26 September 2013

has your maid absconded? (part 2)

In my earlier post, I didn’t explain how we cancelled Juliet’s visa and reported her as absconding at the Immigration Department. I hope none of you have to go through what we did, but just in case you do and you don’t know how to go about it, here’s what we did:

Visa Cancellation
At one of the typing centres at DNRD (the one located along Trade Centre Road), I informed one of the typists that we wanted to cancel our maid’s visa. He asked me to give him the following:
     • Maid’s original passport
     • My husband’s passport and visa copy (because he’s the sponsor)
     • Dhs100
After a few minutes, the man gave me the documents with the typed form, Hubby signed the indicated space at the bottom, and we headed to Hall 2 of the Immigration building. Hubby showed the papers to the man at the counter, who then gave him a number token, and waited. Once his number flashed on the screen, Hubby went to the designated counter and gave all the documents to the officer. The officer looked through the papers, scanned the barcode of the typed form, stamped CANCELLED on Juliet’s visa, and gave the original passport and 2 printed Cancellation papers to Hubby. That’s it.

Absconding Report
At the same typing centre at DNRD, I told the typist that our maid ran away and that we had cancelled her visa the day before. He asked me where we lived, when she ran away, and what was the sponsor’s (Hubby) mobile number. Then I gave him the following:
     • Maid’s original passport
     • My husband’s passport and visa copy
     • One of the printed Cancellation papers that the Immigration officer gave us last night
     • Dhs22
After giving me the typed form, the typist told me to proceed to Hall 15 (the building opposite the Commercial Bank of Dubai). Upon entering, we went to the Customer Service desk. The officer told Hubby to sign on the form, scribbled on the paper, and told us to pay Dhs360 at the counter just opposite his desk. The payment was for Deportation Fees (Dhs230) and Absconding Application Fees (Dhs130). Having done the payment and getting the sticker receipts, we went back to the Customer Service desk where the officer took the receipts and stuck them on the form, took Juliet’s original passport, and gave us a printed paper with some information that said Absconding at the top. We were then told that if she returns or if we see her again, we are to immediately take her to the nearest Police Station for them to handle. As for the Dhs2,000 security deposit that we had paid when we applied for her Employment Visa, we’ll only be able to get that back if and when she leaves the country.

Some of you are probably wondering if Juliet returned or if we’ve received any news as to where she is now. Well, she hasn’t gone back to the apartment. But from what I’ve heard, she went to POLO-OWWA yesterday and that’s where she is now. If she’s there, the UAE government cannot do anything because those who seek refuge at the Philippine Consulate and the POLO-OWWA are protected by the Philippine government and its laws.

Oh well. It’s her life and she’s old enough to know the consequences of what her actions would be. Good luck to her, wherever she is now.

25 September 2013

has your maid absconded? (part 1)

Obviously, ours has, otherwise I wouldn't be posting this.  And here’s how it happened...

Last Monday, Hubby and I went to the Immigration Department to cancel Juliet’s visa. After almost 7 months, we had had enough of her attitude, forgetfulness, and plain stupidity to put up with her any longer. She may have been hardworking, but she was not someone we could rely on to take full care of our children while we were at work. So as I was saying, we cancelled her visa and we informed her that she would be flying back to the Philippines on Friday night.

As you can expect, Juliet was upset and shocked at our sudden decision. However, since she had told us more than a month ago that she wanted to quit (she stayed because we asked her to and we told her that if she really wanted to leave, she would have to return to us half of the money we had spent for her visas and ticket to enter the country), we thought that she’d be relieved at least.

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I received a call from Mama saying that it seemed Juliet had run away. Only her (packed and locked) suitcase and a bag of laundry was left of her stuff. She didn’t tell Mama that she was going out or anything. Mama just suddenly noticed that she wasn’t in the apartment and that most of her things were gone. I immediately informed Hubby, and then I tried to call Juliet’s number. It was switched off. After several tries throughout the morning, it finally rang. She answered but she didn’t say anything, just listened. I started talking, telling her that she needed to go back to the apartment. She ended the call. I called again, but it just kept ringing. And then after a few more tries, the phone was switched off. Several minutes later, I called and it rang. Again she answered without saying anything. I was really angry by then so I practically shouted at her and threatened her that if she didn’t return, we would go to the police, Immigration and the Philippine Consulate to report what she did. After my outburst, she ended the call. Instead of calling her back, I just sent her an SMS repeating what I just told her.

After that, I called Juliet’s sister in the Philippines. She had no idea that we had cancelled Juliet’s visa nor had they spoken recently. Naturally, she was shocked, disappointed and embarrassed when I told her what her sister did. She kept apologizing on her sister’s behalf. Even after the call, she sent me a very long SMS to apologize, and practically begging me not to hurt her sister if she returns. I assured her that we wouldn’t, and we would let her know if Juliet did go back to the apartment.

Sometime later, Hubby called. He said that all the people he spoke with advised him to report what happened to the authorities to clear his name. We may have cancelled her visa already, but if she’s still in the country and if something happens to her or if she gets caught doing anything illegal, Juliet is still his responsibility because he is her sponsor. He immediately went home to get her documents, and went to the Police, the POLO-OWWA office, and the Ministry of Labour. It was at the MOL where someone told him that since her visa was already cancelled, he had to go to Immigration. Hubby was already getting agitated at the situation and having to go to all these offices. Fortunately, when I explained the situation to my manager, he quickly understood and let me leave work early. So at 2:45pm, Hubby and I were on our way to the Immigration Department. On the way, he told me that he had called a couple of Juliet’s friends (numbers that we got from her mobile phone). All of them denied speaking to her and/or seeing her recently. Not at all convinced that they were telling the truth, he made sure they knew we were going to report her as absconding, and if caught, the person or people who helped her would be liable and charged accordingly.

Upon arriving at Immigration, we went to one of the typing centres, explained what happened, and gave them what they needed. After a while, they gave me the paper with the attachments and pointed where we needed to go.  We went to the hall, gave the documents to the officer, paid some money, and handed over our absonding maid's passport.  As soon as we left DNRD, we both let out sighs of relief, knowing that in spite of everything, our family was safe and our names were cleared if anything happens to the lady we hired from Minalin, Pampanga.

23 September 2013

the blue rosary

While sitting on the bus this morning, I was thinking about the rosary.  A few seconds later, my thoughts shifted to the color blue.

After a few minutes, as soon as I got off the bus and stepped on the pavement, I found this.
lost and found
Coincidence? The power of my mind? Or a message from God?

19 September 2013

there always has to be a catch

One of our managers gave me an iStyle Gift Voucher worth Dhs100 from HSBC. He said that he received a similar one for Sharaf DG a couple of months ago, but when he used it, he ended up buying items worth Dhs1,000. So he decided this time, he wouldn’t give in to the temptation to spend more.

Awesome for me, right? I immediately checked the internet for what items were being sold at iStyle, and as I expected, most of them cost at least Dhs1,000. However, I did notice that apart from the accessories, they did sell one item that cost less than Dhs200.
this would be perfect for when I go to the park to walk and jog, don't you think?
I was all set on calling Hubby to ask him if we could go to the mall after work so that we could buy it. After all, I’ll just have to fork out Dhs99. Sayang naman kung hindi samantalahin ang pagkakataon.  I had even already chosen the color I wanted to buy it in.  But then I turned over the voucher and saw this...
So what’s the problem there? I don’t have an HSBC credit card!

18 September 2013

typg #1: when we took mama to dubai hospital

It was a Saturday and Hubby and I were on our way to Dubai Festival City to buy a dress for Sophie for her birthday. Suddenly, my mobile rang and looking at it, I saw it was Mama calling. When I answered, I already knew something was wrong. Mama’s voice was shaky (as if on the verge of tears) as she asked me if we could go home as soon as possible because she felt dizzy and very weak. I immediately told Hubby to make a u-turn and head home. Fortunately, even though it was the peak of the rush hour traffic, we didn’t get caught in any traffic jams. However, all the way, I kept imagining the worst but still praying and hoping for the best.

Upon entering the door, I saw Mama lying on our sofa, her head on a pillow with a blanket covering her shivering body. I asked all of them (Mama, Yaya Juliet, Gabe, and Caila) what happened, and they said that Mama had been fixing the things she had bought in her balikbayan box when she suddenly felt dizzy, and then she rushed to the bathroom where she threw up. Twice. I told Mama we would take her to the hospital, but she said she just needed to rest. I let her. But after 2 minutes of watching her frail body just lying there, I couldn’t take it anymore and told her in a stern voice that she needed to see a doctor. Good thing she didn’t disagree anymore. Most probably because she was too weak to argue and/or she knew I was right.

Leaving Yaya Juliet and Gabe in charge of the apartment and our 2 daughters, Hubby and I took Mama to the Emergency of Dubai Hospital. I showed Mama’s health card to the man at the Admission Counter while Mama half-lay half-sat on one of the chairs in the Waiting Area. While we waited, a Filipina nurse saw us and, noticing how Mama looked, she asked for a wheelchair and then told me to take her to a small room where she asked a few questions and checked Mama’s blood and blood pressure. When I asked her the findings, she just said it was a little high, but generally ok. It was also in that room where Mama vomited again. Luckily the nurse managed to pull out a plastic bag just in time before Mama couldn’t hold it anymore. It was gross, but what else could you expect.

Then the nurse directed us to the Monitoring Ward (actually, I just made that up. I don’t know the actual name of the area) where Mama was asked to lie down on one of the beds. A few minutes later, another nurse came. Mama’s BP was checked again, she was hooked up with I-don’t-know-what, and given injections. While she did all this, I checked Mama’s paper and saw that her earlier systolic BP was 220. What?! That was not “a little high” as the nurse told me earlier, that was absolutely critical! I seriously wanted to freak out! All sorts of what-ifs started entering my mind. But thinking about it, maybe the nurse didn’t want me to panic and she generally knew what she was doing. Sometime later, another nurse came for her ECG test and left us, And then a doctor came, talked to Mama, asked her a few basic questions, asked her to stick out her tongue and then instructed her to relax and get some sleep.
An hour later, the second nurse returned and checked Mama’s BP. It was lower but still in the high range. Again, she left and Mama was told to relax and sleep. The same thing happened again after another hour, and then the doctor returned.

I had called my sister earlier to let her know what happened and we agreed that it would be best if Mama stayed in the hospital for 1 night.  We had already planned on taking the next day off from work.  However, when I asked the doctor, he said he could admit her, but since Mama had generally recovered, there was really no need for him to keep her there. Mama didn’t help at all because she was so active when the doctor asked her to stand up and walk on her own. Obviously, she wanted to go home and didn’t want to be cooped up in the hospital any longer.
back to her old self and feeling much better
Since it was a government hospital and we had taken Mama through the Emergency, we didn’t have to pay for anything except for the few medicines the doctor prescribed (just Dhs4). So after more than 3 hours in Dubai Hospital, we headed back home.

Thank You and Praise God we practically didn’t have to pay for anything at the hospital.
Thank You and Praise God for Your miraculous healing power for Mama’s fast recovery which You gave through the doctor and nurses of Dubai Hospital.
Thank You and Praise God that despite Mama’s high blood pressure, it didn’t bring about any serious side effects.
Most of all, Thank You and Praise God for extending Mama’s life on earth with us.

One’s life is truly a gift and blessing, and we should always be thankful for every day, every hour, every minute and every second that our loved ones are with us.

16 September 2013

anniversary staycation at crowne plaza, dfc

Since we’ve kind of made it a tradition to celebrate our anniversary at a hotel, Hubby and I decided to take advantage of our certificate from TVI Express and book our family of 4 in a room for 2 nights at Crowne Plaza, Dubai Festival City this year. It was a nice place in the city with easy access to the mall but relatively peaceful just the same.

As soon as we stopped in front of the hotel, the valet immediately opened our doors and took the keys to Pepper, the bellman automatically helped us take out our bags and put them on the trolley, and the guy at the front desk swiftly went through the process of checking us in.

We were booked in a Superior Room which had a view of the airport, and although I didn’t appreciate it at first, I found the view bright and pretty later that night when the lights went on.
As Hubby and I expected, Caila was disappointed when she saw the room. Masyado na talagang mataas ang standards nya ever since we stayed in the suite at St. Regis last year. Eh kasi naman anak, SUITE yun, atsaka libre pa. Standard rooms pa lang ang kayang iafford ng mga magulang mo ngayon. But after we switched the TV to a cartoon channel, she comfortably sat on the bed and forgot her disappointment. Sophie, on the other hand, was practically everywhere. The room was carpeted so we let her crawl around, allowing her to explore the room. Of course we made sure to keep our eyes on her in case she picked up anything or put her hands in her mouth. We had requested for a cot from the hotel, but when we saw that it had steel bars, we decided not to use it because Sophie might hurt herself. We just kept it aside instead to put some of our things in.

We had dinner that night at our friends’ and co-Unit members’ villa because of the MER1 Service Team Meeting that we needed to attend. We didn’t stay until the end of the meeting though; they understood that we were in the midst of enjoying our family celebration.

It was a pretty tight fit with the four of us snuggled together in the king-size bed that night, but very cozy just the same.

the view from our room at night
The next morning, we all woke up at pretty much the same time but were too lazy to get up. Ang sarap kasi matulog sa napakalambot na kama na katabi ang buong pamilya sa malamig na kwarto sa hotel eh. After a while, we finally got up and went down to enjoy the buffet breakfast at Zaytoun. Even though it was already the end of May, the weather was still really cool so we opted to sit at a table outside where we could enjoy the fresh air and view of the creek and Business Bay.

Much to the amusement of our daughters, there were a few birds flying around that would peck on any leftover food when a guest would leave his or her table. Whenever a bird would go near our table, Caila would chase after it. We didn’t go back up to our room right after breakfast; we just lounged around and enjoyed the cool breeze and scenery while our eldest daughter ran around the open area. Sophie was content on looking at the birds and eating whatever food we gave her.
our table

When Sophie began to get sleepy, we headed back to our room so that Hubby and Caila could get ready and swim in the hotel pool.

For lunch, we decided to play safe (translation: nagtitipid kami) and walk to the mall. Since we were still pretty full from the sumptuous breakfast we had earlier, we just ordered some meals from McDonald’s. After lunch, while Hubby and Sophie went back to the hotel, Caila and I went to HyperPanda to buy some snacks for us to munch on during our stay in the hotel. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it already in this blog, but she is soooo talkative! All the way to the supermarket and back to the hotel, Caila would talk and talk and talk about anything and everything she could see or think of. Sometimes she would ask me questions, sometimes she would point out something to me, other times she would just comment or blurt out a statement and then end it with “di ba, Mommy?” Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. I’m really glad she’s developed her communication skills really well. May times lang kasi na nauubusan ako ng isasagot ko sa kanya, and sobrang slang na sya mag-Tagalog minsan. But at least her being talkative gave us an opportunity to bond and made our walk not boring.

A few minutes after we reached our room, the doorbell rang and Hubby opened the door to a nice gift from the hotel.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on the bed. We either slept or watched TV or played games on Tisoy and Tisay. Fast forward to that night when we all went to sleep, Caila insisted on sleeping in the hotel cot that we had earlier requested for Sophie. Since there wouldn’t be any harm in that, we just let her do what she wanted while Sophie slept between me and Hubby.
our eldest enjoying a good sleep
We enjoyed breakfast again at Zaytoun the following day. Just like the day before, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed it at the same table outside. This time, we didn’t stay too long because my sister, her son, Mama and Yaya Juliet had arrived just after we had finished eating. After a few minutes, we all headed down to the pool where all of us (except Mama, Juliet and Sophie) went swimming. I think we spent more than 3 hours at the pool area, just lazing around enjoying the water. There was a kind of half of bathtub there that Caila just liked to lie down on
Finally, when we felt that the skin on our hands and feet were all wrinkled up, we decided to head back to our room. We had just enough time to each take a shower, get dressed and pack our stuff before checking out.

It was a very relaxing staycation; a wonderful end to my two-week leave from work and a great way to top off our anniversaries and the girls’ month-birthdays.

02 September 2013

surprise snack

if only i liked spicy food, then i would have really appreciated the free pack of chips.
thanks anyway, coffe├Âl!

pc's at cc

1 september 2013
instant get-together
kfc cluster a parent coordinators

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