Monday, December 21, 2009

My 11th Christmas In Saudi Arabia

It's Yuletide season again. This will be my 12th Christmas away from home, and my 11th consecutive Christmas in Saudi Arabia. The first time I celebrated Christmas here in the Kingdom was in 1999 in Riyadh. It was December 23rd when I arrived, 2 days before Christmas, so I think you could almost imagine what was going on in my mind, and what I'm feeling during that time.

There I was, a Filipino Christian, alone in a Muslim country which is synonymous to stern strictness on almost everything you can imagine, so Christmas is almost non-existent, (I said "almost" because even though I'm in a Muslim country, there are also a huge Christian population here, and Filipinos make up the huge percentage of that). And because of some Filipino co-workers who welcomed me to the company, my fears and sadness had been eased a little, even for just a moment.

I remember during that Christmas eve, I was still working from 8 PM up until 2 AM, because the Yuletide season then coincided with Ramadan, and you can't imagine how tired I was. I didn't even have the energy to celebrate it with some of my friends, I just ate my dinner and then went to bed. So sad.

My Christmas celebration this year will be a different one, although the loneliness is still there because I'm still not celebrating it with my loved ones. In a way, I've gotten used to it through the years, but not totally. I'll just call my children back home and greet them Merry Christmas. This is the season when I miss them the most.

There are just two Filipinos in our company, and we are living in the same apartment. We've been through all this Christmas thing many times before, and we'll get through this again. We've already gone to the supermarket this afternoon, and bought the ingredients for the Pancit Guisado that we will cook for our Nochebuena on Christmas eve. Delicious!

While driving to the supermarket, we were listening to Christmas songs by The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey and The Carpenters. Wow!, it really brought back a lot of memories, especially Jackson 5 when they sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Give Love On Christmas Day", I loved that feeling!

For now I want to say, Merry Christmas to all, especially to all OFWs around the world. I leave you with a quote from Calvin Coolidge,

“Christmas is not a time nor a season,

but a state of mind.

To cherish peace and goodwill,

to be plenteous in mercy,

is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”


* The photo above was our living room, taken a year ago. I still live in that very same apartment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

About a Photograph

This is supposedly a picture of me, together with my parents and two of my cousins on a beach, circa 1972. I've already forgotten how long I kept this photo with me. Ever since, my parents told me that I was the baby in this photograph, it seemed like we're inseparable; I always kept it in a photo album, then placed it together with my other photos in a shoe box after our home got flooded in 2006 in Cavite, and then I took it with me when I came back from vacation last May 2009.

Aside from this photograph, the earliest photograph of myself that I have was when I'm in my kindergarten, at St. Joseph College in Cavite City; and I find it weird. Most mothers usually have photos of their newborn babies, or even photos of themselves when they were pregnant; my mother didn't have any, except for this one. Strange?

I was told that the photograph was taken on a beach, behind a cemetery near the home of my Aunt Estelita Reyes and Uncle Montano Reyes in Boulevard Cresini, Cavite City, (the other Chabacano city of the Philippines), during the early 70's. The place was far more cleaner then, compared to now, but when I was growing up in the 80's, I remember the place was already filthy because of the mountains of garbage thrown there by the city government. My cousins and I, used to call the beach behind the cemetery as, "Tae Beach" or literally, "Shit Beach" in English. I also remember playing amongst the tombs in the cemetery near the beach with my cousins as children. If you were following the CNN Hero 2009, Efren Peñaflorida on television, well, this is the exact place where he and his team often teach with their now famous 'Kariton Classroom'.

In the photograph, you will see my father, Felipe Cabrera, and my mother, Florinia Cabrera holding me. My two cousins, (the younger one), Manuel, he is in Scotland right now with his wife and children, and (the older one), Manolito, he's now somewhere in Canada with his wife and kids, they are brothers, the sons of my Aunt Estelita or should I say my "Nanay Tita", She still have five other children, most of them are living in the Philippines. They are my immediate relatives closest to us.

Around the time when the photo was taken, I was told that my parents did not have their own house yet, and were living with my Aunt's old house in Cavite City. The house was a typical middle class 70's style house, it's not big, yet not small, just right for their family. At a very young age, I have memories of that old house in front of the cemetery along Boulevard Cresini; I remember someone, perhaps a maid or a lavandera, doing the laundry outside the house, can't quite remember her face though, I think I was too busy playing with an old, broken, turquoise-colored toaster that my cousin gave me. But as far as my memory of that house is concerned, I guess that's just about it.

I used to have a baby sitter when I was a baby, her Name is Conchita Poliquit, or Conching to us. She's from Leyte in the Visayas, she's very loyal to my Aunt and her family, she was already with my Aunt when she was 14 years old, but when my Uncle died, the source of their family income died as well. My Aunt can no longer pay her services, yet she still remained to work with my Aunt even without salary, but she eventually left them to start her own life with Kuya Rolly, the guy she married. She's now a grandmother from her two sons and happily living in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite. We still communicate with each other every now and then. Some of the information about this photo is from her.

Regarding my parents, I don't know much about their history and how they met, we didn't talk a lot, I mean, we are not that close, all I know is that my mother was a teacher, and my father only finished highschool, and never stepped onto college, I don't even know if he ever had a job, all I know is that he drives my mother wherever she goes. They were living with my Aunt in Cavite City when they were just starting with their lives, but eventually were able to find an apartment in Noveleta. They are now into Barber shop bussiness. They've been living in their own house in Noveleta now, the very place where I grew up.

As for me, I never had siblings, I grew up basically alone while my mother and father were busy with their works. My Aunt (Nanay Tita) became my mother and her children became my siblings. Even though we lived in Noveleta, I often visited them in Cavite City. It's much easier for my parents to work if I was with my Aunt. I have a lot of happy days with her in Cavite City, it saddened me when she passed away early in 2009 in San Diego, (her husband died in the early 80's, I was very young then).

Looking at that photograph makes me sad sometimes. I can't believe how time flies. Here I am growing older, while some are dying, and others are just learning their first step. I guess that's life. Pardon me if you don't get the point of what I was writing, I'm neither a writer nor amazingly fluent in English. I just want to share a little piece of my life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Maguindanao Massacre: Who Takes The Responsibility?

The gruesome massacre in Maguindanao of 57 people, which includes 24 journalists is so appalling. The incriminating evidences point to the Ampatuans, a powerful political clan in Maguindanao which is said to have a strong connection with Malacañang, hence, the soft treatment and slow action of the government to resolve this case. The other day President Gloria Arroyo prayed for peace to reign in Mindanao in a breakfast forum in Malacañan Palace. Yes, prayers are good, but you need fast action for things to get done.

The Ampatuans, the alleged perpetrators, should have gone to Mecca for Hajj, and exercise one of the most important pillars of their religion (which is Islam), instead they planned and masterminded the massacre of innocent people in Maguindanao. Now, there are also strong evidences showing that the military has a role in this massacre. A new witness said that the CVO of the Ampatuans get their guns and ammunition from the government itself, and the guns that were seized from the CVO were not the one used in the killings.

The rise of the Ampatuan clan started during the administration of Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo. Her government has been feeding and pampering this clan in exchange for favors. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her senatorial candidates won the last election in this part of the country by a landslide. It's clear that this administration has created a Frankenstein monster in the form of the Ampatuans.

Let's just all hope that something happens with this case, and give justice to the victims of this horrible, politically motivated massacre. God save the Philippines!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Earth Hour: VOTE EARTH - Copenhagen 2009!

From the 7th to 18th of December 2009, world leaders will discuss new ways to deal with climate change at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen. This deal will replace the Kyoto Protocol and set a new standard for reducing harmful emissions and global warming.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to point our planet in a new direction. The more votes for earth, the stronger the mandate will be to influence a 'Breakthrough' result. Now's the time to give world leaders the mandate they need to make the right climate deal. It's time to Vote Earth!

Learn About Climate Change. The video is narrated by Al Gore.

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Earth Hour.Org

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!

I've got a lot of memories of Sesame Street. As an only child growing up in the 70's and 80's, I could honestly say that Sesame Street had been a part of my childhood life, I didn't just learn from it, I also enjoyed watching it (even if I'm watching it alone!). The show helped me with my English, and my numbers, and not to mention my social skills.

Who could ever forget Bob, singing, 'The People In Your Neighborhood', or Mr. Hooper and his store, (can't forget him!), or Big Bird and Mr. Snuffaluffagus and how they first met on a Monday, or was it a Tuesday?, I love it every time Maria do Charlie, and how about Bert, Ernie and his Rubber Duckie, Kermit the frog and Cookie Monster, The Count, Oscar the Grouch and I love Grover as a waiter.
Watching them on You Tube brings back a lot of memories. I can't believe that Sesame Street is already 40 years old, oh boy! I'm getting old. Happy Birthday, Sesame Street!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Are Not Terrorists, We Are Photographers!

Last Saturday, the 7th of November, was one of my most dreaded days of my entire life, and one of the most humiliating, I might add. Me and my colleague were apprehended near my apartment by the local police here in Jeddah, just for taking a couple of pictures, including the picture you see below. If you look a little bit closer to the extreme right of the picture, you can even see the police car there. We were driving around the vicinity where I live, and taking photos on every potential subjects I see on the street to post in my photoblog, 'Camera Ni Cabrera'. I've been living in Saudi Arabia for almost 10 years now, so more or less, I know the do's and don'ts here, but sometimes things get a little bit out of hand,  especially with the police. Ridiculous!

Anyway, the police did not immediately arrest us, but unbeknownst to us they followed a few meters from where I took the photos and then tried to stop us when we were about to turn to a corner, I was asked to give them my Iqama, (an ID or small booklet given only to foreign workers to prove their legality), and my camera. While looking what was inside my camera, they were asking why I'm taking photos and what is it for, I told them that, it is a passion of mine to take photos of beautiful things, but it was to no avail, they don't speak nor understand English and my Arabic is so limited. My friend speaks fairly good Arabic, but even him could not get through them, they were just not listening to us. To make it short, they took everything, even our cellphones (so we can't call our boss to let them know about the predicament we're in), took the key of my car, handcuffed us together and throw us to the back of the police car. I was so scared almost to the point that I almost cried because of the fear that they might hurt us, deport us, or who knows what they are capable of doing, I know for a fact that Saudi Arabia in general don't actually have a good standing with the international communities when it comes to human rights issues.

When we arrived at the police station, they took off our handcuffs and put us inside the detention cell, where we saw some of the detainees who were already there, most of them were expatriates from south Asia. While inside, I felt a little uneasy and a little claustrophobic because of the size and the ventilation of the cell. After a few minutes, we were able to talk to one of the detainees there who happened to have a cellphone, so my friend asked him if he could kindly borrow the phone so that we could call someone from our office. After calling the office, the only thing for us to do was to wait for them to redeem us.

After 3 hours, we heard from the door saying "Filipini!" (the police was calling us), when we approached the door, the police outside gave us all our things except for the car key. That was the time I decided to take some pictures inside the cell.

After an hour and a half more, they let us out of the detention cell and gave me back my car key. And that was the time our HR told us that the police apprehended us because we were taking photos of the residential compound, (that was the wall where the bicycle is). Whatever the reason was, they shouldn't have confiscated our things and handcuffed us. It was so traumatic. We are not terrorists, we are photographers (kuno) .

Friday, November 6, 2009

Vote For The 50 Great Voices (In The World)!

National Public Radio (NPR) starting in January 2010, will launch a year-long exploration of the 50 great voices in recorded history. Some of the nominated are already listed. NPR and a panel of experts are now in the process of slimming them down to 100 singers. The Singers came from different genres and from different countries around the world.

Last September 17, 2009, I posted on this blog 'My Top 10 Most Beautiful Female Voices Of All Time' which Ms. Whitney Houston topped the list, 5 female singers on that list is nominated for the NPR's 50 Great Voices, they are Whitney Houston, Martha Wash, Barbara Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Lauryn Hill.

Explore some of the nominated voices on the NPR list and choose 5 of your favorites who you think should be in the final 50 and write your reason why you chose each singers. VOTE NOW!

"Taking Away Your Space" by Martha Wash

"Casta Diva" by Montserat Caballe

"A Song For You" by Whitney Houston

"Inta Omri' by Uum Kulthoum

NPR [National Public Radio]

Thanks to Mr. N J!

I just met 'briefly' for the first time my blog buddy here in Jeddah just a couple of hours ago in front of McDonald's, where else?, he is Mr. Nereus Jethro Abad, a Filipino expatriate just like myself, he is working with the National Prawn Company, (it's one of the world's biggest fully integrated aquaculture project, and the world's biggest and premier desert aquaculture venture, as it says there in his profile). Mr. Nereus Jethro Abad's blog is called Desert Aquaforce.

To Mr. Abad, "If ever you are reading this, in behalf of my friend, I would just like to say that it's a pleasure meeting you, I know we didn't have enough time for a thorough conversation but I know there's still next time. Thank you very much for your time and ohh, those prawns are HUGE...!, can't wait to taste them. Thanks!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thumbs Up: Gunther Diechmann's Photography

Gunther Diechmann has an impressive collection of photography around the world. I first knew about him and his work while watching television, on TFC (The Filipino Channel). He says there that he is an "Australian but with a Filipino heart" (This is a brief series about foreigners living and loving the Philippines). He is also an underwater photographer, he has a book called "Journey Through Color And Time" which was published in 2006. He is married to a Filipina. Here are some of his photography.

THE CLASSICS special collection from Europe, SE Asia Tibet and Australia - Images by Gunther Deichmann

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ghost In The Machine: A Haunted Mix From NPR Music

Listen to 'Ghost In The Machine': A hunted mix from NPR (National Public Radio) Music. Hear Hours Of Songs About The Spirits That Haunt Us. Booooo...!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Already Begun! [Blog Action Day 2009]

Living in the Philippines could be very stressful sometimes especially when you realized that you're living in an island, in the Pacific where most of the typhoons are born. I know most of you have heard what had happened in the Philippines and most especially in Manila just a few weeks ago, although I was not there, it scares me, thinking that my whole family was there and thank God they were not affected yet it scares me, who knows what will happen the next time that same kind of calamity strikes again. Never (and I can say it again, Never ) in my 37 years have I ever seen nor experience such kind of calamity before.

It seems that storms are becoming more and more stronger and powerful and they said it's connected to global warming or due to climate change and that the earth's weather pattern are changing bringing much stronger storms, while in the north and south poles, ice sheets are melting in record speed fearing that most coastal cities and those low lying islands around the world will be in danger of flooding.

Last week there was an article that I've read on CNN.Com about the president of Maldives setting a cabinet meeting on October 17 underwater to highlight their country's problem, the possibility that they will lose their country to the sea. The ministers are already learning the basics of scuba diving, president Nasheed is already a certified scuba diver, according to the article. Isn't it unfair?, they are paying the price for something they did not do.

I wish we could realize that we are all living in the same planet and that all is inter-connected, that all bad things we do to nature and our planet, we do to ourselves. Let's stop being greedy for just a moment, look into ourselves and ask, Is it all worth it? Where will my children be the next 10 or 20 years? Well, I hope they know how to scuba dive or even swim because the magnitude of what we are facing is no joke and it's already begun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change

On October 15, 2009, thousands of bloggers, with morethan 10 million readers from more than 100 counties will unite in posting for Blog Action Day 2009. This years theme: Climate Change. Be a part of it!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ang Camera Ni Cabrera

It was during my childhood days when I was watching movies, oftentimes there were scenes that show a person going inside a red-lit, dark room to develop a photograph. I often said to myself, "Wow!, I wanna do that.", but it was more on the process of developing the photograph rather than taking it that inspired me, maybe in my mind I just find it "cool", taking a piece of paper dipping it in different solutions at a time and then the picture starts to show and there you have it, a photograph.

During those days, my grandmother was still alive and she was living with us that time and I had this old film camera, (I think it was my uncle's) I saw my grandmother having her siesta on a wooden bench outside the house, I can't believe my luck, then I took a photo of her and it was perfect, beautiful and I called it "Siesta". This photo is very close to my heart.

When I was growing up the dream of photography was stalled, but my eye for beauty grew. It was not until I came here in Saudi Arabia for work, that that dream of photography was slowly awakened. It started when I bought my first digital camera, I remember it was a Samsung digimax 301, I'd been using it until 2006, I didn't like it that much but that was the only camera that I could afford at that time, any camera cheaper than that would probably render useless (that was a joke). I didn't see any reason why I should buy a new digital camera, since I was not deeply interested in pursuing my dream of photography, at least not yet.

In 2008, I've learned about blogging, and this blog was the first one I've created. My objective was to express my thoughts and feelings while living here in Saudi Arabia, and as you may all know, Saudi Arabia's society is not normal compared to, let say, the Philippines or the U.S.. I then added my second blog which I appropriately called "Camera Ni Cabrera", my initial objective here was to capture in picture the country's surroundings and it's culture. This blog gave me the renewed interest in pursuing my dream of photography and with this blog, I've decided to take digital photography to the next level and even though I don't have proper training, I will just have to let my instinct and my love for beauty to take over. I'm sure I have this within me.

Digital photography is just a hobby for me and it will remain that way, I don't have any plans to be a professional photographer. This is just probably my way of escaping the boredom and loneliness that I'm experiencing here in Saudi Arabia. Every time I look at my photoblogs and seeing those tiny, little flags which indicate where the visitors of my blog came from, I feel a different kind of happiness, somehow I feel like I'm accepted, a part of the system.

Taking photos here in Saudi Arabia can be a little frustrating sometimes. Most people don't welcome the idea of a camera pointing at them specially women and children, but sometimes you get lucky. At this moment, I have 3 photoblogs. I've already mentioned the first one, the second is "La Fotografia de Pepe" on wordpress, which is a back-up blog for the first one and the third is the newest, it's just a couple of weeks old, It is called "La Fotografia de Pepe Cabrera" hosted by Aminus3 Photoblogs.

I'm inviting all of you to visit my photoblogs sometimes. I want to share to you all what I've seen through the lens of my camera. I guarantee you that it'll inspire you and bring out the artistic side of you, like what it did to me.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Donate to the Philippine National Red Cross

You can help those affected and displaced by typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines by donating through PayPal to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thumbs Up: New "Juana Change" Music Video

Watch the newest installment of the "Juana Change" saga. This time it's a music video and same as before tackling the culture of corruption in the government and what we, the Filipinos can do about it. Here's the video with English subtitles.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thumbs Up: My 12 Most Beautiful Female Voices Of All Time

In honor of Ms. Whitney Houston's comeback via her new album "I look to You", I put together my top 10 most beautiful female voices of all time. Here they are:

Whitney Houston - Songs: "So Emotional", "Tell Me No", "Didn't We Almost Have It All".

Aretha Franklin - Songs: "Respect", "Chain Of Fool", "Ever Changing Time", "Think".

Barbara Streisand - Songs: "Guilty", "What Kind Of Fool", "You Don't Bring Me Flower".

Mariah Carey - Songs: "Dream Lover", "Love Takes Time", We Belong Together".

Martha Wash - Songs: "It's Raining Men", "Taking Away Your Space", "Strike It Up", "Everybody Dance Now" 

Patti LaBelle - Songs: "Lady Marmalade", "If Only You Knew", "On My Own".

Chaka Khan Songs: "I Feel For You", "Stay", "Through The Fire", "I'm Every Woman". 

Toni Braxton - Songs: "Breathe Again", "Un - Break My Heart", "He wasn't Man Enough". 

Celine Dion - Songs: "Beauty And The Beast", "Because You Love Me", "Only One Road".

Lisa Fischer - Songs: "How Can I Ease The Pain", "Wild Flower", "I Love You, Porgy"

Sade Adu - Songs: "Soldier of Love", "Smooth Operator", "Is It A Crime", "Ordinary Love"

Lauryn Hill - Songs: "Killing Me Softly", "Ex- Factor", "Everything Is Everything", "His Eyes On A Sparrow".

Whitney Houston.Com Link: Vote for (National Public Radio) NPR's 50 Great Voices

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thumbs Up: Robert Frank's Elevator Girl Now Has A Name

"That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what's her name & address?"

That was a line from Jack Karouac's introduction in the book of photos by photographer Robert frank, "The Americans" which the photo you see above was included. It was a photo of a young woman working as an elevator girl which was taken by the famous photographer Robert Frank in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1955. Now she has a name. She is Sharon Goldstein Collins. Read more about the photo, "Elevator Girl" by Robert Frank and listen to the interview of Sharon Collins on All Things Considered at NPR (National Public Radio).

Listen to Sharon Goldstein Collins Interview on NPR

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thumbs Up: ¡MISMO! New Filipino Board Game

¡MISMO! by Kristine Servando, abs-cbn NEWS

MANILA - "Ano ang matamis na malagkit? Mahiwaga at maselan? Matigas at mainit?" (What's sweet and Sticky? Mysterious and delicate? Hard and hot?")

These double-entendres that only a Pinoy (Filipino) can decode are at the heart of the fun and wacky board game "Mismo!", which has been making waves in the Philippine market since its release in late June this year. Continue Reading...

Photo by the

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thumbs Up: "The Wolfman" Trailer

Here is the trailer of a new movie about werewolves. THE WOLFMAN, starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving. In Theaters February 12th, 2010.

Related: Werewolves: The New Vampires?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm Officially a Photo Thief !

Yes, I am now officially a photo thief ! I copied a photo from a website and forgot where I got the photo and yet proceeded in posting it in my blog site without the permission of the owner. And I didn't even know it until I opened one of my follower's blog. And now the owner is furious.

It is a photo of the facade of Universidad de Manila. But I'm telling you all, it's an honest mistake. I don't usually do that. Now I've learned to be extremely careful the next time I copy and paste.

Most of the posts in ¡Superextraordinarisimo! are not my words and so are the photos and I didn't even claim them as mine. Most of the sources came from Wikipedia, You tube and others. It's an aggregation of different topics about Hispanic Philippines.

To Arabesque, the owner of the blog, Mabuhay Manila, I am really sorry about the photo. I have already deleted the photo from ¡Superextraordinarisimo!. I even commented on your post and saying my apology there. I'm deeply sorry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Future Of Brüno

Presenting the new addition to our family, BRÜNO! He is the offspring of Ms. Ken Lee, he was born on the 4th of July (2009) and he is officially my number 7 cat living in my apartment. Back in 2004 during my previous company, I already have a cat, her name is Chacapam, then she got pregnant and then came Lucio, Cariñoso and Ms. Ken Lee at the same time I'm also taking care of 2 other cats that I found outside, Fullah and Borat which are now living permanently inside the apartment. In total, I'm taking care 7 cats and I hope their number will not go up.

It's not easy having so many house cats around, the food is expensive, they don't just eat anything, and there are times their diet changes and they would want to eat other flavors. The cat litter is also expensive and you can't do without it. Another thing that makes it hard having pet cats around is when I'm traveling. There are times I'm not home for more than 5 days and it's a dilemma for me. whenever that time comes, I usually call my friends and instruct them on what to do with the cats. And oh yes, you have to clean their litter box, take them for a bath at least once every 2 weeks and play with them as often as possible.

My cats are not the kind that you'll see in pet shops, they are not that fancy. They are I think what Americans called "Alley cats", the type you'll often see in the streets and dumpsters which unfortunately are too much here in the streets of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Most of you would probably say, why are you taking care of those alley cats?, my answer is...I don't know, maybe because it's hard for me seeing them in the street when it's a 100 degrees out there and at the same time hungry and thirsty. Every time I see cats in the street, it's like I feel what they feel and then I ask myself, where are they going? What will they eat? Where will they sleep for the night? My heart bleeds for them. I only wish the goverment of Saudi Arabia will do something about this problem.

And about the future of Brüno and my other cats. The day will inevitably come that I'll have to let them go, when I go back home, back to the Philippines. There's a possibility that I could take a cat or 2 with me, but most of them are going back where they came from, the street. I hope I could stay longer for them. I love my cats.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Former Philippine President Maria Corazon Cojuangco vda. de Aquino 1933 - 2009

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Former President Corazon Aquino, who swept away a dictator with a "People Power" revolt and then sustained democracy by fighting off seven coup attempts in six years, died on Saturday, her son said. She was 76. [Read more from N.Y. Times]

Cory's Historic U.S. Congress Speech (1 of 3)

The Speech part 2 of 3

On September 18, 1986, just 7 months after she was swept to power by a popular revolt against dictator Ferdinand Marcos, president Maria Corazon Cojuangco vda. de Aquino addressed the joint session of the United States Congress during her first visit to the country since she came home to bury slain opposition leader and husband Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" S. Aquino, Jr. in August 1983.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Just For A Laugh: "Nobody But You" - Security Guard Dancing

This is one amazing video. I found it in you Tube. I think they are security guards, dancing to the tune of Wonder Girls' "Nobody But You". Soooo Hilarious! Watch it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thumbs Up: My "Eternal Moonwalk" #8886

Me in front of the window of our shop in Serafi Mall

I uploaded my Moonwalk video on "Eternal Moonwalk" , as you can see in the photo above (Yes that's me). To see my whole video and the videos of people who uploaded their moonwalks, go to, and at the bottom left side of the screen type my name, J.Villanueva Cabrera (or the name of the person you would like to see), click on the "GO" button then click the "arrow sign" and wait for the video. You can also type my video number 8886.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thumbs Up: "2012"

Here's a trailer of a new movie which will be out this coming November, called "2012". It's another movie about the Earth's destruction and all which is based on the Mayan prophecy that the earth will end on December 21, 2012. Click HERE to watch the trailer.

The Mayan Calendar

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Michael Jackson Memorial

The Michel Jackson Memorial

I just watched the more than 3 hour Michael Jackson Memorial, televised by CNN from Staple Center in L.A.. It was so moving specially when Usher sang his rendition of "Gone Too Soon" and when he went down the stage toward Michael Jackson's remain. It was so touching.

The other part of the Memorial that I thought was so moving, was when the Jackson family was on the stage on the last part of the memorial service and Paris Katherine, the daughter of Michael spoke briefly and said "I love him so much" then cried. It was so heartbreaking seeing the King's children like that. They obviously love their father.

The speech of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was so moving also. Her speech to me was so amazing specially when she get to the part about the Good Samaritan and that Michael Jackson was "a Good Samaritan" and a man "who cared and loved for the world".

I am a Michael Jackson fan. I became aware of Michael Jackson in the 80's when his "Thriller" came out  and I loved him ever since. Michael Jackson will live forever through his music and in our hearts. R.I.P.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Good Samaritan in The Desert.

Yanbu Snapshots

We rented a car here in Jeddah and went to Yanbu yesterday afternoon to visit our shop there. This is our second trip to Yanbu with myself driving a car. At first I felt confident driving the car, everything seemed to be going great, that was until our trip back to Jeddah in the afternoon the next day. We decided to stop a while to heed the call of nature and to take a few snapshots from our camera, but I made a mistake taking the car too far from the side of the road, where the ground is too soft and so the wheel of our car got trapped from the sand, we couldn't get out, the more I tried to pump the gas thinking that we could get our wheel free from the deep soft sand, but the deeper our wheel sunk. I tried putting some pieces of woods that we found around the site but it was no use, the car was not going anywhere. Then I got scared, we've only got a small bottle of water and it was mid afternoon and was burning hot.

Then Nelson said we should get help from some passersby. A Pakistani guy stopped and tried to help us. He brought ropes to help our car be pulled from the sand but because it was made of some plastic-like material, it was too weak and snapped. He then get another rope from his delivery truck, but this time it looked like a seatbelt from some old cars and it was made of nylon. We tried to tie it up at the rear of our car and to the front of his delivery truck, then he begun to pull our car out of the sand and sure enough it worked. Thank God! We offered him water and a lot of thank yous after that, without him we wouldn't be able to get back to Jeddah this afternoon and we will still be there on that same spot at this moment. We asked his name and he replied "Mustaq".

Nelson and I want to say Thank You from the bottom of our hearts again to Mustaq. You really are a good Samaritan. God bless you.

*The small picture at the left above shows the exact spot where our car got trapped from the sand.

**The video above shows Mustaq driving his truck, the Pakistani man who helped us.

Link: Trip To yanbu (wordpress)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Photos: Riyadh, Dammam & AlKhobar

Here are some of the pictures from our 5 day trip (store visit) in Riyadh, Dammam and Al khobar.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thumbs Up: Philippines, Winner Of The You Tube Democracy Video Challenge

The Philippine entry was chosen as one of the winners of You Tube's Democracy Video Challange. More than 900 people from 95 countries competed for the grand prize. Watch the Philippines' entry, "Long Live The Fearless Man".

To watch the other winners, Click Here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"The Kingdom In The Closet" by Nadya Labi

A friend of mine came across a 4 page article on The Atlantic Monthly (on-line) dated May 2007 and I want to share it with all of you. It is called "The Kingdom In the Closet" by Nadya Labi, about homosexuality in Saudi Arabia and her many interviews with different people.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Barking At The Wrong Tree? [The Hayden Kho Sex Scandal]

I think everybody is making a big mistake trying to pin down Dr.Hayden Kho in this sex scandal. Yes, he may not be innocent in this case, he was the one who took those sex videos without the consent of his partners, but he was not the one who uploaded them on the internet.

There are actually two issues here. First, him taking those videos without the consent of the women and second, the uploading of those videos on the net. To start with, there would have been no crime if nobody had seen them (the videos) or if nobody had uploaded them on the net. I believe he only took those videos for his own consumption and was not meant for anybody else to see.

This case is exactly the same as the sex scandal in Hongkong, where Ho Chun Sze, the man who was accused of stealing highly explicit photos from Edison Chen's laptop and spreading them on the net with profit in mind.

I think the investigation of this case (Hayden Kho sex scandal) should focus on the person who uploaded the video on the net and its master mind, the person who told Eric Chua to steal the sex videos. Dr. Vicky Belo should be present in this investigation, I believe she's an important person who can shed light to this scandal.

Related: You Tube

I'm Now On Twitter!

I am now on Twitter, Follow Me there!!!
At, Don Pepe 1972.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Charice's Final Performance in Italy "Listen"

For more on her performances in Italy, click HERE!

To go to her official website, click HERE!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Por fin... Vacaciones! Cavite Here I Come!!!

Yes!, Finally, on the 7th of April will be my flight back to the Philippines for my vacation after more than 2 years of working in Saudi Arabia. But now that that day approaches, I'm having mixed feelings about it, not the "I don't wanna go home anymore" - feeling, but the "What will I expect there" - kinda feeling and also, it makes me feel a little sad because of the passing of my Auntie (Sra. Estelita S. Cabrera vd. de Reyes) in San Diego (U.S.) due to Brain Aneurysm and I didn't even had a chance to say goodbye. We made a promise last year on the telephone that we will see each other one of these days. I haven't seen her for more than 13 years, the last time I saw her was in the States in the winter of 1996. It'll be sad to see again all the old familiar places back home where she and I used to go, the neighborhood where she used to live and well, the whole of Cavite City itself, reminds me of her and my "salad days" with her. I affectionately call her "Nanay Tita" . We were very close. God bless her soul.

And another thing is, aside from the fact that I will arrive there in the middle of the Semana Santa* (Holy week) celebration, seeing my children after more than 2 years will make me so emotional for sure, who will not be? I'm sure you know what I mean. Everything that I am doing right now is for them. And I can't believe it, my eldest daughter will be in college this coming school year, she will be taking up BSHRM (Hotel and Restaurant Management) at the age of 15. She graduated first honorable mention in high school, she should have been awarded Salutatorian but because she was a transferee, she didn't avail of it. About my other daughter, I'm equally proud of her, she may not have the highest grade in school but she pulled it through and I love her for that, for trying, even without someone to help her with school works (but all of that will soon change).

And oh yes, I hope I get along well with my parents during my 45 day vacation. Those of you who know my parents well, know what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents, it's just that, there are some issues between us that are not easy to talk about.

To all my friends, wait for me there in Noveleta and ready my bottle of San Miguel beer. To all my blogging brothers, I will try to post updates of my vacation as much as I could, if not, you'll hear it when i get back.

Cavite here I come!!!!

*Semana Santa - Sorry, but I find this holiday ever since I was a kid to be the most boring of all holidays because there's nothing to watch on television, especially the local channels ( thank God for cable televisions) and most of the establishments are all closed. This holiday is not for children. And I'm child at heart.