21 November 2014

How to Renew Your Child’s Residence Visa in Dubai

Most residence visas and Emirates IDs are valid for 2 years in the UAE, so every other year, parents need to go through the process of renewing their children’s documents (unless they’re lucky to have their employers do this for them) to ensure their stay is legal.

Parents’ and maids’ visas, on the other hand, are valid for 1 year. You can read here how we applied for Mama’s visa, and when we renewed our maid’s visa 3 years ago.

Sophie recently turned 2 years old, so this was our reminder that we had to renew her visa and Emirates ID. It took us about an hour and a half for everything to be done; this includes the waiting times and walking from one place to the next.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Gather all the requirements: child’s original passport with existing visa, child’s photograph, child’s existing Emirates ID, copy of sponsor’s (usually the father) passport and visa page, copy of sponsor’s labour contract (should be attested), copy of tenancy contract
2) Go to the typing centre and say that you need to renew your child’s Emirates ID and Residence Visa
3) Pay the fees: Dhs410 for Residence Visa and Dhs240 for Emirates ID, plus a few extra dirhams for the typing centre. There’s an additional charge of Dhs100 if you want the visa processed urgently to have it issued right away. Normal processing takes 2 to 3 days.
4) You will be given two printed forms: one for the visa that has all the attachments, and one for the Emirates ID. Keep the paper for the Emirates ID to monitor the status. Usually it will automatically be delivered to your PO Box.
5) Check the information on the Visa form. Again, it was a good thing I did because the mobile number was wrong. They amended it right away, and after making sure everything else was correct, Hubby signed the form and we headed to their Residence Department (Room 4 of the main DNRD office along Trade Centre Road)
6) Show the form to the person at the Information Desk and he will give you a number; then wait for your number to show on the screen
7) When it’s your turn, give the documents to the officer at the counter.
8) If everything is ok and you requested for Urgent processing, the officer will stamp CANCELLED on the previous visa, stick a new one in the passport, and hand it back to you. If you opted for Normal processing, you can expect to receive the passport after a few days.
Our tenancy contract was in my name, so we were ready with a copy of my passport, visa, and our marriage certificate just in case the officer asked for them. He didn’t, but at least we were prepared with all the documents that could possibly be requested (originals, copies, Sophie’s birth certificates in English and Arabic, and her medical insurance card). We learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago.

Just an update for the Emirates ID…
2 days later, Hubby received an SMS saying that Sophie’s application needed modification. I checked with our PRO and he took the corresponding application paper, Sophie’s original passport with the new visa, her existing Emirates ID, photograph and Hubby’s Emirates ID to the typing centre.

By the time our PRO returned to our office and gave all the documents back to me, Hubby had received another SMS saying that the application had been validated and the ID card issuance was being processed.

So now we’re just waiting for the Emirates ID to be delivered.

20 November 2014

How to Get a Police Certificate in Dubai

I had to apply for a police certificate this week and fortunately, it was a fairly simple process. For those who need to get one, here are the steps you should follow:

1) Prepare all the requirements: original and copy of passport with visa, photograph, original Emirates ID

2) Go to the Police Department. I went to the one beside Al Qiyadah metro station (in front of Al Mulla Plaza), and proceeded to the Reception of the Criminal & Investigation Department

3) Get a number and wait for your turn.

4) At the counter, present the documents and when the officer asks, say that you want a Police Certificate for so-and-so purpose (work, study, immigration, marriage, etc.).

5) Pay the amount of Dhs210.

6) The officer will give you a receipt mentioning when you can collect the Certificate (mine was after 2 days).

7) On the collection day, go back to the same place, give your receipt to any of the officers behind the counters, and wait.

8) When you hear your name called, approach the officer, get the receipt, and go to the room that releases the Certificates and Permits. Where I went, this room was at the next building so I had to go through the scanning machine and walk a short distance. The room was on my left side when I entered the building

9) Give the receipt to the person and he or she will give you the certificate.
That’s it!

Oh, one simple piece of advice: Make sure to check the information on the certificate (a copy of your passport will be attached, which they will retain before giving the certificate to you).

It was a good thing I did because the place of birth they stated was Philippines. I pointed out to them that it was supposed to be PNG (as stated in my passport) or Papua New Guinea. They immediately corrected it, and the kind CID Director promptly signed the amended certificate, wishing me the best of luck before giving it to me. So nice!

I’m not sure if the same process is followed at the other police stations, but the above is what I went through.

Hope this helps!

16 November 2014

Pasalubong: Maamoul Mix

A guest from our Kuwait office came today, and he brought a nice tin can box of goodies for us.
According to Wikipedia, Maamoul are small shortbread pastries filled with pistachios, walnuts, and dates.

This assortment had all these, and I think I tasted figs in one that I tried.
I’m not really a fan of anything with nuts in them, but these were actually quite tasty.

At least I was able to try something new all the way from Kuwait =)

14 November 2014

Radisson Blu's New Zabeel Ballroom

The newly renovated Zabeel Ballroom of Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek opened its doors last Wednesday and Hubby and I were fortunate to have been invited to the Gala Dinner celebration.

We were met warmly as soon as we entered the hotel lobby, and upon being recognized by one of their managers, we were led to Zabeel Ballroom where we were given colorful and tasty welcome drinks.
The ballroom was very elegant, and the Arabic theme could be seen on the pillars and walls all over the venue.
image taken from the hotel's Twitter account
image taken from the hotel's Twitter account
The cool ice carvings that distinctly represented something special for the occasion were the ones that really caught my eye. The coffee pot was obviously Arabic, to match the theme.
The falcon of course is the UAE’s national bird.
As for the horse that lit up in different colors every few seconds, I thought it was because the locals enjoy horse racing.
it looks small here because I put images of different colors together, but I assure you it was a big sculpture
But after some research, I found that there was a thoroughbred racehorse named Zabeel. You learn something new every day, huh?! =)

The hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Tim Cordon, welcomed everyone and showed us images of their plans, which were all very impressive.
As the night went on, we helped ourselves to a buffet of Japanese rolls, peking duck rolls, dimsum, roast beef, and assorted desserts.

Throughout the dinner, we enjoyed live entertainment in the background as a band performed songs from the past few decades.
And upon leaving, all the guests were each given a bag containing these sweet treats from the hotel
chocolates and a vanilla scented candle
Thank you for the invitation, Radisson Blu.  And congratulations once again!

Please excuse the quality of the pictures.  I didn't bring a camera with me so I just made do with the one in my phone =)

12 November 2014

Quick & Easy Deliciously Moist Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Last night, I had a sudden craving.

We had just finished eating dinner, and I wanted a moist chocolate cake for dessert. Just my luck that we had all sorts of sweets at home, but no cake. I was too lazy to take out all the ingredients and bake because it was too time-consuming. I didn’t want to have to go out and buy one at the supermarket, either.

Thank goodness for the internet, I found a recipe on Table for Two that was so easy and quick to do, my craving was satisfied almost instantly.

Just look at these pictures I took while I made it:
All ingredients in the mug ready to be popped in the microwave
Ready after only 70 seconds!
A mug of chocolate heaven
Here’s how I made this delicious cake in minutes:

• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp sugar
• ⅛ tsp salt
• ¼ cup + 1 tbsp. milk
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread (I used Nutella)
• Chocolate chips

1) Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.
2) Add the milk and oil, and mix well.
3) Pour the batter in your favorite microwave-safe mug.
4) Add the chocolate spread on top of the batter, and put in some chocolate chips. You can also skip the chocolate chips, or even opt to use other toppings. Go ahead and experiment!
5) Place the mug in the microwave (Table for Two suggests to put a paper tissue first and set the mug on top of it just in case the cake overflows).
6) Microwave for 1 minute and 10 seconds on high temperature.
7) Take it out and enjoy!
Whoever invented the concept of a mug cake was an absolute genius!

11 November 2014

The Need to Auto-Correct Humanity

I’m sure you’ve seen Prince Ea’s viral video Can You Auto-Correct Humanity. If not, here it is:
Pretty strong message, huh?

I saw that clip yesterday, and the part where people communicate more through social media than up close and personal really struck me.

How often have we seen friends’ statuses saying that they have problems or they’re depressed? When we do, we usually click on the Comment button and send words to uplift their spirits. Those words help, I’m sure.

But how often do you actually call your friend to talk, and give him or her encouragement, to let that person know and feel that you do care because you set aside time for him/her?

In a world of technology where all forms of communication are within our reach, it really is sad that we tend to forget the importance of actually talking to each other. Or even finding time to be with each other because everything we do is through social media.

Last month, a high school friend’s mother passed away. Aside from commenting on his status and sending a private message, I called him. A few days later, after they lay his mom to rest, he sent a message saying that it was only then that the emotional, physical and mental stress finally dawned on him. I called again. It was a longer conversation this time.

Then the other night, another friend from high school posted several statuses on her account that sounded so desperate and alarming (you guessed it, suicidal), I immediately asked for her number. When I spoke to her, she explained that she was just being her normal crazy self and was simply looking for attention from her mother and brothers who didn’t seem to care about her. I was relieved that she wasn’t serious about taking her life…err, at least she didn’t sound like it. But I still told her that if she needed to vent out, I was just a call away.

Both friends live in the Philippines. Sure the charges are higher because of the international calls, but I was just glad that by the end of our conversations, they sounded calmer, relieved, and a bit happier. 

And by the time I put down the phone, I felt better as well.

10 November 2014

Pasalubong: Matcha KitKat

In the Philippines, when a person returns from a trip or visits someone at his home, he usually brings something that we call a "pasalubong;" something like a souvenir or gift from the place he visited.

Where I work, we receive a lot of pasalubongs because we often have guests visiting (mainly from Japan), and my colleagues and I go on business trips and/or our annual vacations to our home countries or elsewhere.  And since I want to remember all the different international treats I get to taste, I decided to post a series of all these goodies I enjoy.

First off, matcha (green tea) flavored KitKat brought by one of the managers who came back from his vacation.
He usually buys these for us whenever he comes from Japan and they are my favorite flavors out of the very few varieties of KitKat I've tasted...actually, more the green one than the pink.
Plain Matcha flavor
Cherry Blossom flavor
Each box has 3 individual packs of 2 wafer sticks.
Yum? Absolutely!!!

I wonder why the KitKat flavors in Dubai are so limited.  It was only last year (I think) when I saw Lulu Hypermarket selling the orange and mint ones, but that's it.

Have you tried other KitKat flavors? What are your favorites? Please share...so I can ask our manager to buy them if they're available in Japan =)

08 November 2014

My Fresh Adventure with Barakat

I often buy Barakat juices whenever we're at the supermarket, so when the opportunity came for bloggers to visit their factories and see firsthand how all their products were prepared, I immediately accepted the invitation.
We met up at their Fresh & Easy cafe located along Jumeirah Road on Saturday morning, where we were each given a special Strawberry Refreshment, made only for My Fresh Adventure. By this alone, you could tell that exciting things were in store for us.
While sipping the refreshing drink that had real strawberry bits, I looked around the brightly colored shop and was glad to see that, true to its name, everything was really freshly made. From the juices, sandwiches, and salads, to the cookies, and ice cream too!

A while later, their General Manager Mr. K.S. Santosh gave a small speech to welcome us and tell us a few things about Barakat, which means "prosperity." They call their employees "Barakatis" and their commitment is to provide fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices...bringing to their customers that feeling of home-prepared meals, that have the same love as a mother.
We then boarded a bus that would take us to their Juice & Fruits factory. On the way, we listened to an inspiring story of how the company began by a single man's humility, hard work, and efforts.

At the factory, we were welcomed by their CEO Mr. JR (the humble person who started it all) and Chef Mike Wunsch.

And right after that, we were given green insulated suits, hairnets, face masks, and blue booties for our shoes in preparation for the tour.

Inside the factory, we saw where all the fruits were stored, how they were individually checked, the juicing machines, and everything else up to the packaging where they end up in bottles or salad containers to be distributed to the supermarkets, cafes, and their other clients like Emirates Airlines and Starbucks.

You should have seen how fast the Barakatis manually peeled and cut the pineapples and melons in a matter of seconds.  They were so unbelievably fast!
Of course a factory tour wouldn't be complete to test the products, and that's what we did. We got to try a variety of their juices and smoothies that were all so delicious.
It was my first time to try their Muesli Smoothie, and I liked it right away. I even asked for a refill!
And since we couldn't stop raving about how much we liked what we tasted, just before we left that factory, one of the Barakatis gave a few of us a bottle each of our favorite flavors. Yaaaay!
Our next destination was the Veggies factory, where again we donned our cool outfits. Chef Mike then gave us a live show of how we can prepare tasty dishes just by adding a few spoonfuls of Barakat soup to their vegetables that come in microwavable bags. He also taught us how to make smooth tangy salad dressings with the use of Barakat juice!
We were then shown around the rest of the factory where each particular group of vegetables were washed, peeled, cut, and packaged.  And almost all of these painstaking processes were being done manually, by hand! Even the onions, which we all know is one of the hardest vegetables to handle. Wow!

The room where they make ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yoghurt was the last place we visited in the factory. Except in their Fresh & Easy cafĂ©, these aren’t easily available in the market yet. But you can place an order of any flavour you want, and they’ll readily make it for you. And when I say any flavour, I really mean ANY FLAVOUR. From the usual chocolate and vanilla, to the special ones like Honey Wasabi, Balsamic, and even Cigar!

Finally, we were led to a room where a spread of mouth-watering food was waiting for us. The onion soup was so creamy and tasty, many asked for seconds! =)
We enjoyed sausages, quesadillas, rolls, salads, fresh juice (of course!) and a variety of their ice-cream. Yummy!

Before leaving, we were each given their veggies in the microwavable bags and stationery items that are particularly useful to bloggers: cute notepads, a paper cube pad, pen, and USB.
So we not only learned how the Barakat products are made, but we got to enjoy the quality results as well.
Thank you, Barakat for a truly Fresh Adventure!

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