Wednesday, February 10, 2016

At The Philippine Consulate Today

I went to the Philippine consulate here in Jeddah early this morning for the renewal of my passport and also to get my voter's ID which I should have gotten back in 2009. I've finished what I came there to do in just approximately 30 minutes. Quick tips for those who will renew their passports prepare everything ahead of time, download your required form from the (Jeddah) consulate's web page, read it carefully and fill it with the required information correctly so that you won't have to do it on the queue. Be there before 8 AM.

For those of you (here in Jeddah) who applied for a voter's ID from 2009 until 2012 and still have not claimed it, you can check it on the 3rd floor of the consulate. Just provide a valid ID and they will look for your voter's ID for you.

A video posted by Pépe Cabréra (@cameranicabrera) on

A video posted by Pépe Cabréra (@cameranicabrera) on

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Goodbye Bin Dawood

Yesterday I said goodbye to Bin Dawood my sickly old cat that I rescued 5 months ago at Bin Dawood supermarket on Heraa street. I brought him to the German lady veterinarian (whom I knew since 2012) to be euthanized. 

Bin Dawood's health condition was not improving since I took him in, and it was getting worse. When he uses the litter, he's not covering his poop, he always sleeps on top of the refrigerator and knocks everything on it. Just a few weeks ago he pooped on top of it, that was my tipping point, so I had to let him go.

And also, I took with me my two other male cats to be neutered. All of my rescued cats are all neutered or spayed so that they will not increase in numbers. They were all neutered and spayed by the same doctor free of charge. Thank you, doc!

A video posted by Pépe Cabréra (@cameranicabrera) on

A photo posted by Pépe Cabréra (@cameranicabrera) on

Sunday, December 6, 2015

See You Brother!

This evening we bid our last goodbye to Alfie at the airport. He's leaving for the Philippines for the last time. Praying and hoping that he'll never forget all the things we taught him about the Lord Jesus Christ. Please pray for him especially for his salvation.

A photo posted by Pépe Cabréra (@cameranicabrera) on

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Here's Teena!

Here's Teena, one of the four budgies I took from my neighbor after the raid in our building. I tried taking her (assuming it's a "she") out of her cage and letting her fly around the room. I want to give her a little freedom and I want to show her that I'm not a threat. Here she is resting on my hand for the first time.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Police Raid - My Terrifying Experience

A fortnight ago in the middle of the night, terror struck our neighborhood as police came in droves to conduct a raid. We were about to prepare some late night snack a when we heard a loud knock at the main door, then kicking followed accompanied by a chorus of shouts as if a mob has descended upon every terrified soul in the building. While nervously and stealthily peeping through the eyepiece, we can see men in casual clothing, some in their traditional garbs but not one in police uniform. 

Assuming no one was willing to open the door, shouts even grew louder and kicks turned harder they almost knocked it over. Then we decided it was for real. My flatmate asked defiantly albeit nervous "who are you?" They shouted back "it's the police" though we could not see anyone in uniform. My colleague even dared to ask why there was no one in uniform if they were indeed policemen. That didn't sit well with them sensing our reluctance to open the door. My colleague even told them to wait as he would call the building watchman to verify if these people were authorities as they claim to be and if they have permits to break into our apartments. Perhaps it further angered them that they kicked even harder so that we had no choice left but to open it.

As soon as the door opened, five or six of them sprinted down through all house crevices as if frantically looking for contrabands but eventually demanding us to provide our iqamas or residence permits. It was when two or three men in uniform surfaced that assured us the raid was sanctioned by the police. But if the raid came earlier in the week we would not have survived because we only have papers in our possession in lieu of our iqamas that were sent for renewal. And that terrifying episode happened barely four days into the receipt of our new iqamas.

It's funny because some of them cut a frustrated look upon knowing we were legitimate expatriates. I guess they assumed already we would be worthy additional to a busload of illegals they have snagged already. We came to know the raids were done simultaneously in select buildings marked from tipoffs. In the height of the commotion, some of them even noticed our cats that were frantically running to hide and they even asked us where did we get those. My colleague replied, "if you're wondering we have so many cats (9 in total) you should look around at the millions upon millions of cats starving in the streets".

It was then that they left and told us to close the door and as we still talked we can mostly women and some men being dragged down the stairs and being herded to the bus outside, women and even elderly men who were in crutches, all I assumed were illegals.

Oddly enough, when that episode we thought was over some ununiformed "policemen" decided to come back and entered the adjacent flats on the ground floor in stealth while bent over. The next morning we came to know from our building watchman that some smartphones, camera, and wi-fi unit also disappeared; tenants from another building also complained about missing laptops and smartphones during the night raid. To us, it's not surprising if illegals were inflicted double whammy: getting jailed and their belongings ransacked/seized for the culprits to divide the loot, that is.

After the dust has settled, we decided to check on the lovebirds that belong to the tenants of another apartment if they were still there. The fate of their owners was largely unknown to us so we decided to take them in. Until now the four budgies remain with us and in total we have now 13 mouths to feed which is a bit challenging but at the same time exciting. 

The entire experience was indeed terrifying but thank God for the protection when we thought we were safe in the confines of our home. We're still reeling from the trauma, but it served as a lesson that we will never forget. All the glory belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ for His wondrous deeds in our lives!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Very Sad Day

Last night I learned from a dear friend that our former classmate and close friend William Loyola has died. A few days before he passed away, he had a stroke and went into a coma. Another close friend told me that the doctor gave him just 48 hours to live, though he exceeded that time, his body eventually gave in and succumbed to death. I never stopped praying since the day I've learned of his condition, hoping that God would give him another chance, but ultimately our tenure on earth is in God's hand.

This had me thinking about life, and about the future, not just mine, but also of my loved ones, friends, and basically everyone who I know and don't know. What does the Word of God say about life and our future here on this temporary place called earth? Here are verses from Psalms 39: 4-7 which I've read a few days ago. This will remind us how very short and fragile man's life is, and whom we should put our hope and trust to.

"LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered - how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”We are merely moving shadows and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You."

Last year, another dear friend of mine passed away, and because I was on vacation, I was able to at least see him for the last time. It was so surreal. Until now I can't believe that these two unique individuals are gone forever, never to be seen again. All that's left are memories. Farewell. Praying to God for His comfort for their loved ones and friends.

This photo was taken around 1988 (or 1989). William is at the far right. Right next to him is Nazareno, another friend of mine who died much earlier around 2004 I think, then Mike, and then me.