If you want white sandy beaches and an alternative to Bali, consider visiting the Philippines.
It has over 7,000 islands and is filled with wondrous natural resources. The Philippines is a third world country so keep that in mind when you’re travelling with your kids. To make your trip a fun and safe one, here are some tips to remember.
An insider’s guide to travelling to the Philippines with kids
You’ll need to buy water – Unfortunately, there are very few water refilling stations in the country and the tap water isn’t drinkable. The only option is buying water, which can be bought abundantly but it means a lot of wasted plastics. If you’re going to buy water, buy the biggest bottle, like a five litre gallon. To avoid too much plastic use, just bring your own metal water bottles and refill them with the five gallon one. You can store the water in your hotel while you go out during the day.
Take medicine with you – When travelling with kids (or even without), always bring medicine. Paracetamol, cough medicine, asthma – whatever your kid needs, you need to take it with you. Although the Philippines is filled with places of natural beauty, there are a lot of sections also teeming with people and pollution. It’s easy to catch something while going around the country so it’s better to be prepared. Bring sunblock and insect repellent –they are very important.
Wear appropriate clothes – It is hot and humid so dress for the trip. The locals wear jeans and even long sleeves but you probably won’t be able to wear the same thing. It gets really hot. Shorts and light breezy shirts are acceptable. Walking shoes or thongs, or any comfortable footwear would be good too.
Food can be strange for kids – Filipino cuisine can be strange. Not to say there aren’t any foods that kids might love, just that there can be ones that won’t be enticing. It’s worth trying out the popular local dish Adobo served with rice. It’s made out of normal meat parts, not innards or pig’s blood. The desserts, however, are worth trying out. Foods like Halo-Halo, Leche Flan and Ensaymada are worth tasting.
Some places to visit – You might be worried about news of dangerous areas in the Philippines. Like any other country, there are places you shouldn’t visit. So it’s better if you stick to the beautiful tourist areas like the white sand beaches of Panglao in Bohol, Palawan, Boracay and Camiguin. If you are into heart-stopping stuff, try the places for extreme sports like the 850m Zipline or the Dropzone in Dahilayan, Bukidnon. Do your research beforehand. There are plenty of places that offer these kinds of adventure.
What Filipinos are like – Filipinos are happy people – even when they live below the poverty line. They are also generous and hospitable. It is worth learning the simple words like Salamat (thank you) as it will endear you to the local residents. Filipinos are easy-going people and they will be willing to help you out if you need it.
Make it a teachable moment – Have fun in your trip but don’t lose the opportunity to teach your kids about how blessed they are. You will find street kids everywhere, sleeping on the street, begging for money, working – use this time to let your kids know how lucky they are to have the life they have. Show them the kids with only one toy they cherish and love. Show them the kids who can’t go to school because the parents can’t afford it. Show them those who have no roof over their heads. Use the holiday as a teaching opportunity.