Sunday, December 22, 2013

TRAVEL | Abu Dhabi Itinerary



Day 1 : Wed, 25th Dec. 2014 : Abu Dhabi

Morning
02:00               Arrival via British Airways Flight 72 @ 01.30 hours
08:00 - 09:00    Breakfast
10:30 - 11:30    St. Joseph's Cathedral Abu Dhabi
12:00 - 13:00    Lunch at... 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

PHOTOGRAPHY | NIKON HEART OF THE IMAGE CHALLENGE


I found this photo contest over the net and thought it will be interesting to join.
The only question is- WHAT INDEED MAKES THE HEART RACE? SKIP A BEAT? WARM THE HEART?

Speed/adrenaline, thrill of excitement, emotion of the moment?

If I'm joining this contest then I would have to make the most out of it. I will have to win this and prove what indeed defines the heart skipping warming photos.

***

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Coming Up

Will be doing some hotel site inspections in the following days. So excited to shoot the hotels and get some nice photos at the end of the event.

***

Speaking of site inspections, I would probably work on the hotels & camps that we have visited here in Oman. Do a bit of reviews and all.

But that would have too wait until this weekend. 

***

So what's up in the coming weeks? Well there's the Abu Dhabi/Fujairah backpacking on Dec. 25th. I'm sure there will lots of photos there so I need to tune my camera this week.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013 Year Ender Summary


Here's a summary of my Year Ender for 2013:


2013 Year Ender : December

In Progress

2013 Year Ender : November


November is an exceptional month. Several events have happened this month and this would take me some time to complete this article. Nevertheless, I am making an advance post and will probably re-do this in a little bit.


November 2013: Haiyan Typhoon, Night Fishing & Bandar Khayran

November has become significant for the Philippines and the rest of the world. 

A super typhoon named Haiyan devastated Tacloban and left thousands dead, and still thousands homeless.

I never realized how serious the damage was until after I saw the videos on local and international news reports. After all, the Philippines has been hit by many strong typhoons before. But this one was catastrophic in every single way.

November 2013: Dubai & Abu Dhabi, UAE

Albeit the sad news in the Philippines, I chose to continue my earlier plans to come to UAE and visit some of my friends.

It was my only chance to visit them so I decided to not let the negative vibes get in the way.








2013 Year Ender : October


October 2013

Highlight of the month was the salsa class.

Yes, I have finally found the dance class that can keep me diverted from office works. 

I remember that in KSA, I did yoga which was really effective in keeping my sanity amidst the craziness of the universe.

At least now, the Salsa Class can keep me busy and focused. Also, dancing helps to keep me active. Without doing anything, I just feel lethargic and idle. And I don't want to be stuck in my room forever.

Other events that happened this year- German Oktoberfest and night swimming at PDO. The night swimming in particular was rather amusing, as I had to endure two weeks with sore feet. I had gashes and injury from walking on the sharp stones barefoot. Nevertheless, it was a fun night swimming and I enjoyed it. :)



2013 Year Ender : September



September 2013

At this point, I have visited a few hotels and bars. Did a bit of salsa as a social interaction. And had found interest with the infamous 'Tiki Puka Puka' (rhum concoction). 

Ate Claire also dropped by Oman this month so it was certainly fun to show her around. 

I guess that's the only significant event that happened this month.

I also met a few new Filipino friends after Ate Claire introduced me to them. 

But it was probably the encounter at Trader Vic's as highlight of the month. I won't go over the whole details but suffice to say that when you ask some stranger for a photo op, you must have a 'valid reason' to ask for it. :)



2013 Year Ender : August


August 2013

On my second month in Oman, I guess things have been pretty smooth. Working in a travel agency is quite demanding and requires optimum accuracy. But the good part of it is we get to attend events and parties essential to our line of work.

This month I had tried playing golf (t'was my first time).

My photo was recognized and published by a newspaper in Oman. I mean it's not really that much but the fact that my photo has been recognized is what makes it really grand. At least I know that my skills as a photographer is going somewhere.

This was also the month of Ramadan and my french buddies' birthday, where we celebrated in a bar named 'Pavo Real' and had me singing 'Thank You for the Music' & 'YMCA'. I really tried hard not to sing but as one of my colleagues would put it, 'singing is in the Filipino's blood.'

And finally, the most significant- my very first haircut in Oman. It was done by a Bengali who charged me 1 Riyal. Well, it wasn't so bad but I was just so concerned how things would look like.

Realization : Keep working on what makes you happy. In my case, photography has become an outlet and keep me busy on days when there's nothing to look forward to. 




2013 Year Ender : July


July 2013

New Chapter : Oman

In our lives, we can keep on planning things and create a seemingly structured future. But in reality, things do not necessarily turn out the way we would like them to be. And this is not necessarily bad.

Our roads keep on winding and the only way to get to the other end of the road is to walk the best path we have at the moment. Is it the right path? We'll never know until we try. We sometimes tread the right path, sometimes we don't. But that's perfectly okay. Blunders are inevitable. The most important thing is to continue the journey and learn from the past. There's no point dwelling on what if's. It is better to accept things and move on.

Such is my fate. I found myself in a completely foreign land, in a completely foreign working environment. But I am up to any challenge. Part of the reason why I am who I am today is because I never surrendered to any challenge. I just have to fight back and prove to them what I am made of.

And so this month of JULY, I have begun the 2-year journey which I know will determine the next steps ahead. 






2013 Year Ender : June



June 2013: Cambodia & Thailand

I was browsing through my PC one fine day in June and then I told myself that I had to go somewhere. Out of compulsion, I bought my tickets to Cambodia and Thailand. A few days later, I told my family that I'm leaving and they were like, OK.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Such a beautiful country and hospitable people. I really had a good time in this country, from the hotel to the tourist attractions. It was very quiet and you have that moments where you can just reflect on your life. It was such a good destination choice. And what makes this trip extraordinaire was that I met some UP students in the plane. And as luck would have it, we were seated in the same row. Twist of fate.


For related articles on my backpacking trip to Cambodia, please click- 


And in this trip, I saw the huge disparity from Western and Asian travelers. Westerners tend to see backpacking in Asia either as an escape from their rigid life in their country of origin OR a chance to do business/network. Asian travelers are more after the fun of it.

Bangkok & Pattaya, Thailand

In general, I like Thailand. But I don't feel that I would want to visit this country for leisure. It has a striking resemblance with the Philippines- in all aspects. Sure, Thailand is a notch higher than the Philippines in terms of economy but the culture and people are almost identical. And I can't say that I had fun in this country. Guess what I am trying to say is that I might re-consider coming back to Thailand but it would be on my bottom list.

For related article/photos on Thailand-
The Poipet Encounter : Crossing from Cambodia to Thailand Through Poipet Aranyaprathet
Bangkok, Thailand Photos

Realization : It takes courage and wit to survive backpacking trips. I always feel that I am one of those participants in Amazing Race where I had to compete with all other backpackers. But fact of the matter is, you will be forced to develop you social skills when you're out there on your own. And boy- social skills can spell the difference between failure and success.


June 2013 : Singapore

#Sarah Sarmiento chatted with me one time and asked if I was passing by Singapore during my backpacking period. Out of the blue I said 'yes'! But how, I didn't know. Again, twist of fate, I had the chance to jump to an Asian country because my new job will be in Oman. Second twist of fate. I was sending out my CVs everywhere and finally got a lucrative offer from Oman and though I just came from KSA and enjoying my free days- I said why not accept the offer and see where it goes.

So there I was n Singapore. Adopted by my Kali family. I had the best time in Singapore and thought what an amazing country this is despite of its small geography. 

As what Venus Raj once said, every moment spent is SO WONDERFUL! And I would actually rate SG as one of my best backpacking events this year. Truly worthwhile experience.

For related articles on Singapore-
Singapore

Realization : That no matter what country you  work in, it's always going to be the same purpose and that is to earn and save money. But it should not be forgotten what is beyond earning and saving. It is our desire to secure a good future. But how one defines a good future is rather relative.




Friday, December 13, 2013

2013 Year Ender : May




May 2013

Alas, am back home. And this month surely was the month of festivities.

First there was MC Batch 2003 tenth year reunion. I was able to catch up with some of my high school classmates. That was surely fun. Although ten years have passed, we still looked young and jovial. It is as if we never left our alma matter.

Then there was the wedding of Ate Sandy. It's one of those few occasions that you really wonder who's going to be next in line. I mean, in UP Kalilayan there are still a lot of us who are single. And we have agreed that our generation has changed. We no longer subscribe to the traditional idea that at this certain age, we need to get married.

Our generation has become career obsessed and stability oriented.

And finally the unforgettable Graceland 'In-between' and 'paddling' events. I was not feeling very well this night but I knew I had to be with my Kali family. This was something I cannot miss. So after buying some softdrink and toothbrush, I rode the jeepney en route to Tayabas and got off at Graceland. I arrived at the flat with all busy with their cards.

After changing clothes, I joined them. Game after game after game, I started winning. Until at 3am, when all were too tired, the game was stopped. And I was declared the biggest winner, which everyone swore they are going to exact their revenge next time we play. I just love my Kali family, t'was such a fun filled night.


MC Batch 2003 Reunion



UP Kalilayan at Graceland 2013





2013 Year Ender : April

April 2013 is highly significant for me because it marked a transition period. It was the end of my contract in KSA and I knew that I was closing one chapter of my book and flip to the next one. What I didn't know really was the things awaiting ahead of me.



April 2013: Pre Departure

The last few days were truly memorable. At this point, I have made a romantic love affair with Starbucks and has become my sole refuge when nothing made sense at the office. A cup of hot cappuccino was enough to lift my spirit. Sadly I had to say adieu.

I am also honored to be re-united with 'gwajangnim' who came to KSA to attend the university fair. It was back in 2007 when I last saw him so I was truly happy even if it was just a full day of walking at Faisaliyah Mall.

And of course, this was also the time of weddings of some my other colleagues which I covered.

Realizations : At 27, I started to think how some people decide to get married and how some prefer to stay single. Either way, our status in life does not define us. Getting married doesn't guarantee a 'happy ever after' ending, in as much as being single does not mean 'solitude'. Our happiness is relative and whatever makes us happy should be the sole basis and not some pre-defined social codes.



April 2013: Bon Voyage Time

It has been two years and like what I always say, it was a roller coaster ride for me.

I vividly remember that very first day of arrival in KSA. We were stuck in KSA Airport from 10pm to 6am. It was torture. But what made matters almost horrible was when the immigration officer held my passport simply because I was holding a Muslim name albeit my Catholic religion. In the end all I could do was use my wit and charm, and pray to the heavens that it doesn't end up negatively. Luckily, I was released after an hour.

And the office experience was a monumental feat. Certain codes like- you can only enter your American boss's office three times in a day (more than that and you'll get a sizzling holler!), read the queues of your boss if she needs you to come to the closed door office, brace yourself for early morning calls for issues to be resolved within the day, etc. 

When I think about them now, it just amazes me how I was able to survive. All I had in mind was to do my job- as best as I could, finish my contract and go home. Fortunately things came into place.

Realizations : One of the important lessons that my boss taught me was to keep my writing style KISS- Keep It Simple & Stupid. I am a verbose writer up to now. But I try to keep in mind my boss's advice. Less is more & safer.



April 2013: The Balikbayan

Okay, let me just say that I was a bit overexcited returning to the Philippines, that I forgot to completely plan the details of my travel. I ended up spending 10,000 PhP on my first three days. Partly because of my negligence. I should have remembered not to trust anybody when in Manila, especially taxi drivers. Why? 

Let me tell you what happened. Upon arrival at the dingy and tacky NAIA Terminal 1, I hailed an airport taxi which charges twice the normal rate. I asked to be dropped off to the nearest cheap hotel but he brought me to an expensive one and because we had to round the metro looking for a more reasonable one, I had no choice but to stay in this overpriced 3* hotel + taxi fare. I swore I will be smarter the next time I go back home. 

Anyway, the next few days were catching up time with family and friends. I still consider myself lucky to be home safe but more importantly, I thank God for keeping my family and friends safe and healthy. These small blessing are more important to me than what Bill Gates could ever own in his bank account. 

Realizations : Two things- when going home, remember to send stuff through package and do not bring too many bags. It is so uncomfortable to travel with much luggage. Second, remember to plan the arrival and look up for the cheapest rates online for hotel.


Opening Video at Farewell Party




The Final Farewell Video




2013 Year Ender : March



March 2013

I decided to go back to the gym this month, in preparation for my return to the Philippines in April.

Saudi Arabia has begun to experience frequent rains, which easily results to flooding. Added to that is the cold weather.

And since I had to walk to the gym, I feared for my life whenever I walk the streets because of the water. You must understand that there is no proper drainage system in KSA that's why it becomes perilous when the road is flooded.

But I was determined to get in shape. No grim thoughts is ever gonna stop me from burning those fats.

Realization : Saudi Arabia, although considered as a rich country, is a classic example of poor urban development planning. It is so baffling why it has hired thousands of engineers to build useless skycrapers and not prioritize drainage system. 

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when a city is saturated by people, water ways should be in shape. But NO they never thought about that. And now that I think about it, I figure that all KSA wanted to do was show off to the rest of the world about its wealth. But I can't wait to see once oil has run out of this country. 



2013 Year Ender : February




February 2013

It's my birthday month and I'm the son of Pisces- creative and artistic. This month has been very productive for me. I have covered three wedding events of my colleagues (see videos below). I was surely inspired by the wedding videos I saw in YouTube and thought I could produce something like that. And that's when the idea of 'Abdula Productions' was born. 

And since I have the new DSLR, I decided that it is high time to pursue my craft and use it into something worthwhile.

Realization: If life doesn't give you opportunity then you just have to create your own. It's easier to say to whine and say that 'it's so difficult to achieve what I want because... (insert millions of excuses)' than to say 'it will happen because there's a way... if there's no way, then you just have to find one.'

This 2013 taught me that whatever happens to our life is not a matter of coincidence. There's a bit caused by luck but 90% is achieved through hardwork and determination. 

When I was young, I dreamed to travel the world- meet foreign people and experience different cultures. Now that I am old, I have achieved all these. Partly because I am lucky but also I learned how to play my cards well.


Martin Flores & Kathleen Banas




Raymond & Joy Delena




Ira Jhon & Kristel Sumagaysay






2013 Year Ender : January


It's almost the middle of December and we're about to say goodbye to 2013. I'm not sure why I'm giving too much attention to this annual parting but I guess it comes with age. The older you get, the more value you give to time. You know you're getting old when you realize that all of us are living on borrowed time. And that one day, we'll all be figments of memories. That people we've crossed path with in this life will only remember us through photos. Funny how life can be. 

Anyhow, I am writing a series of articles which will cover the whole 12 months of 2013. Each article will feature my personal take on social issues and general topics. 


January 2013

Celebrated my second new year in Saudi Arabia with my Seder APD family. This was my first ever job abroad and I learned so much about the lives of Pinoy OFWs. I look at this experience as a participatory research getting myself involved with all fellow Filipino expats from all walks of life.

Realization: Education system in the Philippines should be changed and cater to the global needs of the Filipinos especially in terms of oral English communication skills and project management skills. English should be reinforced and given priority- more of speaking than grammar. Computer skills must also be enhanced- excel in particular.

And personality development- business manners, power dressing and social skills. These are the things that matter when working overseas. I have never encountered anything mathematically complex in OFWs line of work (unless in the field of engineering). So I think students need not be burdened by too much math subjects.

I mean in the future, I will make sure that my kids will be able to speak English very well and know at least five major languages, travel the world and participate in international events. This is what makes people globally competitive.



Monday, December 2, 2013

Year Ender for 2013

Gosh, this is it guys- 2013's almost gone. Just like that. And I'm now working on the important events that happened this year. It certainly is a fun filled (or should I say 'was') year. Anyhow, I'm almost done with the photos and will be posting them soon. 



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Salsa & Danza Kuduro

Salsa is definitely one of the dance crazes here in Oman and I find myself hooked into it. This dance just gives you that needed high as if the world stands still and you are transformed to another dimension when you move into the dance floor. Such a joy to have the chance to get to know this dance.

Below is one of the most popular salsa songs usually played in bars.




This song is actually danced through a line a formation where anybody and I mean anybody can just join and get crazy with the steps. I don't know all the steps of the line dance but who cares if you're right or wrong with the steps. What matters is you enjoy the time while dancing. After all, that's what dance is all about - FUN!

Here's the lyrics of the song:
A&X
El Orfanato
Danza Kuduroooo
Plo plo plo plo
Lucenzo El Orfanato
El Rey
Las manos arriba
Cintura sola
Da media vuelta
Danza kuduro
No te canses ahora
Que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza
Danza kuduro
Las manos arriba
Cintura sola
Da media vuelta
Danza kuduro
No te canses ahora
Que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza
Danza kuduro
Quien puede domar la fuerza del mar
Que se mete por tus venas
Lo caliente del sol que se te meti
Y no te deja quieta nena
Quien puede parar eso que al bailar
Descontrola tus caderas sexy
Y ese fuego que quema por dentro
Y lento te convierte en fiera
Con las manos arriba
Cintura sola
Da media vuelta
Y sacude duro
No te quites ahora
Que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza
y sacude duro
Balança que é uma loucura
Morena vem o meu lado
Ninguem vai ficar parado
Quero ver Mexa kuduro
Balança que é uma loucura
Morena vem o meu lado
Ninguem vai ficar parado oh
Oi oi oi, oi oi oi
E para quebrar kuduro, vamos dançar kuduro
Oi oi oi, oi oi oi
Seja morena ou loira, vem balançar kuduro
Oi oi oi
Las manos arriba cintura sola
Da media vuelta danza kuduro
No te canses ahora que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza danza kuduro
Las manos arriba cintura sola
Da media vuelta danza kuduro
No te canses ahora que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza danza kuduro
Balança que é uma loucura
Morena vem o meu lado
Ninguem vai ficar parado
Quero ver Mexa kuduro
Balança que é uma loucura
Morena vem o meu lado
Ninguem vai ficar parado oh
Oi oi oi, oi oi oi
E para quebrar kuduro, vamos dançar kuduro
Oi oi oi, oi oi oi
Seja morena uo loira, vem balançar kuduro
Oi oi oi
El Orfanato!
Las manos arriba
Cintura sola
Da media vuelta
Danza kuduro
No te canses ahora
Que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza
Danza kuduro
Las manos arriba
Cintura sola
Da media vuelta
Danza kuduro
No te canses ahora
Que esto solo empieza
Mueve la cabeza
Danza kuduro


Read more: Don Omar - Danza Kuduro Lyrics | MetroLyrics 





Monday, November 25, 2013

TRAVEL | Dubai Backpacking 101 : Itinerary


Day 1 : Dubai

Dubai is a really nice place to visit simply because the transportation system in this Arab emirate is highly developed among all other Arab countries. The subway runs through the most important parts of the city. Taxis are cheap and drivers are knowledgeable of the destination.

The only thing that a backpacker should get wary of are prices of shopping items. They don't come cheap. So better save up a little more when you intend to do some spending. Food though is reasonable.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TRAVEL | Abu Dhabi Backpacking 101



Day 2: Abu Dhabi

Straight from Dubai, from a beer-y fun night with some close friends- I hoped on to the first cab that passed by and told him to drop me to the bus station.

REMEMBER to come to the bus station early as there are so many passengers queuing. Ticket costs 25 AED. Really cheap plus the bus is very comfortable. There are no stops along the way. This is a direct bus and the last stop will be the Abu Dhabi bus station.

Lost and had no idea where we were...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

TRAVEL | Dubai Backpacking 101 : Visa, Flight and Immigration


One of the many perks of working in Oman is that you can travel to nearby countries during your free days. Just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a short trip. For the benefit of those backpackers who are also interested to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi, here are some travel tips I can give you.

As a backpacker, I think that some of the most important skills that you should learn is how to be- insensitive, patient and understanding. Once you've mastered this, nothing can get in your way even the most pathetic people in the whole universe can't bring you down.

Coming Soon...

I just figured that it is almost end of the year and some of the articles that I should be working on the next few days are the following:

- Dubai and Abu Dhabi backpacking notes
- Upcoming Xmas and NY celebration
- Christmas wish list
- Year Ender report : Of the this and that 2013 (with photos)
- New Year's Resolutions (this has become an annual article)
- Evaluation of my 2012 NY resolution
- Countries to visit in 2014
- Master's Degree



Lea Salonga at Marie's Crisis Piano Bar at NYC - "On My Own" & "A Whole New World"

I have always been a fan of Lea Salonga ever since I was a kid. She's one of the few Filipino singers who's timely, relevant and classy. And her voice remains the same through the years. Some of her unforgettable songs were "A Whole New World" (Aladdin), "On My Own" (Les Miserables), "Reflection" (Mulan), and many more from the Musicals.

It's a joy to see Lea sing on stage. But it is more surprising to see her sing live & impromptu in a bar with a crowd. Below are two videos going viral which captures the beauty of Lea's voice naturally.

ON MY OWN
Les Miserables




A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Aladdin

 




Source: Videos from You Tube user- 



Friday, November 22, 2013

Movie Review | Hunger Games : Catching Fire


I just want to make this very quick. I must say that I expected more from the sequel and was disappointed that the movie failed to deliver.


Source: http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/201379/rs_560x310-130809124725-1024.CatchingFire5.mh.089013.jpg
Maybe I was expecting more of the blood bath and gory parts but those did not materialize in the film. The new director, Francis Lawrence, decided to magnify the romance spinoff among the many characters. I got bored with that.

For one, there was too much Katniss-Peeta romance I thought I was watching The Notebook in a futuristic setting. Then there was Finnick-Annie love tragedy. And Johanna-family/no family ties... that was too dragging and I wanted badly to fast forward to the action scenes already.

The arena was not given much exposure and I felt bad that it became a mere matte/props in the movie instead of highlighting the story within its confines. I mean, there were many good action scenes that could have been shot in the arena... but I didn't see much.

And the ending was too "rushed" as if the director ran out of idea how to end the climax and thought of Katniss shooting an arrow to the roof of the arena to destroy it. But come on, Katniss was hit in the head earlier so you can't expect her to shoot that far to reach the ceiling. Pretty flawed in my opinion.




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Donating to Yolanda Victims

At first, I was apathetic with what was happening in the Philippines. Then I saw the scenes of people in Tacloban and its nearby provinces- families left with debris and piles of rubbish with what used to be their homes; dead bodies scattered everywhere; and survivors traumatized. I cried. I imagined how devastating and desperate this must be for these helpless people. I imagined it was me.

That is why I initiated a call to action and asked the people where I work to give donations to the victims of the typhoon.

It was just an idea that I didn't even know I would push for. But as luck would have it, the idea spread like wildfire and before I know it, everyone at the office started bringing something.

I was amazed at the generosity of the people I work with. They do not know anyone from the Philippines but to them, helping has become an urgency and this really touched my heart. It started to ask- if other people from other countries can give to the typhoon victims, shouldn't the rich and affluent minority in the Philippines give more?!

Filipino Community

A German colleague mentioned that in times like this devastating typhoon, Filipinos are mobilizing themselves and try to help out each other. I agree to that and I think this is one of those rare times that the Filipinos actually carry out the 'bayanihan' spirit. 

In Oman, FILCOSOC or Filipino Community Society is the official Filipino organization that collects donations for the Philippines. I contacted Mr. Clarence Carlos, current treasurer of the organization, who picked up our donations.

He also shared with me the details on who/how to send donations. 
For cash/check donations to Filcosoc HSBC bank account as follows:

Bank Name - HSBC
Branch - Al Khuwair
Account name - Filipino Community Social Club (FILCOSOC)
Account Number - 2080-7905-3001


Or to Mr. Clarence N. Carlos - FILCOSOC Treasurer , Corresponding Filcosoc receipt shall be issued.

Also, we have designated 3 drop points for in kind donations such as used clothes, food items and others. They are:

1. Philippines Embassy / POLO OWWA
2. Palayok – Al Khuwair
3. Palayok – Ruwi


 You may coordinate with the following FILCOSOC BOD’s on the schedule of pick up :
1. Rod Desiatco/Chairman- 95429893
2. Beth Ramos - 99313512
3. Helen Grace Sakai - 99411759
4. Clarence Carlos - 93672178
5. Harold Vibal - 99219532
6. Exequiel Madrinan - 97254376



The journey to recovery will take a long time but our help can make the lives of our unfortunate fellowmen a bit easier. Especially that Christmas is just a month away, let's give them hope and strength.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Plea to Help the Philippines

At times like this, when my country the Philippines is in grave trouble, I know that all acts of kindness will be very much helpful. I am going to devote my blog in order to raise awareness on what's happening to my country so that more and more people can extend hands and give whatever they can. We as a nation cannot depend on the government anymore because politicians are caught in limbo, clueless on what to do on crisis like this. And days have gone by without any much progress. Truth hurts but the government is pretty useless at the moment. So I urge everyone, all netizens of the world to please help us. Many lives have been lost and we just want to save the survivors.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Help the Haiyan Typhoon Victims in the Philippines

How to Help the Haiyan Typhoon Victims in the Philippines


Photo by Erik de Castro/Reuters from www.slate.com
I am re-posting the blog article from The Filipino Investor on how to send financial donations for the Haiyan Typhoon victims.


The Filipino Investor: How to Donate in ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya Through B...: The purpose of money is to be able to enjoy life and share it with others - Bo Sanchez ..... And we at The Filipino Investor ask, what be...

As a Filipino, and more importantly- as a human being, I feel for the suffering of those people who were seriously ravaged by the storm especially those who lost loved ones. Nobody wants this sort of tragedy to happen to anybody. And the mere sight of these people hungry and weary is just so heartbreaking.

So I encourage everybody to keep sending any amount of money that you can for these victims. 



Monday, November 11, 2013

Ariella Arida's Good Angles

In retrospect, Ariella has good photo angles which are simply fitting for a Miss Universe. I just felt that the MU photographer has deliberately sabotaged her photos and made her look so manly. 

So fresh and young!

But as you will find below, and even on TV- she's definitely a force to reckon with. That between Venezuela (that Steven Tyler look alike) and Ariella, Venezuela would look a lot like her grandmother who had undergone a botox surgery. And even if Ariella cannot speak fluent English, nobody cares about that. 

English speakers don't really mind at all how she sounded. She is a Filipino and she didn't have to pretend that she's from some Western country. 

What mattered was the results and that's about. Another chapter closed and so we move on to the next step. We have learned that the perfect recipe for winning the crown is not just about the walk, but also the gowns which most of us feel that underwhelms Philippine representatives. 




So regal! Reminiscent of a Miriam Quiambao.

So pretty and natural!

So simple! But ain't this the Janine 2012 style. They just changed the color from blue to yellow.

The free long hair complemented the yellow gown. But I still prefer the bun hair.

I just hope that they train on answering questions more from the heart rather than giving something that is already expected by the judges. 




Saturday, November 9, 2013

TRAVEL | Bandar Khayran, Oman


This weekend, we decided to leave the city and stay overnight at the beach. I had no idea where we were going. All I knew was that it was going to be a 45-hour drive. I said yes, why not. 


It was night and the path was unknown to me. After passing Qantab, I was clueless as to where we were heading.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Open Invitation for Bloggers

Open invitation for interested writers. If you would like to be part of my blogging team, please send me an email at allanyasser.abdula@gmail.com. 

This blog is a free avenue for people who are interested to write about general topics.



PHOTOGRAPHY | Featured Photo in Expat Blog


My photo got featured in this online site for expats, http://www.expat-blog.com/
And will be on display for a week this October.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Problem Solving

What does it take for a country to develop? 

This was the main question I've discussed with a good friend of mine from the UK. From a Western perspective, Asians are way behind other developed nations not because we lack resources. Asians are way behind because there are blocking issues towards progress that we refuse to acknowledge. Take Indian farmers for example. Indian farmers are so used to growing crops with 60% of produce wasted due to lack of proper refrigeration. Indian government knows this very well, but does not do anything to augment the situation. In effect, the farmers only get 40% of their harvest. Foreign investors realize that if they provide proper storage for farmers' produce then this might increase the harvest. And so refrigerated warehouses were built and true enough, the produce was stored for longer period of time, farmers are now able to sell more and get more out of their harvest. This is now bought by foreign investors at cheaper rates. So it becomes a win-win situation for the farmers and investors. But the middle men started protesting saying that this is non-traditional and should be stopped. But of course, they were only protesting because they now get little or nothing from the trading.

So we see that what is really needed right now is proper analysis of the problem and effecting solutions to solve the problems. It's theoretically easier said than done. But at least it's not impossible. Take the traffic problem in Manila for example. When the popular author Dan Brown described Manila as "gate of hell" due to unbelievable traffic and perilous streets, Filipinos were raged. But this is reality and this has to be accepted in order to resolve it. But the main question is what has the Philippine government done to fix the traffic problem? Surely, there were a number of schemes- color coding, odd even, lanes for vehicle types, traffic enforcers everywhere. What Filipino officers don't realize is that they are not solving the roots of the problem but merely reacting to the results. Instead of implementing otherwise ineffective schemes and deploying enforcers on the streets, why can't the government start investing on better public transport system such as more metro stations, better bus systems. They should also limit the number of taxi's and public utility vehicles. 

The PUV alone are by far the biggest chunk on the streets of Manila. Nothing controls their population simply because the government has been so comfortable with the idea that the PUVs will always be there to cater for the transportation needs of the people. But the number of people and PUVs have increased exponentially that streets could not accommodate them anymore. The construction of better transportation systems in the Philippines will provide alternative to the commuter. And if done properly then PUVs will gradually decrease on its own. This is why the government should look at option seriously.

Another probable alternative is to develop other major cities in the Philippines such as Quezon Province, Bicol, Cebu, Baguio, Davao, & Cagayan De Oro. It is time for the government to disburse the concentration of trading in Manila and Quezon City. The capital is overly saturated that it cannot support growth anymore. Further pressure to boom is chaotic to the cities because it attracts population. This explains the slums and crimes rapidly increasing in the metro. What needs to be done is to convince investors to do business in other major places. But this can only be possible if government will back up the investors in terms of better legal business policies, safety and optional incentives. The problem with putting up business in the Philippines is that corruption is so rampant that the government does not do anything about it. It's very difficult to open a business without knowing anybody in power. Investors will only take risks if they know that the return of investment is likely to happen.

In the process, people from other provinces will not have to flock to Manila to seek better job opportunities. They will find these jobs from other nearby cities. Manila and Quezon City will then have enough time to take care of its own business and maintain themselves. Less people, less vehicles, less traffic. Simple as that.

But to develop regional areas will not only require investors, this will demand better and more efficient laborers. And to do this, the government has to invest in education to ensure that the people are capable of the job. And to invest in education, you then have to go back again to better transportation and public security. People are constantly moving and the faster people go from one place to another, the more effective they become.

So we see that there are solutions to the problems. We just need to start acting. Enough of dreaming.



Monday, October 14, 2013

SPORTS | Yuna Kim 2010 & 2013


And recently I have been into watching figure ice skating, I'd like to share the brilliance that is Yuna Kim aka Queen Yuna on the ice rink. Words just fail me. Yuna transcends skating and emotions all too well which makes her so adorable to watch. There's no fear of her getting hurt on her stunts so we as an audience could just sit back and get awed at her performance. Below are some of the best skating stints of Yuna from 2010 and the recent 2013 World Figure skating which she won first with a staggering lead over Kostner from Italy (2nd) and Asada of Japan (3rd). I am looking forward to watching her at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) : Quotes from Evelyn

I just realized that I have not been writing seriously for this blog. All I've ever done is to write what other people could already have in their mind, and that's what I cared for. I never gave myself a chance to be heard. This is my blog after all, and the sole reason this was created was for me to voice out my sentiments. Thanks to Evelyn in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that I now figured why I'm not doing this blog any justice. I'd like to remember the beautiful quotes that Evelyn pointed out in the movie.

***

There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws (Evelyn).

Can there be anywhere else in the world that is such an assault on the senses? Those who know the country of old just go about their business. But nothing can prepare the uninitiated for this riot of noise and color. For the heat, the motion; the perpetual teeming crowds (Evelyn).

The person who risks nothing, does nothing. Has nothing (Evelyn)

Initially you're overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it's like a wave. Resist, and you'll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you'll swim out the other side (Evelyn)


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