Thursday, November 28, 2013

thankful thursday: congratulations dubai!

Yes, you guessed it…Dubai will be hosting Expo 2020! Yaaaay! And since it’s the country’s 42nd National Day on the 2nd of December, it’s a double celebration for the Emiratis and expats here.

I love that the nation celebrates all of its achievements, and always in a big way. Like last night, as soon as Dubai was declared as the winning bidder, Burj Khalifa lit up with colorful fireworks. 
source
This was shortly followed by an announcement that all schools and educational institutions would be closed today. 

Then to begin the day this morning, Sheikh Hamdan went up to the top of the tallest building in the world to wave the UAE flag.  You can see the video here
source
And early this afternoon for 2 hours, Baskin Robbins outlets shared the sweet victory by giving away free ice-cream. 
source
No matter who you are or where you go, you can’t miss the cheerful mood in the atmosphere. Even if you’re not that into it, the thrill and excitement will eventually rub on you as you go around the city and look at all the festivities.

Truly, it’s a great time to be in Dubai now. And I, for one, am proud that I’m here. I sure hope my family and I will still be in the emirate to witness and experience Expo 2020. Because knowing Dubai, it won’t be anything less than amazing.

Well done to the government and people for winning the Expo 2020 bid!
And Happy 42nd National Day to the entire UAE!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4 bidders, 1 host for expo 2020

Who among these cities and their themes will win the Expo 2020 bid?
Connecting Minds, Creating the Future
The Global Mind
New Routes to a Better World / Health for All
 
Power of Diversity, Harmony for Growth
If you’re in Dubai, you can’t miss the buzz of excitement that began since this morning. For several months, the emirate has been adorned with signs and billboards with its Expo 2020 logo and theme bid.  All of us have been invited to "Be part of it."  There’s no mistaking that practically everyone in the UAE wants Dubai to win because it would mean more job opportunities and more money coming in.

Compared to the other 3 competitors, I personally think that Dubai really stands out and deserves to win. Its location is accessible to everyone, it has grown so fast from a big sandpit to an iconic city with amazing buildings and state-of-the-art infrastructure, and I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world where you can find a place that has as many nationalities co-existing with each other. It’s a nice place for a short tour or visit, but it’s a great place that you’d enjoy living in for a long time as well.

So, who’s going to host Expo 2020? We’ll find out at 8:30pm tonight.

want-it wednesday: visit japan

And it’s all Ser Chief and Maya’s fault.
source
If you live in the Philippines or are an OFW who has a TFC subscription, you most probably know who I’m talking about and why. But if not, let me introduce them to you with a background.

I’m not the type of person who follows Tagalog soap operas on television, especially those that are shown in the afternoon (when I haven’t reached home yet) or late evening (when I’d rather be in dreamland). Even when our friends often talked about the previous day’s episode or what was going on in the story, I would just tune out. But when our wedding godparents (who are leaders of the YFC in Jebel Ali and are a couple we really look up to) admitted that they also follow the show, I became curious. So I started watching episodes of “Be Careful With My Heart” on Youtube to see what the fuss was about…and I liked it. It’s basically a modern day fairy tale about a nanny/maid (Maya) who falls in love with her widower boss (Ser Chief/Richard), who eventually falls in love with her as well. Sure there were parts that dwelled too long on a particular event, but the drama is basically light (no violence or animosity between characters), shows the Pinoy cultures, and teaches a few lessons from time to time. Plus, the actors and actresses just act natural, not forced. So even though it's a fairy tale story, you can still relate with what they were going through. I found it too much though when practically the entire wedding and reception were filmed (even the boring parts) as if that day really and truly happened. OA na masyado if you ask me. Anyway, after the wedding, the newlyweds went to Japan for their honeymoon. Which is the reason for this post.

If you don’t know yet, Hubby and I love Japanese food. We’re lucky that whenever we crave for it, this cuisine is available and affordable (in most restaurants) here in Dubai. Also, when company guests arrive, they usually bring omiyage for all of the staff in our office, allowing us to taste the different sweets from Japan. An added bonus is when big bosses visit, some of them give a separate smaller box of Japanese sweets just for me. Plus, I work for a Japanese company which has its own washlet in the office so I get to experience this bit of high technology from their country every day.   

Until recently, I was content that all these Japanese stuff was within my reach. But when I watched the past 2 episodes of “Be Careful With My Heart,” I realized that I want to actually visit and experience Japan. 

I want to eat authentic Japanese food that was freshly cooked in Japan by a local chef.

I want to stay in a ryokan (traditional inn) that has sliding doors in the rooms.
source
I want to see Mount Fuji (I don’t think I could climb it, though) and ride the shinkansen (bullet train).
source
I want to soak in a natural hot spring.
source
I want to run in the falling snow, catch the flakes and watch them melt (actually, I want to do this in any country that has snow).

And most of all, I want to experience walking in the park and being surrounded by beautiful pink cherry blossom trees.
source
As I mentioned earlier, I work for a Japanese company. The head office is in Tokyo, and several of my engineer colleagues have frequently travelled there for meetings and trainings. But that’s it. None of the staff in HR, Administration or Accounts has gone there on behalf of the Dubai branch, so it’s not likely that my managers would think of sending me there on a business trip.

I’m wishing upon a star and keeping my fingers crossed that one day, there’ll be an important reason for them to send me to our head office for a few days.  Or maybe I'll win in this Etihad Airways competition that I joined.  So, who knows?

Monday, November 25, 2013

music monday: we are the world for philippines

I was all set on blogging about a particular song for today’s Music Monday, but while looking for its music video on Youtube, I came across this one. And I knew it was meant to be shared.

I know so many artists have made so many versions of the song, but this one really struck me because it was sung by Filipinos for their kababayans who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan. What’s more, the singers aren’t famous (at least, not to me) but their voices are so powerful. But best of all, the video really showed how united and strong the Filipinos are, despite being faced with practically the worst and most difficult situations ever. Thanks of course to all those who helped and are helping the survivors get on their feet to move on with their lives.

 Ang galing talaga!  Nakakaiyak sa ganda.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

selfie sunday: sophie

She’s at that stage when she absolutely adores looking at pictures and videos herself. And since she also likes making wacky faces at herself, I thought I’d take advantage of her cute narcissism-silliness by taking her selfie shots. 
ain't she adorable?!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

thankful thursday: bed weather and chocolates

Summer has left the country and winter has finally arrived. Hurray! The weather had started changing in early November (I think), but it was only this morning as I was waiting at the bus stop when I truly felt that the cold season had really started. For one thing, it had rained earlier (and it rained again later this morning); for another, the winds were strong and cool. Even while I'm typing this, one of the windows in our office room is open and all of us are enjoying the fresh air.  This is something we wouldn’t dare do during the summer.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of the changing sky while waiting for my ride.
just above me, the sky is blue
a few seconds later, taken from the same spot but of the sky above the park, it has slowly turned gray
As the rains poured heavily in different parts of the country this morning, it was announced that classes had been suspended and students were being sent home as a precautionary measure. Even some companies sent their employees home, allowing them an early start to the weekend. I can imagine them now sitting cosily on the couch or in bed with a bowl of soup or cup of hot chocolate. Lucky them.

Well, I may not be lying in bed right now, but I do have chocolate…a box of Belgian macadamia ones from Japan.   
And these are the things I’m thankful to have experienced and received today.

a quick hello and daily memes

Hi there! Yes, I’m still here. Sorry for not updating this for some time. You see, I haven’t been blogging because of several reasons. Well, a few actually. Not that I need to explain myself, but since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I guess I owe it to this blog and my readers (naks!) to fill the space with words para hindi sayang yung pag-visit nyo.

Ok, first reason: Blogger’s Block. I simply couldn’t think of anything to blog about. Sure there were a few things that came into my mind from time to time, but as soon as I looked at the screen, I just couldn’t find the words.

Another reason for my absence was I was on a short leave from work from the 14th to the 18th of November. Hubby had been on local leave (he had to use up all his leave credits otherwise they would be forfeited) and I wanted to join him so that I could also spend time with our daughters for the last few days of his leave. We weren’t busy, but of course I wanted to just relish the free time we had. And as expected, when I returned to work on Tuesday, there were several e-mail messages I had to read and countless tasks and requests to take care of which continued until yesterday.

And since news circulated the world of the damage that Typhoon Yolanda left behind in the Philippines, I just lost the enthusiasm to blog. Practically everything I read or saw focused on this subject. It was depressing. We did what we could (donate, participate in fund-raising activities, pray), but of course to avoid being labelled as inconsiderate, minabuti ko na lang na wag muna magblog. Nakakahiya nga naman magkwento ng kung ano-anong bagay while our kababayans are suffering from the calamity.

But fortunately, the survivors are slowly but surely picking up the pieces and moving on with their lives. Thanks to practically the whole wide world in helping out. As I watched the videos and pictures of the memorable things people and countries did for the Yolanda survivors, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. Nakaka-touch di ba? Nakakatuwa. In the midst of the hatred, fighting and wars going on, the world united to help the Filipinos stand up again.  At least something good came out of this disaster.

So as I mentioned earlier, I was on leave for a few days. With so much free time in my hands, I just enjoyed the lack of having to doing anything. In short, I enjoyed being lazy. Oo na, hindi maganda yun. Eh minsan lang naman. But while my body was being a bum, my mind tried to think of ways on how I could improve this blog. You know…the design and layout, the posts, traffic feed, how to get sponsors, even the name. I know one of the first things to do is to register my own domain name to put this blog “out there,” and I would definitely want to do that; but at this point in time, I don’t think I’m ready yet.  There's so much I want to do, but...

Anyway, in the meantime, I’m starting with baby steps and try to be more masipag with my posts. And one way of doing that would be…memes! Ok, not everyone looks forward to reading or doing memes; but if you appreciate at least one of them, well, that’s enough. What’s important is my blogging frequency and style improves and you, my dear readers (paninindigan ko talaga na meron) are entertained at least a bit.

So here are the memes that I’ll (hopefully) do each day. They’re not complete, though. I’ve been wracking my brains and the net for ideas for Tuesday and Saturday but I can’t think of any suitable memes for these days. If you know of any or if you have any suggestions, I’d really like to hear from you.

Selfie Sunday – not only of me, but of whoever will use Tisay (my Galaxy Note) and neglects to delete their pictures (heehee!)
Music Monday - all about songs and music
? Tuesday - any suggestions?
Want-it Wednesday – things I want to buy or own, or experiences I would love to try at least once in my life (so that my family and friends know what to give me on Christmas and my birthday *wink*)
Thankful Thursday – whatever big or small things that I’m just grateful for
Photo Friday – another reason to post photos of anything that catches my interest
? Saturday – any suggestions?

Ok fine. I’ll be honest. Please don’t expect me to do these every single day. These are just to motivate and inspire me when I’m stuck with the desire to blog something but can’t think of anything. I will try to do them, but not constantly. Basta, bahala na. And if you’d also like to do these memes on your blog, let me know and forward your link to me so that I can mention it here. It’ll be fun.

Let’s make it fun! =)

Monday, November 11, 2013

free samples delivered to your door

Someone from the neighbourhood pharmacy rang each of the doorbells in our entire building to give these out last night

unexpected goodies!
Just in time too, because we had run out of wet wipes and forgot to buy a pack when we went to Carrefour last Saturday.  As for the tube of Olay, I'm willing to try it out.

I remember there was also a time when a truck parked outside our apartment building and men started giving out paper bags full of different kinds of Yoplait yogurt to the passersby (either the brand was still new in the UAE market or about to be introduced). All of us in our family had a great time trying them out.

Now where else in the world do you have samples delivered to your door for no reason?  =)

victims of typhoon yolanda need your help

Who hasn’t heard about the devastation that one of the most powerful storms ever recorded brought to the Philippines over the weekend? It’s practically all over the news.
image from mb.com.ph
image from inquirer.net
image from ibtimes.com
These are just a few of the pictures, but you can see and imagine how much damage Typhoon Yolanda brought, and the lives it took and affected.  And as of the time that I'm writing this post, it has been declared in the news that the death toll may reach 10,000!  So much loss in just a couple of days!

From all around the world, all sorts of help are pouring out for the Philippines. To name a few, the UAE, Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the US, Canada, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) have donated and pledged support and assistance programs and projects for the victims of the super typhoon. Even Pope Francis has asked for everyone’s prayers through his Twitter account.

The victims need all the help they can get. So if you are one of the kind-hearted souls who would like to help but don’t know how, please click on this site and/or this site which have updated lists of official groups and centers which you can contact.

No matter how small or big your assistance is, it will definitely go a long way…and I’m sure my kababayans would be eternally grateful.

Maraming salamat po.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

the best theme for her 5th birthday

As early as now, Caila has already decided on what the theme will be for her 5th birthday. Oh yes, there’s no question about it …she will celebrate it with a party. Lucky for us, a celebration at school with her classmates is already a party, just like her 4th birthday. So all we need to order and prepare are the cake, goody bags, maybe something else to eat, and drinks. 

Last month, she was considering a Lilo and Stitch theme. Ok naman.  It's one of her favorite shows, plus she can sing most of the lyrics of the theme song (Aloha E Komo Mai).  But a few days later when we started singing a few lines of the Hi-5 theme song (the one that goes “1-2-3-4…Hi-5! Five in the air, let’s do it together. Hi-5!”), she said that she wanted a Hi-5 theme kasi daw she’s turning 5 years old. In fairness, she has a point. The theme will suit her age.
I thought she would change her mind and realize she wants something else (with little girls, you just never know), but so far she still wants Hi-5.  She's been telling us that almost every single day (with matching "1-2-3-4...Hi-5!")  We’ll see. After all, there’s still 3 months to go.
 
But to tell you the truth, I want her to stick with the Hi-5 theme. Bagay na bagay eh.  And of course knowing me, you can bet I've already begun checking the internet for ideas on Hi-5 cake designs =)    

michael kors selma bag and wallet

Saw this on our bed after I stepped out of the shower this morning.
The reason for the gift: wala lang. 
in pink!
Thank you, Mahal!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

proud of the pinoy spirit

We all know Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit the Philippines early yesterday and is on its way out today. It was scary, I tell you. Ok, I might not have been at the Philippines when it lashed out at the country, but watching the videos on Youtube was enough to worry me and all my Filipino friends who have loved ones back home. Who wouldn’t get worried? It’s a super typhoon and one of the strongest ones ever recorded in modern history.

I immediately called Mama to ask where she was and how they were. Fortunately, she was at my brother’s house where they were all safe and away from the centre of the tropical cyclone’s direct strike. Whew!

Our country has been facing terrible disasters lately: the PDAF scam, the recent earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu, and now this. Haaaay! But in spite of all these negative things, I’m so proud of the Filipinos’ attitude: that we don’t dwell much on the problems, and just move on as much as we can.

Truly, nothing can beat the Filipino spirit!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

ihop and picture-taking at dubai mall

I admit that when I heard that IHOP was opening in Dubai, I was curious and wanted to try it out. Plus, there were so many raving reviews about it. So even though it was just a restaurant that mainly served pancakes (food that I cook occasionally on weekends), I felt that we should try it, at least once.

And after our visit, I’m thinking that maybe once is enough.
Let me start with when we arrived. When I told the lady that we needed a table for 4 plus a baby, she first offered us a table in the mall part, outside the restaurant. No way did I want a table there (it would defeat the purpose of an IHOP experience), so I asked her if they had any tables inside.

Lady: Ahh, yes ma’am. Is this table ok? (it was in the middle, in the way of the diners who would be going to the balcony and out)
Me: Is that the only one available?
She didn’t answer, but just looked at me.
Me: What about outside on the balcony?
Lady: Outside? Yes ma’am.
And she led us to the balcony that had several empty tables.
I don’t know why she didn’t offer this from the beginning.

Soon a server approached us and gave us the menus, and after scanning the options, we told her our orders. A while later, our drinks were served...
(l to r) Caila's Chocolate Milk, my Splashberry, Hubby's Tropical Island Twist, and Jovy's Iced Tea
...followed by our food.



The servings were pretty big; and since we hadn’t had breakfast yet (we had come from attending Sunday mass), we dug in, anticipating yummyness.

Unfortunately, we weren’t satisfied. The hashbrowns were too toasted for us, so you could hear our mouths crunching while we ate. The Breakfast Sampler and Griddle Melts were generally ok, except the Melts’ breads were too thick and the Sampler’s eggs were too runny. The pancakes (from my Sampler and Caila’s Funny Face) were our biggest disappointment. Sure they were thick and fluffy, pero walang lasa! I honestly think that’s why they had these syrups ready on the table…to add flavour.
I know our pancakes weren’t part of their Pancake Menu, but still, whatever pancake they served, it should be delicious and tasty. Siguro naman iisa lang yung pinaka-basic na batter ng pancake nila di ba? It’s their signature dish. Kaya nga International House of Pancakes eh. Seriously, even the Maya boxed pancake mix tastes better.

Anyway, after leaving the restaurant, Caila wanted me to take her picture. I gladly obliged because she rarely wants to have her solo picture taken...and it's hard to make her smile for pictures.
click! click! click!
And since ginaganahan sya magpa-picture, we asked Jovy to take one of our family.
a decent family picture where our faces can be seen. yay!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

is there a currency symbol for the dirham?

I had an insomnia attack again last night. And just like what usually happens when I can’t sleep, so many jumbled thoughts entered my brain. One of which was the currency symbol of the dirham.

During my almost 10 years in this country, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the symbol. It’s always represented by AED or Dhs. Those are letters! Why doesn’t it have a symbol?!

For the dollar, it’s $.
For the pound, it’s £.
The yen is ¥, and the euro is €.
Even the Philippine peso and Indian rupee have their own symbols.
So why not the dirham?

And since my brain just couldn’t push the thought aside, it came up with a symbol to represent the dirham:
Well, you never know…maybe this idea could take effect. 
Ahem! Attention, UAE leaders and government! ☺

friends from jeddah visit dubai

Good friends from my high school years visited Dubai during the Eid holidays, so of course we had to have a mini-reunion with all our other batchmates based in Dubai.

After enduring all the detours and heavy traffic leading to Dubai Mall on the 17th of October, Hubby, Caila and I met-up with the group at Ribs and Rumps in the Foodcourt. As usual, it was a get-together filled with laughter and reminiscing.
Although Kiomi and Francis’ son had fallen asleep, their daughter, Caila, and Sharon’s daughter had a good time as they played together. It was really cute that they got along, quickly overcoming their shyness from meeting for the first time.
Time passed by quickly and although it was getting pretty late, since our batchmates from Jeddah wanted to see the Dancing Fountain, we headed outdoors where we reached just in time to watch a show begin. Coming all the way from Al Ain, Love managed to meet up with us for a quick group picture and one last show of the Dancing Fountain before we left the mall.
middle east chapter reunion
The next day, my family and I took Kiomi out so that she could do a little souvenir-shopping. And on Sunday after work, I met up with her and Francis (and their kids) at Tim Horton’s in Deira City Centre. I also managed to meet fellow n@wie Gracie (behind the blog A Reality Bite) and her husband who were college pals of Francis.

Hubby and I had taken Francis around the sights of Dubai when he came for a quick stopover several years ago (2005 or 2006), and the last time I saw Kiomi was back in June 2010, so there was so much to catch up on. As always, it’s great to see good old friends again wherever and whenever our paths cross.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...