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Take Pictures, Don’t Bring A Stroller: Joey Ong Has Learned From His Last Trip With A Toddler
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/@joeyongeats
  • Smart Parenting editor-at-large Joey Ong admits he was walking into fatherhood blind. “Ang dami kong tanong, wala akong alam. I needed a resource to ask about [helping with my wife’s pregnancy] and becoming a good dad,” he said.

    While this led to the DadbudPH community, of which Joey is the founder and de facto moderator for a little over 40,000 dad members in the Facebook group, and he has become a thought leader as a husband and dad, the life of a parent has many inescapable firsts.

    Joey’s most recent family vacation with his wife, Ciara, and toddler, Joselito, showed just that. In a leisurely 8-day trip to Bohol, Joey took Smart Parenting along as they loaded their baggage, boarded the plane, and stepped foot on the white sands of Panglao.

    In this episde of Usapang Tatay, he recalled a previous vacation they took to Boracay, when Joselito was only a 1-year-old. Just a year later, at 2 years old, Joselito is even more curious, observant, and still clingy. As much as this is just a short time to compare, Joey couldn’t help but point out some seemingly minor changes that made all the difference in preparing for this trip.

    Traveling with a 1-year-old vs. a 2-year-old

    First thing’s first, Joey said as they sat in they buckled into their airplane seats, “Libre ang 1-year-old. Pagdating sa 2-year-old, may extra seat na.”

    Local airlines usually charge zero to a 10% fee for infants under 24 months old, granted that they are on an adult's lap. Children 2 years old and above, on the other hand, have to purchase a ticket and be provided a seat. But Joselito, still on his first couple of airplane rides, still crawled over to his dad. "Kumandong lang siya akin," Joey said.

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    Another thing Joey and Ciara learned from their last beach vacation that proved to be a gamechanger this time around is not to bring a stroller! The husband-and-wife team went about their trip taking turns with Ciara carrying Joselito and Joey taking on the baggage.

    Fortunately, another lesson that Joey learned is to pack light. They had one piece of luggage because, he said, most things can be bought at the destination."You don't need to bring so many toys," he stressed, "Lalo na sa beach."

    "Treat it as your exercise," he later said, after carrying Joselito up a flight of stairs, perhaps on the way to the Chocolate Hills Observation Deck. "Parang workout ko na rin yun," he commented, noting that his toddler weighed almost 30 pounds.

    “Ngayon mas-aware na siya sa mga nangyayari,” Joey said. And this, the dad of one added, makes “dining out a challenge.” But he wasn’t the only parent on this trip and he took the opportunity to acknowledge the teamwork he had with this wife as they let the toddler explore his surroundings while they ate.

    Going to Bohol? Here are some tips

    1. Bohol is Kid-Friendly, Senior-Friendly

    "Bohol is actually super convenient, super baby-friendly, senior-friendly," he raved. Joey credits the ease of airport transfer in the popular tourist destination, "In 15 minutes, nasa resort na kayo."

    2. Rent A Car

    One of the best decisions he claims to have made is renting a car. It gave their family freedom to move and flexibility in their time for exploring the place. Joey shared that their vehicle rental cost P1,500 per day.

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    3. Take Lots Of Pictures

    "Whether it’s a drive, the plane, or riding a boat – local or international – talagang for me it’s priceless," he said of family vacations. In the whole process of making memories, Joey said, "Hindi ako shy mag-post. Mahilig ako mag-share sa social media. I love it na a year after that I’m reminded of that moment." So to all dads and moms out there, upload away!

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