Where to take the kids during GCQ in Metro Manila and beyond

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Kid-friendly destinations to take in some fresh air and run wild during GCQ.

It’s been almost a year since lockdown began, and as difficult as it has been for a lot of us, it’s even harder to see how tough it’s been for the kids. Children adapt quickly and they’re more resilient than we give them credit for, but months in GCQ can certainly take a toll.

So, with safety precautions and our children’s best interest in mind, you might want to look into placing an order for kiddie face masks and shields— we’re going on a trip to make childhood memories.  

Open space and a natural environment is a luxury we easily take for granted. You’ll realize this as soon as you see your little ones marvel at the wonders of a fresh new experience. We often forget how small things can have such a huge impact on the young ones, and we believe that this is a much-needed break that everyone fully deserves. 

Block off your calendars, book your slots, and get planning. Make a day out of it! This is something your kids won’t soon forget. Check out these places where kids are allowed to wander freely, that’s sure to be a breath of fresh air.

PSA: As of 23 July, the IATF has halted Resolution 125: kids are not allowed out due to the Delta variant. However, some LGUs may have different rules. We recommend checking ahead to play safe!

As of July 12, 2021, these are the places that are still open. If there are changes within the week or so, we will be listing them down too.

Where to take the kids during GCQ

1. Avilon Zoo

Rodriguez, Rizal

Seeing animals up close and personal is something kids will never get tired of. The Avilon Zoo is currently the largest zoological institution in the Philippines. Its 7.5 hectare facility houses more than 3,000 specimens of exotic wildlife representing more than 500 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fish, and invertebrates. The zoo also has a diverse collection of Philippine native and endemic fauna.

They offer guided tours for guests to learn about wildlife and the various conservation efforts being done to preserve these threatened species and to protect the environment. For the full experience, you can interact with the animals and feed some of them, too! 

Interacting with animals has proven to be extremely therapeutic, and after the year our kids have had (and who knows for how much longer), therapy would probably do us all some good. 

2. Dinosaurs Island

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga

The first-ever Animatronics dinosaur theme park in the Philippines, Dinosaur Island is designed to offer visitors a unique interactive learning experience of the time of the dinosaurs, complete with life sized creatures and activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

Among the educational highlights of the park, they also have a multitude of other things to keep the kids engaged. You can take a ride on the Jurassic Jungle Safari (and kill off hungry predators), feed a T-Rex, watch a dinosaur hatch from an egg, experience a 7D dino movie screening, or give some adventure activities a try. 

Let the kids’ imaginations run free and soak up prehistoric wilderness as a welcome relief from pandemic life. Because at this point, we’d rather be running away from a gigantic carnivorous reptile than be trapped in a house for much longer. 

3. Hiraya Childhood Play Farm

Jalajala, Rizal

Hiraya Childhood Play Farm is a family run farm where children can enjoy an open and safe environment. With their tagline, “A farm for kids and kids at heart,” it’s a beautiful sanctuary that embraces a humble, authentic, and rural way of life.  

The farm spans over 1.2 hectares of flat land at the foot of Mt. Sembrano, where families can come together through hands-on farm experiences. It’s the perfect place for children to play freely and learn from grounding activities, while grown-ups relive their childhood or relax while taking in all the open space. 

They offer farm animals interactions, fruit picking, fishing, pottery, bonfires, and mini hikes. They also have childhood games available like patintero, sepak takraw, palosebo, and tiyakad. Tap into your inner child and run wild, because life is not meant to be lived within the confines of four walls.  

4. The Ayala Triangle Gardens

Makati

A fresh breeze and the rustle of trees in this metro oasis is enough to make you forget that you’re actually in the center of Manila’s business district. There’s enough open space to keep yourself socially distanced, and more than enough room to throw a ball around or run wild. 

You can even get a workout in while the kids do their thing, or simply just lounge. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, getting out does wonders for a reset. It’s also a win for everyone to allow the little ones to burn up some of that energy, because we all know what it’s like when kids don’t have that outlet. 

5. Legazpi Active Park

Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati

This privately owned public space and pocket park in Legazpi Village has a playground for kids to use, a bike and jogging trail, and enough open ground for everyone to roam free. 

If you make your way out there on a Sunday, The Legazpi Sunday Market sets up shop just around the corner. Take advantage of all the goods they have to offer and take it to the park for a family picnic. 

6. Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu

Named after one of the very first Philippine heroes, what better way to help your kids celebrate Independence Day than to go to Lapu-Lapu City itself in Cebu? After landing in the Mactan Airport, you’ll find yourself craving for a fresh catch meal since they’re near the beach. And if you’re lucky, you and your kids might be able to catch a play or a representation of the Battle of Mactan by the waters of Lapu-Lapu City.

And if you’re looking for a place to stay, Shang Mactan is a perfect place for your kids with the white beaches, snorkeling, and playground to play in.

7. Subic Bay Freeport

Subic opened their doors to families from the NCR Plus Bubble last June 4. However, they still have one minor requirement that kids younger than 18 still need a swab test before they get in. If you’re planning to stay in the area for a couple of days, you’ll still need to spend for a swab test even if you’re from the MGCQ area. Other than that, you can venture through the different parks such as Zoobic to get you and your family some fresh air.

8. Baguio City

If you’re craving Baguio Country Club’s Raisin Bread and Strawberry Taho, you’ll be pleased to know that Baugio’s opening its doors again provided you need some documents. But if you’re having that itch to golf and you want your kids to learn how to play golf after hearing about Yuka Saso, you can check in Baguio Country Club or Camp John Hay. Or if you want freshly baked Peanut Brittle, we hear Good Shepherd is open too!

9. Open Area in Venice Piazza

While we can’t go to Italy to try authentic Pizza and Gelato just yet, we can at least give our kids an overview of what Venice looks like when the world opens up again. For your teenage kids, they’d probably would appreciate this place too, especially if they want to take photos for their social media. And since it’s an open space, there’re less chances of it being crowded and kids can go moving around without causing too much of a ruckus.

10. Harbor Square, Pasay City

1202 Bukaneg St, Malate, Manila, 1307 Metro Manila

Harbor Square was known for their line of restaurants and their fantastic view of the bay. Your kids would most likely enjoy watching the ships come in with the cargo (whether bringing fish or other things) while you enjoy a cold drink. On some days though, there are a variety of events like Zumba Classes, Tai Chi classes, and even dance classes. A lot of families come here to stretch their muscles and breathe in the fresh bay air before heading back to work.

11. Biking Areas in BGC

For those from the south and find it a big hassle to head all the way to the UP Oval to bike then, BGC is the place for you! BGC has several biking areas where your kids can either learn how to bike or just practice biking around. Teaching them how to bike helps improve their balance, coordination, leg strength, and lung capacity especially if you want them to get into sports. Some areas like the NBO Bike Lessons can show you what good places there are to bike in Taguig.

12. Rancho Leonor, Tagaytay

165 R-2, Silang, Cavite

While Subic has El Kabayo Horse Stables, Tagaytay has Rancho Leonor. Riding a horse is something that kids don’t really experience nowadays since majority of the horses are either smaller than them or, a little temperamental. But, the beauty of Rancho Leonor is that majority of these horses may be retired race horses and are guided by stableboys so that they don’t panic or the sort.

13. CVM Orchard and Eco Park

Baras, Rizal

If you’re looking for a place to experience the great outdoors via a camping trip, look no further than CVM Orchard and Eco Park. Take in all the fresh nature sights by pitching up a tent, cooking your own meals, and waiting for the sun to set so you can see the stars glitter in the sky. It’ll be a great experience for your kids too who possibly are the kind to stare at their phone all day. Instead of just watching campfires on TV, they can actually experience one themselves.

14. Marikina Equestrian Center

81 Gen. Ordoñez Street, Marikina Heights 1810 Marikina City, Philippines

If Rancho Leonor is too far for you then, Marikina Equestrian Center ought to be a good place to start! The horses there formerly came from Pook Ligaya and they have large areas where your kids can learn how to ride horses. However before you go, you have to make sure you set up an appointment so that the horses and the stable boy will be there to help your kids as they learn how to ride a horse.

15. City Kart Racing at Circuit Makati

Circuit Makati, Barangay Carmona 1207 Makati, Philippines

Walking around is fun but if your kids play TrackMania on the computer too often, let them have a rip with real Kart Racing! In Circuit Makati, there’s a racetrack where kids can practice their driving skills. However, they’re usually closed on Mondays and you’ll need to book them ahead so that you’ll be able to get a COVID-free car. Make sure your kids have their masks on and the sort. This is perfect for kids who are a little older like around 8 and above.

16. Intramuros

The famed wall city of Intramuros would be the best place to start your kid’s primer for their social studies’ lesson on the Spanish Colonial era. Home to the famous Manila Cathedral and San Augustin Church, your kids will have a better chance to appreciate Philippine history as they walk through the streets of their ancestors. Plus, they can go for a Kalesa ride if they want to. For a staycation, Bayleaf Hotel’s perfect to watch the sun set on the horizon.

17. University of the Philippines, Diliman

UP has always been a home for alumni and their kids alike. With the university oval, kids can either go biking or walking to stretch their legs after sitting in front of the computer for so long. They also have the Sunken Garden where they can run around or maybe fly their favorite remote-controlled helicopters. But make sure you come fully equipped for the rain! Rainy season’s coming up and we don’t want our kids getting a cold.

18. QC Circle

QC Circle is once again open to kids, PROVIDED – one of us or their adult older sibling is fully vaccinated. But Quezon City circle has always been a good jogging spot for many QC citizens and if you’re in the mood for some fresh buko juice, they’ll cut up one for you! They’ll also get to check out the car museum at least from the outside and see the big QC monument that serves as a landmark in finding one of the top schools in the Philippines: UP.

With travel restrictions constantly changing, we’ll be updating this article as more places open up, or if the rules change with those on this list. Although other places are open, a lot of them are still requiring a lot of logistical stuff so we narrowed it down to places that don’t have much. But, it’s still of utmost importance to stay vigilant with disinfecting as necessary, wearing the proper protective gear, and following guidelines within the venue’s premises. 

Check their designated sites or social media pages for bookings, regulations, and more information. 

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