Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Night

Taking your hand
Fingers to my lips
I want to love every inch of you
Taste every part of your body
As if I can drink your loves blood
Through your very pores

I want to get lost in your eyes
Consumed by your kiss
Set my body on fire
Quench the fire in my blood
With sweet caresses
Touch my soul with your passion

Lay down beside me
Feel my body crying for you
Let's get lost in each other
Touching, exploring, tasting
We will exceed passion, go beyond bliss
For this is our night

Want me, like no other
Need you, like the air that I breathe
Together, one mind, one soul
Fused in the heat of passionate love
Existing in this moment

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Desert Christmas

Photo courtesy of M. Noriega

For some, religion is the most important aspect of the holiday, whilst for others it's an opportunity for families to get together.

Christmas can be a time of presents and parties but also a period of sadness and isolation, especially for OFWs.

Last week we had a party in the desert in time for the HAJ holidays.

Christmas in the Middle East can be hard work.

When I got back from my vacation, I carried with me a Christmas Tree and some decorations which I bought from National Bookstore - Manila. The customs officials tried to impound the tree, saying that this is not allowed in Saudi.

Smuggling a Christmas tree in may seem like harmless reflection on the tough life in Saudi Arabia.

After some gentle persuasion - gentle being the right word as we don't like to push my luck at such a delicate time - he let me off with the tree after I show him my affiliation with a 5-star hotel that I need the tree for the interior design of the hotel.

I feel pretty lucky to be able to bring the tree.

Christmas is different in Saudi Arabia. But life here, on the whole, is OK.

Because we live in a 3-storey apartment with about 40 other Filipinos (including Filipino Muslims), we limit our Christmas activities last night by just sharing food and greet each other from 9:00 to 10:30 pm. After that, everyone went inside their rooms spending more time chatting with their loved ones thru the net. (Fortunately, we were able to get DSL last month.)

In private compounds and campuses, where Christmas and other non-Islamic religious observances were permitted, so long as they were "low-key", some Filipinos, with their families and friends, drove inside as long as they are on the list of the guests at the gate. Roasted turkeys, wines and other merry-making activities were done without any apprehension as long as you won’t drive home drunk in midnight or early morning. It’s better to stay until mid day inside the compound for safety reason.

Today is Christmas Day, and even some of us spent last night discreetly with friends, we have to go back to work.

Merry Christmas to all!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Desert Invasion

As we know the Middle East is a land of desert and Saudi Arabia has magnificent sand dunes that you may enjoy. On the outskirts of Riyadh, you will see them in different colors such as mixed with red and orange. Red Sand is also famous place where locals and expat have visited for having a picnic. Quad bikes can be found for rent for drives up on the sand hills.

Last Wednesday (start of our HAJ holiday), we’re all ready to invade the famous Filipino desert destinations – the Red Sand and Hidden Valley. The plan is to go quadbiking in the morning, trail the sand dune and then on to a place called Hidden Valley for a picnic.

The last time I went quadbiking I was a bit nervous about how they'd get on that time, so spent most of my time watching them and taking photos. This time however, all of us are seasoned quadbikers, so we spent the whole hour whizzing up and down the sand dunes at top speed.

After the hour was up and we'd paid the Bedouin for the bike rental, our company coaster headed further south towards hidden valley, which I was able to find easily since I’ve been in this place several times. About 10 minutes past the quadbiking area there's a left turn which is a dirt trail - like last time - but there's actually a tarmac road which leads on for another couple of k's before turning to dirt.

The narrow trail is very rocky and twists from left to right. At almost every turn there's what is either a large bush or a small tree.

After what seems like an hour of this but was probably only about 15 minutes, we arrive at our destination. We're in a valley alright, surrounded on all sides by high slopes of very rough, sharp, rocky terrain. We pile out of the car and the area is a blur of setup activity; Each of us (we’re 28 all) carrying our food, water jug, cameras, tents, etc. and went further inside the valley. Before we even know, we are almost at the top of what looks to me like a pretty dangerous climb.

Despite the rocky terrain this is a very nice place for a social gathering. The weather was great and the scenery was spectacular.

So, in almost five hours we've quadbiked, set our footprints in red sands, had our picnic in a rocky hill and climbed mountains.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

To Put It Simply, I Want You

I want to be your companion
and walk hand in hand,
your strength enveloping mine.
Autumn leaves falling,
scuffing feet and laughter,
sharing nights, not finished by the dark.

I want to be your confidant
as you pen your deepest
thoughts, as your heartaches
bleed and finally break free.
Your dreams, I keep as if my own.
I want to smile as you smile
and giggle with you
at nothing at all.

I want to be your lover
and find the passions
that move you to action.
I want to be the softness
that induces you to trust.
I want to be the naughty
that makes you come back for more.
I want to please you.

I want to share your breakfast
and your dinner,
I want you in the shower
and in your bed and
with soft steps to bring you coffee
(I take mine black)
Your strong arms, the legs
that power your thrust,
your lips of pleasure,
these are the fuel of my desire

no it is no secret, my love,
and to put it very simply,
I want you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Live to the fullest

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die, you are the one who is smiling and
everyone around you is crying.

Monday, December 17, 2007

G & Bb. Pilipinas - Saudi: spectacular as ever!

Flushed with the success of the recently concluded Ginoo-Binibini project, I couldn't help finding the organizers, SE Productions, at times still floating and levitating like an apparition, struggling hard to plant their feet firmly on the ground.

Just a few nights ago the culmination of the quest for 2007 Ginoo and Binibining Pilipinas-Saudi Arabia has been rated the season's blockbuster. Wow and whew!

19 good-looking candidates sailed and sashayed on the ramp like a dream last December 13, each one aspiring to be proclaimed the "It" girl and the "It" boy not only for a single night but for the rest of the year and beyond.

With oodles of prizes at stake, no one could have begrudged our young Filipinos and Filipinas had they dreamed and schemed to win the coveted titles.

For an agonizing moment, we thought there could be empty chairs at Liwasang Bonifacio considering the freezing ambiance (almost 5 C) in the open ground.

To our pleasant surprise, however, fellow OFW's and non-Filipino guests came in droves, and so did many students from various schools who cheered for their favorite contestants.

And now let the credits roll.

Ron Jacobe whose emceeing expertise is beyond reproach, and who, for the nth time, had been SEP's "savior" when the show tended to slack off as what a colleague had keenly observed. Ron just wrapped up a brilliant performance. The G.-Bb. 2007 spectacle deserves an applause, don't you think so?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Papaya Extreme Dance @ PGNKB entry from Riyadh

Last December 12, 2007 an entry from Riyadh was chosen by ABS-CBN's PGKNB. The video was taken in Red Sand, K.S.A.

You Stir Me Up!

Sometimes just the thought of someone can stir up emotions in us when we least expect it. Hopefully, there is someone in your life, or in your memory, who can stir the following emotions in you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

His Paradise

Bring me to your paradise
a feeling of within,
naked to your loving eyes
caressing me with sin
I long to feel your softest kiss
upon my dampened skin

Bring me to your paradise,
and let our bodies meet
the trickle of the rain outside
would shower us with heat,
I wish to be your fantasy
and make our love complete.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Latest News! Donnie & Jintana: New Ginoo & BB. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2007

Male Candidate No. 7 (Donnie - Riyadh) and Female Candidate No. 10 (Jintana - Jeddah) was declared as the new Ginoo and Binibining Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2007 last night at the Philippine Embassy Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both received SR1,500.00, Daewoo Appliances and other gift items.

More highlights during the coronation night will be posted soon!

Be There and Witness the Selection of 2007 G. & Bb. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia

Who among the contestants will be proclaimed this year's Ginoo and Binibining Pilipinas Saudi Arabia?

Peach Meg Tanael (Bb. Pilipinas Riyadh 2004) and Michael Quiambao (G. Pilipinas Riyadh 2004)

Liezl Ann Santiago (Bb. Pilipinas Riyadh 2005) and Junnifer Christ Manuel (G. Pilipinas Riyadh 2005)

Zena Marie Thirlwall (Bb. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2006) and Manolito Cobin (G. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2006)


December 13, 2007
5:00 pm
Liwasang Bonifacio
Philippine Embassy
Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Desert Hunk #12: Jerome Torres


Work Area: 2nd Industrial City, Al Shanaya Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Favorite Sports: Basketball

Home Town: Pampanga

Dollar Remittances and Social Paralysis

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attributed the growth in dollar remittances to two factors: the rising demand for Filipino workers abroad, particularly of skilled ones including nurses, doctors, teachers, engineers; and the continuing efforts by banks to capture these remittances through the formal financial channels.

Majority of those who left the country's shores in search for a dollar pay are women, leaving in their wake families devoid of motherly care and guidance. In many cases, the husbands who are left to care for the entire family proved to be lousy parents, giving rise to drug use, high dropout
rates in school and juvenile delinquency among the children.

Once the wives started sending dollars from abroad, most of the husbands stopped working, thus creating a culture of dependency within their households.

In the last five years, the country's economy - propped up by the remittance dollar - has shown to be capable to growing within the 5 percent to 6 percent range. Malls are rising at every corner to capture those remittance dollars, yet the larger picture seems to reflect a continuously weak economy incapable of soaking up joblessness.

In fairness, dollar remittances have given a lot of purchasing power that is propping up a significant part of the country's manufacturing sector.

Do you ever wonder why the average capacity utilization is at a four-year high of 81.4 percent? That's because people are buying a lot of goods and services, thus creating a lot of employment. Nevertheless, dollar remittances alone have proven to be inadequate to propel the economy beyond the low-level equilibrium that it is trapped in right now-while creating a lot of social problems.

The signs of low-level equilibrium, nay social paralysis, are clear. On one hand, survey after survey from both the Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations show the continuing poverty and hopelessness of many Filipinos, particularly in the lower social strata. On the other, we often hear some people in the middle and the richer classes saying that "the Philippine economy has been growing quite decently in the last few years despite the country's political problems."

And true enough, the property markets have been sizzling lately, an indication that the country's richer classes whose wealth are largely based on ownership and control of real-estate properties are starting to make a killing off those dollar remittances.

These contrasting perspectives appear to be producing some sort of social paralysis, a kind of social complacency that takes away the urgency of pursuing painful but crucial economic and political reforms. The remittance dollars seem to have become manna from heaven that has taken away our ambition to rise from the heap and join the rest of the Asia-Pacific community in the race for development and real progress.

The main point here is that overseas employment is not the real solution to this country's failure to achieve development. We acknowledge the importance of this sector-once upon a time it was truly necessary-but it can never be a substitute for internally generated growth. And this one
could only be achieved if we have the courage to address corruption in government, remove all barriers to entrepreneurial activities, collect the taxes finance infrastructure development, and ensure transparency and predictability in the country's regulatory environment. And while doing
this, we need to address with greater urgency the growing social problem engendered by the dollar remittance mentality in our midst.

Economist and former planning secretary Cielito Habito's story a few years ago should serve as a warning to all us. Habito's wife runs a school in Los BaƱos and noticed that the most problematic kids are those whose parents are working abroad. Many of these kids, he said, are underachievers, lack motivation for school work, lack focus and can't seem to get along well
with other students. To put a face to this observation, one need only recall that a few months ago, the Laguna police arrested the three young sons of OFW icon Flor Contemplacion for drug dealing, right from their home.

from: Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc.