See the beautiful sights of Dubai from the sky


Taking a break from posts and features of my recent trip to the Philippines, here’s another way to see Dubai…

Known as the city of luxury shopping, futuristic architecture and energetic night life, Dubai has even more to offer than originally thought. As exciting as the city is from land, it’s even more spectacular from the sky with its man-made islands, a hotel in the shape of a sail and the world’s tallest building in its city centre.

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah

When it comes to man-made islands, nothing quite compares to Palm Jumeirah. It’s shape of a palm tree makes it truly unique and instantly recognisable as a signature feature of the city. The island holds hotels, resorts as well as private homes that can be easily accessed via the Palm Jumeirah Monorail. The best way to see the full shape and magnificence of this structure is from above, whether you fly over it in your private jet or while skydiving.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Further down the coast sits the unique sight of the Burj Al Arab, the third tallest hotel in the world located on an island of reclaimed land and connected to the mainland by a bridge. It was built to resemble the spinnaker sail of a J-class yacht with the hopes that it would be become an iconic symbol for Dubai. The hotel is no doubt best viewed from above via helicopter or private jet hire, where you can get a perfect 360-degree view. Here in Dubai, you can rent a private jet with Air Charter Service to discover a whole new side to Dubai from above.

World Islands

World Islands

Located 4 kilometres off the coast of Dubai in the Persian Gulf, the artificial cluster of 300 small islands was constructed to represent a world map. Each little island is made up of sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coast, and are currently uninhabitable. The islands are difficult to get to, so the best way to view the whole landscape is from above.

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountain

If you’ve seen the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas and you thought they were spectacular, just wait until you’ve seen the Dubai fountains. Situated outside the Dubai Mall, it is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, illuminated by 6,600 lights, 25 colored projectors while shooting water as high as 500ft into the air. The fountain is also accompanied by a range of classical, contemporary and Arabic music. It’s one incredible show that would look spectacular from above.

So next time you’re flying over or even landing in Dubai, remember to look down and you might catch one of these breathtaking views from the comfort of your seat!

Beach time during Ramadan in Dubai

beach 1

Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic calendar, started last June 6 and with it, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for the next 30 days. During this period of fasting and prayer, followers of Islam will abstain from eating and drinking until they break their fast each evening after the sun sets.

This is our 10th Ramadan in the UAE.

Wait, let me think about that for a while. TENTH Ramadan in the UAE. Didn’t we plan to be here for “only a couple of years”? But just like thousands of expats who came to Dubai with that in mind, we are still here and we love the holy month of Ramadan. Why?

What does Ramadan mean to non-Muslims in a Muslim country like the UAE? Most, if not all companies in the UAE have shortened working hours to all, Muslims and non-Muslim employees. At my work place, we get to work for only 6 hours instead of 8. I work from 8 am to 2 pm only, for the whole month!

Ah, how I wish it was like this for the whole year. And I wish we lived near the beach.

p and b at the beach 1

Ramadan is that time when I am so happy to be able to go home earlier than usual to be with my kids. We take afternoon naps or do things we can’t usually do because I have very limited time with them after my usual 6 pm work end (I get home around 7 pm then dinner, home work check and bedtime at 8:30 or 9 pm max).

There’s a little disadvantage of the shortened work times though, it means work load piles up quickly – so it meant I had to work on a weekend for half day last week to cope up. Because I am currently single parenting, it made me doubly guilty so to make up to them, I drove them to the beach later that day.

p and b at the beach 2

I thought it was already impossible to linger at the beach at this time of the year with summer in full swing. But during the golden hour, the beach was perfect. The weather was warm but not too hot as I thought it would be, the water was not like a hot tub. It was really just as I like it – a little warm.

sunset 1

And indeed, golden.

I wish we lived near this (it’s around 30 minutes away by car) so I could take them every day from late afternoon till sunset. It was a bit tough since I can’t drink water in public because it’s Ramadan (kids are excused). But our beach trip was so worth it. The kids loved it so much and it was relaxing for me as well. The extra hours I have after work during Ramadan is truly blissful.

On the way home, Pristine said “sorry mom, the car is full of sand now.” I told her, I don’t care as long as there are happy kids in it.

Are you working in Dubai? What do you do during your extra hours after work during Ramadan?

What to do in Dubai for a short trip

header image

What is a “short” trip, anyway? Well, it really depends on an individual’s perception of time. A few hours of layover time? 24 hours? A few days maybe?

I often get emails like,

“I’ll be in Dubai for a short layover what do you suggest I do? Where do I go? Must not miss places?”

“I don’t want to see malls and new glitzy buildings. I want something with culture and character – is there something like that there?”

So now, I’m going to list down things to do in Dubai so next time you find yourself having a few hours to spare in this metropolitan hub, you’ll be a little more informed and you wouldn’t waste precious time.

1. Go to the Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Photo credit

Even if visiting a retail shop on a short layover in the UAE is not your idea of fun, The Dubai Mall is still worth a visit. Not only it’s a haven for shoppers, there are several attractions within the area of Downtown Dubai so you can maximize your time to see attractions within the premises of the mall like, the world’s largest panel aquarium 

Dubai aquarium

Photo credit

the wonderful show of water, light and music of the Dubai fountains if you’re arriving at towards evening time

Dubai fountain

Photo credit

plus the shopping center is a doorstep in front of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa

Photo credit

The Dubai Mall can be accessible by taxi or by public transport via the Dubai Metro Red Line. Stop at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station. The train station and the mall is conveniently connected by a covered and temperature controlled walkway. 

2. Be on top of the world

at the top

Photo credit

While you’re at the Dubai Mall, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to see the world from the top. Access to the Burj Khalifa from the mall is at the lower ground floor.

TIP: Buying your At the Top ticket online will cost you much less than if you buy at the ticket office and you’ll also avoid long lines.

3. Take a peek at Dubai’s history at Bur Dubai

bastakiya wind towers

From Downtown Dubai (Dubai Mall) you can take either a cab or better and cheaper by Metro to the old part of Dubai – the Bastakiya District. The tiny Bastakiya quarter was established at the end of the 19th century by well-to-do textile and pearl traders from Bastak, Iran (thus the name Bastakiya). Its labyrinthine lanes are lined with restored merchant’s houses, art galleries, cafés, and boutique hotels. The Bastakiya is a picturesque step into Dubai’s past.

Textile souq is located just a few minutes stroll from Bastakiya and Dubai museum. You’ll see bright colored fabrics and local costumes however, you might be offered to buy a pashmina every step of the way. 

textile souk

Photo credit

Dubai Museum takes tourists and residents a peek at Dubai’s beginnings. After Dubai museum, you can take a walk to the direction of the textile souq or if you have time to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Culture and Understanding at the Heritage and Diving Village. Take the creek side to walk. It’s really a refreshing experience especially during cooler months in Dubai (late November to March).

stroll through heritage village

Now it’s time to go to the other side of the creek. Find the abra station. It’s right at the start of the textile souq, where a huge building of Bank of Baroda stands.

abra station 2

This area must be one of the remaining authentic parts of Dubai on the creek side where you can witness a different side of Dubai life.

The Bastakiya District, Dubai Museum and textile souq is accessible by taxi or public transport via the Dubai Metro. Get down at Al Fahidi Metro station on the Green Line and walk towards the direction of the creek.

4. Cross the creek


Dubai is divided into two areas by a natural water inlet called The Dubai Creek: Deira (old Dubai) and Bur Dubai side (new Dubai). From either side of the creek, you can get on a motorized wooden boat called “abra”, the traditional mode of transportation since before the bridges were built. Crossing the Dubai creek in the primitive way is not only fun, it’s cheap! It only costs AED1 per person one way!

dubai creek

Riding an abra while in Dubai is not to be missed – it’s a great break from all that huge commercial malls and other touristy stuff. Plus it’s a good chance to take beautiful photos of life on the creek, as it happens.

Abra station, Bur Dubai side:

5. Smell and see the old world cham of the spice souq and gold souq

spice souq

The Spice Souk is known as the biggest spice market in Dubai with a wide range of spices, herbs, incense and traditional medicinal products. The spice stands are interesting – providing smells and sights you don’t often encounter.

A little warning though: some merchants can be really annoying. Yes, you will be asked to buy cashmere and fake watches but don’t let that bother you.

The neighboring gold souq is where you can find gold jewelry in every type, size and design.

Gold Souq

My honest opinion as someone who has been here for almost 10 years and taking friends who visit Dubai: If you’ve never experienced a souk before, then you might find this area interesting. I sure was impressed the first time I saw all the glittering gold pieces way back in 2006. But if you’ve visited souks in other countries such as Istanbul, where the spice souk is so much more impressive, then I would suggest spending your time elsewhere.

I would still strongly suggest to take the boat ride across the creek though, that is an adventure in itself.

So there, I think these are the top 5 “staples” when visiting Dubai but if you have more time…

6. Dip your feet in the sand.

Black Palace Beach
Photo credit

Dubai is blessed to have powder soft white sand and crystal clear waters in our beaches. There are plenty of public beaches too that are free to enter. My personal favorite Dubai beaches are Kite Beach, Black Palace Beach and Jumeirah Open Beach.

7. Be amazed at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

madinat jumeirah

I didn’t include Madinat Jumeirah in the top five not because it’s not worth visiting but because when you’re in Dubai for a really short trip, it would not fit into the bill of places to visit when you’re in a rush. You need to spend time here. I love, love this place! A great place to unwind have lunch, shop and take many amazing pictures.

Apart from the maze-like souk, the outside area is like a little Venice. Madinat Jumeirah translates into the ‘City of Jumeirah’, so named because of the sheer variety of this magnificent resort, located in the heart of fashionable Jumeirah. The concept is one of ‘old Arabia’ in a totally luxurious context.

Madinat Jumeirah

8. Take the monorail to Atlantis, The Palm

The Palm Monorail is a good vantage point to see the Palm Jumeirah. From the elevated platform you can have an excellent view of the biggest man-made island in the world, the Palm Jumeirah. Round trip ticket price of the monorail is not cheap at 25 dirhams but the view and visit to Atlantis Hotel is still worth it.

At this moment, the monorail station is not connected with Dubai metro or the Dubai tram. However, access has been easier if you take the tram and get down at Palm Jumeirah station – the monorail station is a short walk away.

9. Get on a Desert Safari adventure

desert safari

If you happen to be in Dubai during winter time, consider the desert safari for sure, it is a nice experience. Mostly done int he afternoon, you will be collected from your hotel (or you go at a designated meeting place) and driven out to the desert. The driver lets a little air out of the tires and he drives all over the huge sand dunes. After spending a great time over the sand dunes you then are taken to an outdoor area filled with tables and huge cushions and surrounded by stalls where you are given a buffet dinner and treated to belly dancing and other shows.

Read my previous post: Dubai desert safari

TIPS: (1) Don’t try this if you get even mild travel / motion sickness! (2) Find the right vendor as there are many offering cheap desert tour with mediocre service.

10. Feel the metropolitan x beach vibe at The Walk, JBR

the walk

The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence is Dubai’s first outdoor shopping and fine dining promenade where you can explore stylish boutiques, restaurants, shopping spots. This attractive outdoor shopping and dining promenade was an immediate hit when it opened in 2008.

The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence can be accessed by public transport via the Dubai Metro Red Line. Get down at Dubai Marina station and change to the Dubai tram stopping at Jumeirah Beach Residence 1.

Don’t want your adventure to stop at Dubai? Make Dubai your starting point for an adventure!

Word just came through that Royal Caribbean’s newest addition, Ovation of the Seas will depart on a series of 3, 5 and 7 day cruises around Europe before heading to Dubai and from here, on a 52 day Global Odyssey tour to the East.

To help promote the routes and destinations Ovation of the Seas is taking in Europe before heading to Asia, they are mapping her journey on Royal Caribbean’s Instagram. In 27 posts, Royal Caribbean’s Instagram account will show Ovation of the Seas as she travels to different destinations, creating one final image which features a Bird’s Eye view of the ship with the European stops on each side.


I have not been on a cruise and I dream of being in one someday! I know there are so many myths about going on a cruise like you’ll get bored because of the long journey, for example but scratch that, this ship offers so much entertainment on board including (gasp) floating on air inside an iFly tube and surfing simulation!

Royal Caribbean International launches Quantum of the Seas, the newest ship in the fleet, in November 2014. View across the pool deck at sunset

Royal Caribbean International launches Quantum of the Seas, the newest ship in the fleet, in November 2014.
View across the pool deck at sunset

An exciting feature of the Ovation of the Seas ship (and could easily become my favorite) is the North Star, a jewel-shaped capsule that gently ascends over 300 feet above sea level offering breath-taking 360° views of the sea and the ship’s destinations. Ah, I am sure the views would be unbeatable.

Before I swoon too much about this new ship, I am proud to announce that I am one of the contributors to the Royal Caribbean’s Instagram project and my photos (set of photos presented as a gif) will be used to represent one of their destinations (Dubai) in the full mosaic. Watch out for the project hashtag #ExtraordinaryOvation and hashtag for the ship is #OvationoftheSeas.

So, looking at the above list, what would you do if you have a day in Dubai? And have you been on a cruise?

How does watching a sunset make you feel?

aboard metro

The one thing I look forward to when going home after work and aboard the Dubai Metro? Sunsets. I know they are beautiful and Instagrammable. I wish more would really notice and appreciate the show in the sky at the end of the day, no matter where they are.

I love that for a few minutes, the sky is a spectacle of color — and then it’s over. I am drawn with sunsets not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting, just like my commute (only 10 minutes). And just like life too. Every day and every moment is fleeting. I want to stop and appreciate some of the things, even for just 10 minutes.

aboard metro 2

burj khalifa sunset

Zoom in and there you go, the silhouette of the high and mighty Burj Khalifa along with the array of tall buildings on Sheikh Zayed Road in the horizon. I arrive at my stop and when all the passengers hurry to the escalators to the exit, I stay for a while at the platform and just look at this.

sunset at DAFZA station

Then I get home and see this. When I greet my children at the door a few minutes late than usual, my daughter would ask, “Oh, the sunset today was nice huh?” She knows what I was up to.

sunset at home

There’s a reason sunsets are timeless and constant themes of poets, writers and romantics — they’re inspiring. Most people only take time to look at it during vacations. I don’t want to wait for my vacation to enjoy the sunset so I watch out for them every day on my ride home. Some days they’re spectacular, sometimes not. I still do appreciate both. 

So back to the question: How does watching the sunset make you feel? It makes me feel calm, peaceful and grateful, like, thank-you-for-another-day-of-life-grateful. Next chance to see the sunset is tomorrow, give it a bit of your time. I promise you it’s worth taking some time off the screens of your smartphones.

** I took these photos with my phone so they’re not too sharp or clear. No edits were added except for cropping some pics and putting the watermark. These photos does not do justice to what you can see with your naked eye. 

From WordPress to airplane tickets


The internet is such a lovely place. We never run out of things to read and learn. When you have internet connection, there’s no room for boredom. All good, all good but then I always find myself falling into this rabbit hole of digital distraction and before I know it, I just lost a couple of precious hours I couldn’t get back again.

internet rabbit hole

I don’t know about you but there were too many times when my ‘research’ lead me to websites that had nothing to do with what I was actually researching. I may have begun to research a topic for WordPress, like yesterday morning as I was doing housekeeping for my blog when I saw a headline that said marine biologists found a new octopus specie that looks like Casper the friendly ghost. Then a series of videos of the fuss that is Donald Trump got my attention and before I knew it, the original reason I was on the Internet had been totally forgotten and I felt I already need my weekend nap.

Please don’t tell me I am not alone in this?

But last week, I stumbled upon a precious information – airfare ticket SALE. Now, this is something I won’t just skip. Fly Dubai sale is now on with up to 50% off flights!

Think of round trip fares below AED1,000 Dubai to Baku, Alexandria, Amman, Kathmandu, Istanbul, Moscow, Tbilisi, Vienna (via Bratislava) and Zanzibar (for travel from 1st Nov) and discounted fares to selected European destinations.The tickets are selling fast so look around and book before midnight on Monday 14 March to fly between 10 March 2016 and 25 March 2017!

The offers are tempting but I need a new laptop, LOL. But after much fidgeting and day dreaming, I have booked my tickets. Destination to be revealed soon!

It’s time we rethink about “kindergarten readiness”

Benja and Eli

The boy in red shirt is Benjamin. He is my 4 year old son. Does he look normal to you?

Yes, he looks normal because YES, he is normal. Except for lingering longer during the breastfeeding period, not knowing how to use the bottle and difficulty in potty training, I see nothing wrong with him. He is an active, chatty boy who is curious about everything, very lovable and very bright.

However, we have a slight problem. Maybe just a little bit of a late bloomer.

He is turning 5 years old late this year and it seems that no school (so far) wants to accept him for kindergarten. Why? Because they think that something is wrong with him. They have not made their concerns that clear and vocal but last year one of the schools we applied for told me, “he is not ready”.

We’ve been to a couple of schools for assessments if he is ready for the big school. The first one was last year to enroll him in kindergarten 1 (Foundation Stage 1). Prior to that, he was just staying at home so there were tears during assessment period and the school suggested we put him in a play school first.

So we did.

ben in nursery 1

After a few months at the playschool, his teacher says she thinks Benjamin is ready for the big school, he memorizes things quickly, he loves to play and can communicate his needs to his teacher and his play mates. She suggested we find a school for him so he can transfer.

We opted he spend the whole year in play school just to be sure (plus, it’s difficult to find schools that accept transfer students mid-year).

Now, registrations and assessments have started for the 2016-2017 school year. Benjamin went in for another assessment last week. Today I got a call and was giddy, thinking nothing but positive things.

But then they asked us to take him there again for FURTHER assessment next week. My God, he is not going to Harvard University! Why so rigid?

I already know the reason, the same as before – he is shy, not responding to any interrogation, maybe eyes on the floor, stiff and shy around other kids his age (that he doesn’t know), in an enclosed space of the classroom. Outside in the parks, he doesn’t care about the other kids but if you put him in a room with other kids, he will create his own world…until he warms up to them. It will take TIME and a few minutes of “assessment” won’t be able to see that he is perfectly FINE – if only they’d give him a chance! He also can’t write his name yet. Why? Because to be honest – I was not hard core in teaching him to write letters or color within borders or to memorize the alphabets or numbers (though we read a lot at home and play with maps because he loves it before he turned 2!).

I know so many parents becoming stressed out to get their child ready for kindergarten that sometimes they miss out on the wonderful moments of love, exploration, curiosity, and play.

ben in nursery 2

No matter how I explain to them that he is a normal boy at home and at places where he is familiar with the people around him (like in his nursery school), they will always judge the shy and aloof boy they see for a couple of minutes. I am upset because I don’t know what to do to make him less shy or to talk to strangers when they greet him hello (it’s very rare he answers back if he doesn’t know the person talking to him). But his nursery teacher says she finds no learning/behavioral disability.

I am afraid that at this rate, my son could not go to school because it seems that schools only accept the “easy” kids: immediately social and chatty and probably can already write their names. And Benjamin is not. It’s part of his personality that I cannot change, for now, even how hard I try.

Benjamin talks A LOT at home (up to the point of being noisy sometimes) and he sings the songs he learns at the nursery. He is ready for kindergarten, why would he not be? He even knows a lot of countries on the map through memorization since he cannot read yet!

Don’t you just wish all kindergarten teachers tell you, “The only thing I ask of parents is that they give their child all the love and care they can provide. I will teach them once they are in my class.”?

We’re nine years in Dubai

pristine 2007

The above photo was taken exactly NINE years ago, today. It was the morning after we landed in Dubai from a long flight from Japan (my camera even still showed Japan time). Our daughter Pristine had just turned 3 years old and I just started working at my current company. We moved to Dubai without any concrete life plans other than “testing the waters” and that whatever happens, we could always go back to Japan.

P in 2007 2

Nine years later, we are still here. NINE. Sounds like a long time, right?

I still don’t know until when we’ll be here but for now (we are asked that expat year end question again and again), Dubai is (still) home. I lived in Japan for 10 years and 3 months. Do you think I’ll surpass that record in Dubai?

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

Inside the fandom

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

“Would you like to see Alden Richards, in person?”

This tempting one liner came up on my chat window.

Alden Richards is currently the most popular male star in the Philippines. He is half of the phenomenal love team uni-named “ALDUB” along with Maine Mendoza or Yaya Dub, Philippine’s Dubsmash queen who rose to stardom in record breaking time. The pair are mainstays of a show segment that airs at noon time from Monday to Saturday and followed by people in and out of the Philippines. The segment is a mix of romantic comedy and is a huge hit to people of all ages.

(That includes myself. Who knew I would be so hooked to a Filipino show and passionately following all updates about Alden or Maine everywhere on social media. My goodness, the last celebrities I am familiar with were the ones in 1996 before I left for Japan!)

If you are active on Twitter, you must have noticed how the ALDUB hashtag appears in the worldwide trends list with at least a million tweets everyday. People keep talking about it hours after the segment has ended. The October 24, 2015 hashtag currently holds the Guiness record of the highest number of tweets at 41 million.

In short, they are so popular. Big, big stars. Alden Richards (and Maine Mendoza) couldn’t go anywhere now without being mobbed.

“I don’t want to go. There could be as many as hundred shrieking girls and women being asked to form a queue for a photo op or an autograph. Won’t it look like crazy?”

“BUT YOU ARE ALREADY CRAZY…about ALDUB, about the show.”

Actually, my daughter has a point.

I am a fan of the show segment (called Kalyeserye, literally interpreted as Street Series as the show is held live at random streets in Manila and nearby provinces). And I have spent so many late nights watching replays, sacrificing my exercise routine the last couple of months because of those late nights, ended using up my data package watching clips during lunch break and on the train. Sigh. Addiction always has its dark side. {I have since rehabilitated myself and back to my exercise routine. No more late nights!}

So, I went to the Meet and Greet event to see Alden Richards.

(I can see so many of my friends and family’s eyebrows raised because this is so not me.)

The event didn’t go well as I imagined. Chaos ensued, cutting the supposed to be three hour event to just 30 minutes. They had to take Alden out of the venue because the situation was getting worse by the minute.

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

No one heeded the instructions for the fans to calm down, everyone mobbed him for a selfie (It’s shameful behaviour, yes, but at the end of the day, they have a pic with the celebrity and I didn’t.), an autograph or a (stolen) kiss! CRINGE.

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

I imagined having a proper picture of the actor, my magazines autographed but no, I only got a distant selfie with him on the background, shaky photos here and there, a video and that was it. And then I had REALIZATIONS flooding my mind as I was on the train on my way home.

After telling about my “ordeal” my younger sister was quick to tell me, “What’s wrong with you?! You didn’t go there to have these “realizations”! You were supposed to go there, shake hands, take a selfie, rub elbows with a celebrity and/or get an autograph!”

Sad to say, I failed my mission. Miserably.

I admit, I am a fan of the young man. However, I wasn’t starstruck…ok, maybe only slightly. But I was more overwhelmed with what went on in front of my eyes. So, this is what being in a fandom feels like during hyperventilating moments.

Yesterday, I realized these five things:

1. I am really an introvert.

…which my friends find it hard to believe.

Yes, to close friends, I could be the life of the party, the main speaker of the house, the comedienne, the non-stop talker entertainer. But put me in a crowd where I don’t know anyone and I can’t find my voice. I get awkward at small talks.

I didn’t know anyone yesterday in a room of a hundred people. Many came in groups and I felt very uneasy the minute I entered the room.

2. I don’t have the guts to break rules.

I am too self conscious to break rules and I miss once in a lifetime opportunities because of this.

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

After this pic, I stepped back, because the organizers were already screaming on top of their lungs for people to go back to their seats. There was chaos, the lack of order was appalling but then what can you expect from female fans who couldn’t get enough of young star?

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

Who knows when he’ll be back in Dubai? Philippines is too far away and this is definitely a once in a lifetime experience they didn’t want to miss. I took the above photo while sitting down, hoping other people would do the same.

3. I don’t have the guts to be thick.

I could have just ran towards Alden and asked for a (shameless) selfie, just like so many others but I just stood there, afraid to break rules and mostly, too shy.

4. One should be aggressive when called for.

There are no “later” during chaotic fast paced events like this. If you have the chance, grab it. He was this close from where I stood in the lobby.

Alden Richards meet and greet in Dubai

Alden walked in front of me towards the function hall, I could have stopped him for a few seconds for a pic, I am sure no one would go ballistic and beat me black and blue for that, right? But I didn’t and wished for a later…and the later never came.


5. Despite of my not-so-fabulous experience yesterday, I realized…fandom isn’t all a bad thing.

We all have a need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. After Alden left the meet and greet venue, several female fans were so disappointed they weren’t able to get near him or take picture with him. Some were crying. Those who stayed reeling about how in the blink of an eye they lost their only chance to see their idol stayed back and comforted each other. I saw camaraderie, giving hope and optimism.

Sure to others outside the fandom it could look crazy but a common shared interest brings people together. To me, that’s a positive thing.

A quote came to my mind as I stood there looking at the commotion. I understood what it’s like being in a fandom.

“We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.”

Additional read: Alden Richards talks to Gulf News ahead of his Dubai concert

Year of the fire monkey 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! How did you spend your new year? Hope it was a good one!

Thank you for all the messages you sent to me via email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram asking if me and my family are ok after several news broadcasts reached you regarding the massive fire in Dubai last new year’s eve.

We are all fine and wasn’t near the vicinity. We were at home, like all the other new year’s eve nights in the past.

However, I had many friends who were at Downtown Dubai waiting for the fireworks show when the fire broke out. Dubai Police was very efficient to take action to evacuate people to safety, successfully managing crowd control.

The fire broke out at 9:30 pm and there was speculation the annual fireworks show at Burj Khalifa could be cancelled but no, it went on despite the fire still going on. The live broadcast on TV however shifted its focus to the countdown and fireworks show at Burj Al Arab. (Dubai new year fireworks show is on at 3 locations: Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis and JBR)

The hotel that was on fire on New Year’s eve was The Address Downtown Dubai, one of Dubai’s most beautiful and iconic buildings.


We saw it being constructed when we came to Dubai in 2007 and completed. We personally love The Address brand of hotels. We are frequent diners of their restaurants and have stayed in one of their hotels. It breaks my heart to see it on fire on live tv.

It definitely wasn’t a great way to welcome the year of the FIRE monkey.

How about you, where were you when 2016 rolled in? What do you look forward to in 2016?

Warm winter this year in Dubai

dubai winter 1

Something’s wrong with this year’s “winter”. Well, before I begin – I know the thought of “winter” in the Middle East might have you all laughing. But as a matter of fact, there IS winter in desert land, even if people living outside of the Middle East would like to prefer to it still as summer. 

I can’t blame you…it was 29C at 2pm today.

It’s really strange because for the past few years, we turn our aircondition off by mid-November. What’s the date now? It’s already December and it would still be difficult to sleep well without aircon.

P and me in Prague

Pristine and I was just in Prague exactly a week ago. We were wrapped in layers and layers of clothing and waterproof jacket, with leather gloves, beanie hats and half knee boots.

P and me

Today we are in Dubai, feeling the warm desert sun and digging our heels into the soft, powdery sand.

us at the beach

I realized I’ve not posted photos of the kids lately, so here are some taken this afternoon while we were at the Ritz Carlton Dubai (Jumeirah Beach Residence) for their Christmas tree lighting ceremony. We had ample time before the event started so we headed out to the beach.

dubai winter 4

dubai winter 2

Can you tell how they love the beach?

dubai winter 3

The water was already a little bit cold (I wouldn’t swim in it, personally). But the afternoon sun felt so warm.

The cloudless blue sky was perfect background for the airshow as well.


airshow 2


We didn’t know there would be an airshow. December 2nd was the UAE National Day thus the display of the colors of the UAE flag. It’s my first time to see anything like it.

dubai winter 5

I am expecting the weather and temps would mellow a bit in a few days. While I do not mind the warm winter, it would be nice to turn off the aircon to save on energy and sleep with the windows open.