spend an entire day trying out the giant swing, mini-ATV rides, archery, and the Avatar One, the Philippines' first roller coaster zipline.
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Giant kites at Sandbox, photo from interaksyon.com
The newly-opened amusement park, Sky Ranch, is a new addition that will surely delight your kids. Entrance is free, but you must purchase individual tickets per ride that cost between P50 and P100 each, depending on the ride. The highlight of the park is the Pampanga Eye, a 65-meter tall Ferris wheel, which costs PHP 150 per person to ride.
The Sky Ranch Pampanga Eye, photo from mommybloggersphilippines.blogspot.com
3. Laguna How to get there: It will only take you about 2 hours to get to Laguna via South Luzon Express Way by car. You can also take a bus to Calamba from bus stations in Cubao and Buendia. From Calamba, you can take other means of transportation to get to other areas.
What to do: There are a lot of things to do with your family in Laguna, depending on what kind of activities you’d like to try. If you want something more laidback and fun for everyone, you can go to Enchanted Kingdom and enjoy their different rides. Or, stop by for coffee and learn about art at Kape Kesada in Paete, Laguna. This little art gallery / coffee shop was built from remnants of old houses in the Laguna and Quezon area, so there's a lot of stories waiting to be heard.
Kape Kesada, photo from lonelytravelogue.com
For the more adventurous family, you can hike to Pagsanjan Falls or even Mount Makiling. You can also head to Pansol and have a nice hot spring getaway if you are looking for something more low-key.
4. Quezon How to get there: Quezon is just about a 3-hour drive via South Luzon Express Way. You can also ride a bus from Manila or Cubao to Lucena and navigate to other towns from there. Some buses going to Lucena also directly pass by Lucban.
What to do: Visit Kamay ni Hesus, a shrine in Lucban, and climb up the 305 steps to the Dolorosa Grotto. There’s a playground with animal statues built near a replica of Noah’s Ark, which your kids might find interesting.
Kamay ni Hesus, photo from photobento.wordpress.com
For some beach fun, you can go to places like Polilio Island and Borawan Island. If you want to have an educational tour for the kids, you can take them to Tina Decal’s Farm where the entire family can learn how to make local delicacies like kalamay.
5. Zambales How to get there: If you’re going on a daytrip, it’s advisable to drive to Zambales as it will take 4 hours to reach by car. Going by bus will double the travel time.
What to do: The best thing you can do in Zambales is to stay at Anawangin Cove. It is a stunning sight with fine sandy beaches and pine trees. Here you can set up camp with your family or rent a cottage for the day. You have to take a boat there via Pundaquit Beach where they will serve you a simple lunch for an extra fee.
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Anawangin Cove, photo from gafablogsite.weebly.com
You can also visit Casa San Miguel, a retreat house in San Antonio, where you and your kids could learn about the rich cultural heritage of the province.