Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Walking the distance"

My youngest son needed 20 pieces of popsicle sticks for one of his subjects in school. And since it was a couple of days before month end, we had to hold on to every single halala until my husband gets paid his salary. God is really good! He knew beforehand that something like this would happen so he made sure that I have a couple of orders to deliver which meant extra income that would allow us to stretch our budget. Bunso (a term of endearment for my youngest son) called his dad in the office and told him about his assignment. Hence, as soon as hubby arrived from work he asked me to go with him to buy them stuff.

Although we knew we can buy a pack of popsicle sticks in Al Samil bookstore (which is a one stop haven for arts and craft enthusiasts among other things), we put the thought of going there at the back of our mind. First because it was a bit far and we needed (tough not necessarily) a cab to get there which would displace our budget. So, off we went in search for the said sticks around the area. We went to this baqala (mini mart) near our place unfortunately, they didn't have what we were looking for. Hubby even suggested we buy 20 popsicles and just clean the sticks hahaha but I argued that they were too short. So, hubby and I weighed our options and I told him that I can walk it off from Thuqba to Ramaniya just to avoid spending 30 riyals for a back and forth ride. Al Khobar is such a small place and everything is both "walking distance" or a trip via cab. ("walking distance" meant it was "do-able" one way only lol) 

And walk we did, my husband and I joked our way to Ramaniya; was able to cross the streets and byways and arrived at Everything 10 in one piece! But we found no popsicle sticks there either,  we had to walk some more to Al Samil (our last resort) where we were able to find one (as I knew they would). And walked again to buy a couple of grocery items from Al Ramah. By the time we were done purchasing our week-long supply, our feet were really really tired and all we wanted was to reach home, take a warm bath and sleep.

Am actually used to walking long stretches of roads but it does help to have the right walking shoes. I was wearing ordinary sneakers which was a bit hard on my sole after one of the longest "strolls" I've ever managed to accomplish.

I came across this photo on the net and I can just imagine how our feet felt like yesterday after that long and tiring traipse down to the heart of Al Khobar.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Siomai? Oh my!

About a month ago my husband and I went to this Asian store in downtown Al Khobar to look for dumpling wrappers as hubby wanted me to add Chinese dumplings in my growing menu for our food biz. It was there that I was able to buy glass noodles for my Chapchae among several small grocery items that we are unable to find in the local groceries. They also have the same brand of glass noodles that I use back home for my food business but it's more expensive here. 18 riyals for the same pack that I buy back home for only about 130 pesos. It was such great news though that the store did stock on dumpling wrappers, but I was dismayed by its cost. My husband told me to just buy it with my eyes closed rather than waste our trip. But I said that I'd just feel guilty buying the said item when I can buy more stuff with the 25 riyals I will be paying  for a single pack of dumpling wrapper. In the Philippines I can buy more or less 10 packs for the same price, it was too much for me! I do understand however, that the reason this is so, is because it's basically an imported item. And no one really makes it locally as dumplings are not part of their staple food. Unlike back home where such food is already part of our culture as influenced by our Chinese ancestors.

I tried using the long rectangular wrapper that they use locally, sorry but at the moment I am unable to recall what it is called. I used it for my Chinese dumpling however, it failed to stick closely to the chicken meat but it was okay. Guilt-free rather than using the 25 riyal dumpling wrapper, this was a close alternative; 10 riyals for about 50 sheets if am not mistaken, is reasonable enough.

Oh for those who are new in Al Khobar so that you'd know, the Asian store is located at the corner of 8th street opposite Corniche. It's along the same row as Al Ramaniyah (farther down) and very near the chain of restaurants in that area.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Blogging" rights

I am amazed by the reach of the articles that I write. I have just realised that in only a year, my traffic is already close to 16k page views. Whilst my almost 4 year old blog, From the Diary of a Call center Mom is still inching it's way to 10.5k page views. I do understand that this huge number may include those who just stumbled upon my blog but that means a lot too! Because for every word they search my blog is rightfully tagged hence, stumbling upon my OFW blog is always a good perchance. Too bad I have not had enough time to sit down and maximize my adsense otherwise,  I would have more opportunity to finally get a page rank and attract more traffic. Perhaps one of these days I should consider sitting down and leaving all my domestic chores behind even for just one day. At least for today I was able to change my template which I've been itching to do since last month and in the days ahead, organizing my OFW blog in order to attract more.

Still I am ecstatic to see people from all over who refer to my food articles from time to time, fb friends prodding me to put up a food blog where I can share more recipes with them. I have so many ideas but unable to conceptualize it as yet. So, I promised myself to take it one step at a time.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank one of my readers, Ernie Del Prado, who even sent me a message which I would like to share with pride :).
From Ernie: hello po! thanks po sa pag-accept, kala ko po di nyo ako i-aaccept kc di nyo nmn ako kilala. pero sobrang fan nyo po ko kc khit nbasa ko n lahat ng nsa blog nyo, paulit-ulit ko prin itong binbasa. ang cute kc ng mga stories nyo at at nkkarelate ako. thanx po ulit!
Thank you so much Ernie, it is because of people like you, that I get inspired to write more and blog more. And of course my best blog buddy Ria of It's my Party (and I'll cry if I want to). She was the first ever commenter in my Call center diary blog and continues to follow me tsup! tsup! muah! muah! to you Ria :) I met Ria on one the first few articles I wrote in my Call center blog. And would like to share that article with you as well.


Exhausted after an 11 hour shift made me so eager to head back home. I was not over my son’s tearful goodbye the other day hence, regretted not bringing the car as I would have gotten home sooner.   My daughter’s birthday was forthcoming -- reason why I decided against it, as the money supposedly for gas, can be saved for a little surprise for the said occasion . So here I was walking, almost hopping, my bag and arms swinging, whistling a happy tune – when this humongous bus raced by me and summoned a “sand blast.” “F_ _ T!” I shouted. I got sand all over my already oily face, my hair, and even my mouth (I was whistling remember?). The first thought that came to mind – Was that breakfast?

I wrote this piece back in September of 2008 truly my blog has gone a long, long way...and I have my readers to thank for every spark of inspiration, for every chance that I am able to share a story or a recipe, and for the lives I am able to touch. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parable of the Talents

"Therefore, stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them."

Today's gospel is about the Parable of Talents and timely at that as we all have witnessed Manny Pacquiao's fighting bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. And nope, am not referring to their controversial fight but more of Pacman's talent which has not gone wasted. Incidentally, this afternoon, I was also able to watch his game show Manny Many Prizes which inspired me to go visit my blog and share a little bit of what I have observed as I watched the show. :)

Our "Pambansang kamao" came from a poor family but because of his perseverance, he has risen to be a world class fighter. Because of his steadfast determination, he now owns a lot properties in the Philippines and abroad, and several businesses to his name. He's also an actor, a tv host and a Congressman. He has climbed from one ladder of success to another and yet his faith has remained unwavering.

Manny Pacquaio is the perfect example of this parable. He was given such a talent which he further cultivated and is now reaping the fruits. I am not completely a Pacquiao fan but in earnest, admire him for what he stands for, for his accomplishments and for being such a good son to his mother. What I admire about him is that he does not only continue to reap the fruits of his crop but has shared the same to so many people. His game show, though not as big as Eat Bulaga, has become one of the channels where he is able to help our countrymen. And i am touched and so much inspired by the man's magnanimity.

I am NOT convinced that he should run for President in the coming years in fact, I hope his mother influences him on NOT running :) You see, politics have a way of shattering a man's family and moral integrity and I would hate to see the Pacquiao family being put to test in this manner.

His life is a very good example of the parable that Jesus shared with his followers (Matthew 25:14-30). Being able to use one's talent is not enough but when it is nurtured and it's harvests shared abundantly,  then this comes back as good karma. A blessing for a blessing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Playing with Clay

Right after dinner this evening, hubby and I decided to go to Carrefour to purchase some grocery items for the food that I need to deliver tomorrow. While preparing to leave, my children hankered me and their dad to buy them Polymer clay. Their interest with this kind of clay was sparked when they got to watch a segment by Jessica Soho on GMA7 which detailed how one can make a lot of stuff with it and that it can be hardened by baking. However, we were told at Jarir bookstore at the Al Rashid mall that they no longer have the said item. So we bought them, instead, ordinary clay so that they won't feel bad when we tell them the not so good news.

When we arrived they were ecstatic and finding out about what happened did not hamper them from running towards us and looking for the clay. We all got so excited that we sat down and made our own "magnum opus". We had so much fun and decided to take pictures of ourselves and what we were able to make out of it. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Big brother, little tutor

"Sneakily" taken hehehe they thought I was taking a picture
of the wall decor that my older son posted on our wall.
Just now I can hear, Kuya, my older son review his younger sibling in Science. They're preparing for their upcoming Mastery Test week. They are currently still enjoying their blissful and long vacation as Eid al-Adha is being commemorated. And it amazes me how patiently and responsibly (and quite strict too!) he reviews his younger brother even without me telling him to do so. To add that he even knows how to encourage him, I can hear him telling his younger brother that if he studies he will give him cookies after. So sweet!!!! I wasn't that way with my younger siblings when I was his age; it was Mama who reviewed me and my younger siblings back then. And when we were of age, we studied and reviewed on our own.

You know sometimes after school I would see Kuya going over my youngest son's assignment notebook. When Kuya sees me busy cooking dinner or doing some chores, he would take it on his own to help his younger sibling with his assignments. I love the way he responds to his brothers' needs when he sees that my hands are full. 

Thank you Alloy, for helping Mommy out. You realised that I haven't been able to review him and you took it on your own to make sure your brother is prepared for his exams. Thank you son! I love you so much!

Mommy :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where the heart is

I re-posted an article that I wrote February of last year (from my Diary of a Call center mom) because I was reminded of it while watching the evening news. It seems that most of the news we get to watch these days is fraught with violence. Topics from children committing crimes or being used to commit crimes, the number of people committing suicide, erring families, child abuse, to battered women.. The list is endless and very disturbing that sometimes I'd rather not watch the news on the telly at all.

It's because of such news that I sometimes ask myself if my husband and I are bringing up our children the right way. Perhaps we should all take another look at our children as news such as these show that families all over the world are suffering from "internal bleeding." We should always ask ourselves the following questions: 

1) Are we showing them enough love?
2) Are we spending quality time with them? 
3) Are we listening closely to what they are saying or are tying to say? 
4) Are we spoiling them too much? 
5) Are we hurting them physically and emotionally? 
6) Do we respect their right to be heard?
7) Are we good role models that they can emulate?
8) Have we hugged them lately?
9) Are we comfortable in telling them the words "I love you"
10) Have we blamed them for our failures?

For now I have only 10 as these are the only ones I can think of at the moment. We should start healing our families by being there for them not only physically. Bear in mind that a dysfunctional child is the fruit of dysfunctional parents, who came from a dysfunctional family. (please excuse my redundancy) This is probably of no surprise because even the bible contains stories of  such brokenness. Remember Cain and Abel?, The Prodigal son? and, Joseph and his brothers to name a few? 

Are families around the world so severed?  We all know that being a parent is not easy but we took that responsibility in our hands, we claimed that responsibility as soon as we said "I do." Hence, we are expected to carry on with that promise. We build our family and bring our children up in the premise that they will be positive contributors to the world.

It is important to find that connection again and it's my belief that the world will be worry-free if only we re-learn to value our family. Afterall, home is where the heart is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Musings on a bake night

It's funny but I remember being told by someone a couple of years back that we are basically animals (having shared with me her life story).  And it's because of this clouded justification, that she seems to think people can sleep with whomever they fancy. Because in her mind...we are animals. I wanted to disagree but I was not in the mood to question her. I wanted to say that we are indeed animals but of the highest form. Because by  being so, we are able to question, we are able to reason out, we are able to choose and think. Don't get me wrong I'm not perfect but having a family of my own, I understand better where one should draw the line. 

Saudi Arabia has made me realise the danger of leaving one's family behind for greener pastures. And it's sad that a lot of families become vulnerable by this separation hence, would either break the husband or the wife. And "sadder" is the fact that the children will always be the one to suffer the most.  It's just such a blessing that my husband was hired by a company that offers a family package which makes being together possible.

You'd be surprised that even families who are already here have managed to unhinged from each other...there's a sudden disconnection. The next thing you know, one of them is playing single. This is a wife's, a husband's or a child's greatest fear. 

I think this is global, it does not happen "culturally" and affects everybody else the same way. I agree, getting married and having children does not come with a user's manual but everything is instinctive. It's supposed to be an integral part of human nature. And though there would be times that we fall, we're supposed to stand up and do what is right.

I keep on saying that the reason we go abroad is for our family but along the way, the terrible truth  is that, some lose their perspective.  I believe in the sanctity of marriage and of putting one's family above all else. Luckily, my husband and I share this principle and we live by it. Though the roads can be rough, our family should always be our fortress. And the Lord our rock! 

So to all the families out there, hold on and hold tight. And remember that...

Our Family is a circle of strength and love
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more Love..
Every crisis faced together makes the circle grow stronger.
~ Anon. ~

This is how families should be...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The year that was...365 days of KSA!

It seems like only yesterday when I was so worried and sick of waiting for all our documents to go through, when I would ply the route going to NSO, Manila City hall, Las Pinas City hall, DFA, and the travel agency assigned to take care of our visas. All the hits and misses, all the times that my parents, children and I were held in suspense when only my passport and visa was left and held up at the Saudi Embassy. The times that I felt so utterly miserable because my children and I have been waiting for months to be with my husband. In my mind, I can still recall how I felt so... so... soooo relieved to have accomplished such a herculean task from the time that I resigned from my job at HSBC to the time that I was finally able to get all our passports and visas done.

That was a year ago. It was October 20, 2010 when my parents, sisters and loving nanny accompanied me and my children to the airport. We were all excited. My kids were just plain excited they could not wait to be with their father. My parents, sisters and nanny were all excited for us yet sad that we will be leaving them behind.  I remember feeling a wave of emotion that switched from excitement, apprehension, sadness and back. I felt excited because we'd finally be with my husband after such a long wait; apprehension because I didn't quite know what kind of life to expect in Saudi Arabia. Also to add to the fact that unlike in the past, it was the first time I'd be travelling  to another country with kids in tow. I also felt sad to be leaving my parents, sisters and my children's nanny behind.  But overall I just felt good and very thankful that the "hurdles had been hurdled." Indeed everything went according to His plans, not mine nor my husband's and that in itself dismissed all the anxieties I felt while my children and I pushed our way towards the waiting lounge.

Now one year is over, truly time flies and to quote what a friend of mine told me just a couple of days ago "Time flies when you're enjoying what you do." Indeed I do. From being an HR assistant to a  full time mom, I can say there are no regrets. I don't feel disconcerted being without a corporate career or something akin to what I used to have back home. The job I gave up in the Philippines and the one here will always be part of my Curriculum vitae, but my life as a full time mom and wife will forever be etched in my children's and my husband's heart and mind. 

So today we celebrate simply because we survived our first year as a family in this country. We were able to beat the odds! This first year was our "make or break" year and thanfully because of this, we know the following years will be a breeze. Our life here is far from perfect but what really counts is the fact that we are all together. Certainly there is strength in numbers.

Happy first year to us! 

Post Script:
To families who wishes, are planning or have just been reunited with their loved ones abroad; if you are in the advantage of being able to land a job do so. If not, do something that interests you...make that hobby of yours the start of something big. Let those creative juices run wild! Be the master of your own destiny!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa (re-post)

From across the miles Papa i send you my warmest regards... I hope you are reading this....

I wanted to share with you a long letter that my father wrote to me and my sisters ages ago, however, I seem to have left it in the Philippines. Before coming to Saudi Arabia, I've managed to go over all my stuff and that was when I came across Papa's letter. It brought back a lot of memories from my rebellious past but I keep thinking that I am thankful for that letter. It was everything he wanted to say but can't. I still wish my father was as talkative as I am. I know for a fact that my sisters and I got our funny bones from him but I got to keep most of the stuff that was meant for a son :-p haha yep my bemuscled legs, my forever tan, my pudgy toes huhuhu  and there's even more not worth sharing hahaha. I remember that amongst my sisters, I would be the one who would climb up the roof and help him fix our antenna. The one who would lend him a helping hand for domestic repairs. And when he is not around I would be the one my mom would call to kill a rat or a small snake. Now when I get to think about it, I can only shake my head and wonder how I've managed. But i know those skills would come in handy and am glad Papa was the one who taught me. I got my "boy skills" from my dad and my "girl skills" from my mom...the best of both worlds :) who can beat that?! 

Papa, thank you for keeping me - thank you for putting wheels on my bag so that I can stroll it around in school. Though my classmates get the expensive ones that they bought with "ready wheels", I get to keep a bag that my own father improvised for me. Thank you for putting me in school and making sure I graduated :) Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate crossword puzzles and teaching me how to drive... For siding with me at times for telling me I can start having a boyfriend at 18 and when I did, spanked me with your inverted slippers (it did not hurt a bit hahaha) and for everything else...Maraming Salamat! I love you Papa I hope you know that your little girl still exist in the mother that I am now. I am ever so grateful to have you as my Papa! Happy Happy Birthday Papa!

"Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?
You're everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings."

Monday, October 3, 2011

more on Bunso and our "magma"

I just want to share what my youngest son and I say to each other before going to sleep. I don't know and cannot seem to remember how it started but it has gone on for years...

Me : I love you so much Junior/Butbut/Bunso
Allen : I love you so much too Mama. Ang ganda ganda mo Mama.
Me : Ang pogi pogi mo
Allen : Ang sexy sexy mo, Mama
Me : Ang macho macho mo bunso
Allen : Hindi ko ikaw pagpapalit Mama
Me : Hindi rin kita pagpapalit
Allen : (borrowing a line from a TV Ad) Ang sarap Moo!
Me : (also borrowed line from the same TV Ad) mas masarap Cow!

Then we hug each other tightly with matching body wiggle. lol.

We call this our Mutual Admiration Goodnight "Mantra" (if I may term it as such). Coined as an acronym MAGMA... which can also mean Mag mama or mag ina (mother and son). Perhaps it's corny but often it's such memories that bring us back home when we are all grown ups. Will this ruin him? I don't think so. Will this make him a Mama's boy? I hope not! I have no idea. But I'm just hoping that when he grows up he will recall our "mantra" in fond remembrance...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

the Promise

I was in terrible shape the last couple of days - I was feverish, my colds kept me from breathing normally, my cough got me into spasmic fits. I found it hard to get up from bed, I felt utterly useless as I was too weak to cook a decent meal for my family. All the sleepless nights has finally taken its toll...I felt blah! There was even a cookie order that I had to refuse. Weeks back my mom would always remind me to take it easy but I just could not stay put. So there...

One afternoon in bed, I woke up to the soft sobs of my youngest son. I asked him why he was crying and pitifully he said that he wants me to get well. I was trying to comfort him when he stood up and came back with his red stool and a glass of water. He said "Mommy drink water..." I felt so touched (he is the only child left who still looks after me that way, while my 2 other kids were tinkering with their cellphones) boo-hoo.  Then he began sobbing again, my youngest told me "Mommy sorry po sa lahat lahat ng kasalanan ko po sa yo" (Mommy sorry for all the terrible things I've done to you.)  That got me thinking if he acquired this from all the teleserye he gets to watch sometimes on the telly lol. So I took that opportunity to ask him the following questions and our conversation went this way:

Allen: Mommy sorry po sa lahat lahat ng kasalanan ko po sa yo.
Mom: (hugs Allen) Aww baby that's okay but promise me that you will be a good boy ok?
Allen: (with matching nods) Opo Mommy (Yes, mommy)
Mom: Promise hindi ka na magla-lie kay Mommy? (do you promise not to lie to Mommy?)
Allen: Opo Mommy. Promise.
Mom: Promise hindi mo na aahitin ang kilay mo? (do you promise not to shave your eyebrows?)
Allen: Opo Mommy. Promise.
Mom: Promise hindi mo na aawayin si Kuya at si Ate? (do you promise not to fight with your siblings?)
Allen: Opo Mommy
Mom: Okay sige panghahawakan ko yung promise mo. (ok I will hold on to your promise)
Allen: (hugs mom and sobs some more) I love you mommy

Awwwww! (how sweet it is to be loved by you!)

Bagong bayani?

This is another blog of mine that I failed to feature weeks ago. And such is due to the fact that I was weighing the pros and cons of publishing this article. But the "writer" in me and the desire to go out with the truth prevailed. So read on...

I was browsing online for forums where I can advertise my "ware" and one of the forums I visited was such a bummer. Reading through one of the threads I felt so disappointed about how some (again I wrote some, not all) Filipinos malign their kababayans who try to make a living abroad. I was forewarned about these type of characters but was still surprised that such people really do exists.  Hence, I tried to contact their adminsitrator and forum moderator but sad to say, they have not responded. Either, they don't have time (which is such a big fat lie...I mean why put up a website for Pinoys to exchange or express their views when they can't even respond to online users like me?) or perhaps they feel that it was easier to ignore such complaints.And to realise further that I was not the first member who complained of such demeanor. If this site is even concerned about their kababayans this is the least they can do… to hear out those who were hurt by bluntless accusations.

 I saw an ally with one of their members who viewed the site's forum content as I did (please refer to "I have been a member of...")   I believe in freedom of expression but just like the controversial RH bill, I believe that certain freedom of whatever needs to be moderated to make sure that an individual stays human and humane. I cannot emphasize more on the fact that whatever skin color we carry we must remember that we are responsible for each other. And because I am a Filipino I feel it is my duty to help our kababayans in whatever way we can. Roughly translated we can help in terms of an opportunity... the same kind that was given to us. But never to belittle even the smallest triumph of our kababayans. It's just so sad that even such triumphs can elicit envy and resentment. In our own vernacular this is how I wish to describe it "parang ayaw niyo nang magtira ng kaunting kaligayan sa ibang kababayan natin." For what? I cannot even start to fathom...

We work abroad because we want to provide our family a better life and be able to help our loved ones and other kababayans as well. That's the reason why when we are given that golden opportunity, we do our best to work and to find other means to earn extra. However, it is so sad to know that there are certain people who will start judging you (without really knowing who you are). Such people will even go to the extent of breaking your chances by breaking your spirit.

Being a part of the human race, I feel that this person or anyone else for that matter, does not earn the right to besmirch anybody especially anyone from his own country. We are all Overseas Filipino workers (supposedly the "bagong bayani" of our country) working our asses off in a country not our own. It is enough that some of our countrymen are treated inhumanely by these locals but to be treated the same and judged without any basis at all by a co-Filipino, just shows how little he respects his kababayans. Instead of helping, he would rather ridicule. Instead of encouraging his kababayans, he finds it more amusing to give out insults in a rather large platter. People like this particular member would rather dish out insults and test people as if he owns them. And people like this man would jump up with glee for the failure of another! I am also an ofw and I've worked as an HR Assistant for a big hotel and I make sure I treat everyone I come across with respect. Simply because I'd like other nationalities to see how good Filipino workers are and because I want to give our kababayans the same kind of opportunity I was given. This is called giving back! I hope something is done about this!

Perhaps this is not the proper venue for me to air my chagrin, but I would like our other kababayans to understand that we should not let others down the way this man has done. How can we expect our country to progress if other Filipinos are more keen on bringing their kababayans down rather than pushing them forward? The trouble with these kinds of people is that they only think of themselves and think of themselves so greatly that they can just say anything they want. Sites like these were supposedly put up to bring Pinoys together so that they can help other kababayans trying to reach out to other Pinoys abroad unfortunately, this is not the case. I really hope something is done because the future of our race and the betterment of the FIlipinos is dependent on how much we want to change and this change must start from ourselves!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Gift from Virgo"

My daughter just turned 13 while my mom 72, several days ago. I was not able to post my birthday blog for them as after that day I was really swamped with orders. It's the beginning of my daughter's teen years and I don't know what to expect. Perhaps I do, though in denial because being a teener once, I definitely know how it works! So should I be afraid or should I be prepared? I choose the latter though. I want my daughter to enjoy her teen years so that she would have fond memories of this particular stage in her life. I don't want her to grow up afraid or unable to say what's on her mind. I want her to grow up confident and yet respectful of the opinion of others. I want her to be able to strike a balance on what she wants to do and doing things right. Perhaps these are all easier to write about as compared to the execution but I've promised myself to be the kind of mother my daughter will need during this "hormone-crazy" stage. I'll cross my fingers to that!

And to my mom, who I drove bonkers during my own teen years... I can never compare myself to you. Once, my sisters and I were casually talking about our current life; we realise that we can never do the things you did when we were little. It seems that you were tireless... Coming home from school, you would cook, sometimes do the laundry, while making sure we did our homework or studied for an exam. Sometimes I catch myself these days wondering how you managed to do everything while I struggle with my own domestic responsibilities. But that's you! :) Am pretty sure you've crossed your fingers a hundred times for me too! :)

That said... I just want to greet both of you the best birthday ever! I've lived with a virgo for most of my growing up years and now have a virgo of my own. It seems that I'll be surrounded by virgos for the rest of my life. Am not saying it's a bad thing but do Aquarians and Virgo match? really?

In good hands

Just recently I communicated with Metrobank about my concern on account security and what-have-you. It is good to note that I have found their service very reliable and their people willing and able to help, and ready to answer all my questions. No time was wasted, I was able to get answers without being passed around and without having to wait endlessly for someone to respond to my query. I would like to give special thanks particularly to Ms. Irene Rose G. Elpa and Ms. Ma. Consolacion C. Ombac, both employees of the bank who epitomises the bank's main thrust of making their customers feel that indeed they are "In good hands." 

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Born to be...

I got my first real taste in entrepreneurship when I embarked on a "small" sari sari store when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Because I did not have money then, I'd gather all my tiny toys, choose from amongst them and mark them for sale. I did not sell them as is; at that age I surprised myself by thinking of a strategy on how to entice children to buy.  So what I did was to make my own "palabunutan". And for visual purposes I made something similar to what I did as a child.

The idea is for the kids to choose a number, at the back of this number is the toy that corresponds to the  chosen number. Back then .25 cents was a big deal. I earned but not much, unlike the big sari-sari store in front of our apartment.  I recall bringing out our stool and a small table where I would have a few candies inside jars and this "palabunutan" which I hang on our gate. I also remember a time when I was in gradeschool and highschool where I would make bookmarks and ask my sister to help me sell them. There was even one summer vacation which I spent with my cousin in Laguna ~ they used to have a bakery. I would wake up really early and help them sell "hot pandesal."  :) One fond memory that I'd like to share is when I spent my summer vacation in my maternal grandmother's house in Batangas. I hankered her to buy ingredients for halo-halo which my cousins and I sold for 1 peso per glass the next day. 

My trip down memory lane made me realise that entrepreneurship has been in my blood all along. I was born to be a BusinessMom. My being such a risk taker has helped me in ways which I find stupendous at times, as this has helped me as well in taking that first step.

Am happier where I am now, perhaps what I have achieved is minute compared to our other great kababayans out there. But I basked in the thought that I continue to face everyday with contentment knowing that I have found myself and have taken the road to my aspiration. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

To sister number Two!

To my sister Minpi Carreon Bailon, who celebrates her birthday today.

Sisters are different.
They heard the sobbing in the darkness.
They lived through all your triumphs, all your favorites, all your loves and losses.
They have no delusions.
They lived with you too long.
And so, when you achieve some victory, friends are delighted -
but sisters hold your hands in silence and shine with happiness.
For they know the cost.
- Pam Brown

Because of you I always had something... a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear...whatever it was you were always there. No one else knows me like you do sis! Thank you for believing that I can, for believing that I am and for simply believing. 

I love you and miss you :) enjoy your day buy that expensive bag, or that nice little pair of shoes, or that pretty dress that you've been eyeing for weeks! :)

Happy Happy Birthday! With my wishes are our prayers that the Lord shower you abundantly on this day and always!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Then what used to be only two now widened a little more to form a triangle... :)

I met Jackie on another interview bout, which was initiated about three months ago as I needed a replacement for Kay as my assistant. She was the first person I got to interview amongst the several applicants for the said position. My first impression was that she was simply laid back, not in a negative way, mind you. She was very easy to like and as talkative as I can be :) I instantly felt that she was a perfect match. However, things did not work out as planned. Kay who was about to resign was the one left and I became an instant "resignee" if there is even such a word (even could not locate it's definition hahaha). In other words, hiring Jackie for the said purpose did not go through (although we hired another Filipina, she was sent to a branch in Dammam). I felt bad not being able to help a kababayan land a job. I wanted to be able to give the same opportunity to another kababayan. And perhaps it was because of that need that another friendship began to form :)  

We were both in search of something that would appease our need to while away and earn at the same time. And realised later on that we shared the same passion for cooking. While I tried to discern my purpose whilst looking for a job that I can do homebound ... Jackie happened. God is good! In His infinite goodness he sends me friends who would strike my heartstrings and prompt me to move. Jackie's culinary ability inspired me and so prompted me to follow the path that the Lord has laid down for me. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5

Jackie helped me bring back my zest for entrepreneurship but I did not want to stand her way, I do not want to be a competitor. So I took on the other road, I took to baking and serving pasta instead. In this way we will always complement each other.

I believe that, not only as a Filipino, but as part of our humanity; we should not take advantage but rather take action to help each and everyone we come across with. Again, we have sealed our faith... friendship is also God's wonderful work so there is nothing else to do but to move forward and to take care of the friends He has sent our way.... :)

In the meantime, let me take this time to promote my good, good friend Jackie's catering service. I have tasted her Laing and it is one of the best laing that I have tasted in my entire life. Having enhanced tastebuds, I know good food when I've tried one. 


I was going through some blogs that I have not published for one reason or another. The reason these blogs are still in my editing tab is either because I was too busy to go back to it or such was an incident that happened eons ago. Yet old news is definitely still newsworthy and I stumbled into this which I realised I've been meaning to published 2 weeks back. Read on...

Almost a year ago and a couple of days to the last quarter of the 2011 I felt terribly sad to be leaving friends behind. I expected that making friends in a country alien to foreign women going out at their own liberty, would be doubly tough and that I'm wont to just staying indoors and "behind the scene' so-to-speak. It's a good thing that I was still able to work for even  5 months because that paved way to forming a very good bond with Kay. 7 months ago being the only female at the HR department who was tasked to organise the files from scratch and to assist in the improvement of an existing system, my boss felt that I needed an assistant. So I went on a rampage to hire someone who shared my own "work principles". I did not have to wait for long because out of 4 interviews, I knew that Kay was the person I wanted to work with. (refer to previous article I WILL SURVIVE

And the rest is history, what started out as a need to have an assistant sealed our faith, we have grown to be very, very good friends. I continue to rejoice in the Lord and in the fact that He has sent an angel into my life! :)

Buon Apetito

It's a weekend and as we've all grown accustomed to, the man of the house has another bread idea. He's raising his dough for Pizza tonight! Yey!

Busy daddy :)

"First bite" :)

It was really really good!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I have watched this animated movie more than once and never grow tired of it as the movie reminds me of my own heart's yearning. My enduring relationship with cooking is and always will be. Both my parents are wonderful cooks but I inherited more than the ability to do so. I can say that my passion for the culinary arts is so deeply rooted and yet it was a realization that came only later in life. As a child, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. My dream of becoming a doctor was to evoke fondness and approval from my parents but was never realised. Instead I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Albeit always with a steady and promising career, I found that it was one without direction. Always a job that I can never be too passionate for. 

One day I woke up with a better perspective, everything seemed to fit like a puzzle. But I was scared because I did not know how to start though the eagerness was definitely there. So on one of my evening shift at work, I brought sandwiches which became an instant hit to friends and colleagues.  By word of mouth alone, advertising was not a problem.  But I had to transfer to another job and it was only after 4 years in that job that I began to be able to sell openly on the floor. Again I started with sandwiches, and added pasta, then rice meals. Cooking in the morning and working nights was tough but my passion for the former made such difficulty manageable. 

I found myself bidding farewell to friends and colleagues again because my children and I had to leave the country to be with my husband. I left behind loyal client-colleagues and loyal client-friends. It was another journey to the unknown. I had to find another job to sustain the family's needs. And again found myself lost in the haze and maze of my career. So, I resigned but with much difficulty because my former boss would not let me go. But resign I did and for a few months I was just plain mom to my kids and wife to my career...everything was zilch except for my blog which I tried to keep alive.

a bright idea began to form again. Remember my previous blog? Baking Buddies? This revived my passion so I started with cookies, while my husband started with bread :)  I began to explore the possibility of learning how to bake with the aide of  technology...the internet was like a long lost friend.  My first try with bread was making my first croissant. Boy! That was hard but it was the next best thing to my first roller coaster ride. That was my first step and I went on to baking cookies and bars and then cinnamon rolls. I was in my own heaven! The house smelt of cinnamon, the warmth of the oven brought me home. I was at peace with my career and the "self" I wanted to re-create.

Now am a full time mom, wife and entrepreneur. And I can finally say that I have nurtured the gift that the Lord has bequeathed to me. Wisely said...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Colossians 3: 24-24

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A 10-minute conversation with my son

My son, coming home from school one day, was so silent and seemed to be contemplating on something. So i asked what was bothering him but for a while there I felt like he was sort of figuring out whether it was a good topic or not. Then he suddenly said "Mommy kakainis po kasi yung kaklase kong babae hingulangot ng hingulangot sa harap ko!" ("Mom you know my seatmate who is a girl, keeps cleaning her nose in front of me and it's  very bothersome").  I felt relieved that it was something that trivial but at the same time almost fell from my chair laughing. This was the flow of our conversation:

 Me: (still smilng) "Anong ginawa mo? May sinabi ka ba sa kanya?" (So what did you do? What did you say to her?)

My son: (still agitated) "Wala po. Sabi ko lang wag niya ipahid sa upuan ko." (Nothing. I just told her not to wipe her booger on my chair)

My son: "Mommy bakit po ganun, hindi po siya nahihiya mag kulangot sa harap ko?" (Mommy, why is she like that, she does not even feel ashamed of cleaning her nose in front of me?)

Me: "Hindi ko alam anak e, baka meron siyang nakikita na ginagaya niya" (I wouldn't really know son, perhaps she sees it from someone?)

My son: "Ay oo nga po pala kasi nakita ko yung nanay niya nung sinundo siya ganun din" (Oh yeah, I remember seeing her mom doing the same thing)

Me: Ngek!

End of conversation. hahaha 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Story of Mom and Dad

I mentioned in my previous blog that my husband and I received interactive homemade cards from our kids. This is one of them and was given by Alloy. This is how he depicts our love story...

Cover of the mini book that he included in his card

According to our son's story, this is how his dad and I met.
 His dad saw me from afar and fell in love at first sight. (so true! so true! hahaha)

So terribly in love that his dad woeed me with flowers and a box of chocolates.

We decided to get married. That's the priest over there marrying us. 

After the wedding his dad carried me over the threshold. :)

So sweet!

This is something that money can't buy! :) Thank you son!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You complete me

Finally, my husband was able to buy a 7-seater sofa set for a song! Really! He bought the second hand sofa for only SAR 125. Originally he wanted to buy a new sofa set but then we would not really be able to bring everything with us back to the Philippines. I had to wash the covering 3times just to make sure that it would be rid of dirt and grime. The first wash was such a nightmare hahaha the water that came out of our washing machine was so black you would not believe that something like that can happen. I had to rinse it more than 3 times for good measure.

I can finally say that we have completed the stuff that we need for our living room...we can live without a center table. But if there would be a chance to buy one in the future we might consider. In the meantime, I just want our flat to look comfortable, and smelling of baked goodies, cinnamon and freshly brewed coffee. That would be good right? 

Baking buddies

My husband has a acquired a newly found interest in baking fresh bread since he bought our first oven. Two weeks prior we were in Carrefour buying some stuff for the house and he asked me whether I wanted a water dispenser or an electric oven. I wanted so much to say "electric oven" but I did not want to impose i mean to outwardly...obviously impose hahaha. So I made him choose instead. I showed him two sides of the coin and told him to think about the benefits that he can get if  a) he chose to buy the water dispenser or b)  if he chooses the oven.  I helped him by saying that the water dispenser can give him hot or cold water and that's it; whereas if we have the electric oven I can bake goodies, and roast chicken...etc... He did not need too much prodding and talked to the first salesman he saw on the floor hehehe. Wagi! (Success!) hahaha

The next day coming home from work he handed me recipes for baking various breads, cookies, brownies and other recipes that he downloaded from the internet. His darn interest and excitement was just too infectious, already I, too, was excited to start the "pin" rolling.

He baked his first pandesal one antsy pantsy thursday night...

I jokingly told my husband that he probably was a Panadero (Baker) in his previous life :)

Lookit those cute litte things!

Ready for baking

smells good!!!

my husband's first pandesal customer :)

The next day my "baker husband" made Monay and this time he recruited our kids :)

Baking buddies

too busy to see me taking their pictures

Ready for baking 

the finished product which our kids named as Monay Swordcheese,
Monay Sweetheart, Monay Fried chicken cheese, while my husband
named his creation - Monay croissant, Monay long john and Monay donut LOL

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Expats Arabia where the sun is smiling. This should be your ultimate site where you can advertise your stuff for free! And when I say everything, I mean everything under the glare of the sun! I am using it now to advertise my baked goodies and in the near future perhaps my food delivery service. Back in the Philippines I used to deliver sandwiches, pasta and other packed meals in the office. I also used to cater food to some schools and small establishments and for friends. Websites where you can advertise for free are very useful for entrepreneurs like me. is practically a new site but with a lot of promise. Not only does it work well, but it too is user friendly and is arranged in a very organized way that it would be easier for future customers to find your stuff! Not only is it an e-place where people can engage in business but it is where you can advertise job openings, services, rental service, flats and apartments you would like to rent out, etcetera... the future is limitless! 

Everyone is invited! Be one of the firsts to sign up and have a unique email address that you can use for correspondences as well, without compromising your private email address. Go and visit!

The Eight of the Eight

Photo borrowed

"We fought all day about whether the pyramids were majestic or 'magnificent. It was magic. Twenty-eight years. I woke up every day smiling." this was Richard Dreyfuss' dialogue as he played Irv in the movie "My Life in Ruins". I am quoting this because it reminded me of my own marriage. My husband and I would debate most times about a lot of stuff but it has always been done in jest. And everyday since the day I married him, I have always woke up smiling. (<= Click here for a review of my previous Anniversary blog)

Today we celebrate our Wedding anniversary and as we celebrate we recall the first time we became friends, fell in love, and eventually got married. As husband and wife, we celebrate everything, our triumph and failures, our imperfections, our dreams... while we continue to build our family as partners, friends, lovers, and parents. We celebrate this day and look forward to more years of togetherness. 

We had dinner at Applebee's Restaurant (similar to TGIF which my husband says jokingly, is the big brother of Jollibee) by the Corniche in Al Khobar. Had the weather been cooler and the place conducive to strolling, I would have insisted that we walk around Corniche ala HHWW (Holding Hands While Walking). But the weather is so humid that after dinner we just went home with a bag of donuts for our children. 

Unlike back home it's difficult to find a good Anniversary card here that I had to improvise and make one and send my husband an e-card as well for good measure :) We received interactive homemade cards from our children too!

Happy Anniversary to us my dearest husband! You were the only one who taught me about courage, about unconditional love,...while I sold myself short you saw my imperfections as trivial. Thank you! May God in His infinite kindness bless this day and our marriage as He has done this very same day so many years ago and always....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Doting Dad!

I was going through some pictures stored in my phone and I happen to come across these ones. I realised how "kenkoy" (absurdly funny) my husband can be with our kids. My kids are the only ones who can make their dad pose this way for them. Am just glad that my husband is not stoic, not the kind of father who can't even take time to joke with his children. He's got his own set of funny bones hahaha

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Midnight musing

It's almost 2am and I am nowhere around being sleepy. I recall falling asleep around past 9pm last night while massaging my son's aching arms and suddenly woke up worried about the baked macaroni i left on the table to cool. There is just so much to share again but I could not even begin thinking where to start. I have been without internet connection for more than a month since my free connection suddenly got lost. It has been such a gruelling month for me and to think that in the past there was no such thing as an internet connection, or a blog, or facebook even. Now just the thought of going through the normal humdrum of waking up, preparing my family's packed lunch, breakfast, domestic chore, dinner etc etc without these wonderful internet stuff is kind of freaking me out hahaha. I am too attached to technology :) 

It's really warm here in my mini office even with the aircon running then I realised that it must be searing outside as I hear a couple of hammer pounding at the construction site across the road. I remember my husband telling me that since the start of Ramadan all construction projects has been stopped and are being done after their last prayer for the day. Actually this is true for all business and commercial institutions. Office time is shorter and all shops are closed during the day. Remember they pray 5 times a day and this is normal however, during Ramadan they practice fasting until around 6:30 pm. It is only from this time onwards that the Muslims are allowed to eat as they celebrate their holy month. Anyways, back to my must be really tough to work as a construction worker in this country, under the angry heat of their mideastern sun. Already it is hard to go outdoors what more if you have to be physically involved in  construction "work", right? It's just too hard to think about how they could stand the heat of the sun and be paid too little for it. Although am pretty sure that what these people are currently receiving are more than what they earn in their own country; still I would not want to be them in a country with just too much heat. Just to give an example to those who have not gone here, the heat is just too much that we have to store water in the pail and have them cool down overnight. If we fail to do that we would have to endure very very hot water for bathing which is bad for the scalp and the skin. Really!

It's getting stuffy in here so I do have to park this for now...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Digital "karma"-ra

In the age of modern technology, you'd think only gadgets evolve, progress, and improve to make data processing faster. Even karma good or bad has become digitalized as well :) ... perhaps to keep up with the times? 

One thing I've noticed here in Saudi Arabia is the way some Filipinos treat each other. (I said SOME not ALL.) It has always been my guiding principle to strive to  be a good person wherever my fate brings me - which could be another job, or another country... My husband and I shares this belief and it is the same principle that we teach our children because we both want them to learn how to respect other people and other people's rights. Being away from the Philippines, we learned to stand on our own, we learned to adjust and be flexible around co-workers, other nationalities, and flatmates, and to distance ourselves from others who will only bring us strife. 

While here, you learn that crab mentality also exists; that some Filipinos will try to outdo you especially when it comes to MONEY MATTERS. Referring to my friend, Iza's blog, there are different types of Toxic people and I realised that most of the description I've read from her article fits someone I know categorically. So borrowing from her article "Toxic!!!", let me share with you the following:

There are those who are very sly and will manipulate you without You even knowing what they are doing until it's too late. They know what buttons of yours to push when they want something from you. They can make you turn away from your beliefs or make you do things you really don't want to do. One day you will find yourself thinking more of their needs than your own. And to add, that they will always assume they can do anything they please and it will be okay with you. They will demand that you talk to them about money matters but you can never demand the same from them.

These people are those who put great importance in themselves and think the world revolves around them. They think their needs are more important than yours and at the end of the day, you are left feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.

People who are judgmental see things differently. Something that is pretty to you, most probably will be strange to them. Whatever positive comment you make, they will always find something negative to say

These are the people who does things inappropriately and at inappropriate times.  They know no boundaries and won't care if they hurt your feelings. They can make you lose respect for yourself.

There are the people who cannot appreciate the positive things in life. They would always find something negative to say. They tend to bring out the joy in everything. If you continue to be with these kind of people, you will lose your ability to look forward to tomorrow.

Each time you come up with an idea, these people will think of something to shoot your idea down. If you believe in the saying "Anything is possible" they believe in the opposite. If you are on your way to success, you would not want these people to be around you for they will think of ways to make you fail.

Ever felt that people just tend to say things because that's what you want to hear? What you have with them is not honest, but more superficial. When you need real support, they would rather see you fail. Find friends who will tell you like it really is.

Now back to karma being digital... Let me tell you that - SHOULD You choose NOT to be responsible enough to do what you ought to do then let's leave everything to fate.  You may be the master of yours but if you induce pain in any form to anyone, then remember there is a saying "what goes around, comes around" and it will kick you so fast!