Saturday, February 4, 2017

TRAVEL | Backpacking In The Philippines




Whoa, it's been ages since I have posted anything on my blog. Sorry for the long hiatus. This winter is seriously taking a toll on me (nah, just lame excuses). I'm currently stationed in the Middle East and being the tropical person that I am, it's not easy to get used to this cold. But anyway...

So, I figured out from my eureka moment that I would have to do some backpacking articles for my blog which centers on the Philippines. I really wanted to do the more global sort of travel blogging but since resources are scarce- time, money, motivation- I just had to make the most out of what I have.

Friday, January 13, 2017

ARTICLE | A Personal Look Back On 2016

In a few minutes, 2017 will step in. I would like to look back on my whole 2016 and see what has transpired with it. In hindsight, I know that 2016 has become a shaky year for me, testing my limits and faith on the universe. Thus the reason why I would like go back in the past 12 months.


January 2016




Could it be that you thought you would be leaving the Philippines quite soon. You were positive about it. But at the back of your mind, something is pulling you back. It is not yet time. You had to listen to the voice inside you and keep the faith.

It was all faith that made me firm all throughout. But it wasn't an easy stand. There were many a time when I thought all hope was lost. But I just kept moving on. I kept praying that I may be an instrument for a larger plan.

In January, I started the "Sewing Machine" fund drive to help the less privileged community adopted by my alma mater. It was a rather unusual start with me literally bumping with Ms. Forneste, my former teacher in Morality.

In that corner, we exchanged pleasantries and she mentioned about donating to the community. I took it as a challenge and gathered all the resources- time and money, to mobilize my batchmates and be able to procure the sewing machines. 

The plan was only for one sewing machine, but in the end we were able to donate three.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

EVENT | 2016 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Results




So here's a little alma matter spirit to break the tension in the Philippines. NU bags its 4th crown in the 2016 UAAP Cheerdance Competition. 

And why does it even matter? Well simply put it this way- UP Pep Squad has decided not to join this year (or the many more years to come, we never know). And with the team to beat gone in the arena, any Champion's feat will be left questionable e.g. Uhm, did they win 'coz UP was not included? 

Anyhow, some trivia for y'all UAAP Cheerdance fanatics:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ARTICLE | Bored and Lots of Time, Then Analyze Instagram






Follow me on instagram: 

Dahil madami ako time, nag-analyze ako ng Instagram account ko as to what photos are actually gaining audience mileage and here are the findings of my analysis.

Note: If you ever need analysis too, let me know. That can be arranged. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | Doctor Strange 2016 (Starring Benedict Cumberbatch & Tilda Swinton)



Rating: 7.5 / 10
Disclaimer: The review is highly influenced by previous Marvel films like Antman & Deadpool, hence the big comparison and fuss about the sense of humor on the narrative.
Just a quick review on Doctor Strange. 

Related Articles:
Movie Review | Doctor Strange

I honestly think that no other actor could have played any better than Benedict Cumberbatch (earlier I was thinking about Ryan Gosling, but nah just can't be). Cumberbatch has some air of authority on his persona and he's really good at characterizations. He's able to sort of disappear behind his character and all that is visible is the character he is playing. The only downside is when he starts to try become funny because I feel that somehow it doesn't really match his serious aura. Nonetheless, he definitely gave justice to the Doctor Strange. In fact, nobody can play it any better.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

EVENT | Akcent Live in Oman: Love the Show Tour 2016





On the 4th of November, famous Romanian artist, DJ, producer and live performer- Adrian Sina with his band called #Akcent staged its very first concert at The Cave in the Sultanate of Oman. The event was organized by Spirals and Fasi Productions.


Akcent's most notable tracks include "That's My Name", "Stay With Me", "Love Stoned", "How Deep Is Your Love", "French Kiss" and "King of Disco".



A photo posted by akcentofficial (@akcentofficial) on


A photo posted by singer/songwriter - Akcent (@adriansina) on


Other Social Handles:

Webpage www.akcentonline.com
Twitter www.twitter.com/AkcentOfficial
YouTube www.youtube.com/TvAkcent


Thursday, November 3, 2016

EVENT | Post Halloween Salsa Party of Latin Dance Muscat







More parties to come in the coming days! So hope you join us.
For more information about salsa in Muscat, you may visit Latin Dance Muscat official FB Group:




Thursday, October 27, 2016

TRAVEL | Dubai and Abu Dhabi Weekend Getaway Highlights



Some highlights of my short visit in Dubai and Abu Dhabi last October 27, 2016 with Mellany and Stephan. Frankly, Dubai is a very expensive city and even just for a visit, one would have to spend a fortune. Well I guess that's how the city was designed, to make the people feel compelled to spend. As I've said, Dubai is a great place for a weekend but I am happy in Oman. 


TRAVEL | Commuting in Dubai- Flight, Trains and Buses



The Dubai / Abu Dhabi Weekend Getaway

One of the perks of working in Oman is that it's only an hour's flight away to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. So this week, I decided to pack my things and visit the Emirates.

How To Get There

Flight Tickets. Check out the websites of Emirates Airlines for cheap flights. Remember that online flight searches will be more expensive than the actual prices from the airlines' websites.

Visa. Visa categories matter when visiting Dubai. Most of the time, the work visa that an expat has might differ from his actual work. Ensure that you know which visa category you are holding.

Anyhow, Dubai is now requiring Philippine passport holders to have a pre-arranged visa. The process takes three to five days. Give your self enough time to process the visa. Plan ahead of time. 

Cost of visa might go from 50 USD approx. This is the price if you are coming from the GCC. However, the cost of visa if you are coming from the Philippines might go from 2500 PhP to 15,000 PhP. You can check out this site for more info: 

Visa Requirements for Philippine Passport Holders - by United Arab Emirates

Soon as you have the flight tickets and visa all settled, then you are good to go.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | The Purge 3: Election Year



Rating: 7 / 10

Not having seen the previous two movies e.g. The Purge 1 & 2, I absolutely had no idea what this movie was all about. Hence, there was the element of surprise during the whole time. However, the surprise factor was due to the gore and bloody scenes in the film. Without the violence, I am not so sure if the movie will stand out. In effect, I felt like I was watching Saw-Chainsaw Massacre-The Green Inferno sort of movie.

Did I enjoy it? Partially yes, because of the violence.
But I really wouldn't give it a high rating because the plot was rather not compelling and the way the conflicts were resolved was too easy and seemed to be served on a silver platter e.g. let the NFFA leader live and senator becomes the president and abolishes The Purge. That plot is just too far from reality.



MOVIE REVIEW | The Girl On The Train (2016)



Rating: 4 / 10
In general, the movie is dragging/boring and does not have much tension among the characters. The only salvation of the film was Emily Blunt's acting and the last gory 10 minutes where the revelations started to come out. Overall, this review does not recommend this movie.

Just a quick review and impression of the film (which should have been done last weekend). Well to be honest, there isn't much that the film can offer. True, the actors were brilliant but the screenplay and direction was dull and dragging. During the first quarter of the film, you get the hopes that this movie will deliver the kind of Gone Girl effect to it because of the voice over and time shifts, but the movie went on and on; nothing happened.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | Doctor Strange



I cannot emphasize how excited I am for the upcoming movie screening of Doctor Strange. Today, IMAX at Vox Cinema in Qurum City Center gave movie goers a free sneak peek at the new Marvel movie (along with free posters and 3D glasses). Can you imagine- a free IMAX movie. That is like so awesome. Despite the fact that it's only a 15-minute preview, I must say that it was all worth it.

What I can briefly say about the whole ruckus is that this movie is something that thrill seekers should include in their calendars. I have never had the joy of watching a film in 3D since Avatar (and that was like in 2010?) Anyhow, the movie has a lot to offer for its 3D fans with so much depth and spatial effects, one would feel similar to riding a roller coaster.

Monday, October 10, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | The Intern (2015)



Rating: 5/10

The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway is a 2015 light comedy about an E-Commerce company hiring senior citizens as interns. The story revolves around Jules, the managing director of the online fashion store, and Ben, the senior intern.

I had high hopes for the film thinking that Anne Hathaway would pull up another Les Miserables sort of acting slash Devil Wears Prada; plus Robert De Niro has some filmography on his sleeves. However, I was disappointed. The film unfortunately was not able to deliver. Just couldn't.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

LIFESTYLE | How To Achieve the Perfect Hairstyle for Men



Now how do you get the perfect hairstyle?

Getting the right hairstyle on you doesn't happen by chance. To some extent, there is a science behind achieving the right hairstyle for each men. You really want to get this right unless you want to live in regret for the next couple of months. 

And for men, hairstyle is something that only happens once in a month (anything beyond is excessive and the amount you spend for your hair can be used for something more useful, uhm, like a glass of wine in the nearest pub... okay, never mind). That being said, let's now turn to the main issue.

ARTICLE | Editor's Note, October 2016

Editor's Note
Editor's Note

Expat In The City would like to announce it's branding upgrade from its previous font style to a new one.
Previous font Trebuchet, will be retired starting today October 9th. 
New font Verdana, will take over from hereon.
All write up and marketing materials of Expat In The City will follow the new branding in the next editions of the blog. Previous write ups that used Trebuchet will be kept as is. 

SPOT REVIEW | Modern Cut at Oman Avenues



This has been a bad hair week for this writer and I thought it's been long overdue to get a haircut. So this Saturday, I visited my hairdresser and asked him to give me the cut with the quiff. 

Okay, so what's the latest hairstyles this last quarter of 2016? Apparently, the fading sideburns and lengthy crown remains the top choices. In my opinion, they give us the clean military look plus a leeway to be extra fashionable aka show off in public.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

FOOD | How to Cook the Perfect Bulalo



Bulalo
Beef Stew

How to cook the perfect beef stew or in Pinoy parlance, Bulalo.

1. Buy the perfect ingredients. The fresher, the better. 
  • Beef bones. Choose the bones from the legs. The bone marrow is richer in this area.
  • Garlic. Lots of it.
  • Salt to taste
  • Leafy vegetables (can be any of your choice, but preferably lettuce)
  • Sweet corn

Sunday, October 2, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)



Rating: 9/10
Not your typical chick flick. Although funny and romantic in surface, the movie touches on sensitive topics that in 1961 (and perhaps until now) would have been taboo and difficult to discuss.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961 movie adaptation of the novel) has become a classic movie that it's quite difficult to go through the annals of Hollywood movies without discussing the unconventional plot, the trendy fashion statements of Holly Golightly aka Lulu Mae, and of course the subdued innuendos of sex and crime (earning for itself an R16 rating).

Friday, September 30, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | Pan's Labyrinth




Rating: 9/10
A highly recommended Spanish film, which I would include in my fave list along with: Y Tu Mama Tambien, Amor Es Perros, Lucia, El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, Volatile Tensions.

Pan's Labyrinth is a non-conventional film that deals with a historical portrayal of Spain in 1944, touching on civil unrest and political turmoil in many parts of Spain. In the middle of the story is the make believe world of Ofelia who is trapped into thinking that she can go back to a world where she's a princess.

I particularly liked the movie because it was unpredictable (apart from the fact that, as I told my German colleague- I like any movie that has sex and violence in it). And Pan's Labyrinth is packed with gruesome violence that in many parts of the film, you'll be forced to look away.

But it was really the ending that made the film memorable. Director Guillermo Del Toro surely made the ending something to make the viewers ponder for days, on whether it's a happy or tragic ending. GDT, in my opinion, projects the same technique as Chris Nolan (e.g. Inception, Batman, etc.) 

Related:


Thursday, September 22, 2016

CORPORATE | Retaining Millennials At Work... And Why We Are Self Centered



The question- "So are Millennials really self-centered?" Perhaps, is best answered when one recognize the fact that Millennials have been exposed to the uncertainties of life- what with wars, economic instability, crisis, illnesses, etc. Life is just too short, and as they say #YOLO!

Been reading some articles of Cam Marston, a consultant who specializes in multigenerational communications and marketing. He discussed how to keep millennial employees. This is a very timely piece since we have started in our office, what we call "Thursday Themes", which requests everyone to come to work wearing the theme of the day. The best dress wins a price.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | Book Challenge for September/October



Book Challenge for September/October!
Read three self-help books and see how this will change your life. 

Well, it's going to be a busy season for this blogger (me!) but that shouldn't stop the reading and learning. I'm actually grateful that my job allows me to both write and read, something that diverts my attention and keep me sane. So with that being said, I am putting myself up to the test. Here are the three books that I am resolute to finish by all means:

MOVIE REVIEW | Sully



Rating: 8.5 / 10
Worth the time and money, so you go watch it on the cinema.
There are only a few movies that engage the audience and make them feel like they are part of what's going on. "Sully" is one of those brilliantly crafted works that plays with the audience and make them believe that what is going on can easily happen to them.
Really enjoyed the movie and it was worth watching it over at Imax,, with all the big screen and surrounding sound; one can easily feel that he's really inside that plane. To be honest, I think I was bracing myself half the time because I felt like I was part of the movie- not an audience, but an actual passenger waiting for my eventual demise.

Couldn't help but recall the 9/11 attack when the terror plane strike the Twin Towers and people in the building were sending or calling their loved ones, telling them they are trapped and they might not see them again. In those very moments, we become human; real human wanting to live and in the face of death, nothing is sweeter than surviving in an otherwise imminent plane crash. And that's what makes "Sully" a hopeful and uplifting piece of film.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | Harry Potter and the Cursed Child



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
JK Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany (2016); 320 pages


Not to spoil anything from the book, but suffice to say that one can finish the thick-paged hardbound edition in four hours, non-stop. It's not really difficult to do that, especially when you get hooked to it.

I think the book was well written, and narrative was well crafted. As in the usual JK Rowling style of suspense, the reader is left guessing who could be the potential "cursed child." And that's what kept anybody who's bought the book, reading through the pages.

I also admire the slight inclusion of LGBT play up between the two main characters- Albus and Scorpius. But since the book was intended for younger audience, of course the taboo will never be the main focus. But anyone who's read the book will also have the same impression- that Albus and Scorpius could have ended as more than being best friends. Well, so much for that.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

JOURNAL | Eid Ul Adha Mubarak!



The Eid Al Adha 2016 Holidays have been announced today, which starts from September 11th to 15th. In Oman, this five day holiday is sandwiched by two weekends, which means there are now 9 days of holiday from work. Whoa, 9 days! Yes, you've got that right. It is a complete 9 days of no work in all sectors. Some companies of course will have to plot their people's schedule by that's pretty much the idea. 
"Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎‎ ʿīd al-aḍḥā, [ʕiːd ælˈʔɑdˤħæː], "Festival of the Sacrifice"), also called the "Sacrifice Feast" or "Bakr-Eid", is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year, and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened, through his angel Jibra'il (Gabriel) and informs him that his sacrifice has already been accepted. The meat from the sacrificed animal is preferred to be divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy."

Saturday, September 3, 2016

TRAVEL | Travel to UAE from Oman


Will be sharing with you guys the new Immigration process on how to travel to UAE (from Oman), making short leisure trips or for those whose visit visas have already expired. You would know by now that Filipinos used to get visas on arrival in UAE, but due to some issues (of which this writer is not clear of), the rules have now changed. European and American passports remain visa upon arrival status.


As of July 2016, Filipinos in Oman who are going to UAE need to secure a visa on arrival through online processing. 


Another method is to request for a visa service from any UAE travel agency. Please note that the plane counters will not allow Filipinos to board without the following:

  • Pre-arranged Visa to UAE 
  • Roundtrip ticket from Oman-UAE-Oman OR Oman-UAE-another country 

It is best to be ready with these documents, otherwise you'll face a very difficult time checking in.


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