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Family-friendly Philippines

If talcum-white sand, crystal clear waters, colourful culture and endless activities for the kids sounds like your idea of a good family holiday, look no further than the Philippines, writes Rachel Allen.

The Philippines has always been a fantastic destination for family holidays – it’s the combination of stunning islands with pristine white sand beaches and calm turquoise waters, and the buzz and bustle of cities offering a whole host of activities that kids will love. Islands, including Boracay and Palawan, provide luxurious family getaways where everyone can get involved in water sports, island-hopping or just relaxing on the beach, The cities Manila and Cebu are home to family-friendly attractions such as kids’ museum Museo Pambata where children are encouraged to get hands-on while they explore and learn; Ark Avilon Zoo, where children can get up close and personal with Jenny the Orangutan; Manila Ocean Park; and The Enchanted Kingdom which has theme park thrills for all ages. After all that adventure you’ll need a bed for the night, so read on for a selection of the best family-friendly hotels we’ve found in the Philippines.

Plantation Bay, Cebu
If your kids are water babies, they’ll love Plantation Bay with its saltwater lagoon and four freshwater swimming pools complete with waterslides, mist-caves, whirlpools, volcano fountains and waterfalls. If you manage to drag them away from the water there are children’s activities including fish-feeding, boat-racing, and sand castle-building. Take a trip out to a nearby island or up into the mountains for a picnic. There are family rooms, a kids’ menu and a nurse on duty 24/7.

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa caters for all ages with the Adventure Zone, a multi-level indoor playground, Toddler’s Zone for ages three and under, and daily kids’ activities including mask decorating, ceramic painting and a mini-golf challenge. There’s also a kids’ pool and aqua play area with slide and water fountains. While the kids are busy, mum and dad can relax in the spa or in your family room or suite. There is also a babysitting service.

The Farm at San Benito
If you thought a spa holiday was a thing of the past now you’ve got kids in tow, think again. The Farm offers kids’ activities as well as a nanny service so parents can indulge in some serious relaxation and rejuvenation. There are also fail-safe kids’ menu options such as spaghetti and fries available if you’re not sure what they’ll make of the food in the vegan restaurant, and kids under 12 stay free. Adults will love ALIVE! Restaurant’s sumptuous and super healthy organic food.

Milinoc Island Resort, El Nido
Situated in a breathtaking cove in Northern Palawan, Milinoc is perfect for families. There is a kids’ activity centre where they can try their hand at arts and crafts, including coconut hat making, and there are also play areas at the exclusive beach clubs at Entalula Island and Dibuluan Island, where the whole family can enjoy a day trip. Babysitting services are also available if mum and dad want to enjoy some alone time. Two-level Seaview Rooms accommodate a family of four.

Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa
Set on lush green hillside leading onto the sugar-fine white sand beach, Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa is a getaway in paradise. Kids will love the Adventure Zone indoor playground with drop slide and activity corner, as well as the entertainment centre which offers video and board games, a foosball table and more. Join in on one of the daily activities, or just relax in your luxurious two-bedroom villa. The Funtastic Holiday Package, available until 23 December 2013, includes unlimited Adventure Zone access, exclusive resort stuffed toys for the kids, daily breakfast and airport transfers.

Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort & Spa, Cebu
Kids will love this resort that has a water park at its heart. There are five pools to enjoy, from floating down the Amazon River and relaxing at the beach pool, to splashing around in the wave pool, exploring Captain Hook’s pool and being showered by the water mushroom in the toddler’s pool. There are also three waterslides for bigger kids. If that’s not enough to keep them entertained, there’s a kids’ club offering arts and crafts, PlayStations and Wiis, and a mini-library with toys and books. The two bedroom suites are perfect for families.

Discovery Shores Boracay
Set right on Boracay’s White Beach, Discovery Shores Boracay is the perfect destination for a family beach holiday. There are daily activities for kids including arts and crafts, Filipino games and cooking lessons, and the sandbox room is open every afternoon providing a selection of stuffed toys and board and computer games. The pool is also great for families, with a shallow area for littlies and butlers ready with inflatable pool toys and complimentary treats. The Family Affair package includes airport transfers, daily breakfast and surprise treats for the kids.

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