Sunday, June 24, 2012

UAE logo

In a momentous move to promote itself locally and internationaly, the United Arab Emirates has launched plans to come up with its very own brand logo. I don't think I have ever heard of a country that has it's own logo - most of the time we associate the country by its flag and the many interpretations of it. UAE sure is a forerunner when in comes to thinking outside the box.

 Five designs have been chosen as finalist and the public may vote for their favorite via the website of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai over at

Gulf News reports that:

... "Shaikh Mohammad said that the usage of the logo will be a part of a strategic plan that is based on coordination between governmental and non-governmental bodies to use major events held both locally and abroad to spread and narrate the nation’s message and story to the world..."

... “The UAE nation brand is to be used as a visual identity for the nation, to communicate to the world its vision and tell its story. The nation brand must reflect the UAE’s global economic and political status and its diverse and attractive cultural and business environment, which make it a leading destination for tourism, economic, and cultural activities..." 

The voting process begins on Sunday and ends on July 18, 2012. I personally liked the third logo because its colorful, but I guess choosing should not be based on just how pretty they looked, the more I think about it the more I want to know how the designers came up with the logo and the story behind it.  

what is your favorite?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

the spice of life

Open any kitchen cabinet as you are sure to find a bottle or two of spices. Be it a fancy rack that holds a dozen bottles of the most exotic spices or just a lone bottle of black pepper.

We might think of Black Pepper as ordinary in its commonality but did you know that Black pepper was once so valuable it is worth more than gold?

Black Pepper, Cinnammon, Nutmeg and Clove are just some of the spices that drove nations to sail across oceans, led to the discovery of new lands and the establishment of vast empires and inspired tales and legends of adventure like that of Sinbad the Sailor.

Centuries ago, merchants kept trade routes and origin of the spices a secret, today all you have to do I make a trip to your local grocery or souk and spice shop to your heart's content.

Deira Dubai's Spice Souk is one such place and though I have not been there myself, I imagine the experience to be 'romantic' in such a way that you can pretend to be bargaining with a spice merchant from centuries ago and maybe even hear a story or two of adventure.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

happy chore!

If there is one chore I really like doing - it is grocery shopping!

It can be a leisurely chore if you have the time and unlike regular chothes or shoe shopping there is very less risk of having buyers remorse on an impulse buy at the grocery. You won't regret impulsively buying a two for one priced bottled marinara sauce because sooner or later you are going to use them. Even that boxed quinoa on sale that you just could not resist buying even though you don't have any idea what it is can still come in handy and turn out a great meal with some cooking ingenuity and help from an internet recipe finder.

I also like the fact that there is always something new to see at the grocery and not like fashion trends everybody can grab a pack, bottle or box and give it a try regardless of weigh, height or skin tone - well maybe not with allergies.

Grocery shopping is also a good exercise what with all that walking and lifting. I would never really tire of grocery shopping and will always think of it as a mini food adventure with the hunting of the best deals and new products.

veggie my goolly wow!

fish be with you

 hanging by a moment!

 spice of life

 got a date?!

i want me some french!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

we are free!

Today the Philippines celebrates its 114th Independence Day!!!

I don't have Sheldon Cooper's eidetic memory but I think my History professors would be glad that I still remember the Philippines having two independence days - one being July 12 1898 which is our independence from Spain which ruled the country for more that 300 years and another one being July 4 1945 which is our independence from American occupation.

That is all I had remembered but according to wikipedia - the 1898 declaration of independence was not recognized either by the United States or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, and the United States granted independence to the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.
July 4 was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962 when President Diosdado Macapagal issued a Presidential proclamation which declared June 12, 1962 a special public holiday "... in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence." July 12 was later proclaimed as "Philipppine Independence Day" as has been observed as so since.

Happy Independence Day Philippines!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

fiery blooms

as someone who has always dreamed of visiting a place that gets to celebrate the four seasons - I hear you sing 'winter, spring, summer and fa-aall' seeing these fire trees that dot the metropolis is the closest I can get to walking under the beautiful canopy of leaves that turn color as the season changes.

I really do love these trees!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The traveller and tourist in me has always been fascinated and awed by the impressive structure that is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Everytime we venture out of Abu Dhabi and pass by the Grand Mosque, I always say to my self that I should visit soon - soon took me five years but as they say better late than never!

here are some quick facts and photos that I took on our short tour of the Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the third largest in the world according to the General Secretariat Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture in Turkey.

The seven chandeliers in the mosque cost about AED 30 million.

The courtyard has a total of 1048 columns, the Mosque has about 1,000 columns in its outer areas, clad with over 20,000 marble panels inlaid with semi-precious stones including abalone shell, amethyst, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, red agate. The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are decorated with mother of pearl. The Iranian carpet placed in the main prayer hall is woven by about 1200 Iranian women, is 5000 sq m and is the largest hand-woven carpet in the world, made out of 35 tons of wool and cotton and costs about 30 million dirhams.

the total area is 22,412 square meters (about the same as 5 football fields). The courtyard area being about 17,000 sq m. while the area of reflective pools surrounding the courtyard is 7,874 sq m.

There are 82 domes of Moroccan design decorated with white marble. Main dome is the largest of its kind according to the Research Centre for Islamic History and Culture in Turkey and is 87 metres high with a diameter of 32.8 metres.

The mosque is open to all nationalities and religions with scheduled free guided tours, it would have been a better visit with a tour guide I suppose - in that way you could hear about the interesting facts and history about the mosque, the UAE and its culture and traditions. Photography is permitted so be sure to charge your cameras. There is a dress code and women are required to dress conservatively but sheila and abayas are provided for the ladies and kandura for men I think.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque really is an impressive historical landmark in its architecture and design I am glad I have finally paid a visit!

*original photos by yours truly facts and trivia collected from