I come from a huge family that adores get-togethers, noisy and fun affairs with supersize meals as the highlight, peppered by endless talks and young kids breaking out in impromptu song and dance. I usually double as host and referee, with dozens of kids running around the house, childplay ending in screaming and fights. Holidays are a particular challenge. On a recent trip to Clark with 40 members of my extended family, we stayed at Paradise Ranch Eco-resort that helps provide work to the area’s aboriginal Aeta community. It was Holy Week and a last-minute decision took us to this resort’s five-room cottage. The amenities were spartan. We went straight for the pool to swim and then joined in the resort’s fish and bird feeding activity by the lake fronting our cottage.
The resort is quite close to Zoocobia, an interactive mini zoo by Zoobic Safari. It's clean and well-run. Kids love the hay-filled floors at the facade and exit, the free roaming bear cat, birds of paradise perched on tree branches, riding the Zooc — a gravity car that runs on a 400m track —and handfeeding piglets and lambs with bottled milk. I’d say the zoo was the star of our trip. The kids were happy, so we grown-ups were happy. While being an editor for quite some time has afforded me the luxury of getting all-expense-paid trips to lavish hotels and resorts, nothing beats going on holiday with my loved ones, lounging about in my comfy shorts and tank top, and feeling completely at home.
Day tour packages start at P250 (about US$5) for one person.
Zoocobia Fun Zoo, Calumpang, Mabalacat City, Pampanga; Tel: +63922 717 2402
Originally published in InFlight Traveller October to November 2010