Saturday, December 31, 2011

hello 2012!!!

if I were to fanatically believe in horoscopes looks like 2012 will be a good year for me!

 Socializing, health checkups and concern for finance is indicated in the astronomical charts of Horoscope 2012 for Pisces. January is the month to take a break from work and relax with your family. February will see you achieve new heights at work and peace at personal front. March is the month for friends and travel. Your zeal to achieve your dreams will form shape during the months of April and May. Romance will flourish; nuptial knots may happen in July. Second half of the year will see you apply for loans and funds. Joint ventures with close ones will take place in the months of September and October. November has many important dates and events which will remain as a milestone in the years to come. 

2011 had passed by in a blur, nothing of note had happened - to me at least. I guess I was sad, angry and depressed most of 2011 to notice, realize or appreciate anything much... but with only a few hours till the New Year here is hoping 2012 will be better, horoscope or not 2012 here we go!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

lucky 200

It's that time of year again - nope I am not taking about Christmas but that time when Filipino expats are obliged to go to the embassy, stand in queue for hours and pay the Overseas Employment fee as a requirement for Filipinos who are to fly to the homeland for vacation. It is bad enough that it can take 3-5 hours for the whole process to finish but what really frustrates me more is that the Philippine Embassy is located at an area not very familiar with taxi drivers.

I have been there once last year, and though I have tried to memorize the location, it still is difficult to direct a driver to go there because more often than not they aren't even familiar with the landmarks I have taken note of. Showing them a google map or dictating them the address are both pointless. It is only if I direct the driver one turn, signal and street at a time (which I could not possibly do) or wait until one finally say "yes" he knows where the Philippine Embassy that I will finally be heading straight to my destination.

Lucky I wasted just under an hour to get a cab - I would have gotten one in a jiffy but nobody knows where the embassy is!!! when I got there I'm 200th on the queue!!! - I was 200th and they were serving number 126!!! It was a loooong way to go but thank goodness for the impatient people who got numbers but left because it gave us a chance to jump the line and I was able to finish before the staff took their lunch break otherwise I'd have to wait one and a half hours until they re-open at 1:30PM and goodness knows how much longer!!!

whew!!! I sure wish this process can be done over the internet!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it's tattoo!

The first tattoo (relax dad it's henna!!) I had was way back 10 or more years ago - I was into 'grunge' looks that time and usually wore cargo pants and statement shirts. We saw a henna tattoo artist on one of our out of town trips and I though I would be cooler If I got a tattoo on my arm to complete my tough 'look' and so I did. It was just a small Japanese or Chinese symbol that stands for courage. I remember thinking having that on my arm would give me the push that I need to brave the world - I felt so symbolic. After a few days the tattoo faded of course but I will always remember the rationale behind it.

Fast forward to the present - I got another tattoo (again dad it's henna!) as part of a desert safari adventure we went on to. Henna art, for me is another way veiled women accessorize - with body art but it turns out its more than just body art, it is a part of tradition. Women get hannaed for joy and good luck, with brides often having the most elaborate and complex applications. 

I got mine on my hand in a simple flower and vines design. It took the artist just a couple of minutes to complete the design and I got to say while the one I got before made me feel 'tough' this one made me feel dainty and girly and I loved it!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

happy 40th UAE!!!

Happy 40th National Day to the United Arab Emirates!!! and HOOORRRAAAAYY! for our three-day mini vacation!!!

I have been living here for a little over six years - yep count 'em! six! so far UAE has been good to me and I have grown to appreciate the Middle Class Abu Dhabi expat life and have come to love living in the UAE because it is a melting pot of different cultures, making it a much more interesting place to live in.

You get to work, interact and be friends with people from all parts of the globe - allowing you to learn about, see, feel and experience the rich and wonderful diversity of the world despite being in one place.

Here's to more great years UAE!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 huh??!!

... so today is November 11, 2011 - 11.11.11...

... I actually didn't realize the rare alignment of three 11's until I saw a lot of facebook posts suggesting people to make wishes and stuff. Am not really a very superstitious person but I have on occasion forwarded the dreaded chain letter and wished upon some distant star...

... so what's so special about 11.11.11?, some say it's auspicious, some say it's bad luck, I for one didn't seem particularly lucky or unlucky today but hey its just only 8PM,  alot can still happen before 11:11PM on 11.11.11 right??!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

welcoming winter

I don't know about you, but I am ready to say 'goodbye' to the sweltering heat of summer.

Yes, yes summer beachin' was fun but I so look forward to winter so I can wear my new suede boots that I got on sale (HA HA HA!!) and those pastel colored jumpers and classic knits that I seem to have a lot of!

I also eager to going on early morning photo walks - it's been a while since I seriously gave my camera (and myself) a work-out - I need to get on a-tinkering and a-shooting so I can at least have bragging rights as a 'person who owns and knows how to use a DLSR' - I won't go far as using the term photographer because heaven knows I am far from being one!

I also can't wait to go sit an outdoor cafe warming my hands on a cup of hot coffee or tea while catching up with friends or having some alone time with a book.

Oh am so ready for winter!!!

'autumn' leaves

good bye summer, hello autumn, winter is just around the corner!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

abu dhabi summers

am not very much a beach person but with the accessibility Abu Dhabi beaches in this sweltering heat - who could resist the urge to go splashing around and maybe try out some water sports in the cool blue waters of the capital??!!
no need for stressful planning, just grab a beach towel, suntan lotion, a few drinks, snacks and some dirham and your good to go!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MUGG-nificent day of BEAN-geing

The next stop on our steam-releasing food adventure let us to Mugg & Bean...

... it was primarily because of my office mate Christine's craving for their Monte Cristo salad but it was just our luck that they had changed the menu only the day before. Sadly the salad Tin was longing for wasn't retained on the new menu, so we ordered a selection of sandwiches and the Thai Beef and Chicken Cobb salad to satiate Tin's craving. 

The salads were filling with chucks of meat and I am thinking it has more meat than greens but am not complaining! They were good in my opinion but they did not level up to the Monte Cristo salad Tin was raving about. The sandwiches were OK - yeah just OK for us because they arrived on our table cold. My open faced sandwich would have been much better I bet if it came with the cheese on top gooey and bubbly warm. 

We didn't get to try there selection of HUGE cakes which probably what Mugg & Bean is known for simply because we were a bit disappointed with lunch. One didn't get her salad, one thinks his sandwich is too small, the other got plain sunny side up eggs in her meal when she had expected scrambled eggs - my complaint was that my sandwich was served cold and my iced tea was watered down. 

satisfied or not MUST smile for the camera!!!

ice cream heaven!!!
... so for dessert we just headed down to the nearbly Cold Stone Creamery - which serves the best ice cream concoctions with tricks and thrills! Chocolate ice cream never fails to make me happy!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Joneses

... and so the food adventures begin...

first on the many cafe's we wanted to try out...
After work last Thursday we headed out to Jones the Grocer Cafe in khalidiya. - voted best Cafe by Time Out Abu Dhabi, it boasts of a gourmet menu sure to satisfy all cafe food connoisseurs  - really foie gras on a burger?!! can't get anymore gourmet than that!!!
The place was nice, definitely a different take from the usual cafe setting with their own fromagerie, bakery and grocery. It was not a fast food joint and it took some time for our orders to arrive, giving us ample time to browse and check out all the products they had to offer, taste samples and of course take pictures - remind me to come back for the truffle oil - I heard a drizzle transforms an ordinary grilled cheese into a gourmet sandwich.

Good enough food,  we mostly ordered sandwiches and good old mac and cheese. The sandwiches are good with soft crusty bread but the mac and cheese was a little too bland. I guess we missed out on the diversity by skipping the mains, salad and cheese platters. 

The food was served on wooded chopping boards as opposed to plates - which was a really nice touch, albeit with small portions - small for people with ravenous stomachs like us anyway!

will I go back?!! - hmmm... maybe... for the desserts and coffee at least :D as always the food is only as good as the company you keep - had a good time you guys!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

pay day, happy day

Gone are the days that we had an extra day off... we are currently understaffed and thus we work 6 days a week from 8am to 4pm. 

It's kind of stressful really, so my office mates and I decided we should have one day a month to go out and try new restaurants, stuffing ourselves full while venting out our work related frustrations. Its kind of therapeutic I guess to be able to rant on and on and have people listen and understand what you are saying because they too are are having the same work related experience.

With the eclectic choice of restaurants and cuisine on every budget level I am sure we would have fun going on about our food adventures. 

.... and so let the adventure begin!!!

WOMAD is back in town - yes but no cameras allowed!!!

yep! World of Music, Art and Dance (WOMAD) is back!

I went to the corniche to check out the performances but sadly I was not able to get in - and that is because I have my camera with me!. Turns out, the new rules prohibits cameras, camcorders and any other device that could record audio.

Might be for copyright purposes or something but its just too sad... Imagine being at the venue, all excited and curious only to be told that you can't bring your camera inside with you - and with the dilemma of what to do or where to put your camera for safety, the only option is to turn back and go home... so so saddening - so near yet so far...

It's a good thing that WOMAD runs for three days, so I have two more days to catch the performances, enjoy and have fun, albeit with no photos to documents such happy event...

So tomorrow I am matching the entrance gate, head held high and with out a camera... they'd allow mobile phones don't they??!!

WOMAD 2010 flags

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chak de India!

Am not a huge sports fan - I don't follow any teams and am not a fan of any particular athlete/sportsman/sportswoman. Sure I play 'some' sport like badminton, table tennis, tennis, bowling and some other 'girly' sport but I have never really put myself into it like some people who really follow every aspect of the sport they love.

Recently on a dinner date with friends, one complained of the difficulty of getting a cab - then we remembered that there was a big cricket match between India and Pakistan that night. Everyone must have been on the rush to catch the match, I guess even the cabbies took a well deserved TV break.

I don't know much about cricket nor the rivalry between India and Pakistan except that it is HUUUUGE. I remember watching the Twenty20 World Cup at my friends house a few years ago. They were cheering so loudly that the natur (building watchman) came and gave us a warning. They had to content themselves with stuffing they mouths with their fist in an effort to mellow out their cheering.

Being foreign to the sport, I had a mini lecture about the game of cricket and after that match this is what I wrote on my old Blog:

... before this day I didn't know a squat about Cricket, and you can call me ignorant but yeah I have never even heard of Cricket before I came here in the Emirates... 
... friends and recent events led me to join team India Contingent - like they say this is not just a game of Cricket, its so much more than that and we must win! CHAK DE INDIA!

... as I've gathered India and Pakistan have been big rivals - well I don't know much about the history here but the heat is on for both teams and I have to say even I am fired up! and today the teams are playing for the first Twenty20 World Cup and hours from now one of the two teams will be the proud owner the World Cup trophy for the next two years.

... well I was told Cricket can be compared to baseball and here is what I've learned:

- each team has 11 players who can bat
- to score players must complete a run (like bases is to baseball)
- if the ball goes across the boundaries the batting team scores 4 runs... if it goes over (like a homerun) its worth 6
- if the ball hits the stumps the batter is bowled out
- each team has 10 wickets (wickets is wherein the fielder catches the ball and many other ways to get a wicket but this is the most common one)
- teams loose the game if they get 10 wickets even if the still have remaining balls to play
- teams has 120 balls (for T20 match) to play wherein the have to make the maximum scores

... well that's what I've learned! ... its like cricket for dummies!!! I don't think I would ever be an avid fan but I enjoyed watching the game... I am writing this while watching the match and publish button is just a click away!!! 

CHAK DE INDIA!!!... India made 157-5!!!! while Pakistan made 152 with all 10 wickets down in their alloted 120 balls, India wins by 5 runs and the world cup, yahoooooooo!!!

BTW, I heard India won the match!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

60 minutes for mother earth

... made lanterns, lit a candle and joined millions all over the world in celebrating earth hour...

and I go beyond the hour and pledge to find ways on how I can convince my office to calibrate our copy machines into using half pages (of the standard A4 size) when making copies of small documents such as ID's.

I make it a point to use recycled paper whenever I can, but sometimes I am forced to use a fresh page and I always think that if I can calibrate the copy machine (which I already tried, but failed) the whole office can reduce its paper consumption by half, if not more..

Here is hoping I find the right person with whom I can discuss my idea... 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Abu Dhabi tour anyone???

I stepped up and took the challenge!!!

the Abu Dhabi Tempo Abu Dhabi Quiz Challenge that is!!! I answered 8 out of ten questions correctly and that deems me 'almost tour guide worthy'!!!

here is the quiz transcript: answers in red are mine, blue ones are the actual correct answers

1.    What is the meaning of Abu Dhabi according to a group of hunters who discovered it? gazelle I got the point for this but the answer should be land of gazelles

2.    It is the second city in Abu Dhabi, which often referred to as “the garden city”. What is it? Al ain

3.    The most anticipated concert happening on the 18th of March? Stevie Wonders concert

4.    What are the two telecom operators in Abu Dhabi? DU and Etisalat

5.    Approximately how many primary health care centres are located in Abu Dhabi? (Hint: Its more than 20) 21 this was a wild, wild guess! who knew I'd guess it right!!!!

6.    The men’s traditional dress is a ‘dishdash” and their headdress is “guthra”. What is the name of the black cord that holds the headdress in place? Hmmmm…. I read about this somewhere before…. the right aswer was Igal

7.    Heard of the new boutique hotel in Liwa Desert? What is it? (Hint: In Arabic it means little mountain) …. I know little means sagir….  right answer was Tilal Liwa Hotel
8.    For six days all international and Arab publishers meet up in Abu Dhabi and host the biggest book shop. What is it called? Abu DhabiInternational Book Fair

9.    A show that offers a great shopping extravaganza with fantastic bargains, happens at the end of the month in ADNEC. What is it called? (Hint: it is the season now) Spring Show 2011

10.  This establishment represents the most striking new addition to the Abu Dhabi skyline. It has been voted ‘Best Futuristic Design 2008’ by the Building Exchange Conference, what is it called? (Hint: it houses the hippest offices in the city) the disk shaped ALDAR Building ??? I was given the point for this but it should have been "HQ" Aldar building

that was the quiz!!! special thanks to Ellaine of Tempo magazine with whom I have exchanged emails with regarding this quiz and who gave me the '2 points' making me tour guide worthy!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

words and letters for money

Am now a full pledged writer!...

... no... not really, but I did receive a contributors fee for the essay I wrote and submitted which was published online a Philippine spreadsheet. I am now AED166.12 richer... now I could buy that book I have been coveting online, not worrying about budgeting and stuff. whoopeee!!! 

my first 'professional' writing payment

I have always been actively sending out essays, poems and pictures to magazine and newspaper publications in the hopes of getting published. While it never occurred to me to consider a career  in journalism, I guess  it was a way to realize a childhood dream of being a part of the school paper (my high school didn't have one). 

While am not a brilliant writer - most my rants are far from being Pulitzer prize winners, I am happy by one critique someone told me. I was told that my writing style is one for easy reading, simple but enjoyable - must be because you'll never read words that are hard to spell and pronounce in these spaces. Sure I would like to write something so profound using big words and all, but for now and I guess for always I will be writing with all simplicity and a lot of heart hoping that whoever comes across my writings would enjoy reading them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

music and sunset

... a few days ago I wrote about going to the beach on my free time, today was another off from work day (I had two days off) and decided at the last minute (laziness was beginning to set in, but I wanted to do something productive coz I don't want to feel that my day has gone to waste) to go to the beach to catch the sun set and maybe take some noteworthy snaps. Well I got more than pictures - I met a new friend!! :D 

I left my things on some square bench while I walked along the shore and took snaps, when I came back to my spot, a lady holding a guitar was there. I am not one to strike up a conversation with a stranger so I decided to wait and see. She began to play her guitar. Let me tell you - listening to an acoustic guitar on the beach at sunset has got to be the most relaxing thing - takes your mind off things. When she finished a playing the song, we looked at each other, smiled and said 'hi!' - then began a friendly conversation. I think I made a new friend!

here's to you Donna! It was a pleasure meeting you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

just beachin'!

... one of the things I love about Abu Dhabi is how accessible the beaches are. You can just up and go hail a cab and spend your day at the beach without the stressful need to make reservations or anything. All you really have to do is bring yourself , pay 10 dirhams for the entrance fee if you want the luxury of having your own cabana or beach chair or spread your own mat at the open beach and pay nothing but enjoy everything - the wind in your hair, sun on your skin, the cool breeze and the sound of the waves lapping on the shore...

... twice these past few weeks I have been to the beach and spent some relaxing alone time. Having been tired of being cooped up my room staring at the TV screen or the four corners of my ceiling or getting a headache from too much sleep, I decided that the next time I get an off I would go to the beach and spent my mornings there.

... and so I did - I had a peaceful and glorious day catching up on my reading, lazing about my own spot under the sun and munching on fruits and some sandwiches. ahhh... 'tis the life... I can't wait to go spend another beachin' day! - next time I'd be inviting friends!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a unique client

As I have read, Falconry is an integral part of desert life which has been practiced in the UAE for centuries. Originally, falcons were used for hunting, to supplement the Bedouin diet with some meat. Nowadays, falconry is practiced purely for sport. I have never seen a Falcon up close before, until one day...

a client came to the branch today carrying a falcon - yes a FALCON!!! :)

I was taking a picture with my phone from afar when the client came up to me and asked me to hold out my arm where he perched the falcon! I hurriendly asked my office mate to take a picture but she grapled with my phone and failed to take a proper pic with the falcon happily perched onto my arm - it was as they say an 'epic failure'!... well I might get another chance next time - I hope!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

running with Terry Fox

I didn’t know anything about who Terry Fox is and what his story is about until two years ago.
Flyers and banners piqued my curiosity and thus I searched the net for information about Terry Fox and the ‘Marathon of Hope’.
This is what I learned:

- Terry Fox born July 28 1958 is a Canadian born humanitarian, athlete and cancer research activist
- In 1977 he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which eventually led to his right leg being amputated
- In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope – a cross-country run in an effort to raise money for cancer research
- Because of his illness, he had to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers
- Though his hope of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died in 1981, his legacy continues
- In 1981 the first Terry Fox Run was held
- Held annually, the run has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries
- The Terry Fox Run is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research
- The Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run was first held in 1995, and has been organized annually since

Having lost relatives to cancer, I decided to do my bit and participate in this years’ event. And so while everybody else was sleeping, I got up, put on my running shoes and headed out to register. The start-off point at the Abu Dhabi corniche had a cheerful and energetic vibe with lively music provided by the Terry Fox Run DJ who hails from the Philippines. Participants are greeted warmly my volunteers manning the booths where people smiled at each other not minding standing a few minutes in queue to register, make their donations or buy commemorative T-shirts.

The program started with various entertaining activities including music by the Abu Dhabi Police Band and Bohra Community Drumming Band, the presentment of donations and grants followed by a 15 minute aerobic warm-up session which elevated the participants’ energy level.

It was a beautiful day for a run. The 8.5 kilometers didn’t seem that long a run when you have a purpose – a goal. It also helped that there are volunteers cheering you on, giving out bottles of water and words of encouragement. The self satisfaction of completing the run is a small consolation in contrast to knowing that you have contributed however small a part in the worldwide effort to find a cure for cancer. The ‘Marathon of Hope’ truly never ends, here is hoping for the continued success of the Terry Fox Run and finally finding a cure for cancer.

* information from wikipedia

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Successfully 'walked/ ran with Terry Fox' last friday, 18th February 2011. Contributing my tiny bit in the worldwide effort to find a cure for cancer.