What to do in Osaka, Japan with a toddler

Japan is one of the places that we enjoyed because of the culture and the people. So when Cebu Pacific had a promo for November we decided to visit again with Greyson! Last time we went here, we visited the tourist sites in Kyoto, Nara and they were mostly temples. This time around we explored kid-friendly places and there was still so much to see and so much to do!

Traveling with a toddler has its perks – it’s still free if your child sits on your lap, he’s still relatively manageable, plus it’s a great experience to teach new words what with his absorbent mind until 3 years. Of course we needed to brace ourselves for possible scenarios like how will he respond with the pressure in the plane, how will we entertain him during the flight, hopefully he wouldn’t catch a stomach bug, hopefully he wouldn’t get sick or us too that we would be unable to take care of him.

Grateful to God that the trip was really smooth and Greyson was such a trooper! He was easy to travel with as he didn’t make a fuss yay! He got bored on the plane but he didn’t cry. He entertained himself by playing with the magazines in front of us.

I think this was really the best time for us to travel as a family since we were finally recovered from the tiredness of last year =)) Also Greyson at 1 year 5 months by then was already showing his interests (like animals and tasting different foods – he is adventurous with his tastebuds and he’s starting to acquire a taste for spicy food) and it was easier for us to decide on the places to visit.

We stayed in Osaka for 5 days with 1.5 days allotted for transit. Here’s our itinerary in our 5 Day Trip.

Day 1 – Travel

Day 2 – Namba Walk, Osaka Aquarium, Passed by Tempozan Ferris Wheel along the way

Day 3 – Nara Deer Park, Yoshikien Garden, Kofukuji Temple (just because it’s on our way to the train station), Dotonbori at night

Day 4 – Tennoji Zoo, Shinsekai, Dotonbori

Day 5 – Nambanaka Park, Kuromon Market (mostly for us :)) to go on a date), Travel to Manila

Here’s a short review of the places we visited with our 1 year old.

  1. Osaka Aquarium – We visited on a weekday and there were lots of tourists and families and it’s not that crowded! I thought it would just be for kids, but we enjoyed this as well! It’s a place both parents and children will enjoy. The main attractions were the penguins (for us), dolphins, the shark, whale shark, and the last stop wherein you could touch the the shark and stingray. Please be mindful of course to wash your hands before touching them so any chemicals can be washed off. Some dolphins weren’t camera shy and they would get close to the glass of the aquarium. It was nice to see them cohabiting as animals that lived on land and in the water below were in the same aquarium. It was so awesome to see so many species in the sea. We wondered if we were really swimming with them instead of us looking in, it would be so scary to swim beside these giants and yet we would also be awestruck with them! There were a lot of species you wouldn’t see in Manila Ocean Park so it’s good to visit this place.

Some tips: For those carrying strollers, they don’t allow strollers in the escalators so you have an option to deposit it on the 3rd floor. Elevators were not that accessible so in order to use the escalator, you would need to fold your stroller. Eat snacks before going in since food and drinks are not allowed inside!

Direction from Namba subway: Take Midosuji line (red) to Hommachi Station. Take Chuo line (green) to Osakako station. Go down Osakako station and walk to the Aquarium. You will pass by Tempozan ferris wheel going there

Cost: 2,300 Yen for adults around 1K in PHP. toddlers are free (aged 3 and under)

Aquarium

2. Nara Deer Park – Deers in their natural state are here! They would be roaming the park some ready for photo op while some are quite shy. Last time we were here it was already dark so it was nice to see them in daylight. I wanted Grey to see the deers since he likes animals and I thought he would enjoy it here. Well initially he did, until I started feeding the deers some deer biscuits which you could buy in the stand for around 200 yen. When they started biting my pants and they were becoming aggressive I kind of panicked and turned around too fast. Grey who was leaning by my leg accidentally fell down and he started to cry. We were encircled by the deers and it was really overwhelming even for me! :)) Grey was okay but he got a little scared with what seemed initially like harmless creatures. :p They are actually until you feed them the biscuits.

Some tips: If you plan to hang around the area, you can buy some snacks as there are benches here you can sit on. Watch your tots run and play in this vast park. Kofukuji temple is nearby – you won’t miss the pagoda structure!

Eat where: Across Nara park, you will see a commercial space where Starbucks is. Try Gyu-Katsu (Deep Fried Breaded beef cutlet) more on this in another entry. There is also a convenience store for packed food and coffee shop here.

Direction from Namba subway: Ride kintetsu-nara line (yellow orange) going to Kintetsu-Nara station. Walk to Nara Deer Park

Cost: Free!

Nara

3. Yoshikien Garden in Nara – I don’t know about you but we wanted to visit the parks in Japan as there seem to be a few back at home. We decided to visit Yoshikien garden a few meters away from Nara Deer Park. Here you can see the traditional parks in Japan where there are lots of trees and with a stream flowing. It was a relatively small area and it was so peaceful. You can just really be one with nature here. I suppose if you visit when the leaves change, it would be so glorious to see!

Some tips: Free of charge for foreigners if you show your passport! Food and drinks are not allowed so be sure to fill up before!

Cost: Free! but if no passport it would cost around 200 YEN

Park

4. Dotonbori – Must visit if you’re going to Osaka! You wouldn’t leave Osaka without putting this in your itinerary. Greyson enjoyed the huge 3D displays of Kani Duraku, Octopus, Blowfish restaurant and what we call the Angry Man. :)) We went at night so the lights were especially bright and his eyes grew wide in amusement! We bought a Tako soft toy as a souvenir and Greyson liked it so much he would kiss it since it also had a puckered mouth :))

Some tips: This is a very popular tourist destination so if you plan to eat at the stalls, it’s going to burn a hole in your wallet! But what’s going to Osaka without going on a food trip? 🙂 We had some street food but we weren’t that filled so we ended up eating Takoyaki along the Dotonbori river and loaded on Taco Bell right after :))

Cost: Free!

Glico

5. Tennoji Zoo – This is going to get a lot bigger since when we went there, there was a part that was under construction and they are going to add more animals! Things that were new to us were the Chinese Gray wolf (Chinese Grey :)) ), the antelopes, rhinoceros and the hippo. There was a petting area wherein the kids can pet the sheep! Greyson was delighted to be able to see the sheep go Baa Baa as in like Baa baa black sheep! What I like about the design of the zoo was they were really trying to recreate their natural habitat. The giraffe and antelopes were sharing the same space as if they were in the wild. It may seem small to us adults but for a 1 year old, it was already huge. Greyson’s last animal to see was the flamingo then he drifted off. We weren’t able to see the reptile corner. This is a great place for our toddler to get acquainted with the many different animals! They also had penguins here so whether in hot or cold climate, our toddler can have exposure to various species in varying weathers.

Some tips: You can bring food here and have a picnic in shaded areas. Don’t feed the birds! I just saw this when we left. Greyson enjoyed chasing them around.

Cost: 500 Yen for adults, free for toddlers!

Tiger

6. Shinsekai – This is right across Tennoji Zoo so be sure to stop here to see the “old” Dotonbori. It really looked like Dotonbori with all the huge 3D displays and the restaurants were beside each other. If you are not iffy with your toddler eating fried food, you can all try their Kushi-katsu which is deep friend skewered veggies / meat. We also ordered Gyoza of course for Greyson. Shinsekai is famous for their Kushi-katsu so don’t leave this place without trying it here! Most restaurants offer this so it just boils down to your preference in dining – if you’d like a bigger dining place (which I think is best if you have kids).

Directions: Right across Tennoji Zoo exit!

Cost: Free to walk along Shinsekai! But for the food it’s around 1,000 – 1,500 Yen per pax.

Shinsekai2 Shinsekai

7. Nambanaka Park or any park! – Japan has lots of them and if you look in Google maps, you might be lucky to see one near you. We had one near our hotel which was Nambanaka Park. Greyson had the park all to himself! Of course we prefer if there were other kids that he can play with. There were also birds and insects that his daddy taught him about. It was fun to just run around and play. We really prefer that he is outdoors but there is a lack of it back home in the city so we end up in the mall and play areas. Here we got refreshed by nature and it was simply wonderful to enjoy the cool breeze, watch the birds, and stay under the shade of trees. Truly the best things in life are free.

Nambanaka nambanaka2

8. Eat at Namba walk – Most restaurants are kid friendly and would have a high chair. In the restaurant we ate, they automatically provide a bowl and spoon when they saw we had Greyson. Have omu rice and desserts here at Namba walk, there are lots!

Some tips: Pay when you exit near the door and as much as possible have as many cash. Card is rarely used when paying for food. Also it is practice to order one dish per person. Sharing is not practiced here, but for bringing babies and toddler, of course they can share with the adult.

Cost: Around 800-1,000 Yen per pax

Namba walk

9. Buy Fresh Fruits at Kuromon Market – There is a passage in Namba walk going to Kuromon Market, so Namba seems to really be the center as you would also land here from the airport. Anyway, buy seasonal fruits here for your toddler! We bought green melon, strawberries and persimmon for Grey!

Some tips: While you’re at it, try their sea urchin, crab, and sashimi! To be really filled and if you’d like to try lots, you would probably spend around 1,000 Yen – 1,500 Yen per pax. Will post in another entry our food finds in Kuromon Market!

Cost: Around 400-500 Yen for fruits.

There were lots of kid friendly activities in Osaka like a multi level play area but we didn’t go there yet since Greyson is still too small for it and we wouldn’t be able to maximize it. Other attractions that maybe your kids will enjoy are the pet cafes. They had an owl cafe along Dotonbori but we decided to forego it for now. What I like about Osaka was it’s kid-friendly. You can see many young moms in transit and in the trains with a kid or two. It isn’t that busy except of course when you go to Namba subway which seems to be the center of connecting trains. Hoping we would go back (within 5 years because that’s when our visa will expire:)) ) when Greyson gets a little bigger and he would see the angry man, kani duraku and the giant tako again!:)

Post below your other suggestions on where to take your toddler to Osaka! 🙂

Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club review

When it was just me and Jason, we were game for any out of town place. But since having Greyson, we consider if the place is child-friendly. Can I say this place is perfect for emerging toddlers! Just 2 hours away from the Metro via SLEX and located in Lipa, Batangas. The air is cooler as there are lots of trees, the grass is perfectly manicured – good for walking barefoot for the toddlers (no trash, debris, very few insects), the roads are safe for strolling and biking. Prepare to walk though since the amenities were pretty far from each other. You can use a golf cart too / their shuttle service but we like walking to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air away from the Metro!

But first things first! We went here to join my family and this was one of the few places available in Batangas that Father’s Day weekend so this became the choice. Good thing too because it was such a nice discovery!

We booked via Agoda since it was cheaper than walking in or booking via their website, plus I could avail of my Agoda discount.

We went to the Country Club to check in and were escorted to our room in Tanguile. We were at the 2nd floor and had a nice view of the mountains and trees.

We were also walking distance from the huge pool which was around 4-5 feet tops!

Nearby was a kids playground which my toddler enjoyed so much! (I did as well!)

The playground is built for kids and adults alike 😂 We had so much fun here!

The pool wasn’t crowded too and the weather was perfect because of the trees.

It was so nice breastfeeding here as it feels a bit private plus the view is awesome – greenery everywhere, mountains, water. I wish we stayed longer! Not to mention there was a lottt of water in the shower 😂 It’s been 4 months now since the water crisis and it just feels so nice to have good water pressure and a heated shower 😂

Bikes were available for rent at Php 150/ hour. So it was perfect to tour the area!

Just 2 things though, there doesn’t seem to be an attendant always like when you would use the gym, no one was available at the reception area. The price at the restaurant was also around 400-500/head a la carte so best to bring snacks and quick meals if you are on a budget. Their buffet though was sulit at 600/head! 🙂

This reminds me of Las Casas in Bataan! Overall our stay here was awesome. I would like to live in a place like this 😂 I feel that this would be our new go to place if we want to breathe in fresh air and have a safe space where the kids can swim, play and run around. Big thanks to my cousin for discovering this family friendly place which is now our new favorite! ❤️

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Mount Malarayat

Greyson’s shoes from Meet My Feet

Applying for Philippine passport for minor and Renewal for parent

One of the to-do things for us for Grey’s first year is to apply for his passport. It was timely too since my passport was expiring this July 2019 and I could renew my passport while applying for his. We found out that children aged 7 years old and below had a courtesy lane so no need to set an appointment!

On that day, we planned to leave when Grey first wakes around 5AM for a diaper change but he chose to wake up at 7AM! 🤪So we rushed out of the house and were greeted by bad traffic. We took our chances even if we arrived a little past 10AM at DFA Sm Megamall and friends advised to go early since they would just serve the first 100 or so for the priority lane. At 10AM on a Thursday we got #65 (given by the guard at the entrance).

Jason was allowed to accompany us inside and it was convenient for me since I had to photocopy the front page of my passport (i only had 1, but apparently we needed another to be attached to Grey’s documents) and rush around. Plus we were still breastfeeding so the bags and documents were just everywhere. 😳

To apply for a renewal I needed the following:

1. My Birth certificate

2. Front page of my passport – photocopy

3. My original passport

4. Application form filled out

Application Form – Renewal Adult

For a new application for minors we needed the following

1. Grey’s birth certificate – photocopy

2. My marriage contract – photocopy

3. Front page of my passport

4. Application form for minor filled out

New Application Form for Minor

Step 1: Check documents

If you’ve filled out the forms and completed the requirements, you can have it checked immediately at the counter and they will give you a new number for queuing. It could have been faster but I just filled up the application form there.

Step 2: Check documents

As our number was flashed on the screen we went to window 2 for our documents to be checked again. My passport was also disregarded and I am unable to use it already although the visas inside will still be valid.

Step 3: Cashier

Cashier. We paid around 1,200 each for 6 business days.

Step 4: Photo

There will be someone along the hall to hand you a number for queuing again for Passport picture to be taken.

Of all times, this was the time Greyson got sleepy and had to breastfeed. As soon as he went under the cover my number was called! Had to fuss around underneath the cover and in a hurry too. Note to self: get a bigger and more enclosed nursing cover.

Greyson at 9 months had to sit atop a box so he would be leveled with the camera. They were pretty good at catching the attention of kids so he would look at the camera. (They used a laser pointer pointing to the camera, and one guy played Pikachu in Youtube and he was pretty serious doing this it was so funny 😆 )

Just a few reminders: For ladies please don’t wear earrings, hairpins etc. I had to remove this. I totally forgot how it’s done!

And double check all information as they encode it!

Step 5: Pay for courier

I had to pay 150 each for both mine and Greyson’s even if our address is the same. I wonder why?? They said that it is the protocol. Huhu. But it would still save us time, traffic and effort of going back to pick it up.

We were done at about 11:45 and had our lunch. Greyson got tired after that he dozed off soon.

Finally! New passport applied and renewed for Grey and I! 😄 yay we’re ready to fly ✈️ when we can 🤪

Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao

If you would like to wake up literally beside the beach and enjoy a wonderful view of the ocean you might enjoy Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao.

For the annual family trip last December, we were able to stay at Veue Beach Cabins in Bolinao, Pangasinan. It was a 6 hour drive from Manila and probably the farthest resort in Bolinao. Bringing a 6 month old along was quite a challenge especially it was his first long drive and out of town trip – we didn’t know what to expect! We had to buy a car seat immediately for the trip. It proved useful… at least for the ride going there. But from there going back to Manila, baby wanted to be breastfed and carried. Hubby had to be extra careful!

We arrived around 12:30pm and were famished! There was only one restaurant at the resort (and what seems like a coffee shop beside it) and of course being the only one, the prices were a tad high at G Resort just right beside Veue. They served Filipino dishes such as bulalo, bangus, pinakbet. We had our lunch and soon it was check in time. There wasn’t any receptionist in this place. There were only 2 caretakers who would clean the 6 cabins and communication to them can be made through a two-way radio.

Each cabin had 2 sofa beds (can probably accommodate 4 adults), a dining table, cable tv, kitchen with all utensils, cooking equipment,microwave, fridge etc, and a shower room. It also had an outdoor shower so as when you go the beach you can remove the sand and go straight to the bathroom. You need not pass through the main door of the cabin.

Veue Beach Cabins was a self-service type of place. Your home away from home. Everything you need is there (except food!) I forgot to read the memo so I just brought snacks and coffee with us thinking that we could order food there anyway! But but but….. unfortunately this place is ideal for bringing and cooking your own food. All utensils for cooking and dining were complete. We realized we were the type of travelers who would go out of town or out of the country not just to explore, have an adventure but also to rest a bit from the daily household chores! Haha 😛 Seriously!! Thankful to the in laws who shared their baons with us and cooked for the family 😅

There was only 1 pool in the area surrounded by the 6 cabins. It was not deep maybe around 4 feet something. As for the beach, Bani beach was not that ideal for swimming especially with the kids since it was too rocky. The main beach was more “swimmable” but you had to trek over mountains of rocks. It was a nice little adventure for families with toddlers and young adults since the obstacle would be suitable for their age. Since we were carrying baby, we decided not to because a minor trip on the rock could be fatal. Oh well maybe next time when he’s a bit older. 🙂

For breakfast, you could request through the radio and the server of G Resort will just go to your cabin. If there are lots of visitors, prepare to be served last since they would prioritize those at the restaurant than the cabins. This was where our snacks came in handy. We got the Danggit, Pusit, Tuyo combo for breakfast and it seemed a bit worth it for that price.

There wasn’t much activity to do here but you have the option to go outside the resort, visit the lighthouse and the caves.

Some thoughts if you decide to stay in this place.

  1. Bring your own water. There is a water dispenser but it was in G Resort.
  2. Bring your own food to cook! – You would be able to save a lot since the food served here was pretty much ordinary home cooked food 🙂
  3. Bring insect repellant… there were a lot of insects especially at night. And lastly,
  4. Deeply breathe in the salty air of the sea and enjoy the wonderful view at Veue. Because it’s not everyday that you wake up next to a view of the rising sun and the calm waves of the ocean. 🙂

Wore a breastfeeding friendly swimsuit from Float! so baby can nurse anytime anywhere while on the beach 🙂

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Veue Beach Cabins

https://www.veue.ph/

Float Swimwear

https://www.floatswimwear.com/

Blue Water Maribago in Cebu Review

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Every year it has been our goal to travel at least once. The vacation we took was a plane ride to Cebu, our final rest and recreation before we become 3 in our family.  Everything was smooth from the airport … Continue reading

Long Weekend Coffee Review | Marikina

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FINALLY! A nice, quiet coffee shop (born) in Marikina City! The newest #Coffice in town. It has been ages since we’ve been looking for a coffee shop that has a nice ambiance and great coffee… and it’s here! A hang … Continue reading

New Marikina Restaurants: Long Weekend, Ikay’s Seafood SuTuKil, Bubba Lab, Delicere

I embrace being a Marikena now being married to a certified Marikeno. And I would always want to check out the new things around the area! We love eating and exploring the different places here in Marikina and share with you our new discoveries. So briefly here are the newest restaurants we explored around our neighborhood. Click on the link to know more about it 🙂

LONG WEEKEND COFFEE 

The newest coffee shop in town which boasts of its medium roast Arabica beans and its very affordable Frappes! This coffee shop is your new Coffice in Marikina for the entrepreneurs and young professionals. It has free Wi-fi, ample parking space and aside from the pastries and cakes they have food offerings like all-day breakfast, pastas and waffles.

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Long Weekend Coffee

2nd Flr. GMT Building

#438 JP Rizal St., Sto. Nino Marikina

*closed on Mondays

IKAY’S SEAFOOD SUTUKIL

Probably the only Dampa in Marikina, it aims to bring the Cebu sutukil vibes here. “Su” stands for Sugba / grill , “Tu” for tula which means to stew the food and “Kil” which is kilawin, a type of cooking wherein the raw ingredient is soaked in vinegar.

We tried it twice here and di kami nabigo! The seafood is really fresh and it wasn’t that expensive too! I’m feeling the shrimp in butter garlic cravings coming on… now!

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Ikay’s Seafood Sutukil

#18 Aquilina St., Marikina City

(behind Crave Park)

BUBBA LAB

We tried Bubba Lab in Lamp Quarters which is the newest hang out place along Gil Fernando Avenue. The place had fun vibes and every wall and corner had a concept. Instagrammable? Check! Free wi-fi? Check! But when it came to their drinks it was pretty ordinary and okay. 🙂

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Bubba Lab

Lamp Quarters, Gil Fernando Avenue, Sto. Nino Marikina

DELICERE

We are so glad to have stumbled upon this place! It is quite hidden – near the local gym in Marikina, Maic’s Gym. It had a very relaxed feel inside and you wouldn’t think you were in Marikina. It felt like Tagaytay with the lodge look. No not Veronica Lodge. Anyway they serve burgers, pastas, rice meals. I’m not quite sure what their specialty is but they had coffee and cakes as well here. It’s a nice place to chill and it is a bit upscale here in Marikina. 🙂

There is also an enclosed area for events 🙂

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Delicere

Delicere

#24 Ditchoy St., San Roque Marikina City

Bataan White Coral Beach Resort Review

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It was our second time at Bataan White Coral Beach Resort, the first one was last May 2017 when my relatives from the States visited. The next one was just last August 2017. It was located in Morong and I … Continue reading

Journey to the Past: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

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Home, Love, Family… and loads of History would describe our experience in this short and sweet trip to Bataan with my relatives from the US (our godparents and my cousin Katrina) and my balikbayan cousin, Ate Len from Dubai. For … Continue reading