A trip abroad is a dream vacation for any Filipino family. Getting a visa for each and every family member, however, can be cumbersome especially with the papers you need to file and appointments you need to make with the embassy. Luckily, there are a number of wonderful countries Filipino families can visit without a visa.
GMA News, using information from the Department of Foreign Affairs, reports that there are at least 25 visa-free countries for Filipino passport holders, and we’ve chosen a few family-friendly ones from the bunch. They allow a stay ranging from the shortest 14 days to the longest 30 days, either way more than enough for a grand getaway: 1. Hong Kong
Where: Asia Allowable stay: 14 days
First on the list is Hong Kong and the reason is obvious: Disneyland. Every child (and kid-at-heart) dreams of spending a day at the “Happiest Place on Earth” and it is the nearest one to the Philippines. Other family places to visit in Hong Kong include Ocean Park where you get both rides and animal encounters, and the Big Buddha which has nature walks, shopping, dining and a glass-bottom cable car. Catch the world-famous (and free!) Symphony Lights Show as well.
Where: Asia Allowable stay: 21 days
Though the streets of Vietnam are notoriously chaotic (be very careful crossing the streets!), there’s still lots of reasons the family shouldn’t miss out on this culturally rich Asian neighbour. Take them to historical Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the kids can try their hand at lantern- and rice pancake-making and you can enjoy street shopping for the best deals around. Afterwards, sit back and watch the Thang Long Water Puppet Show or get some excitement at the Vinpearl amusement park. Don’t skimp on Vietnamese food either --delicious and healthy!
You’ll never run out of things to do in Singapore. Just in Sentosa you get the Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and the Adventure Cove Waterpark -- all top-notch attractions. Then there’s Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal zoo (keep your eyes peeled for wandering animals!) and the striking 100-hectare Gardens by the Bay (which also has a Children's Garden), the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Where: Asia Allowable stay: 30 days
If rest and relaxation near the sea and sand is what you’re looking for, Maldives is a good option to look into. Pristine beaches and luxury accommodations are abundant in this tropical nation. Look for hotels that offer kid-friendly activities and facilities like sunset fishing and snorkelling tours. (However, if the beach is all you’re looking for, the Philippines doesn’t lack in its share of world-class resorts. We have a list of 2016’s top ones here.)
5. Costa Rica
Where: Central America Allowable stay: 30 days
Get out of Asia and travel to Costa Rica, the perfect place for nature-lovers. Replace the noisy, dizzying roar of the metropolis with the thrilling sights and sounds of wildlife. Lots of places in Costa Rica offer rainforest walks, wildlife tours and volcanic adventures where you get to see bubbling mud pots, hot springs and even a peer down a volcanic crater. The best places to check out definitely include the Manuel Antonio Park and the Arenal Volcano National Park.