Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015: In My Perspective

A typical one-week before Christmas is on my day. A lovely Saturday in a very busy metropolis in an eastern side of Saudi Arabia; Dammam. I have bought some grocery items this morning in order to sustain my life in a not so big apartment that houses me for two years now. Yes two years and counting that I am living here in the Kingdom. I have survived and somehow enjoyed the little and big surprises that are coming on our way everyday. From the different food to the exotic places here that we have tasted and traveled respectively I can now say that this place is my second home, for now.
 
With this time and the next year, 2016, is just around the corner, I have a choice to reflect and see the perspectives that I have been through the years especially that crucial two-year stay here in Saudi Arabia. I am still here and I am not aware or does not know that in the near future I will be settling in my native country. As long as this country is accepting us and our services and skills I believe I will be here for another couple of years or more.
 
In my first year here, 2013-2014, I could say that I have met the most extreme experience of my life. I have felt the coldest month of my life as well as the saddest moments that I have endured and survived. I have felt likewise the hottest months of my life and it was really hard to say that it was so difficult that sometimes I have given up living here and thinking of going home once again and never ever comes back here. But as I have said I have survived them all.
 
And I have learned so much in dealing with other persons here with different cultures and perspectives of their own. Those enlightened me and widened my understanding of why some people behave like that and not like what we are expected of them.
  • Going Home
“Final exit or Exit Re-entry”
When we say we are going home back to our country it means two things : you will have your final exit for some reasons or you will just be returning to the Philippines and avail of the vacation offered by the company and with the promise of coming back here in KSA. 
 
Some of our friends and co-workers have decided to take the final exit for some reasons. Some just go and headed for the Philippines because another job is waiting for them there. Some also go because they cannot take any longer the “homesick-ness” and decided to take final action of resigning and have their luck back at home. Some just go for some personal reasons. 
 
Most of our friends and co-workers here go on vacation and return since they are still needed here and they still need to work here to fulfill their dreams. And we really never know when is the time to have our final exit. It might come if the company does not want me or if we decide to settle for good in our native country. But for now we are still here and some years more to fulfill our dreams and obligations like in investment or other ventures like in building/renovating our house.
 
  • Gains and Loss
“Every changes should be accepted”
It is very true that the saddest part of being an OFW is when we are in the departure area of the airport and we finally said goodbye with teary eyes to our loved ones. Much saddest is when our loved ones die. This year two of my beloved member of the family departed and their loss marked a very sad moments in our life. First was my Ate Edna’s untimely death and we were really in shocked and could not believed that she is gone now. I could not imagine that I will be coming home again next year that no more Ate Edna will greet me and looked for my pasalubongs and lovingly accepted whatever gifts that I have for her. I know she is in Heaven now and whatever the reason that she was earlier called by our Creator we know that God’s plans are much wiser and better compare to ours. The second one was the death of our second Lolo in Catandala, Mamay Bastian. He was the last and oldest that we have now and he is gone also. As part of an OFW ‘s life we suffer from the loss of quality time with our family back in the Philippines. Though there are so many ways of the modern communication to talk to them, the void feelings are still there and we cannot sometimes do but cry. Though through times homesick-ness is cured still the thought of having not with them lingers and made us so sad and sometimes question our very own existence here and not with them especially in those times of sorrows and anguish.
 
However on the brighter side we gain so much things in working abroad. We earned much money as compared to working in the Philippines since there are no income tax being imposed here. We also learned much through cultural differences and diversification and I know those skill and knowledge are very helpful in our next missions or endeavors with our career and life itself.
And to say the least but not unimportant, we have seen ourselves when we are in different and far away lands. We have the freedom to do whatever we want and therefore discover that we can do such and such things that somehow we are incapable of. 
 
So as we bid goodbye for 2015 and we are happily welcoming the new year 2016 let us be reminded that wherever we are, God is with us.
 
Thank you and Merry Christmas Happy New Year too!

Looking Forward To

I have watched last night a boring film yet so good. The title of the movie is “The Girl In The Book”. It is not so good but somehow get my soul hooked and think for a while that I must have a good reflection of what has happened this year. And eventually what to look up for in the coming year.

This year 2015 marks some of the major losses in my life. My sister died as well as my second grandfather. It has left a huge emptiness in our hearts and I really do not know what to do in those times of shock and grief. However through times I am beginning to accept the reality that death is one of the pre-requisite of being alive. Everyone will die eventually.

And so for this next year I will do my best here in abroad to have a good future. I will indulge myself in work since I really need it as a source of income as well as therapy to pass the time of grief and sorrows. I will do my best to help others in order to fulfill my dreams as well as theirs too.

I will try to communicate more often to my family especially to Inay who is getting older by the day. I will try to find my loved of a lifetime so that I could start a family of my own.

And I will try to be with God again. I felt that I have done so many wrongs that I needed much forgiveness from our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Welcome Home Ate Michele

It is about 14 long years of staying away from us. It is about missing my sister who flew to the US way back in 2001 together with her family to try their luck there. Through ups and downs and rough and easy rides my sister came out alive and very well. It is not a battle to live abroad but a "war" that no one is prepared for. And she survived.

At around 12 am this morning Ate Michele officially landed in the Philippines and about 30 minutes later I have called her and her voice stayed the same as usual. Though I am here in Saudi Arabia and will not actually experience the joy of reuniting all of us children of Inay and Tatay I am very happy now that somehow somewhere we are one children of our parents. Though we are all adults now. We are still children in Inay's eyes and to my sisters and brother I am still and forever be their bunso.

Again welcome home Ate Michele!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Licensed To Travel


Thanks to Adel that he has a driving license and we rented car and we are exploring some of the beauties of Dammam and beyond!






"Pasalubong"


Thanks  to some sale bonanza here in some malls in Khobar a few months ago that I have five pairs of new shoes for my pamangkins..the problem is BOC..OH my God baka pagdating ( balak ko sa balikbayan box) eh kulang kulang na..or if I will bring it on my flight - chances are BOC in NAIA might give them tax..BOC talaga sobrang lacoste!






Friday, September 18, 2015

There Is Always Hope


Just merely looking at the nature's way..there is always hope
just by breathing..there is always hope..
just by opening every morning..there is hope..

And thanks God by giving me those hopes..I hope others can see it too!

My Second Birthday In Dammam







My Birthday In Khobar







That No-Nonsense Talks


I  am looking for some good photos of mine for this year  and I have got this one. I do not know why I cannot upload some downloaded photos from google. A privacy issue maybe. It has been a while since I am not writing here. I do not know why I have stopped for a while. Writer's block? I think so or am I running out of ideas? Am I too busy at work? I guess not. I just want to stop. And wonder about everything. And now I am writing once again.

Life here in Saudi Arabia is quite good though boring sometimes. Thanks to the malls and restaurants that made our life somehow easier and nearer to our home. However before we can go to our favorite hang-outs here we must take a bus or taxi. We prefer taxi and we have learned a lot. I have learned a lot from honest talks to some drivers that I have been with. Most of the time I go to Khobar on a taxi. I always prefer a Bangladeshi driver for some reasons. They are good in English and should I say safe and honest. Other taxi driver are the opposites. I always greet him or ask the Bangla, as we called them, with " from Bangladesh" . And he responded yes. Then I will ask "Dhaka?" and he will say no and usually say Ustia a 2 or 3 hours ride from Dhaka  and most of the drivers are from them. I honestly enjoyed talking to them. They shared their life with me. Some information are shared and some opinions about the life here are also brought into discussion.

One time I have this very intelligent Bangla driver. We talked about the situation here. We talked about some work ethics here. We talked about shared experience with some "forces" that might be ruling the place. And he understood. He is very polite and offered me a ride once again after my photowalk in the corniche. But I forget since I went home night that time. He said he used to work in a firm or office for some years but opted to work as a driver since he can earn more. We talked about his dream of settling in their neighboring village where all he can see are the green places and rivers and all the calmness in life. A zen.

One time I have this Pakistani driver from Peshawar. Peshawar is like Mindanao in our country where some issues of security and war are just a way of life. Actually he said that Peshawar is not a safe place. And that time when I was about to go to Shatea Mall he called and nearly cried. That time his father died in Peshawar. All I can say is nothing to comfort him since I was about to go out of his taxi that time. In my mind all I can do is to pray for him and his family about that very sad news.

Another memorable one was the Indian driver whose so old maybe in his 60's and I discovered that he is a Catholic. He is driving for about thirty years in Dammam and he missed the good old Dammam where traffic is not a problem and buildings are so few. But now everytime is always traffic in every corner of the city.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Browsing

I am here in the Kingdom for almost two years and part of the day to day routine is of course working in the office and staying here in my house. And during those times thanks to a fast internet connection. Thanks to Facebook and other sites that make my life easier and enjoyable.

In Facebook I could browse and see whatever new news and latest reports around the globe. I can also see and watch video of the latest evening replay of my favorite newcasts. And yes I could see some photos uploaded by my friends. I can know that my friends and friends of friends got married. I can see also their activities that usually the basic eating and outing and posted those pictures for the world to see. And vice versa I am doing the same.

I can know who's house has been renovated or got some new house at a very classy subdivision. I can know now who got a new car and they took photo of its blessings. Facebook really knows all. Good and bad thing for us. Good in a sense that we are part of this whole world of free information and we are happy that we have the tools to show the world ourselves. Bad in a sense that too much sharing might get us vulnerable to cyber attack and worse got us into trouble.

So again use this technology driven tools for the benefit of mankind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life Goes On


And they say goodbyes...
Till we meet again..

My room-mate Jops..a year ago..

Duan and Cocoy..several months ago..

Jeff Tolsa..Then Noel and the last is Zander..
thanks for all the time we spent together..in this desert..in this land..
every reason..every purpose..has its own place..under the sun..under the heaven..
but for us left here..our struggle continues..though we are still in the midst of thinking..
of choosing the best for us..
we know we could continue..to cherish..to live..and work..for our family..for ourselves..
life must go on..now..


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Go West


A couple of weeks ago..I went to one of my favorite spot of Dammam. A secret place where I can wonder and walk and feel like I am at home. And somehow I am at home. The sea breeze. The colder wind in the summer heat of Saudi Arabia somehow is on this place.

And I spend some time there. Reflecting on the sunset. On the boats. On the family gathered together to see a wonderful creation of God. Nature.

A nature in the bustling city. A quite place in a noisy metropolis. I asked. I answered. And I walked. I took some photos. Memories are made of these.

Go west as the voice told me.


Monday, June 15, 2015

"You are 60. And You are retiring? Good."

If I am not mistaken I have this conversation with a taxi driver three nights ago. I was going home from a short visit to Khobar. It was a night of doing nothing but eat at whatever Filipino resto in Khobar. And because I want to sleep early that night I did not indulged myself in having much time in Khobar.

And I rode a taxi. After a minute I spoke to an older taxi driver. Along the conversation he said he is in his 60. And he spend 8 years in Saudi doing that job. And I was his last passenger before his retirement. That night he said that by tomorrow he will fly to Lahore Pakistan. I felt some jealousy. I felt that I was happy for him. Along the 25 minute drive he summarized what he has been through before his retirement. He was a train driver before in Pakistan. Then he retired there and tried his luck in KSA. And now he is retiring for real. He will help his 3rd son in running his motor/spare parts business.

I could see in his face the hidden pride. The hidden joy that after all those years he is successful in his job that made his family as it is now. His grown up children are all professionals. And I wish him luck. And I will never see him again. Probably.

I want to be in my 60 too. Really? I don't know.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Writing Is Hurting


Kagabi at noong nakaraang gabi eh bumili ako ng produkto. Tangina parang tunay ah. Ok let's try it again. Parang mike test lang. Nung nakaraang gabi at kagabi I have bought some products dito sa malapit na mall sa may amin. ( Taglish) muna ang style ko at parang sawa na ako sa puro tagalog or purong english. Variation kumbaga. So balik tayo sa binili ko nung mga nakaraan gabi sa may Aldanah mall. Bumili ako ng tatlong puting piraso ng Hanes para pang ilalim sa aking uniform. Dati sa aking pinanggalingang kompanya libre it. I love Keilco! Bumili rin ako ng may kulay para pang araw araw at sobrang humid at init na dito sa Dammam. Nakakwentuhan ko ang nagbebenta. Isa siyang matandang Eqyptian pero hindi mukang Eqyptian. Malaking tao at para siyan Indiano na Pinoy na basta hindi sya mukang taga Ehipto. At mabait syang makipag usap. Pero kokonte ang alam nyang english wala naman akong alam na arabic kaya minsan nakakatuwang pagmasdan ang excitement nya pag nakakabigkas ng wikang english na sasang-ayunan ko naman na muka ngang tama at nagkakaintindihan kami.

Ah now ko lang ulit na-update ito. Ang dami kong dapat isulat pero minsay akoy tinatamad na. Minsan kasi walang kabuluhan. Minsan talagang makabuluhan pero wala namang oras at paraan para maisulat ko ito.

It is really nice to know that even in those simple "thank you" from the people whom I have helped in a very simple way changed their life and they cannot repay me but a thank you is already a full payment in my part.

My cousin who has a son and her son was supposedly to be enrolled in PUP. But because of the so many applications for admission, her son did make it and still in  the waiting list. So my cousin requested me to prepare a request letter to a certain dean or registrar to admit her son. And luckily he was admitted and also became a university scholar because of his sports engagement specifically badminton.  Sometimes a letter changed a man's life forever.

A colleague of mine for some reason lost his job and he has nothing to do but apply again in different company here. He is an experienced man and he is confident to land a job sooner. And he asked me a favor to review and arranged his CV or resume for a better chance of getting a new job. And I did, And he got a job which is giving him twice the salary before.

Thanks God!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Bisperas"

Tomorrow will be my birthday. My second birthday in Dammam. Thanks be to God for giving me all the blessings and opportunities to be part of HIS grand plan!

Again tomorrow, another year will be added to my age. But who cares? As long as I am living to the fullest and giving whatever I have to those people in need, so I am very happy!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Take Time



Take time
to take a nap.
then wake up to this scene.
a profound calling.
a glimpse of what we want.
nothing is there?
there will always be something there.

Take time to relax.
to get what you want.
even if you are not doing something.
think.
imagine.
explore.

I want this life.
to go back.
in its simple form.
no internet?
I don't know.
just no noise
please!

Congrats!


You might be the luckiest but with hard-works and intelligence you have made it! You are indeed a survivor and again congrats and by leaving the same company that we have shared a few years back, I can say that the eagle in you has landed a better place. Much better.

So for your next journey in career and life may God bless you and keep your feet on the ground and never forget the people and circumstances that somehow conspire to get you where you are and where you will be heading for!

I can't wait for December for a real conversation maybe in Greenbelt, in Singapore or in US wherever is applicable hahahaha!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thank You


This photo was taken last December in Ilocos. Thank you for my DSLR for this awesome picture. And though I am able to take some breath-taking view in the Philippines I am indeed very grateful to have my two good cameras to capture those moments. Thank you.

Sometimes in times of loneliness, of sorrow and somehow hopeless cases all we can do is to say "Thank You". Thanks God for all these times that we are alive. Though it is so simple and so common, sometimes we really neglect and forget to say it even in our thoughts because we are so busy noticing other things.

So now even though I am busy I will offer these "thank you's" to someone(s) that deserve it now.

1. My parents - Inay and Tatay - all of my grandparents

2. Brothers and sisters- though we seldom see each other because we are all have family of our own our blood bonding will never be separated.

3. Long lost friends - they are those treasured high school friends, elementary years friends and neighborhood friends who somehow we do not see on regular basis but when we do, time just has its magic of returning to the very time that we are so very much of a friend. As if high school was yesterday only.

4. Circumstances - there are many untoward circumstances that bring us to wherever we are today. Some things just happened and the last time I know is that I am here in Saudi now. Some things like that.

5. Strangers - sometimes talking to a complete stranger give us the freedom to talk and to regain ourselves in a very very different way.

Yesterday my two colleagues here approached to have my signature on their clearances. What? clearances? Oh no! Somehow they have to go and I was sad and somehow depress that in our nearly two years of working together, sometimes we have to go and explore other opportunities. We were not that closed but close enough to be called as friends. They are Pakistani expat and unfortunately will go on other journey.

Again thank you to them.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

2 AM and I am doing nothing

Just an interruption. Or is it the weather already? The temperature here in Dammam is rising even at night. Our aircon is doing almost a 24-hour service in our room. My coffee is very hot or just blending with the weather.

Sometimes I have to wake up thinking just nothing. Doing nothing. Just staring at the ceiling but my eyes cannot go back to sleep. Maybe later. Some distractions mostly social media are all in the tip of my hands. I need to go away from the noise. I need to cleanse my digital life.

Time to go offline? I hope so!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Rise Of Private Message And Other Stories

Lately I am not into blogging. I have those days of doing just nothing but sleep or just watching my favorite and latest TV series via live streaming. Sometimes writing seems so far away. Until today.

After some weeks of "busy" as they said it because of the turn-over of the plant to us, it seems that normal days are here again. I can shoot photos and write blogs again. But one thing is making it a little harder. The private messaging/chat apps.

Name it. Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Line, Skype, Tango, Twitter, IMO, Kik and others are just some of the many popular messaging/video/chat apps in my smartphone.  And yes my YM - the very originator of them all - Yahoo Messenger is still alive and kicking. I remember about 8 years ago everytime I open my computer the very first thing to do is not opening my email but my YM. Then it somehow disappear because of Facebook then after digging and reopening it I found that most of the people abandoned YM but still there are so many loyalists to it. Including me.

This morning I have wonderful minutes of talking to Dey and Bambz via Tango chat and video call. I prefer Tango now over Skype since it delivers much more quality audio and video.

**updating today April 19

Thanks God we have renewed our internet connection here in our place and I am back to normal. So about my article yesterday I can say that the rise of the popularity of the chat and video call signal the era of communication to go back to its real roots; personal communication with our loved ones. In social media we can be friends with whoever they are online no matter how or usually we do not have personal interaction with them. But with private chat and message we are having this "family-affair" again of communicating with our beloved ones. And it is really good. It is good since we are returning to the basic or to the core where we should be.

Anyways I have to sleep early for tomorrow I have to go again to work. Happy day Dammam!
Maybe the other stories will be told some other days.


Friday, April 3, 2015

By The Letters


Yes sometimes I am not in the mood for writing. Yes sometimes I just want to sleep all day. Yes sometimes I just want to go online forever. And sometimes just let it all go. Just like  before. Bored of something. Of writing. Of blogging.

Until once in awhile I am waking up. With my hand craving for writing.

This is one of those times.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Date By Two


My good friend Christian when we ate at Dencio's in Bauan..good for Bauan they have this restaurant and Bo's Coffee too!


Of course with Inay at Max's in P. Burgos..


With my cousin JB! with us also were my cousins Heidi and her husband Jay..a night of fun and dancing at Euphoria last December..


And with my colleague in Keilco - Harry..and he might say "I love Keilco" too.. A sign that he might be leaving for a greener pasture somewhere else..I know Harry will be there at the corporate world of Makati in another company - much bigger company! German sounds? ahahahaha!! Again congrats and goodluck! Kitakits na lang sa Greenbelt on December!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Taste Of Nuvali/Paseo




"Robbed"

Wednesday. A minute just before the safest place on earth.

And we were robbed. Of time. Of resources. Lots of fear. Of hopelessness.

And it was reported. Bureaucracy. A different justice. Not karma. But waiting.

But still fearing to go out. Being robbed.

Run By The Numbers

I am watching now a youtube video about "loving your work" and the speaker has just said about "run by the numbers" or our world is run by the numbers.

And it is exactly true. We wake up at 5 am and our time is up at about 6 to be able to ride the bus or our own vehicle to our workplace. At about 10 minutes of our work we crunched the time in order to have that coffee while reading our junks of emails. And somehow we lost about an hour. Slave by the numbers.

Sales people are like that. Quotas. Prices. Sales. And their life is determined by how many "values" or price they have add up to the company. And so are we. We define our life when we are "in progress" when we can afford such kind of house worth something of a number. We pride ourselves as successful when we have investments of suck kind of value.

But in the end we are slaves of numbers. Of getting most of the life and not thinking that somehow or definitely those are meaningless unless we give meaning to them. RIGHT NOW!

Let us use our time and money on meaningful coffee table conversation. Let us spend our weekends on family. Let us enjoy life.

And prove that we are not run by the numbers. We are the users of the numbers!


Monday, March 2, 2015

MGM!!!


I will never forgive myself if my visit for a vacation in the Philippines, I will not eat lomi at MGM..and I just did..fabulous noodles in which a truly Batangueno blood will only understand!



New Beginning

Sometimes I want to be alone..then go offline.. In the beach..with no one.. and stay there as long as I want.. escaping reality? no. ...