Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heavy Rain on the Dry Land

While a heavy downpour is very common in a tropical country like the Philippines, it is an unusual phenomenon in a desert land such as Saudi Arabia. It's almost impossible, but it did happen. Last Monday afternoon, I hurriedly went to our rooftop to get the clothes I recently washed and hanged. The sky had suddenly darkened and it was as if heavy rain is about to fall. At first, I thought it was unlikely to happen because it is already summer and that morning, the sun was shining intensely and the weather was really hot. For a long-time resident, one can tell that the dark clouds would just go away as usual. But I instantly assumed that it is similar to my country, a heavy rain is about to fall. My assumptions have proved to be true for that afternoon, a heavy rainfall had flooded most of the places in downtown of Riyadh.

My husband had actually seen and experienced the unusual incident as he drove from his workplace. Traffic was really heavy and most of the vehicles were stranded on the streets. It's a good thing that he and his colleagues arrived home safe even though late. Their work for yesterday was even cancelled and I'm pretty sure classes as well as other duties were also suspended.

I haven't experienced the flood personally, but I have seen some pictures on the internet. The images are as bad as any calamities and I do feel sorry for those who were affected. I just hope they can recuperate from the loss they have the soonest possible time. Here are some of them (from  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Only in Saudi

Like any other women, I love gold jewelries and others made up of precious metals and stones. And if only I can afford to, I will buy as many as I can not only for my pleasure but also as an investment. Too bad, I'm not rich and my pocket is not overflowing with money. So for now I'm contented for whatever I have and I quench that lust for gold by just looking at them. lol!

I'm often fascinated and enticed by the jewelries for sale here. Even with their glimmering beauty and expensive value, they are carelessly displayed in glass cases without any metal barriers that will protect them from possible thieves. Likewise, jewelries that are generally composed of 18-21k gold are just hanged on the walls for buyers to have a closer and clearer view.

I have also noticed that jewelries here are for sale by weight and not by the gold composition. So if one decides to buy a 10 grams, 18k gold  rope necklace, it has the same price to that of the 10g, 21k gold  necklace of the same design. Likewise, prices highly depend on the vendor. So you just have to be diligent enough to look for the lowest price among the neighboring jewelry shops. Of course, in order to save money, you have to ask for discount. Anyway, since Filipinos are known for that , prices are always negotiable. It is also wise to buy gold when only few buyers are around so you can ask for big discounts. I believe those Arab vendors also aim for bigger sales. So when sales are low,they prefer to sell the item at a much lower price than to have no profit at all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My New Baby

I have been out of the circulation for a while because I don't have anything to use with. My hubby and I decided to sell my old notebook. Actually, it was already enough for me, but my husband insisted for a laptop because it has a much bigger screen. We also sold his old HP laptop which is almost 3 years old because it started to show signs of deterioration. The screen had repeatedly blacked out and when we had it repaired, the computer technician advised us to sell it before it can be totally useless.

After having much thoughts on what to buy, if either desktop or laptop, we decided to buy a laptop that we can use anytime and anywhere. Now, I got my brand new baby. As for hubby, he can buy later this year if I decide not to return here in Riyadh. At least, now I have something to use for my online activities.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Ysabella!

To my cute and pretty niece, Ysabella, who always has a special place in my heart, Happy 1st birthday! I hope I'm there to celebrate the one year of happiness and blessings we have all experienced since you came into our lives. May you grow to be a God-fearing, family-loving and good person. Enjoy your party!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Blues

It's Sunday once again. And this day marks my 31st Sunday without going to church. This is why I couldn't help wishing for a more lenient and open city where freedom from all religions is practiced and allowed. But I know it's highly impossible for this country had existed for decades already, and they kept their system as it is from the start, and consistently too.

Sunday in Riyadh is just like any other weekdays. They have a different calendar here with regards to the working and rest schedules. Thursdays and Fridays are considered to be weekends as analogous to the Saturdays and Sundays of most Christian countries. That's the reason why these two days are considered to be family days. Singles, or more particularly, males without families are not allowed to enter the malls. In these days also, malls are crowded with families as well as single ladies. Most offices and clinics here are also close every Friday.

Every Sunday I can't avoid feeling lonely because I really miss going to church and being blessed by hearing some good news from the minister's sermon. I know that I can always worship God anytime and anywhere, but worshiping as a part of the congregation is much better.

Likewise, much to my dismay, I have eaten dinner all alone just awhile ago. After waiting for my husband all day, now I don't have someone to chat with. Hubby is sound asleep from his long and tiring day, and I don't have a heart to wake him up to dine with me.

Actually, this is my usual Sunday and I'm quite used to it. I just have to remind myself everytime I feel blue that this is a strange country and I just have to bear with them and their culture in order to sanely survive my stay. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Do or Not To Do

I just read an article today about a guy who had just stepped in the most important crossroads of his life. He just gotten a girl pregnant. The sad thing is that she is not his official girlfriend. Naturally, the guy is confused. Does he have to marry her even if he's not truly in loved with her? or will he just support the baby without marrying its mother? If he choose the second option, he thinks he just have saved the three of them from a lifetime but loveless commitment. So, I guess he's now off for the latter option.

These have bothered me a lot. So what must be done? At least, what's the right way? I believe, it's the right thing to marry the girl and give the baby a name and complete family. But, the biggest dilemma is what if the marriage will not work? What if marrying each other is the last thing that should be done? Is love a skill that can be developed? Or can it be learned? Why did the physical relationship that has lead to conception of the child happen anyway?

As for me, if the couple is not really sure of their feelings, they should not marry. If they have committed a mistake by involving to a physical relationship and betraying the guy's girlfriend, they have left with no choice but to bear the consequences of their actions. But marrying each other for the sake of the baby and no other else is definitely not the answer. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. It means when two individuals commit with each other and make it known to the world, there's no turning back. Even, if annulment and divorce are allowed by man, their union is irrevocable in God's presence. If they can be sure that they can give their baby and their future home the love that they deserve, then, they should marry. But if they are uncertain, then, they should refrain from having a loveless home. All they must do is to give the baby the support and the love it needs even with their separate lives.

Its just so sad that it happened. However, it isn't the end of the world for the two of them. Their future definitely lies on the intelligent decision that they will coming up today. I just wish they will choose what's best for all of them.    

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Mother's Love

I just spent my afternoon yesterday watching a drama anthology thru The Filipino Channel . For Filipinos, it is popularly known as "Maalaala Mo Kaya" or MMK. It is a very well known program that features real life stories of people from all walks of life and has been on air for more than a decade.

Actually, the episode which was entitled "Regalo" (or Gift in English) was already aired in the past but I only had the chance of seeing it yesterday. The story was mainly focused on  the mother's effort and struggle to train and guide her child with cerebral palsy. I was really touched by the story for it mainly features the unfailing love of parents, particularly of a mother despite of all the discouraging circumstances. The child's condition which had caused her physical disability didn't discourage the mother to stop on dreaming and struggling to give her child a normal life. For me, the story as a whole, have justified the greatness of motherhood.  

Our Mother's love is indeed lasting and unconditional. It often exceeds other kinds of love for it originated from the oneness of a mother and her child in her own womb. It is the kind that sacrifices and even gives all that it has. Others may not even understand it at all, but it is often appreciated by those who have actual experiences. And as for me, I always find it amazing. Our Mothers actually deserve the highest regards among all other professions that have existed.

Monday, February 22, 2010


These past days, I have been feeling restless and bored. Maybe, I just miss home. And my job too. I just miss having to wake up everyday for work. It's been a while since I was last employed and I still don't forget the feeling of having something to do that's fulfilling, at least, professionally. Actually, the very reason why I resigned has something to do with my personal life. It's a matter of priority as it was my choice. But in times like this, when I just have to stay in the house all day long, I couldn't help feeling nostalgic.

It's a bad thing that I couldn't apply for any job here. I just need to abide with the conditions of my visa. And I would jeopardize my husband's job if I insist getting a job.

I'll just have to wait for my time so I can work again. If it's not here, I know, it will be in a right place and time. For now, all I can do is be a supportive housewife.

I just wish we can have some time to unwind and relax. Maybe, if hubby can find time, we can go to the mall, since here, its the usual place to spend free time. I hope its already weekend.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I just can't help feeling more nostalgic because I know today is Valentine's Day and I couldn't see any traces of celebration in the surroundings. At least, I have my husband and my friends here with me. It's makes me less lonely. 

Thanks to our TFC here in Riyadh, I do have the window to the Philippines. At least we're able to know the latest news in the country. In fact, it's good to know that love is basically in the air. As usual, people are busy with various activities for Valentine's Day. Businesses are busy with their promos to attract more customers. Everybody is off for the celebration.

Thanks also to the modern technology. I'm able to reach and send greetings to all my love ones in different parts of the world. With just one click and a couple of seconds, my thoughts can reach them.

To all who are loved, who love, and in love, may love continues to show us its power and magic. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friends Forever

I just couldn't let this love month pass without making a post about these people who are very close to my heart. To be precise, these people were just classmates then. To me, they were just friends who were seen at school and didn't play important roles in my life at all.These has all changed because of a particular incident that happened way back on a sunny and busy day of February, 16 years ago.

I remembered that we didn't have any class that day so we agreed to enjoy by doing something that has violated the school's regulations. That harmless but mischievous action that we did that had been reprimanded by our teachers was actually a blessing in disguise. Until now, I'm forever grateful that it happened because it led us to form a bond that as strong as bonds between sisters.
I believe our friendship has started when we discovered that we have indeed many things in common. From then, we found activities that we all enjoyed and learned what we have to offer for each other - trust, loyalty, love and respect. Until now, I believe these values made us last this long.

Years have passed and we now have our own careers and families. And its good that we still find ways to be able to catch up with each others' lives. If we can find time, we always try to get together and renew our friendship.

We also have our share of misunderstandings and arguments. But thanks God, we always managed to resolve them as soon as possible.

For Melody, Catherine, Emma, Charmelyn, Emelie and Emalyn, I know we'll endure any trials that may come and test the strength of our bond. I just know we can because we have been already tested through time and space and we still survived. Happy 16th year of sisterhood and friendship. Friends forever.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Talk About Love

February always makes me appreciate love. Maybe its because I always see, hear and read things that pertain to love and the act of loving. Love is essentially in the air. Furthermore, in this particular month, I have learned to appreciate having someone to love and who loves me even more. Somehow, it is because my husband and I are celebrating valentine's day for the first time as a married couple.

Love indeed is the most amazing thing in the world. It actually comes in different faces and has been defined for countless times by different people. It is also popularly known to exist as platonic, romantic, erotic and religious. Well, for now I would like to tackle romantic love and define it as a powerful force that knows no boundary and conquers all obstacles. It often comes in the most unexpected way and time. People who are struck with this force usually become brave enough to risk and lose everything. Love generally has the tendency to control and dominate over mind making people sometimes fools that rush things just to make way for their emotions.

Despite of these, love still proves to be the greatest gift a person can give and receive. True love doesn't expect any payment in return and it just longs to give and make people happy.

Love doesn't entail any requirement that one should hardly work for. Maybe the best thing one should do is to continuously embrace love to stay in love. Thus, people who posses love are lucky creatures. As for me, I believe I'm lucky because I'm one of them.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Broken Bonds Can Still Be Mended

In life, it is often inevitable that you meet people who leave marks that would be remembered for a lifetime. Sometimes, these meetings lead to relationships, some good, some awful and some changes during the period. Similarities and compatibility often lead to friendships as hostility between two people arises due to some differences.

Friendship most likely results when two people find ways to enjoy each other’s company. From there, they begin to open up and discover each other’s life. Trust and respect are built on this process. Bonds are strengthened from shared effort.

True friends are actually angels in disguise for they help you in time of need and trouble. They serve as your conscience when you’re doing something that is not already right. Friends are actually essential ingredients in molding one’s personality.

Most likely, it is because of these why a broken and lost friendship really hurts. Actions that are either unintentional or deliberate such as betrayal, deception and dishonesty may actually lead two individuals to become sworn and best enemies. It is in this time that forgiveness is almost impossible. This is maybe due to the fact that pain and hurt are equally intense as the friendship itself.

But like any other processes in life, I believe all wounds are healed in time. Although scars will still be there, lost friendships can still be renewed. Two estranged individuals can still be friends and can still make up for the lost times.

What makes me an authority to tell these? I have also my share of broken and renewed relationships. In the end, these experiences made me more mature and taught me the realities of life. I believe that what is most important is when wounds are already healed, both parties are willing to forgive and forget.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Different World

My husband and I arrived here in Riyadh last August, and now we are just few months ahead before we go home. I even hardly noticed that we are approaching almost half of my husband's one year working period. Indeed, time flies so fast. And I can still vividly remember my experiences when I first got here.

I have already worn my "abaya" or Muslim veil the moment we stepped out of the plane, as I'm told to do so. I also remember how anxious I am the first time I saw their intimidating crowd and felt their hostile environment. There were a number of people of different nationalities falling out of line in the immigration area of the airport. They were brusquely approached by an airport personnel to stay in line. I also noticed that there were no female employees unlike in the Philippine and Hongkong airports.

We finished the necessary procedures on the immigration almost nine in the evening of Saudi time. I was struck by a mass of very warm and dry air the first time I stepped out of King Khalid International Airport. It was as if my face was stretched and burned. When I told my husband about the weather, he just told me, welcome to Riyadh.

It's good to look back on these incidents because it became one of my firsts. It was my first actual knowledge of life in a foreign country. My first adherence to a culture that is very different from what I was born with. It was actually a good experience.

Celebrating Holidays

Holiday season here in Riyadh is just like any ordinary day. You won't see any lanterns hanging on street posts, regular Christmas melodies won't be heard on the radio, the air is devoid of Christmas spirit. For expats like us, it made the holiday season more lonesome. It made us missed home very much.

It's a good thing that we were able to find ways to celebrate the holiday season despite of being forbidden here. Here in our villa, we cooked foods for Christmas, gathered together and even had exchanged gifts. The children got thrilled with special gifts from uncle Santa.

Even though nothing is more fun and satisfying than celebrating the holiday season with families at home, it's good that we have made the event still unforgettable. I'm glad I have experienced my first Christmas and New Year with my husband and new found friends.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Missing Them

Nothing is constant except change. That's so true and is applicable to almost everything. And change can be good too. But sometimes, I can't avoid to wish for some things to stay as they are. I wish people not to grow old and die, for us to stay with our love ones forever. I wish we can always stay with our family, just be near them even though we already have families of our own. But I know it can never be true for we have to undergo the very basic process life obliges us - change.

I miss my family, my parents and siblings. I wish things were different from what we are today, scattered in the different parts of the globe. But somehow, I'm happy to know that we are all happy being with our very own families. I just wish time and circumstances would allow us to be together once again even for just a brief time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Hidden Wonders of Dry Land

I was lucky along with my housemates to travel outside Riyadh and reach one of the very famous tourist destinations in the city. We traveled almost 1 hour, sightseeing at the same time.

We have reached our destination almost time for lunch. I was really struck by its rare beauty. Red sand, as the name implies, is known for its reddish, very fine sand. It was a common place of leisure for expats like us often visited during the cold season here in Riyadh. The main activity people enjoy is biking on the rocky hills and reddish sand using a four-wheeled motorcycle. My husband and I biked like kids, really enjoyed despite of the sun. Luckily, the wind was very cold so that we didn't feel like burning under the Saudi sun.

It was really a great and unforgettable experience that i would cherish so as long as I live. I wish we could go back there before we go home this year. But it wouldn't really be a good idea since summer is approaching. We won't be able to stand the very hot and dry weather by that time.

My First Travel Abroad

It has been months ago when i came here in Riyadh with my husband. The trip was ok, everything was in place. We had our departure at Cebu-Mactan International Airport in the Philippines last August 25, 2009. Being anxious to be in time for the flight, we have arrived in the airport almost 4 hours before the departure time.We were even the first one to fall in line for the baggage check-in.

We had our stop over and connecting flight in Hongkong International Airport where i had my first actual experience on racial discrimination, we as the subjects. We were falling in line to the transfer desk with other nationalities, mostly chinese, american and middle east citizens, when we were stopped by a woman in uniform. I assumed she was an airport personnel. She then signaled those white people behind us to be at the line first, overtaking us. Naturally, we were taken aback, and we then realized that the airport personnel was just giving them the utmost priority. Well, what can we do? We just stayed behind, waited for our turn even though we are about to be left by our plane to Riyadh.

I observed that most people in the plane are Filipinos, which I believe are also OFW's as my husband. I was saddened by the fact that many families in the Philippines are left without a husband, a wife, a son or daughter who spend lonely and tiring hours abroad working to alleviate their lives.

Despite of our not-so-good experience, it was a good thing we were able to catch the flight to Riyadh just in time and reached our destination safely. I just have an important realization: racial discrimination especially for people of third world countries like the Philippines is an inevitable fact. Despite of this, it is important to do what is right and live with integrity so that others may know, that Filipinos are respectable, honest and family-loving creatures.

I just wish it won't happen again to our trip back to the Philippines this coming August. Though, I'm sure i can bear it again, i intend to avoid the delay and rush. It's just so tiring and jumpy.