Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Zekezoned in Japan

December is always a festive month for the entire family because we celebrate our Wedding Anniversary, Mom and Dad's Birthdays. For this year, we decided to give as a birthday gift a trip to Osaka, Japan instead of a material gift.

Memories Mom and Dad makes with Zeke are more precious than any material gift we can give.

I decided on Osaka because it was more child-friendly and Senior Citizen friendly, it was more laid back. Every day of the trip, we would leave at around lunch time and get back dinner time. Unlike all our past trips where Mac and I would try to cram a lot of tourist spots in our itinerary, this time we had a relaxed trip (well, not so relaxed because we battled with stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation and toddler tantrums, haha). But it was still fun and memorable.

We booked the trip during Cebu Pacific's independence day sale and got each ticket at 8,000 pesos already with baggage. Be careful though in booking with Cebu Pacific, upon checking in on our flight back from Osaka, I found out I didn't have baggage allowance which was weird but apparently in my haste to book the flights I only checked baggage allowance for the flight going to Osaka. Hassle, good thing all our baggage still fit the baggage allowance of mom and dad.

Next step was getting Japanese visas for everyone. Since I work in Ortigas, we applied in Reli Tours Megamall, an accredited travel agency for Japan Visas. Compared to the first few times we had to apply for visas, this time, the lines were so long, I guess Japan has become a famous destination among Pinoys already thus the lines. It was relatively easy to get Visas for everyone since we had previous US visas. Reli Tours also recommended we apply for multiple entry visas, I only stated yearly vacation as the reason why and we were already given visas valid for 5 years.

And then the trip itself! I booked an airbnb within the Nipponbashi Area so we are walking distance to DendenTown, Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori & Namba. We had a total of 8 days which we spent:
Day 1 - Arrival in Osaka airport at 9pm. Checked-in at our chosen Airbnb. Bought snacks from the 7-eleven at the ground floor of our building
Day 2 -  Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium, Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Day 3 - Nara Deer Park, Shinsekai
Day 4 - Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Monkey Park, Fushimi-Inari Taisha in Kyoto
Day 5 - Kobe Steakland, Mt. Rokko Snowpark
Day 6 - Universal Studios Osaka
Day 7 - Shopping Day in Shinshaibashi, Dotonbori, DendenTown, Kurumon Market
Day 8 - Shopping again in Bic Camera, Namba area flight back to Manila at night

Where to Mama?

There's a priority lane for senior citizens and babies where you can check-in and avoid the lines

Side view, Osaka Castle

Fall/Autumn Season

They had a time capsule. I wonder what's inside

We survived the Tempozan Ferris Wheel

When you see the moving crab

Ichiran Ramen cannot be missed. Long lines in front.

Walking to the Bamboo grove you will pass by this stream

Kobe Beef

You cannot go to Dotonbori without taking a picture of the landmark Glico Man

Go to Bic Camera in Namba. Zeke met this robot that dances and talks to you

Since our airbnb cannot keep luggages, we kept our luggage in this coin locker in Namba Subway

Kurumon Market

Hiked up for 20 minutes to feed the monkey

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

2nd Birthday

Time flies so fast!

Zeke is now two. The 2 years have passed so quickly that I hardly noticed. Every moment with Zeke has been fun. I might have said that I didn't need a son or daughter to be fulfilled or feel complete but now that Zeke is here, I cannot imagine a life without him

And for his 2nd birthday, we had a really simple celebration (family only) at La Familia which he slept right through. haha.

And he got a bike and fish for his first pet from us.

Staycations and Birthdays

Mac got a membership with Accor which is the group of hotels where Sofitel, Novotel etc. belongs in.

Since it has been harder to go out of town often, a staycation is the next best thing and the Accor membership provides discounts on food and room rates provided you book really early.

We stayed in Novotel in Cubao during my Birthday in August and in Sofitel in Pasay during Zeke's birthday just this weekend.

Novotel is newer and if you want to go roam Cubao, Gateway is just walking distance.

The place is family friendly, they give inflatable frisbees to children. In their 9th floor, there is a gym, beside it is a play place for children (which enjoyed so much, he cried so hard when we were leaving already). If you are checked in, you are entitled to an hour free in the kid's area.Their pool is also just the right size.

We only had breakfast in The Food Exchange and the selection was just right.I think we paid 3,000 for one night.

There is a play area at the lobby

Play area at the 9th floor

With a ball pit

Outside is a bigger slide. This is just beside the pool

Sofitel is the bigger hotel although much older than Novotel. Rate per night was more expensive but we got this free courtesy of the Accor membership already.

The pool area is much bigger with slides for children and for adults. The view of Manila Bay is amazing too.

They say the best hotel buffet in Manila is at Spiral in Sofitel and it really is.