Summer 2012 here in the Philippines is about to end, and due to my complicated health situation, I was not able to travel and have a getaway. My mom, stepdad, and my stepsiblings went for a vacation in Manila, and I was left at home. For people who live in the south of the Philippines, going to the north is very exciting, but for the people from the north, it is vice versa.

My siblings grew up in Cagayan de Oro and they are not well exposed to things that can be found in Manila. They haven’t been to a zoo, a water park, museums, and other interesting historical sites in the Philippines. It’s a good thing that my mom is very familiar with the city. She knew very well how to handle the vacation. I helped her with her travel itinerary; we looked for potential destinations that the kids will enjoy.

My mom believes that taking the kids on a trip can make them smarter because of the experience. There are a lot of things to see in the world, though not all of them are very pleasant, however, exposure to reality makes us good thinkers. Thus, going outside can help make us smarter.

Among the places we chose were the Manila Ocean Park, Manila Zoo, Luneta Park, Mall of Asia, National Museum, China Town, and Intramuros. Visiting some relatives was also part of the trip because it is really important for Filipinos to get together with relatives. My mom planned the trip not only for fun but also for learning.

My step siblings Isaac who is 10 years old, and Ruth who is 4 years old, were very excited for the trip. It was their first time to ride a plane and see the capital city. For some kids, it doesn’t really matter how extravagant the trip is, the experience is what they are looking for.

Choosing a Child-Friendly Hotel

First of all. It is very important to choose the right hotel when travelling with kids. My mom was very particular about the hotel where they stayed. She wanted it to be clean and free of things that would not be appropriate for children. If you are travelling with children but have a limited budget, it is very important to scout for hotels that are cheap and child-friendly at the same time.

My mom picked the the Best Western La Corona Hotel in Ermita, Manila. It is a very nice hotel. The rates per night were around 2,000-5,000 pesos (50-120 USD), depending on the size of the room. Children aged 0-11 years old were free of charge.

We stayed here before when I was kid. Believe it or not, I chose to stay in the room watching cartoons for a night and missed the experience of fine dining in the floating restaurant at Manila Bay. What a foolish kid I was then. When my parents came back, they just brought me crab and paella. I felt bad because I was not able to experience dining by the sea.

La Corona Hotel is located in the heart of Manila. It is surrounded by landmarks, attractions, and even historical sites in Manila. My mom made reservations online, it was very convenient because when they got there, they didn’t have to scout for hotels anymore and tire the children.

The Destinations

Manila Ocean Park

This place was one of the dream places of my siblings (aside from DIsney Land, of course). They are the type of kids who loved animals. It is important for you to understand the interest of your kids to be able to know what type of vacation is suitable for them.

watching the sea lion show while sucking lollipops

Getting to Manila Ocean Park is not difficult. It is situated in the city and can be reached easily through bus, jeepney, and taxi. If you are staying near Luneta park, it is within walking distance.

You can enter the park for free, but you  have to pay to experience some of the attractions like the sea lion show, oceanarium, and more. The prices may vary depending on the attractions, so I suggest that you check out their website. There are also promos and package deals to choose from depending on the season.

My siblings learned a lot of things about different species in the ocean. They enjoyed the sea lion show and the jelly fish display.

Manila Zoo

It is one of the oldest zoos in Asia, and although it is no longer the best zoo, my siblings really enjoyed it. They loved the animals, and also had fun running around. Manila Zoo used to be the one of the favorite children’s attractions in the Philippines, but as the years went by, the zoo was somehow, neglected. The new government administrators of Manila are now trying to revive its beauty through landscaping and adding more animals.

Mali, the 38-year old elephant in Manila Zoo

Manila Zoo is located along Quirino Ave. Malate, it can be reached from any point in Manila through jeepney, light rail transit or LRT, and taxi. The entrance fee for adults is 40 pesos (1 USD) and 20 pesos (0.50 USD) for children below 4 feet.

When my mom told them about the story of Manila Zoo, they felt sad, and realized that it is important to take care of the animals properly. The kids not only learned about the right needs of the animals, but they also developed compassion towards them.

Luneta Park

It is nice to introduce to our kids historical sites in the country. A vacation should not only be purely for fun, but at the same time educational. Luneta Park or Rizal Park is one of the most prominent historical sites in the Philippines, events such as the death of Jose RIzal, and the Declaration of the Philippine Independence from the Americans happened here. It is a huge park with lots of attractions.

The kids played in the park and even tried to portray the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal. They enjoyed watching the different kinds of people in the park. There were families having a picnic and veterans who were warming up for martial arts.

National Museum

Some children may not appreciate museums, but my siblings did. They love listening to stories. One of the best stories we can impart to our children is about the history and cultural heritage of our country. There are hundreds of artifacts, artwork, and other interesting displays inside.

Juan Luna’s “Spolarium” in the National Museum

The museum is still located in the heart of Manila and can be reached easily through the same transportation. It is open Tuesday to Sunday except holidays. The regular entrance fee is 100 pesos (2.50 USD) and 30 pesos (41.50 USD) for students, children, and senior citizens.

China Town

My sibling got a taste of another culture in Manila. My mom took them to Chinatown in Binondo. They had lots of fun strolling around the busy streets. The kids even ate loads of Chinese food that they have never tried before.

Isaac in China town

There are a lot of things to do in China town. You can visit Chinese temples, go on a food trip, and shop for many Chinese items. You can also learn a lot from observing the different people in the place. It is such a busy area and it is really fun.

Over all, the trip was indeed a success. I was so happy that my siblings enjoyed it. They talked about it for weeks, and my mom and step dad were really happy that their efforts to make this vacation possible were not in vain.

Getting out of your house and your comfort zone is a really important thing. It is good for our social well being. A new environment, people, and events can help grow more as a person, through this we realize that there are so many things out in the world that we do not encounter normally in our daily life.

2 replies
  1. Julia
    Julia says:

    It was an awesome blog. Some people are also naturally smarter than others while most of us have to work at it. Perception is everything as they say, and just being perceived as being smart will really help out in life. Thanks for sharing.


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