Friday, October 11, 2013

Got My New Residence Permit!

Amid the anxieties that continuously befall expatriates nowadays, I want to speak of the blessings and God's never-ending mercies toward His children and here it is: I just received my new residence permit (Iqama) yesterday just in time before the 4-month deadline elapses given by the Saudi Government for those who need to change their job status. Thank you Jesus, You alone are great! Hallelujah!

*I edited some of the important information from the photo of my Iqama above for security reason.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bye Big Bike! (with Update)

"Darrajah" (Bicicleta) by Pepe Cabrera, January 7, 2010.

I just saw the Saudi Gazette news on the internet today about the world's largest bicycle here in Jeddah. The iconic landmark will soon be taken down to give way for a new overpass. In fact, there are yellow fences already in place around the roundabout where the big bike is located, as you can see in the photo below which I took a week ago.

Photo of the big bike with yellow fence around roundabout. September 10, 2013.

I often pass by this iconic structure for more than 10 years now, in fact my apartment is just a stone throw away from it. The bicycle is at a roundabout on Rawdah and Sitteen streets intersection. I hope the government would have a change of mind and at least transfer the bicycle to a new location here in Jeddah. It's a shame that they are demolishing this iconic landmark. Bye Big Bike!

"Dusk at Dawara Darrajah"  January 6, 2010.

Trivia: The Bike is 15 meters high and was created using scrap metal. It's  by Julio Lafuente, a Spanish artist.

Update - December 31, 2013

It seems like the big bike is here to stay after all, according to pictures which hang around the construction site like the one you see below. Great.

I took this photo of one of the pictures from inside my car.

Close up look shows the giant bike is incorporated in the final plan.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In My Opinion: The Possible US Strike on Syria

I was supposed to blog about the 'leche flan' that I made the other day, but weird as it sounds, could my leche flan be of more significant than the current tension that is happening now here in the Middle East? I'm talking about the possible US strike on Syria. As an expat here in Saudi Arabia for over ten years, and a born again Christian at that who is familiar with some Biblical prophecies, I'm not anymore shocked about the news, in fact, it's eagerly anticipated, at least for me.

I believe that the US strike on Syria could possibly become a proxy war between different Middle Eastern countries. We all know that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, (a Sunni Muslim) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (a Shia Muslim) are arch-enemies (as both love to battle in unending word war). Iran and the Muslim world at large want to obliterate Israel from the the face of the earth - though only the former brazenly expresses so. Russia and China have always been  allies of Syria from the start.  And not to mention the instability in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could also contribute to  triggering the World War 3.

I'm against the US strike on Syria, but honestly, the thought of it excites me in a way because of the end time prophecies in the Bible and the second coming of our Lord Yahoshua. Everything that is happening right now in our world (wars, famine, earthquakes and the increase of wickedness) had been prophesied before in Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelations; and Yahoshua said in Matthew 24:6:

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,
but see to it that you are not alarmed.
Such things must happen,
but the end is still to come."  

A lot of questions come up in my mind every time I think about the situation, like, what will happen to me if the war in Syria spilled over to Saudi Arabia and a full blown war broke out in the entire Middle East? How about the other 3 Million Filipino expats in the Middle East? Can my government afford to repatriate all 3 Million of us? And how about my family back home, will they be affected too? (That's actually the Devil trying to mess up with my mind and injecting me with fear.)

Every time there is unrest in the Muslim world, Christians have always been a natural collateral damage as the chaos precipitates into a war on the 'infidels' - as Egypt epitomizes. It scares me sometimes when I think about what the consequences might be, but then again, I'm not like the heathen anymore as the Bible says, whose concerns are the material things on earth rather than putting their trust on the only true God. I have to fix my eyes on things which are unseen, rather than the physical things. I'm a new creation now, I should not be afraid of anything, God is in control. I just have to put my trust on Yahweh. And in this time of uncertainties, what a relief and comfort to ponder on God's promises in Psalms 91!

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thumbs Up: ‘Million People March’ Against Pork Barrel in Manila

I Support:
‘Million People March’ Set at Luneta 
Against Pork Barrel Scam.

Read about this on the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Visit Facebook Page

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fruit Of My Labor - Thank you Jesus!

As if it was just yesterday when my eldest daughter Maria was born. I can still remember the first time I saw her face at the hospital, I had mixed feelings then. Happy on one side, and fear on the other. Happy because I became a father, and fear because I don't know if I could be a good father to her. I remember the time when she made her first step, it was amazing. And it was awesome when she spoke her first word, "Dada" - she said.

But of course it was not all amazing, and awsome when you come to realize that this beautiful baby would start growing, and would need things like diapers, milk, clothings and would one day go to school etc. During this time I didn't have a job, I only depended on my parents for everything, (that's so typical of Filipinos, you know!), and I think it's one of the mistakes most young Filipino parents do, and never realized, getting into something without planning, or metaphorically, going to battle without a weapon. But God is good, He gave me a job! 

And that was one of the reasons why I am here in Saudi Arabia, to give my Maria (...and Celina) a good future. Looking back, it was a struggle really just to put food on the table back home, and to prove that I'm a worthy father for my children. I've been through a lot since I had my first job, ranging from having a low salary, depression, battling insomnia to having problem with some of my co-workers. I'm doing this for my family because I love them so much, and I don't need appreciations, just to see them happy is enough for me. 

Fast Forward...2013!

It was that time when the tree bears fruit. Maria graduated from college last April, and it made me even happier to learn that she was 'Cum Laude' in her class. I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't able to attend her graduation. It would have been great if I was there to witness it for myself -- the fruit of my labor. Hotel and Restaurant Management was her course, it was exactly the same course I took in college, but didn't finish. In a way, her graduating from HRM somehow fulfilled my dream. 

Maria turned 20 last week. When I told her on the phone that she's no longer a teenager, she replied that she's 'twenteen' now. Yup!, I'm old. I'm proud of her, and I'm so thankful to God for the wonderful blessings. It's Yahweh who made it all possible! I'm praying that the Lord would bless Maria with wisdom and knowledge, and to guide her walk in this dark and wretched world. Thank you Jesus for all the blessings, and for giving me two wonderful and amazing daughters. Halleluiah!

O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever. ~ Psalm 118:1

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Dreamt of Hearses

I want to write about my dream last night before I completely forget about it. This is the kind of dream that most people wouldn't want to talk about, because of the fear that it might come true. 

This is my dream: 

I was inside a house of one of my aunts in Cavite together with my cousin Alejandro (who died a couple of years ago due to lupus) - we were there for a vacation. When it was time to leave, while walking home, I saw a hearse (just like the one in the photo above), parked on the street about a hundred yards away from me. Then I saw 5 or 6 of my classmates from high school coming out of the hearse as if to surprise me. I thought it was strange because I'm not that close with them. I felt happy in the dream that I'm accepted in their circle. 

Then strangely, I'm back leaving the house again, but this time I saw the hearse coming to me and when it stopped in front of me I saw my cousin Anang (who lives in Rosario, Cavite) who was motioning for me to come inside, but I refused and that's the moment when I woke up. 

There could probably be hundreds of interpretations of this dream, but God has the last word. Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, He owns me, and with Him, I have nothing to fear.

For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man perceives it not. 
In a dream, in a vision of the night, 
when deep sleep falls on men, in slumberings on the bed; 
Then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, 
That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. ~ Job 33:14-17

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ramadan Travel 2013 (July 9-18)

King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.

Due to the very busy Ramadan season, I really don't have any spare time to write a proper post on my blog and so I'll just post some of the photos I've collected from our travel in Riyadh, Dammam and Al Ahsa 2 weeks ago. We (my co-worker and I), stayed in Riyadh for 5 days to merchandise our 5 shops there which are located in Hayat Mall, Marina Mall, Olaya Mall, Othaim Mall & Khurais Plaza. 

Riyadh Photos:

Riyadh Videos:

Our 5th day in Riyadh was also our 1st day in Dammam. It would only take us about an hour or even less from Riyadh to Dammam had our flight been on time. And finally after four excruciating hours of waiting (due to a couple of hours delay) we got inside the plane. Thank God for allowing their (saudia folks) habitual incompetence already assimilated into my psyche. Nothing's new under the sun, by the way.

When we arrived at Dammam airport it was almost 2 in the morning. We were frantically monitoring every second that passes and praying that we could get a good taxi driver who would not overcharge us and drive fast before that dreaded yet familiar shout reverberates the peninsula signalling the start of dawn-till-dusk rituals. Understandably, the frantics would have been unnecessary had we earlier reserved a room from our 'suki' hotel but did not. Still hopeful that our stomach did not react so as to plunge readily in bed as soon as we checked-in but had to run like Usain Bolt to the nearest kabsa or shawarma before that scary shout overwhelmed our knees. Thankfully for us, we nailed it haha! Thank you Jesus! The next day we had to report for work though it was a Friday.

Dammam Photos:

Dammam Videos:

Bags already packed, we did check out on our second day and headed to Dareen Mall. After we were done, we took a 4 hour SAPTCO bus ride to Al Ahsa/Hofuf - a small town yet a significant business center in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. It is very near to Qatar. This place has been in the headlines around the world because of MERS - CoV (Corona Virus). Al Ahsa/Hofuf was our last and final destination before heading back to our old routine in Jeddah. We have 2 stores here, in Al Ahsa Mall and Othaim Mall.

Al Ahsa Photos:

Al Ahsa/Hofuf Videos:

Mission accomplished! The 10th day was the final day. It was time to leave for Jeddah. The airport of Al Ahsa was a little bit far from the city, and upon arriving, the gloom and quietness was so obvious. The sceneries to the airport were like out of a movie. Sand dunes dominate the view. So dry, so hot. There's so much sadness in it.  

Day 9 & Al Ahsa Airport Photos:

Al Ahsa Airport Video:

Thank You Lord Jesus for our safe return!

Photos were originally uploaded on my Instagram account. 
Videos originally uploaded on my Vine account, Pepe Cabrera.
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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: A True Story

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. ~ Psalm 55:21

I've been heavily wounded a few days ago from an attack of a big bad wolf. People around me just looked at me while the whole carnage was happening. Most of them even approved what the wolf was doing. I really can't blame them; they didn't recognize the wolf for he wears a sheep's skin, and wears it very neatly. Nobody helped me except for one, and he helped me escape. I saw the whole thing coming because I've already recognized him from the beginning, and I didn't run away from him, so in a way, it's my fault. May God bless his soul!

Update: After that incident, I never went back to that church. At this moment I'm worshiping at home with a brother in Christ and trying to learn more about discernment from biblically-sound teachers like Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries, Pastor Marco Quintana of Community Church of Devore and Paul Washer. 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. ~ Matthew 7:15

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Trip To Abha

It was my first time to go to the mountain city of Abha, the capital of Asir province last May 26 2013. The flight to Abha from Jeddah was quick, just less than an hour. My co-worker and I went there to oversee the merchandising of one of our shops there ( well actually 2 of our shops there). 

From the airport, we went straight to Oasis Mall where our new shop was located, in fact the mall itself was new, that not a lot of shops are open yet.  It took us around 5 hours to finish everything from the lay-out, merchandising and to the mannequins in the windows.

After we're done with Oasis Mall, we went straight to Aseer Mall, where the other 'It's Mine' shop is located. It was impossible for us to finish 2 shops in a day because we were already tired, and so we didn't do the lay-out/merchandising. We only changed both  window displays. 

It was raining cats and dogs when we went to the airport and we still have 4 hours left before our flight back to Jeddah during that time, so instead of checking-in immediately, we opted to just sit by the bench in front of the airport and enjoy the cool breeze and rain. I missed the rain! 

While waiting outside, we met a Filipino guy who's from Iligan city in the Philippines, his name is Melchor, who turned out to be a born again Christian himself. Instantly we had a fellowship there. We've learned a lot of things from each other, talking about the goodness of God and our testimonies. We talked for about 2 hours and it was amazing. We exchanged phone numbers before we boarded the plane and he promised to call if ever he gets to visit  Jeddah.

Halleluiah! Thank you Lord God for your blessings and protection during our trip in Abha in JESUS name. Amen! Here's some of the photos from our trip in Abha.

At the self check-in machine in Jeddah.

Inside the plane to Abha.

Touch down Abha!

Getting a taxi.

It's Mine shop in Oasis Mall (aka Waha Mall).

Just for laughs.

Posing for the camera.

To It's Mine in Aseer Mall.

The 'It's Mine' shop in Aseer Mall.

Beautiful scenery on our way to the airport.


While sitting outside the airport.

Kuya Melchor.

Waiting to board.


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