I've not been anywhere Philippines so when my daughter asked if we like to join them for a short leisurely holiday next March in Clark, Philippines, we agreed without hesitation. Not knowing the whereabout of Clark is immaterial as I trust the instinct of my daughter and her husband. They are quite used to traveling on holidays with their 2 children (matter of fact, they are right now in Bali, Indonesia) so their choice is unlikely to be wrong. The air tickets were bought a few months ago under Air Asia promotion (seems like for airlines to do well they must have regular sales and AA is a market leader in this trend) for 4 adults and 2 children. Thinking that I will be just a passive member in the group with my daughter and son-in-law deciding where to stay, where to sightsee and where to eat, I was thrown the challenge to think about these things. I know my daughter wants to pick my skills in planning. In all our family holidays before I was the Chief Planner so I am not allowed to retire from this role. With 'authority' given I proceeded to do the first thing, look for a suitable hotel to stay for 3 nights in Clark (we decided against staying in Manila some 80km away as our focus is leisure).
Putting on my thinking cap I started my search yesterday afternoon with a vigor of someone many years younger. Knowing next to nothing about Clark, where do I start? My instinct tells me, read and study the map. On this I really thank Google. Then I used online hotel booking sites like Booking, Agoda, Hotels and Tripadvisor, as well as some of the hotels own websites to analyze reviews, room types, facilities and of course, rates. I was concerned that we had bought tickets to travel in March, a popular holiday season, and of those hotels I selected some are sold out. Fortunately I approached one hotel which offered me a luxury suite with 3 rooms that fit our requirements. Best of all the hotel is recently opened and received good to excellent guest reviews. Even better the tariff for the suite is really good. After several emails with the hotel reservation desk I finally made the choice which I think my grandchildren should love as there is an outdoor pool that our suite overlooks.
The next challenge is building an itinerary that will make this family holiday memorable. I hope I won't disappoint.
Update: Due to clash with my grand daughter's school examination the above holiday is regrettably cancelled. Perhaps a better family holiday will materialize later.