PEBA entry

Salamat, Danke, Merci, Thank you PEBA, and Happy Holidays too

December 28, 2010

This month has rather been busy with all the events related to Christmas, I have to beg off from blogging. 

It's been two weeks since the Pinoy Expats/ OFW Blog Awards night where my entry (here) landed a great and un-expected second place. Please allow me to copy my facebook note on it:
Mama got excited for the awards night, and went to Narda's for her PhP 4k Igorot dress. Incidentally, there were two Igorot awardees in the top 10 (#2 and #3). Thank you Perts for the fotos.

Looking now at these photos, I realized the easiest part was for me to write the entry, the fulfillment is mama saying she's proud and happy to be part of the awards night, and the real winners are the people behind PEBA for putting the event through. These winners are working from all corners of the globe and all corners of the Philippines -- unpaid, and just strongly driven by their passion to make a difference for the OFW bloggers.

Going back to my entry, I sat to write it six hours prior to the closing of submission,and I'm just thankful it still made it as entry # 28th. I wasn't really expecting anything since 25% of scoring was from popularity. When I submitted, my stats was only about 3000-ish page views for a 15 months old blog. Before the awarding, it reached 7000-ish. I was hiding my blog from people who know me, and due to work and family commitments, I cannot as much blog hop to earn traffic and votes. Eventually I have to ask help here at facebook, and somehow was blessed to generate support.

Thank you all!
Many thanks for the support, especially to those who believed in my entry.

Thanks a lot PEBA, my Mama was proud and glad!

I am on the other end of the line =)
And to all my fellow nominees and all fellow OFW bloggers, congratulations too!

Merry, merry Christmas =)

I guess I'm getting used to the sandpit Christmas celebration, but of course I miss the Filipino tradition. Much unlike the Philippines, Christmas is more of a commercialized event here where malls are adorned with greens and reds of Christmas trees, Santa Claus and his rein-deers, BUT nothing of the Nativity, since of course it is a Muslim country. The essence then is a challenge for every Christian believer to find it in his/ her heart.

The trimmings at Mirdiff Mall, Dubai Mall and Mercato Mall. I would've loved to drive to Emirates Palace to see the controversial $11M Christmas tree.
We attended the Christmas mass at St Mary's, and this nativity scene much made up for our longing to see one. Above is Fr. Tomasito during the parish announcement, saying "To those of you who attend mass only during Easter and Christmas, whatever your reasons are, the Church is always here to welcome you back". This was aptly meant for us. Can I hope we could be better in 2011?


From us and the Gremlin, we wish everyone a blessed 2011. And may the Christmas spirit reign in us everyday =)

UAE - Dubai

Burj Khalifa At Night

December 06, 2010

This passive blog reached 18 followers, the 18th being Mr Tony of whom we met in Luxor, Egypt.

And more elating is his giving our photo a space in his blog. Thanks a lot Mr. Tony!

We're wrapping up the three-months visit of Kalel's Lola Mommy (grandmoms are addressed as Lola in the Philippines), and instead of the mountains, we scaled Burj Khalifa at duskthis time.

Quick notes from
At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
•  Tallest building in the world
•  Tallest free-standing structure in the world
•  Highest number of stories in the world
•  Highest occupied floor in the world
•  Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
•  Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
•  Tallest service elevator in the world
Other Burj Khalifa Fast Facts
  • The concrete used for Burj Khalifa is equivalent to the weight of 100,000 elephants.
  • The amount of steel rebar used for the tower is 31,400 metric tons. Laid end to end this would extend over a quarter of the way around the world.
  • Condensate is collected from the building’s cooling system and used for irrigation of landscape plantings. Every year, 15 million gallons of water are sustainably collected this way.
  • The cladding of Burj Khalifa contains over 24,000 individually cut glass panels.
  • The curtain wall area of Burj Khalifa is equivalent to 17 football fields.
  • The tip of the spire can be seen 95 km away.
  • At the peak of construction, 12,000 workers were on site every day.
  • With over 160 levels – no other building has more storey’s.
This is our second time on the 124th floor observation deck. We were there from 5pm - 7:30pm (the first was at 12 noon). We chanced on the sunset and the Dubai Mall water fountain shows from atop.

The observation deck is 360 degrees of glass panel

A bit frustrated that I can only manage this for a sunset photo. 
The sun vanished from the horizon too quick.
Looking down at Dubai Financial Center. See that road from the left sloping down to the right? This is a long bridged road.
The fountain show. I realized too far is too less of detail. The music, which plays a big mesmerizing role is almost not heard too.

I think midday tours on winter with blue skies give better chances for long-range photos such as takes on The Palm and The World islands which are not visible at dusk/ night.

What obviously changed since our first visit was this. It used to be "The making of Burj Dubai".

For more of my Burj Khalifa's photos, you might want to check HERE.

Road Trips

Rough Drive: Wadi Wurrayah, Fujairah

December 03, 2010

Driving out of Dubai on weekends seems cheaper than being in malls. We just pack our cooked meals and load on gas, and that's it for the day.

Yesterday, we drove to Wadi Wurayyah in Fujairah, said to be UAE's only waterfalls all year long. From the road,  the wadi is a bumpy 3 kilometers rock bed which we clocked 26 minutes (one way).

If you are heading to the wadi, you can also get location ideas and further notes from Agnes' blog here, as with the map above.

Here's a quick video of our drive (shhh, mind not the voices =) ):

At the junction towards the view deck and the rock bed

Down the Wadi. Wadi (Arabic: واديwādī; also: Vadi) is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.

The waterfalls from the view point

There are bees and dragonflies

Now, the waterfalls. Just a short one but for a place where oases are rare, these are treasured.

Clear water upstream

The husband checks the reservoir

I'm in awe how the walls have formed.
This hill-y and rock sight is a delight for us who's always on  Dubai's plains.

On a side note, here are snaps along Khorfakkan heading to the wadi:

A jeepney with unfinished painting of the Philippine flag, it seems
Fujairah Trade Center where I first worked in the UAE, for an Egyptian who's into transporting Fujairah's crushed rocks to Kuwait and Dubai, among other places.

We were stuck in traffic heading back home in Khorfakkan as people celebrate UAE's 39th National Day on the streets.


To Egypt, to Egypt

December 01, 2010

I'm currently sorting 1400 photos we took in our 3.5 days Egypt tour and I dont know where to start sharing.

In a nutshell, it was a tiring but enriching trip. And:

- We like Egypt because of its traces of ancient civilization
- We like Egypt for the (cheap, they say) hot air balloon ride
- We like Luxor's Nefertiti Hotel's hospitality

- We like our Luxor guide and Egyptologist Aladdin. He's Luxor's lively walking encyclopedia. We have yet to tell Nefertiti though that their Cairo agent who guided us, was not as accommodating as Aladdin.

- We dislike Egypt for its people who see tourists as $$$$$$$$. Let them flag a taxi for you, or take a picture of them, or enter a toilet that says "Free entry", or any petty favor -- now spell trouble --  you're OBLIGED to PAY them. There's also obnoxious locals on the streets stretching their palms. You could either be expert at ignoring them, hand them $ or hand them a thing in your bag they'd ask for.
- We dislike the cunning Egyptians. Spell RIP-OFF boldly. There's overpricing or making up stories for fakes. Twice, the locals came over to us as if we were acquaintances insisting we spoke earlier and agreed to pay them for their services.  
- We dislike our first night hostel. Talk about mold-laden cups tray; hazy drinking glasses; room lights not working, bed linens that seemed un-washed for weeks, unkempt toilet
- We dislike Egypt for it's "multi-pricing". Tony, a Welsh who made Luxor his home said: "You pay EGP 65 while the Luxor resident pays EGP 2.
- We dislike Luxor McDonalds, rip-offs too. We attempted to save on our food, but weren't too careful to read the deceiving menu and did not confirm. I was expecting an EGP 60 meal for our EGP 99 bill.
- We dislike having to travel 12 hours by bus from Luxor to Cairo because the train was full.
- We dislike Egyptians who doesnt know the word QUE. They just come in front of you in the line. Once, our Cairo guide suggested we give a coin to be attended in priority.

Oh, oh, I'm being mean now, really mean =) . Please dont get me wrong, Egypt has must-see treasures that's why tourists flock by the countless buses. And I guess it'll take me 4 to 5 blog posts to share.

For now, here are random picks from my 1400 shoots:

The pyramid sides used to be smooth as the tip of this

Hatshepsut's mummification temple. Cant pronounce? Say Hot Chicken Soup =)

Egypt's First Class train

Sensored, sensored. But yeah, they make this in Luxor. Reminds me of my village's wood carving industry.

Much of land along Egypt's Nile River is green

Inside a Coptic Christian Church in Luxor

Inflating the balloon

Rooftops as seen from the balloon

Bread anyone? ... in Cairo

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Alexandria's fishermen


Citadel of Sultan Qait Bay in Alexandria
Please do come back for my individual posts on our experience. It's 2:25 am now, have to hit bed otherwise, would be too groggy for our Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah drive at sunrise =)

It's holiday in the Sandpit today. Happy 39th dear UAE!

Road Trips

Road Trip - Falaj Moalla -> Masafi -> Fujairah

November 16, 2010

Getting lost in a road trip could sometimes turn out good, even if it means reaching the destination seven hours rather than 1.5 hours on the shortest route. We found ourselves on the outskirts driving just at 60-80kph rather than the 100-120kph highway speed. There's so much to see and wonder on so we would slow down or stop on awesome views.

We started in Dubai from left towards Fujairah at the lower right. We took the red route going and returned home on the blue road.

Dubai - Falaj Al Moalla - Al Dhaid - Masafi - Dadna - Zubara - Al Bidiya - Khorfakkan - Fujairah

Here's some takes along the way:

This house must feel so secured sitting on rocks in Masafi, Ras Al Khaimah

This was our sight for hours, but we loved it along with the curvy two way roads
Looking at these creations caught my interest in geography

There's no fancy food courts on the road.
Either stock food in the car, buy corn and fruits from this vendor, 
or eat at local restaurants which could be in the next 50 kms

Hungry after four hours drive, at last by 3:30 pm we found a perfect spot for our packed lunch

After a filling lunch, we let our tummy do good work while we wonder on the blue horizon

...while the Gremlin and his Dad worked on the sand.
Then here's Bidiya Mosque, believed to have been built in 1446 AD.
It's the smallest mosque I've seen so far.

As the sun was about to set, we reached our destination after seven real good hours. Small water swamps are a sight on the roads after the rain of ice earlier.

I asked the husband to drive in this house
that cradled my first sleep in the UAE -- in Fujairah.
And there's our Fujairah drive. Now I'm looking forward to the next road trip.

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