Monday, December 1, 2014

Bolt & Ken Lee (Home Video)

A video of Bolt and Ken Lee just a few hours ago while I was petting them.  God bless you all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

November Rain

It rained cats and dogs yesterday here in Jeddah, the first ever rain of the year. Everybody get so excited every time it rains here. You will see most of their videos and photos in social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Here's mine from Instagram.

And here is the full video I uploaded from You Tube.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our Alto Goes on Vacation (UPDATE)

Picture: Our Alto getting its rear tires changed early this year.

It's been exactly a week today since our car broke down...again. Last year was the first time it broke down. Our daily routine changes significantly without our car, I mean, it's hard, especially when you get used to it. We have to take the taxi now to go to work, although we could reimburse our transportation expenses from our company (through invoices),  it's still not the same as having our own car, and that's no brainer.

Also it's been a week since we informed our company office of our predicament so that somebody would take it to the mechanic, but to no avail. We understand that there's no one available just yet but really, sometimes the desperation and the stress of haggling with a taxi driver who at least does not carry a familiar (undesirable) scent almost took its toll on us. Now we are thinking of getting our own car, not a big or expensive car, but just a tiny city car that can adequately ferry us around Jeddah.

We're thinking of getting a Kia - Picanto God willing, or something similar to its stature (cheap and tiny). But we still have to wait for few more days to plan this out. We want to know how the situation goes whether it bodes well to the company by giving us a decent car or they being satisfied with astronomical reimbursements. Who knows they might provide us a new car (which is good) or send our majestically decrepit car to the mechanic which is fine also. 

Our car is a Suzuki - Alto, I think it's the cheapest car around. We've been using it for more than six years now since August of 2008. Thank you Lord Jesus for blessing us with this small and humble car. But hey Alto, you should be resurrecting your rear for my sake otherwise it's all about agony in the streets and reluctantly getting immune to the stress, sun, carbon monoxide, dust and familiar scent that is!

UPDATE - January 27, 2015

Our Alto is back from the dead. My company decided not to buy a new car after all and instead, just fixed it. When I saw the car this afternoon, it was so filthy, I hardly recognized it. I've already washed and cleaned it and ready for tomorrow. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ for bringing back Alto. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Video: Tearful Woman Confronts Open-Air Preacher

I love this video. A tearful woman confronts open-air preacher. This woman only likes to see the love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion of God, which is typical of some Christians. She has forgotten the other side of God, a God that hates sin, a God that is just, a God of order, a HOLY GOD. Yes, Yahweh is a loving God, and that's why He uses people like this preacher to spread the gospel and to warn people of their sins. DON'T BE DECEIVED!

In those days came John the Baptist, 
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Indiegogo Campaign: Help Build 'Light in the City Church'

The Light in the City Church located along the coastline of Silay City in the Philippines has been existing for over a decade with little or no support from anyone apart from the little they could get from members who are mostly small fishermen. The Church building used to stand in a stilt that every time a storm ravages the sea, the waves leave it unusable. The members then had to pool scant resources to rebuild it, and the same cycle repeats every year, God knows how many times in a year. Now they have decided to shift to a much safer location courtesy of one member's generosity to offer part of his backyard. The makeshift worship center has just been started gradually as little help comes in a trickle. I hope and pray that their dream to build a decent and safe worship center be realized by God's grace and your precious help. Praying for you all and God bless everyone. 

Click link below to donate and 
don't forget to share this Indiegogo Campaign!

For God is not unrighteous 
to forget your work and labour of love, 
which ye have shewed toward his name, 
in that ye have ministered to the saints, 
and do minister. ~ Hebrews 6:10

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Reading: 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley

It's been a while since I've read my last novel, and this classic, (then) 'futuristic' novel 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley is a perfect read. "Published in 1932, this warned against the dehumanising aspects of scientific and material 'progress'", says the book. Note that I'm not in any way promoting this book, it's just that this book is so intriguing to me. When I read the short description at the back of the book, some of the elements in it sound so much like the present day and it has that eerie resemblance to (the evil, dystopian) New World Order, which I heard so much about, that's said would rule the world in the very near future. It's like the prophecy in The Book of Revelation and of Prophet Daniel coming to pass. 

This is a good read, but still, 
nothing can compare to the knowledge 
and wisdom the Word of God can give you. 
Keep on reading your Bible daily!

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's The Thought That Counts

All along I've been saying I'm crazy about simple things -- much more if it is a gift, and nothing beats the thrill of unwrapping it.The object inside more often than not is immaterial, it is the thought knowing you are special to the gift giver, at least to prove a point, that really matters.

Needless to say, for the first time in my life I sent a gift via Fedex to the most thoughtful and sweetest friend I ever have who happens to be  in France -- proof of which is the gift she sent me last February. These simple things I brought with me from my vacation in the Philippines may not be that storied of monumental proportion that deserved a trip across the Mediterranean but certainly they were well-thought of and heartfelt just as my intentions were. 

One of the two items I sent her was a small rooster figurine  (whose beak unfortunately got detached most likely due to careless handling) and the other was a tee shirt which I bought from a kiosk in a mall that sells Christian tee-shirts. Mind you, it was no ordinary t-shirt with the message emblazoned on it, "Jesus Heals". I have been praying for her because she has some sort of illness that I believe is nothing compared to the power of Jesus. Way to go little rooster and the T and my prayers for you my friend! (the photos below were proof they safely arrived, though not completely sans the little guy's beak. And the video I took in a shop where the T-shirt didn't escape me.)

"I am still wailing over my beak. Wonders how on earth people can be so careless and indifferent that reduced my life to being miserable. "The gesture though of my human tells me there is hope and she would do anything to make me whole again, literally, yehey!!"

"I'm still cute though sans my beak. I could only pray my twin back in the KSA gets a more humane treatment and does not lose his."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yanbu Shop Opening (May 28-29)

Just less than a week after I came back from vacation, I was up again for yet another tiring out-of-town trip further north in Yanbu in time for the re-opening of our new shop in that city. I don't usually fret over workload instead I got thrilled at the prospect of brushing off some cobwebs accumulated from a month-and-half vacation. There was no time slacking off as tons of work awaited us yet totally buoyed to visit the city after a long hiatus.

If my memory serves me right, our last visit to Yanbu was way back in 2009 when our store was still new and not really one of our top priorities to visit. Now, the once little store in the corner has more than doubled its size with an entirely modern design and fittings. So it was required of us to prepare the new store for its grand 'reopening'.

This was also the first time for us to take the plane to Yanbu. We usually rent a car or get someone to drive us to go there. Yanbu is approximately 470 kms. from Jeddah, so it's not near by any stretch of imagination, though you'll reach the place with eyes closed, they say, if not permanently closed :) There is only one road to take to get there, so the chances of one getting lost to Yanbu is nil, except if you ignored the massive street sign that welcomes you to Madinah, (a forbidden city for people like me) that branches out from the main road to your right. So, 3 hours maximum is all you get to expend on the road, that is if you feel you are 'king of the road' in an SUV, otherwise 4 hours is not bad if your rented sedan barely can keep its balance when ten-wheelers and bigger vehicles bully you to the edge of the road. 

By contrast, commercial plane will be too slow if you don't get there in over 40 minutes, in fact a sports page of an English daily is all you need before you realize altitude is already plunging in haste for landing. You don't always experience being so wanted and adored all your life but at the airport, throngs of taxi driver are ready to lose reputation just to win you over at a bargain. Whoever has the lowest bid gets to carry your bag and head out to your location in a jiffy. Thankfully for us, our staff had been early at the airport and did the haggling.

It was so convenient for us because our shop is at the same building of the hotel where we stayed for the night. Kentucky and Hardees are just across the street so meals just come in handy. The bad thing is, going to the beach as earlier planned had to be scrapped  due to time constraint. But no regret, the stay was all worth it. We completed our work earlier than our estimate so we had ample rest before we headed back to the airport. Overall, everything went smoothly except for some glitches when supposedly no one was to take us back to the airport due to lack of transportation facilities. 

At the last minute though, one old Saudi emerged to our rescue but not after he got the fare safely tuck in his pocket. One of our staff went out of his way to find this guy for us. Again, the anxious episode did not end there when it was almost late for us to get a boarding pass. This fine old man seemingly oblivious of time subjected us yet again to a long wait while he haggled for four watermelons on the road that maybe he will gladly gift his waiting wife and children. And that wait seemed endless as we raced against time, battling well-guarded tantrums at bay. Patience is always a virtue, that I can vouch to, and we reached our destination on time. Indeed, all is well that ends well. Thank you Lord Jesus for our safety.

Saudia Airline to Yanbu.

Prince Abdul Mohsin Bin Abdulaziz Airport of Yanbu.

When we arrived at the shop from the airport.

Checking in at the hotel.

Going to KFC for lunch before working.

At Heaven Juices on the 2nd day of our stay.

Fresh pomegranate juice and avocado shake at Heaven Juices.

Traditional lunch from a restaurant across the street.

With our shop staff in Yanbu.

View of the mannequins & street from the back of the window.

At the boarding gate to Jeddah.

Watch the Video!

It's Mine Fashion,
Omar ibn al-Khattab Street,
Yanbu, Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966143228390

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Vacation 2014: A Mission

On a bed at the artsy Silangan Gardens of the Pinto Art Museum.

This vacation was like no other -- it's because I had to settle a lot of issues, try to seek out solutions to a lot of problems, familial that is, and find answers to so many questions. This was a 'mission', in a way. Needless to say, I won't go into specifics, but, what I'm saying is that, the LORD answered all my prayers and He made all things possible for His glory . Yahweh is so good!

Thankfully, the time spent with my family was an enormous blessing filled with so much fun. Brushing aside issues that need some strong gut to confront, I wasted no time feasting on some of my  favorite foods like balut, taho, chicharones, my favorite summer dessert Halo-halo, fresh coconut juice, isaw and inihaw na liempo (me, taunting a swordsman whose job is to catch pork devourers in Saudi Arabia). Hmm, yummy!

Of course, visiting some of the places in Manila that interest me should figure in my itinerary. So, first stop was the Philippine National Museum which is adjacent to the Luneta Park where my fascination for  Juan Luna's Spoliarium and  other great Filipino masterpieces  like Amorsolo's, and Hidalgo's never ceases. I could have strutted further to some other significant and historical places but I thought I have overstayed quite a bit in the museum that I lost track of the sun fading.

Although I've been to SM Mall of Asia (or popularly known as MOA), its sheer size and its imposing structure and beauty still continue to amaze me. It so happened that I was to meet up with a person for a purpose and so the ambience at the mall was extremely vibrant that it helped me while my time hours before he finally showed up.  Another mall that I frequently visit is the SM Mega Mall along EDSA -- another humongous mall that seemingly never stops to expand (evidenced by an annex built where the once huge parking area was). Of course, it's no brainer that these  changes never escape me --it is where I get off a bus, taxi or whatever and head to a  terminal beside it when going to my home in Antipolo. Since one high-end mall is just situated nearby, I saw to it that I join the frenzy of window shoppers and legits alike to cool down in the famous and luxurious Shangri-la Mall.

Frequenting these places in Manila is like meeting an old friend -- the thrill of its experience is one thing, but getting there is another. I took the MRT and the LRT to get to those places. I have never been a fan of David Blaine but I sure was like levitating while entering and exiting the coach because of the enormous current of crowd that spontaneously carried me like my feet never hit the pavement. Another peculiar experience that vouches you are indeed in Manila is the heat and humidity that still gets under my skin -- my pet peeves that I still can't figure how to tame, the same that I usually hear from most people while I was there.

If one thinks Manila has everything under its wings, make no mistake, in suburban Antipolo City where I am currently settled, there is also a place that competes with the more famous ones in Manila but replete with amazing works of art, the Pinto Art Museum. Every time I visit this place, there are always new masterpieces that mesmerize its visitors. I particularly love the bronze Calesa at their garden and the bed which I had a photo with while I was on it. I also love that new installation called 'Forest' by Antonio Catral Leaño. 

Not to be missed in my itinerary was a further trip down south in Cavite where i basically grew up. I went there to visit my father, some family friends and personal friends as well. It was not all fun just like any other as we were met with a news of the death of my former high school classmate who died of brain aneurysm. It was a surreal feeling seeing him in a casket while reminiscing the days when we were full of youth and seemingly invincible. The vivid pictures kept on flashing as I forayed once more down memory lane and how I realized how blessed I am to have unlocked the secret to confronting fear of death, and that is through my Savior Jesus Christ. His demise all the more gave face to the reality that death beckons every human being, young and old, rich or poor -- and it is only a matter of time, "for it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

That was deep. Anyway that concludes the story of my happy, crazy and sometimes sad Philippine vacation of 2014. I'm hoping that my next vacation, (God willing) will be a more spiritual one. What I mean is that, that I could do some witnessing to other people or do more bible studies to my close friends and relatives, and be the light to people who are in this dark world. By the way, the bible studies we had at home every night was wonderful. Teaching my children and my wife about the gospel was really great and I know that the Lord will do more great things in their lives. Thank You Lord Jesus for everything. Hallelujah!

I had so much fun with our dog Chloe. 

With my daughter Celine.

With my childhood friend at Malen's Restaurant in Noveleta, Cavite.

The National Museum of The Philippines in Manila.

At the rear side of the SM Mall of Asia with the view of MOA Eye & Manila Bay.

My eldest daughter showing her newly acquired ATM from the company she works for.

The entrance of Pinto Art Museum.

My favorite Halo-halo at Max's Restaurant in Antipolo City.

The video I made at the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City.

Delight yourself also in the LORD, 
and He shall give the desires of your heart. 
~ Psalms 37:4

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

God Hates Idolatry!

 The 2ND Commandment that the Catholic church deleted. ~ Exodus 20:3-6 (AKJV).

You shall have NO other gods before ME. You shall NOT make to you ANY GRAVEN IMAGE, OR ANY LIKENESS OF ANYTHING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH. You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.

The Folly of Idolatry. ~ Isaiah 4:9-20 (AKJV).

They that make a GRAVEN IMAGE are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall NOT PROFIT; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who has formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.

The smith with the tongs both works in the coals, and fashions it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms: yes, he is hungry, and his strength fails: he drinks no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretches out his rule; he marks it out with a line; he fits it with planes, and he marks it out with the compass, and makes it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. He hews him down cedars, and takes the cypress and the oak, which he strengthens for himself among the trees of the forest: he plants an ash, and the rain does nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yes, he kindles it, and bakes bread; yes, he makes a god, and worships it; he makes it a graven image, and falls down thereto. He burns part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eats flesh; he roasts roast, and is satisfied: yes, he warms himself, and said, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he makes a god, even his graven image: he falls down to it, and worships it, and prays to it, and said, Deliver me; for you are my god.

They have not known nor understood: for he has shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none considers in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yes, also I have baked bread on the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feeds on ashes: a deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

God is a Spirit: 
and they that worship Him must worship 
Him in spirit and in truth. 
~ John 4:24 (AKJV)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Two-Week Trip (March 16-30, 2014)

This has been a trip like no other, unprecedented that is. Two days in Dammam, another three in Al Ahsa, the Mers-cov capital of the world (the reputation at least), and a further five days in Riyadh. I have been accustomed to a shorter one since time immemorial but this time an additional itinerary that which is Jizan, Abha and Khamis Mushayt is just really unexpected. All in all fifteen days away from home is unthinkable. The reasons being: our five cats could have starved to death, roaches in the kitchen might have tripled their population. But thank God there is Babol who had to see to it that our feline family is still accounted for when we get back. And the roaches -- well it could take less than ten minutes the annihilate them. All glory belongs to Jesus who has been with us all throughout. Thank you Lord!

On a taxi going to one of our shops in Riyadh.

'It's Mine' in Othaim Mall, Riyadh.

Jizan Airport.

Checking in at a hotel in Jizan.

Kadi Mall, Jizan.

Selfie time in Abha.

Abha Domestic Airport.

Touch down. Jeddah Airport.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Gift From France!

I must admit this does not happen too often in my Saudi life let alone in my wildest dream -- receive a gift from the "city of lights". Even when I was a kid, my joy comes from the smallest of thing, from trivial surprises to unwrapping Christmas gifts even wrapped in banana leaves, mind you, as long as  there is an element of surprise in it, my level of excitement can compare to that of a lonely pug that is suddenly confronted by the face of its master who has just returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Yes, that is me being so shallow. And who will not when a dear friend, a facebook friend for that matter, goes out of her way to beat such cumbrous process to get her gift delivered to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia?

Before I lose half of my dignity (being in the same breath of a pug), yesterday certainly was not my most mundane day as I  received a gift from my French friend in Bordeaux via fedex . It did arrive finally without hassle after so much praying it did not contain something that is frowned upon in Saudi Arabia -- though I was assured by my friend 'Shiny' that I wouldn't be incarcerated for it :) Truth be told, the box got traumatized courtesy of an intrusive laceration and obviously a lot of frisking inside that I only hoped not one of the thousand parts had fallen out - otherwise I wouldn't be able to solve the puzzle. Oops, did I give a clue just yet? 

My curiosity got the better of me so I kept bugging her and instead she asked me to watch the French film 'Amelie' and probably I'll get a clue from it, so I took time to watch it. It's a really beautiful story of a girl named Amelie Poulain and the story revolves around the virtue of giving. Hmm, after two hours of controlled blinking still I am clueless :)

Viola, the gift is now in my hand! I wouldn't open it just yet to prolong the excitement. After I got home, prepared and had lunch, I decided to give it a ceremonial cutting worthy of its long haul flight. I had my flatmate video record the entire saga :) Lo and behold, it's a jigsaw puzzle that would probably be completed in half a decade! It's a picture of the 'Starry Night' by Vincent Van Gogh, my favorite painting of all. It happens to be her all-time favorite painting as well.  I remember we always talked about Van Gogh in our facebook chats. And that is where this gift had its origin. Thank you Shiny, you don't know how much I appreciate this gift. God bless you for that! Now, my dilemma starts when my excitement ends -- forgoing long facebooking in favor of getting the puzzle completed in less than five years haha!

By the way, this was not the first time that Shiny surprised me. In May 2011 during my birthday, Shiny, Moona (my other friend from Spain) and their friend with the guitar,  greeted me happy birthday in a song. They sang 'Happy Birthday' in Filipino, 'Maligayang Bati' (love their accent!). You can see and read about it from my blog entry called 'Thank You'. That blog entry is the most popular to date of all my posts. 

Thank You Shiny. 
God bless you (and Moona too)!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Cats' New Ramp & Perch

I've always wanted to do away with wooden planks and broken furnitures that litter in the street for good use. This is a common sight in Jeddah streets and choosing to ignore them is not just my instinct - or I could nudge some brains into functioning.  My lack of enterprising skills surely would not qualify me to even start some brainstorming if not for a necessity.

My apartment for over the past 6 years has been turned into a rescue center for countless feline beauties that initially found their homes in the streets or under dilapidated cars. In fact, I've lost count as to how many of them have already availed of my humble facility. Some others already died of natural causes while the surviving ones continue to enjoy their royal lifestyles - and have gotten used to seeing strange smells and faces when we decided to take in new members once in a while.

Fast forward: I've just finished constructing  a ramp and perches for them using woods I picked up from the trash bin across our street and an unwanted entertainment center I found outside our apartment complemented by old tires that have got no room in our small apartment for added variety. I do not have any background in carpentry, but I do know how to hammer and saw, so I just bought the right tools to use, and voila!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

#PHthankyou Campaign

The (DOT) Department of Tourism of The Philippines has just launched #PHthankyou campaign.

Three months after Typhoon Haiyan, 
 a whole nation wants to show its gratitude to the whole world. 
This is the Philippines. 

And this is our way of saying thank you to everyone 
who is helping us rebuild after the storm. 
#PHthankyou ~ DOT

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Name Above All Names

Went to work this morning at one of our shops, and behold what greeted of our staff a Yemeni Muslim, wearing this!

His t-shirt screaming 'JESUS' in boldface certainly is no ordinary sight in this part of the world . What was he thinking? Surely he has not come across yet a mutawa who would have gifted him some less generous amount of lashes had he met one. Judging from his lack of reading skills on anything apart from his beloved Arabic, he certainly had no clue he was promoting the name above every name; or he could sprint towards the nearby Citimax to gift himself a new one and obviously to give that 'dreaded' one a worthy dunk in the trash bin. But wait, he was adamant to keep it on his back even after I gave him some friendly tips that people would be displeased with what he is wearing. Guess what, he replied "no problem", as "I love to wear it and have been wearing it daily since few months as it was a gift from my older brother." Haha, I thought it has yet to have its first date with the washing machine given its "favorite tag" for, come again, few months already?

Humor aside, I thought it could be the best time for me to introduce the Lord Jesus to him. I just waited for the customer to leave and aided with my crooked Arabic, I started to actually tell him that 'JESUS' is written on it, the one they know to be Isa in their Koran whom the Islamic faith recognizes to be of a lesser prophet than their very own prophet. Though a lot of people (especially Rick Warren) are convinced that Jesus of the Christian faith and Isa of the Koran are the same person, true born again believers do not buy this belief as there are stark contradictions between the real Jesus and the one in their book...very different. And that warrants another blog entry albeit long and tedious topic it is to write, that is if we really want to know the truth. Just a little snippet of what I may probably write on the topic, the links below could be helpful if we are to delve into this completely different topic -- the deity of Jesus, that is.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, 
and given him a name which is above every name: 
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
of things in heaven, and things in earth, 
and things under the earth; And that every tongue 
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father. 
~ Philippians 2:9-11

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My 6th 'No Smoking' Anniversary

This day marks my 6th year of being smoke free. 
Thank You Lord Jesus!

I can do all things through Christ 
which strengthens me. 
~ Philippians 4:13