Sunday, April 22, 2018

ARTICLE | Avicii, In Memoriam




Back in 2013, when I landed my second job in the Middle East i.e Oman; I had this sense of freedom. You should know that two years of being in trapped in Saudi Arabia is enough to make one crazy as hell, what with all the restrictions and safety issues it poses for foreign workers. And it did not really help that I am from an Asian country. So this sense of liberation when I stepped in Oman was all too enchanting. Suddenly, I can move around and even go partying/clubbing without me worrying of getting arrested.

I vividly remember the days and nights, of how I would listen to this odd song (which I barely call a song, because it was only beats). It started with "Levels", the unmistakable sound of the synth and the reververating "Oh sometimes I get a good feeling..." In time, it grew on me. I slowy apprecated this genre, this what they call electronic dance music (EDM) / deep house / trance. I used to mock those people who seemed stupid whenever they sway to the beat of this genre. But I guess that's just a naural reaction from anyone who has not experienced what it is really like to immerse in the genre. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

DANCE | 2018 International Rueda De Casino Multi Flashmob



In celebration of the International Rueda De Casino day, our salsa team in Muscat has come up with a flashmob last 7th April 2018 at 16.00hrs. The flashmob was consisted of expats from all over the World, who share the same deep passion for dancing.

As stated in the official website of the organizers, "...Thousands of dancers will be dancing Rueda de Casino Multi Flashmob. Dancing will take place in various places in the cities across Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, Australia - all over the world. There is still plenty of time to register your group/dance school in this unique global event. Any group of people (min 2 pairs) who already know (or will learn) to dance Rueda de Casino can be registered."

Friday, March 16, 2018

DANCE | 2018 Rueda De Casino - Workshops for Beginners



As a big fan of Rueda De Casino, it comes to no surprise that despite a hectic and heavy schedule from office responsibilities, I- along with the many other salseros of Muscat, Oman managed to gather on Tuesdays and rehearse this fun and enjoyable dance.

Here are the top videos:

Friday, February 23, 2018

TRAVEL | Laval Restaurant in Ghala Golf Club



Ever since the Laval Restaurant opened up a few years ago, it has been in my list of places to visit while in Oman. In fact, when I left Oman in 2015; I thought that's it I won't be able to see the place. Fast forward to 2018, now thanks to a last minute decision of where to have some beer, we decided to pay this restaurant a visit.

How to get there:
Take the ghala exit, once in the express way (heading towards Qurum) you will spot a sign "Ghala Golf Club", take that exit. The sign is small so be very watchful.

TRAVEL | Kempinski Hotel Muscat




The Kempinski Hotel in Muscat has finally opened its doors for guests wishing to stay from 15th March 2018 onwards. In this edition of Expat In The City, we will be sharing with you some of the snaps we were able to gather from the hotel months ahead of its opening.

All right, for starters- The Kempinski is a 5-star hotel brand situated in various key cities around the World. In Muscat, Oman the hotel is nestled along the coast of the Muscat beach. A few minutes away from the new airport, the hotel shares its strategic location with the Almouj Golf inside the The Wave.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

EVENT | Sunset Dhow Cruise (Muscat, Oman)



So, here's an update on this weekend must-attend event.



The SUNSET DHOW CRUISE, sponsored by Latin Dance Muscat has been moved.

New Date: 9th March 2018, Friday
Time: 3:30pm
Meeting Place: Marina Bandar Rawda (in Old Muscat)

Fee: 10 Omani Riyals Only
Includes: 2-hour cruise on a traditional Omani dhow, snorkeling with equipment, light snacks and drinks, with latin music on the background

This is an RSVP event, so you need to secure your spot.
Call or Watsapp +968 9439 6613

Need a reason to join the dhow cruise?
Simple. If you want to have some break from a stressful week, breathe in the afternoon sea breeze. Meet new people. Or perhaps jump into the sea (for the more adventurer spirits).

#SunsetDhowCruise #Oman #LatinDanceMuscat #Salsa #Bachata #RuedaDeCasino #LatinBeats


Saturday, February 17, 2018

SPORTS | Yuzuru Hanyu wins Gold Medal in 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea



Yuzuru Hanyu finally won gold in the 2018 Olympics held in Pyeongchang. And by this win, he now holds the record for being:


  • The second person to win a back to back gold medal in the Olympic men's figure skating
  • The first Asian man to win the Olympic gold medal in Figure Skating
  • Broke the world records 12 times
  • First man to break the 100 point barrier in short program
  • First man to break the 200 point barrier in free skate
  • First man to break the 300 point barrier in combined

Friday, February 16, 2018

EVENT | Latin Dance Muscat - Sunset Dhow Cruise, 9th March 2018




And since we are in the topic of SUMMER 2018, it is only fitting to talk about the beach; and what better way than to go on a cruise with some latin music on the background. Ah, the unmistakable latin beats whilst getting rocked by the waves and caressed by the ocean breeze. And who knows, maybe some occasional dolphins on the way, if lucky. Join us this March 9th.

#SunsetDhowCruise #Oman #LatinDanceMuscat #Salsa #Bachata #RuedaDeCasino #LatinBeats


TRAVEL | Crowne Plaza Muscat - Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre



2018 ushers in the openings of many a number of hotel properties in Oman. This, along with the operation of the new Muscat Airport promises to boost the tourism sector in the country. In fact, the growth of visitors has already doubled since the first quarter of this year. In this edition of Expat In The City, we take a look at the newly built hotel of Crowne Plaza Muscat - Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre. The hotel is strategically located close to the convention centre and is only 10-minutes away from the new airport, making it one hotel to be sought after in the next few months.

How to get there: From November 18 road, drive ahead approaching the bridge (in front of Al Mouj Golf) and keep right (do not go to the bridge); drive under the bridge heading left and keep driving ahead until the next traffic signal. Take the left and drive ahead, in a few meters stay on the right until you see the sign that says "Oman Convention and Exhibition Center"; turn to right and drive ahead until reaching the traffic signal. Make a U-Turn and take the service road.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SPORTS | Olympics 2018, Ladies' Figure Skating




A moment of silence as we pay respect to the last 2014 Sochi Olympics, after Yuna Kim was robbed of her much deserved gold medal.


All right, so we now come to the ladies figure skating. Up until today, all my hope and faith rested on Evgenia Medvedeva (yes, the anime fanatic Russian contortionist who can twizzle with probably both feet up the ground- nah, just kidding). But EM actually lost to her younger team mate, Alina Zagitova (and did I mention that she's only 15! When I was 15, I was pretty useless apart from getting glued in front of the TV, because that's what normal teens do- be useless. And so AZ shook the World after making a statement "yes I'm young, but age doesn't matter in skating bitches." 


Monday, February 12, 2018

SPORTS | Olympics 2018, Men's Figure Skating



It is the Winter Olympics 2018 held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. And this year remains to be another competitive season, as we see in the mix fan favorites like Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) and Javier Fernandez (Spain). Equally deserving of a spotlight this year are fairly new and strong contenders like Nathan Chen (USA) and Shoma Uno (Japan). And of course, Patrick Chan (Canada) will give the men's event more excitement. Still on the running is Jin Boyang (China) whose had a spectacular season as well after finishing bronze in World Figure Skating in 2017.


To be honest, this is still anybody's game. One cannot fully predict how things are going to turn out. Yuzuru is gunning for a back to back Olympic gold finish, but the guy was recently injured after attempting to execute Quad lutz in one of his recent trainings. Javier on the other hand, has had a brilliant run with his skating career. Patrick won silver in the last 2014 Olympics. Nathan is the first male skater to land a whooping five quads in a program (how does he even do that, I am at a loss). Shoma Uno is not far behind, and if this lad gives a clean skate then he's destined for a spot in the podium. Jin Boyang has been inconsistently placing in the podium but may not hold candles to Yuzuru and Javier, so we keep him to the last.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

TRAVEL | Best 2018 Destinations for A Solo Traveler



By Diego Garzon | February 2018

Traveling solo might seem like a depressing way to see the world and visit new places. However, if you think about it, traveling solo offers a load of advantages that you wouldn’t having when going with a partner. Think time, freedom to make your own unchallenged decisions, new friends met along the way. Fact is, traveling solo is often the best way to go. But where? Here are some of the best 2018 destinations for a solo traveler to experience.

Read More: Best Places to Travel Solo according to AllTheRooms

Saturday, February 3, 2018

FILM REVIEW | Call Me By Your Name




CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017)
Rating : 9.5 / 10
★★★★★★★★★

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Timothee Chalamet (Elio), Armie Hammer (Oliver), Michael Stuhlberg (Mr. Perlmann)
Adapted from the book "Call Me By Your Name" by Andre Aciman.

"Call Me By Your Name" has made a huge impact on me since I've seen the movie. To be honest, I had no plans to see this film until one of my friends mentioned it being potentially nominated at the Oscars 2018. And since I am an avid follower of Oscar movies (because that's the only form of entertainment that amuses me and makes life bearable), I went ahead and watched it.

Little did I know that I will be forced to stay up till 6am just to finish CMBYN (watched it really late past my bedtime), and by the end of the movie I was so stunned the shock didn't really sink in much till the next day. In fact, I was driving to office and my tears welled when I remembered the ending. Worst thing is, I fell into an absurd spira of depression which lasted for about a week- never tiring to consume anything that is related to the movie, to the characters, to the source material. I even got myself the audio book and soundtrack of the movie.

Friday, February 2, 2018

EVENTS | Beats By The Beach with DJ Franck Chartier, at Muscat Hills Resort



Fiza, my friend sent me a WhatsApp message to attend "Beach By The Beach" on Jan. 26th in Muscat Hills Resort and since I enjoy EDM/House mixes, I decided to go. It's been a while since I actually partied in Muscat. Last was in Park Inn during the "Wet Republik 3". And I badly needed to go out and unwind. Fiza's invitation came at the right time. Brought with me my new colleague Naoufl, who just started in our company. 

It was around 9pm when I picked Naoufl from the hotel. I was driving the car, which meant I could not drink for this night. 
So there I was, ready to go out and drive to Qantab (which is very close to Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah; and I never fail to bring up this point every single time). The road to Qantab via the Ruwi or Al Bustan roads is always a treat for the eyes. What with the winding roads that feel like riding a roller coaster. One time I was sitting as passenger and the driver accelerated; flew the car for about a moment and the feeling was heaven; the same excitement I felt when I was a kid riding those big caterpillars in fairs.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

LIFESTYLE | Hip Hop Dance Tips for Beginners



Hip Hop Dance Tips for Beginners
By Ashley Lipman | January 2018


Are you hoping to become a great hip-hop dancer? You need to take your time when learning how to dance if you want to be a great dancer.

Here are some tips that will come in handy for beginners:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

LIFESTYLE | HIV Case of a 23-Year Old Guy


I just couldn't get this out of mind, and it has been bothering me since I read about that article last night. The headline starts- "I'm an HIV positive person" which details the plight of a 23-year old Filipino guy who was begging for some financial support due to lack of resources to buy necessary medicine. To make matters worse, the guy has not disclosed his condition to his parents saying, and I quote "I am the bread winner in the family, and if my father learns about my situation, he would ask me to go back home; and I cannot do that since I am the only one sending them money and supporting my other siblings."

He posted photos of his left leg now covered with shingles i.e. small red bumps. And he has complained about how he couldn't sleep at night due to excruciating headache. 

For god's sake- he is 23. And now his life has been snatched from him.

I don't want to play the blaming game here, but what is going on in the Philippines. Statistics now show that 62% of all HIV infected people in the country are from the 15 to 24 age bracket. 

In a short ad from HIVepicenter Philippines, one could not help but tear up after hearing of stories of people who have contracted the disease.



ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Brand Awards



And finally, Expat In The City (EITC) is pleased to share with you the results of 2017's Brand Awards. This recognition covers Oman, and all nominees were chosen based on their prominence for the whole 2017. This aims to assist fellow expats to choose brands which are practical and worth their time and money.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Restaurants


Muscat does not run out of options when it comes to food. Whether you want seafood, fine dining, or just something quick- there is surely something you can find. This 2017, I had a sample of some of the most popular go-to places for food enthusiasts.

Restaurants

There are of course the staple venues like Trader Vic's (for semi fine dining) or Turkish Restaurant (for seafood). Notably this year, with the rise of new malls and the country's openness towards new brands- we have seen the opening of new names like the infamous "Jollibee" and several other players found in the malls. The trend is likely to continue as Oman keeps on constructing new malls and hotels alike. And in the end, the customers will always be the winner.


Caramel, located within the vicinity of Royal Opera House. Preferably with reservations as the place can be packed on weekends.

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Movies, Operas and Musicals


Continuing the tradition of writing reviews for films I have seen on the big screen, it was apparent that this year set forth superhero films to fantasy themed stories.

Movies, Operas and Musicals

The good thing about Oman is that movie houses are very accessible, plus there's IMAX in the country which makes the viewing experience extra special. And also, the Royal Opera House Muscat provides an avenue for the high type entertainment.

"Beauty and the Beast", starring Ema Watson as Belle, was an inspiring film. We loved it and we owe the premier tix to Merge 104.8

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Events


2017 has witnessed an increase in parties and concerts, as well special sports events that catered to a wider audience. I had the privilege to be a part of some of the biggest happenings in Muscat.


Events

Well there are obviously more events that transpired in 2017 which I was not able to cover for several reasons, but suffice to say- there are plenty of things to experience while in Oman. This is good news for expats who are looking for some diversion in a rather routinary lifestyle.

Almouj Muscat Marathon

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Clubs


For this year's edition of year ender, I will be focusing on notable items that transpired within 2017, but not necessarily in a chronological fashion.

Clubs

After coming back to Oman last July 2016, I was in the swing of things; the clubbing scenes to be precise. Truth be told, I ain't the party goer type but hell yeah, there are days when one needs to find some diversion, and diversion it is when I step onto these clubs.


Trader Vics in Intercontinental. Best days to visit are Thursday and Friday.
Recommended cocktails: Tiki Puka Puka

MOVIE REVIEW | Justice League (2017)


Photo from www.leonardmaltin.com

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)
Rating: 7.5 / 10 
★★★★★★★

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Ray Fisher (Cyborg)


I liked how the director made an effort to give all characters equal exposure in the film, that is- not giving the limelight to any of them. Although Wonder Woman obviously stood out, what with all the grand entrance and that signature sound effect whenever she gets her limited screen time.

One of the many downsides of the film though is that the villain seemed too mundane and in the words of some critics "one dimensional magnified with obvious CGI", against the heroes i.e one punch from Superman and he's a goner. That goes against the narrative which tells of how in the ancient days, even the gods of Olympus, alien races and tribes of amazons/atlantians/humans had to come together just to defeat Steppenwolf. I mean, come on- he was defeated by Superman single handedly. Didn't this realization dawned on the screenwriters?

Friday, December 8, 2017

ARTICLE | Digressing the Past and Present




Surviving personal struggles in PUP


Back in my University days, I have always thought that life was just it. My usual problems included:
  • Commuting from University to province, and from province back to University
  • Deciding which food to eat for lunch and dinner
  • Making sure that there's enough money to last for the whole month
  • Submitting papers and whole bunch of other requirements
  • Snatchers
  • Traffic
  • Grades
  • Extra income
  • Latest fashion
  • Movies in the cinema
  • Paperback novels

On early Monday mornings when my father would go to Manila to drop me, I sometimes find myself lost in thought, thinking "what is ahead of me?" With all the ugly images I see everywhere, I was scared to stay in my first University (read more about why I landed in PUP - click here). 

I just thought that I deserved better. And I do deserve better than this. Which is why I called upon the Universe to help me move out to a better place from the very first semester. Luckily it was granted, which is why 14 years after, I think that the power of visualization certainly works. Think and it shall happen, as what the saying says- what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

EVENT | 2017 UAAP S80 Cheerdance Competition


Photo Credit: Twitter/Mall of Asia

With the recently concluded UAAP S80 Cheerdance Competition, spectators were in for unexpected results. The reigning 4peat champions, NU was slated to grab its 5peat (something only UST has done for the record), but ended up outside the podium after it tied 4th place with FEU. The returning UP Pep Squad was expected to give everyone a run for their money, but disappointingly ending at the 6th spot (a few points away from DLSU); with ADMU consistent with their rank as last.

This year was certainly not what we were expecting to happen. There could be numerous reasons and among them- pressure and tension. For all strong teams, they thought they had it in the bag, but succumb to their inner struggles. Evident of which are the many faults and tumbles of the teams this year.

The complete results: First ADU - 663.50; Second UST - 638.50; Third UE - 634.50; Fourth/Fifth NU - 610.50 / FEU - 610.50; Sixth UP - 575.50; Seventh DLSU - 567.50; Eighth ADMU - 558.50.

ARTICLE | Ponderings of a New OFW in Saudi Arabia




These past few days, I have been recollecting about my two-year (i.e. 2011-2013) stay in Saudi Arabia and every time I think about it, I am still surprised at how I was able to survive. It wasn't the easiest experience for a novice OFW like myself. But because I am naive at working overseas, I accepted what was thrown at me- blindly. 

Do I regret it? I really can't say yes, but during the latter part of my days in Saudi, I started feeling sorry for myself, for all the unnecessary suffering I had to endure for two long years. I do not want to sound ungrateful or like I am complaining- please do not get me wrong. This article is far from whining, and in fact, truth be told- I learned a lot from my bosses and I was treated professionally in my company. If only for that, I am thankful that Saudi was my first real job outside the Philippines. Also, my work in Saudi helped me finance my sister's education and enabled me to pitch in for the bills.

Now comes the points that I had to contend with.

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