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Frangipani El Nido

Before leaving for Japan, we had a staycation in Frangipani. Yes, a vacation from our vacation here in El Nido, Palawan!

Here are some photos from our stay in Frangipani, a beachfront boutique hotel in Corong-Corong, El Nido.

If you are headed to El Nido, do consider staying in Frangipani for an unforgettable island experience!


Corong-Corong, El Nido

Tamboks El Nido has reopened

Tamboks has finally reopened its doors to feed the hungry of El Nido! They were closed for a few months due to renovations to accommodate more guests.

My family eagerly waited for this Filipino restaurant to open again because it is our default choice for Sunday lunch. They have proper parking + seating space for families (rare in El Nido), and just a skip and a hop away from our home! Oh, and a real plus is that they probably have the fastest WiFi in town, too!

My kids always order the Chicken Inasal (230php) while I love the vegetarian-friendly, Laswa Soup (135php) and Tortang Talong (100php). I also like their Farm Fresh Salad (120php) and Inasal Veggies (120php).

See their menu:

Sorry, no photos of our food because we were famished that I forgot to take any. You’ll just have to trust me– this is the best family-friendly Filipino restaurant in El Nido!


El Nido National Highway, Villa Libertad

0920 914 1412

Visit the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Japan

Planning a trip to Japan? If Osaka is one of the cities you’re visiting, make sure to do the 2 hour trip to Iga City for a wholesome and educational Ninja Experience. Iga Prefecture, if you didn’t know, is THE origin of Ninja!

“A secret group of Ninja actually existed. Famed as a school of. Ninja who exhibited exceptional skills, they are said to have practiced intelligence based strategies su h as information gathering, analysing the enemy’s strength and diversionary tactics.”

You definitely want to introduce interesting Japanese history to your kids! This is how we homeschool, travelschool, worldschool, unschool or whatever you wanna call itūüėČ

Train to Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Ueno Park

We honestly got lost on our way to Iga because we didn’t get on the right train at one of the stations ūüôĄ The 2 hour travel time turned into 4 hours (several train changes plus a bus ride) after our boo boos but it was still well worth the trip! You can see a vastly different scene from the industrial looking Osaka on your way to Iga City which me and my family appreciated.

TRAVEL TIP: Make sure you aboard the correct train. Japan is very precise with the timing of their trains so the time of departure is a better indicator than the color or direction of the train itself.

When you get to Ueno Park, head to the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum where you pay for the entrance. It’s just a short hike of about 10minutes. (Shorter if you aren’t carrying any tots with you) We waited only for about 5 minutes in line before entering the “Home of the Ninja”.

A lady wearing a ninja costume ushered us in and showed us the different components of a traditional Ninja house with animated explanations. There were revolting walls, secret trick door, an underground passage, a lookout place and a safe compartment all used by the ninjas during their time.

After the Ninja House, you are directed to the museum where you can see all the different ninja traditions and exhibits (the clothing and gears!!) illustrating the life and wisdom of the Ninja.

You can learn very interesting tidbits about the Ninja if you read from all the exhibits. Thankful they have English translations. Many museums actually do not have them. Loved this one about the cats eye! So informative!

I was pleased to learn that the Ninjas were also very much into strengthening the body and mind. Totally my kinda people ūüėć

Take your time at the museum unless the Ninja show is about to start then you can rush outside to the stage area and just come back in after the show is over. They’ll allow that, no worries.

You need to pay a separate fee for this before entering the outside arena. You can choose to skip this but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this show! They practically showed how all the Ninja weapons (real ones!) were used in a comedic fashion. It was definitely the most entertaining non English live show my kids and I have ever seen. Sadly, they didn’t have English translations during the show but we kept up!

It is honestly more appropriate for the older kids, maybe 7 years and up (because there are loud sounds and a firecracker stunt at the very end) but they let me in with my 4 year old and 1 year old anyway!

Photos aren’t allowed to be taken during the show so I tried to sneak one before it started.

Iga-Ryu Ninja Museum

Ueno Park, Marunouchi, Iga City

9am to 5pm

Adults 700¥, Children 400¥

Ninja Show separate fee of 400¥

No Name Korean Restaurant in Puerto Princesa

We love to eat! So, as much as we can, we like to try out new restaurants in town. We were traveling down to civilization (aka Puerto Princesa) 5 hours south of El Nido to get new supplies for the house and checked out this new Korean Restaurant along Rizal Avenue very close to the old airport.

Appetisers were soon served and refilled 3 times over the course of our meal! My kids like the tamago tasting one which is egg cut up into strips. I like fermented dishes because of its health benefits so I ate up those.

It was raining at that time so it made sense for us to order the Korean Bibimbap which is served on a hot stone bowl to cook and keep the food warm.

They didn’t have Jap Chae noodles (cry!) so we had to settle for their Ramen served with Egg.

My son always orders this roll with rice and vegetables. Its their version of sushi but with fermented veggies inside. Typically it is served with ham but I requested for them to remove it.

Of course, the perfect way to cap off a lunch is with Korean ice cream! The kids rushed over when we announced they could have some for dessert.

Oh, the choices! Prices for Korean ice cream range from 60 to 80php.

Korean Restaurant with No Name (yet!?)

Located on the 2nd floor of a yellow and red building right before La Terrasse on the right side of the road.

12 Foods To Try at Kuromon Market in Osaka Japan

High up on my itinerary for Osaka was to visit the famous Kuromon Ichiba Market to see the local Japanese food offerings. Unlike other markets I have been to this one was clean and didn’t have any funky smell. It’s great to walk around with kids. I wouldn’t say stroller friendly as the alleys get jam packed with people and moving can get tricky during peak meal hours. I recommend using a baby sling or pouch if coming here during those times.

Here are some foods you should try with your kids on your next visit to Osaka!

1. Japanese Fruits – I live in the Philippines where we have an abundance of tropical fruits for very cheap.

Japanese fruits, although quite pricey, are HUGE and sweet and just pure perfection (like anything else they pursue!). I wish I had tried persimmons but we were able to try their strawberries (pair it with cream from the grocery and maybe top it with your morning pancake or waffles if you stay in an airbnb or apartment for rent).

2. Soy Donuts – These remind me of old fashioned donuts. Not sweet which is good if you don’t like sweet things. I personally prefer the Mister Donuts from Japan but this is worth a try, too!

3. Soy Milk – Again, these weren’t at all sweet. The plain soy milk tasted like liquid tofu. There were several flavors to choose from. Matcha is an interesting one. Next time we will have that.

4. Sweet Corn – We do love the Japanese Sweet Corn back at home so we had to try it where it really came from and it did not disappoint! We had to buy another soon after my daughter munched hers in a few minutes.

5. Tempura – Choose your own Tempura! Deep fried vegetable, fish or prawns in batter, crunched to perfection. Buy them by the stick. Affordable and yummy!

6. Katsudon – my son and husband loves this stuff. Straightforward and cheap. Not the best I am sure but I bought this in a stall that had them already on display. Still better than most for what it was worth!

7. Orange Juice in an Orange! How kawaii!

8. Try sushi in one of the small little sushi places. I shared an order with my Dad who could not eat anything raw (kidney transplant) so I opted for a roasted salmon which was very tasty and again… Good with rice LOL

9. Dango Dumplings – We didn’t get to try these (ugh I regret it!) but they do look really interesting and I would definitely try it on my next trip! They’re basically mochi on bbq sticks!

10. The Japanese love to ferment and they even serve fermented cucumbers on sticks! By the time. I saw this, we were already filled with food. We will try this next time for sure.

11. Daifuku is fresh strawberry covered in mochi with red or white bean paste. This is the ultimate dessert.

Ice Cream – Japan is known for its dairy. (Hokkaido butter is the bomb!) their soft serve ice cream is really good and perfect for after meals.

Be sure to include the Kuromon Ichiba Market in your next Osaka, Japan food itinerary =)

*Nearest Station is the Nippombashi station Exit 10.

Asian Massage in SM Puerto Princesa, Palawan

While waiting for my husband and son who decided to get their hair cut at the barber shop, the girls and I wandered to the Asian Massage shop next door.

I’m a little bit of a massage snob, usually avoiding places that are commercialised because I prefer the peace and comfort of home massages with very skilled therapists but you could say I was desperate today to get some kinks rubbed out of me.

It was a long drive this morning from El Nido to lasting almost 5 hours with me holding my very heavy teething and nursing baby so, I needed to de-stress!

The verdict: I was very pleased with my massage. I got the Foot and Hand Reflexology 350php for 60 minutes. Not sure if other therapists are as good as the one who serviced me (her name is Irish!) I will be going back again to try the Ventosa Massage tomorrow.

Here is their price list:

They also have a branch in Robinson’s Mall which I have yet to try out! A plus is that they accept also accept bookings for home or hotel service.

Asian Massage

SM City Malvar Road, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The Gypsy’s Lair in Puerto Princesa

Thankfully, just a few minutes walk away from The Canvas Boutique Hotel is The Gypsy’s Lair in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Gypsy's Lair Cafe Palawan

gypsys lair food puerto

It is designed very creatively. You can tell that artists must own this place! They even have palm reading on Fridays-Sundays.

palm reading gypsy's lair palawan

While they had an interesting display of desserts, we sampled their local Filipino fare which didn’t disappoint.

gypsys lair desserts

Try the Lamayo (local dried fish of Palawan) with egg and garlic fried rice, it is my ultimate favorite meal! I swear I could eat that everyday ūüôā

fish gypsy's lair puerto princesa

Well, we did have this coconut ice cream which was divine! They also have a unique flavor-wheat bread. Don’t ask us why! Lol!

ice cream fish gypsy's lair puerto princesa

my little globetrotters puerto princesa food

Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe
20 Mercado San Miguel
National Highway, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Air Asia Philippines flies to Puerto Princesa, Palawan from Manila.


A Balm for My Soul: Two Oceans at Maya Maya Beach

house for rent beach philippines

Every year, my family have an annual beach gathering to celebrate Easter week together for creating memories. The past two years have been at Two Oceans Beach House in Maya Maya, Nasubu, Batangas in the Philippines.

We arrived on the auspicious full moon day where we basked under its light come evening.

Maya Maya Nasugbu Batangas

During the day, the kids swam and played while the adults bonded over stories, food and drinks.

batangas house with pool for rent

batangas beach house for rent

two oceans maya maya

maya maya beach batangas

Now forgive me, I didn’t get a chance to take decent photos of the rooms (5 total) but here’s a sneak peak of very messy shots the day we left!

two oceans room maya maya batangas

beach house room photo

beach house view batangas rent

This is the back of the property

two oceans beach house rent

The property has stunning views of the ocean…

beach cliff

Philippine Beach

which made sunset sessions picture perfect each day.

perfect sunset

sunset photo

sunset philippines

the colors of sunset

A few steps away from the property is the village’s access to the beach. It is very rocky (wise to wear water shoes or sandals), but certainly has its charm.

beach philippines

travel blog

nasugbu beach


easter egg hunt

Hope you all had a solemn Holy Week and Easter Sunday!

Interested people who would like to rent this beach house may contact Bob at (0918) 956 5656.

Two Oceans
Maya Maya Beach
Nasugbu, Batangas



Top 6 Indoor Activities For Kids in Manila

As a mother of two children, I a make it a point to be updated with kid-friendly and age-appropriate places to take them. I am always on the hunt for venues where energy can be expelled in a fun manner for everyone (I say everyone because when children are in a better mood, parents are, too! And I notice, vice versa!).

Because it rains half the year in the Philippines, here’s a useful¬†list of indoor places to take the kiddos in Metro Manila for nothing but play, learning and fun!

  1. Kidzania¬†Manila¬†–¬†What’s really fun for children is that they get to imitate the adults in an¬†environment where they are encouraged “to work” for play money which they can choose to save in a bank or exchange for special activities at the end of the day.Kidzania Manila Honda

    Kidzania Manila Wall ClimbingCost: Mondays – Thursdays children 4-14 years old Php900, toddlers 1-5 years old Php500, guardians 15 years old and above 30% off from full price, Fridays – Sundays and holidays children 4-14 Php1,100, toddlers 1-5 years old P600, guardians Php770. Babies below 1 are FREE.

    Kidzania Manila
    Park Triangle, North 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
    Tel No. +632 711-5439

  2. Jump Yard Philippines РIn a sour mood? Take the little ones jumping and you are sure to shift their energy in no time! It even works for grumpy parents!Jump yard manilaCost: Monday to Thursday (except holidays) Php250.00 per hour per jumper and Php350 Friday to Sunday including holidays

    Jump Yard
    Frontrera Verde Complex (beside Fun Ranch), Ortigas Ave., Pasig
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    Cel No. +6915-6182183

  3. Wall Climbing in Power Up Centro Atletico РHelp your kids get over their fear of heights in this courageous, strengthening and self-esteem building activity.wall climbing manila

    power up centro atletico

    Cost: Entrance fee is P170, Rental of shoes and harness is P100. Total of P270 for climb all you want for the day.Power Up Centro Atletico
    25 West Road Corner North Road,
    Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
    Phone: +63(2)4127480

  4. School of Rock Philippines– Wanna raise a music prodigy? Maybe start ’em young listening to classics like The Beatles and learning how to jam at School Of of rock manila

    school of rock philippines

    School of Rock, Greenhills Branch
    Connecticut Arcade, 
    San Juan City, Manila 1502
    Cel No. +63922-8342455
  5. Dreamplay in City of Dreams РLet the movies come to life as your children get to imagine their favorite characters in this one-of-a-kind interactive play and creative center.dreamplay city of dreamsdreamplay manila

    Cost: On weekdays, Php680 for kids ages 4-17 years old, P300 for adults and P50 for toddlers 2-4 years old. A day pass is P1,200. On holidays and weekends, P880 for 4-17 years old, P400 for adults and P100 for toddlers. A day pass of P1,500.
    Upper Ground Floor, The Shops at the Boulevard in City of Dreams
    Asean Avenue cor. Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City,
    Para√Īaque 1701, Manila, Philippines
    Phone +632 800 8080

  6. Ninja Academy – Who doesn’t want to be a ninja? It is probably every kid’s dream! Fulfill this fantasy by taking them to the Ninja Academy Kids Workshop this academy pasig
    *Photo from Ninja Academy Facebook page
    Cost – Php4200 for 9 sessions

    Ninja Academy
    #155 Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue, Pasig City
    Phone +63(2) 624-2872
    Cel No. +63917-5658945

Do you have other places to recommend for indoor play? Do suggest and we shall check it out ourselves! Email ūüôā


Useful Tips on Visiting Universal Studios with Young Children

A trip to Los Angeles is incomplete without a visit to the Universal Studios in Hollywood. I remember this place vividly as a child and to return decades after brings back a flood of memories! I am happy to recreate new memories in one of the iconic places in SoCal with two kids in tow.

universal studios hollywood

Find the map and directions to Universal via driving or public transportation here.

Do invest in front of line passes. Some of the rides and attractions may take up to an hour of waiting time! These front of line passes lets you cut through the crowds to save you precious time! Another tip to save on time is to study the map found here before going to make an itinerary suitable for you and your family members.

front of the line pass universal studios

The festive feel is all over Universal this month and will most likely run until January, so do go for a visit to as soon as possible!merry christmas universal studio hollywood

universal studios hollywood christmas

universal studios christmas 2015

universal studios la

Since my daughter is very young, she couldn’t get to do many of the rides. Thankfully, Universal Studios has the child switch service where you can wait in a special section for infants and switch with your partner if you want to get on the ride without having to line up again. Although, if you have front of the line passes, this won’t be an issue. But the designated areas are a huge help for parents with young children.

The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem was the first ride my son took together with my husband.

despicable me universal studios

My daughter didn’t make the height requirement so we took photos while waiting instead. Note that she¬†hasn’t seen the movie so she was wondering who these gigantic cartoony creatures were. If you are with little ones, consider that they might get spooked, initially so it helps to warm them up to characters¬†before taking photos.

minions at universal studios la

minions universal studio

This is what I am talking about…

grinch whoville universal studio

If you do visit Universal Studios Hollywood until January 3, you’ll be greeted by the characters of Grinchmas in Whoville who were such a delight bringing to life the magic of the book, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas! I wrote all about this here.

whoville at universal

grinchmas tree universal

the grinch universal

Jurassic Park was¬†one ride that I got to do with my son while my husband watched over the baby. Don’t be fooled by the innocent looking¬†river raft. The real adventure lies is the 84-foot plunge at the very end which will make your heart race!

jurassic park universal

The Universal Studio tour was unanimously the favorite of my family! It is a 60-min ride so be prepared to go with snacks and a drink (just in case the kids get hungry or thirsty!). Also, the lines were extra long so if you do not have the front of the line passes, you will be waiting over 60 minutes during holidays. Best be prepared by coming earlier than the crowds.

studio tour universal

If you’re not a fan of rides or are baby-sitting small ones, you can opt to enjoy the live entertainment around the theme park. These musicians¬†were so very talented¬†and funny!

universal live band hollywood

For the kids and kids at heart, there is a fun playground located just right next to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The Super Silly Fun Land ¬†is more age-appropriate for them. You can rest and watch them play from a nearby bench as they climb, jump and slide. Gru’s LAB cafe is also nearby for a bite or a cup of coffee and still within eyes view from the playground!

kids playground universal studio

playground universal studios

There are tons of unique attractions for photo shooting with your kids, too!

universal studios kids la

phone booth universal studios

lard lad donuts universal studios

minions universal studios

universal studios hollywood bike

It was extra cold that day so make sure your kids are all covered and have a blanket, too for when they are asleep in the stroller. Oh, the stroller will save your day so make sure to bring a lightweight, easy-to-use one!

snowman universal studios

My son enjoyed so much that he made me promise to take him back to Universal Studios. I honestly cannot wait to! Harry Potter’s Wizarding World is opening in Hollywood on April 2016. Watch the official tv commercial here. Who’s as excited as I am to return?!

harry potter universal studio

Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608