Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'Armani' Residences revealed

This is the first exclusive picture revealing the sumptuous interior of Emaar’s Armani Residences at the Burj Dubai.

The picture includes bedroom and lounge shots that feature the exclusive range of Armani/Casa home furnishings in a low-lit, intimate setting.

Italian fashion giant Giorgio Armani was personally involved in every design detail of the one and two-bedroom residences.

The apartments are defined by clean lines, practicality and elegance, and feature materials and finishes such as stone, zebrawood, Venetian plaster and fabric and leather wall coverings.

The 144 apartments, representing the first residential designs from Armani, are located on levels nine to 16 of the world’s tallest building, and complement the Armani Hotel Dubai, also situated within the tower.

According to Emaar, investor response has been strong following road shows in major cities including London, Moscow, Milan, New Delhi and Riyadh.

Armani and Emaar plan to develop seven luxury hotels and three resorts over the next ten years. Further Armani homes are planned for cities including New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Monday, October 29, 2007

'Forbes' banned in Saudi over wealth report

Saudi Arabia has banned the latest issue of the Arabic-language edition of Forbes magazine for an article about the wealth of the king and other Arab leaders.

"The reason was a two-page report on the wealth of 15 ruling dynasties, seven of which are Arab.

Instead of ripping out the pages of the report, the authorities decided to ban the magazine altogether.

The report ranked King Abdullah third, behind the rulers of Brunei and the UAE.

Saudi authorities have ordered columns by Khalid al-Dakhil, a prominent Saudi analyst and university lecturer, to be ripped out of Forbes Arabia twice so far this year.

Authorities in the conservative kingdom also tear out pages from newspapers and magazines before they hit newsstands if they contain pictures deemed indecent.

Saudi sets new maid hire rules

Saudi Arabia has announced new conditions for the recruitment of domestic workers including housemaids and drivers.

The Ministry of Labour said it had also agreed to issue replacement visas before current employees leave the country on exit-only visas.

All applicants should have sufficient finances and be able to prove their need for servants, the ministry said. Applicants should have a second wife or extra children, or require help taking care of parents in order to apply for a second housemaid visa. A second driver visa now depends on the family head having a second wife, school-going children and unmarried working daughters.

Rest houses wishing to obtain visas must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, occupy at least 1,000 square metres and be owned by the applicant. Residents qualifying as elderly, disabled or suffering from disease must provide medical reports with applications, the article added.

Applicants for a first visa should have a monthly salary of SR 3,500, SR 8,000 for a second visa, SR 12,000 for a third and SR 20,000 for a fourth, the ministry said. Applicants not working in the public or private sectors must produce bank balances, and those applying for more than four visas should get permission from the recruitment committee at the ministry of labour.

The probation period for house servants has been increased from three to six months.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gulf War victims awarded over $450mn

Victims of Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait are to receive over $450 million to cover losses and damages caused when Saddam Hussein ordered his troops into the Gulf Arab state, sparking the first Gulf War.

The UN Compensation Commission said on Wednesday it has paid a $469.6 million instalment from Iraqi oil funds, bringing the total amount paid to victims to almost $23 billion, reported newswire AP.

The commission has approved over $50 billion in compensation altogether, with all the money coming out of Iraqi oil revenues, AP said. Twenty-eight claims are still outstanding.

The latest compensation package covers 32 payments to various governments, companies and organisations in Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. ranging between $2 million to $22 million in size.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

“Domestic Helpers” to “Caregivers”??

Congressman Bienvenido Abante, during his two-week tour in the Middle East, plans to file a motion in parliament urging the Department of Labor to change the title of domestic helpers to ‘care givers’, believing the move will lead to better treatment by employers.

Earlier this years the Philippines ruled that Filipino housemaids who work abroad must now be paid at least $400 a month and raised the minimum age of housemaids working abroad to 25, prompting recruitment agencies to call for the GCC to ban Filipino worker from the Gulf.

Gulf businesses may face tougher legislation from the Philippines on the recruitment of Filipinos as the Southwest Asian country tries to stamp out discrimination and mistreatment of its citizens.

He also revealed the countrys’ plans to address the abuse of citizens working in the Gulf, as well as the low salaries many are paid, with stricter laws,

Many of the two million Filipinos working in the Middle East work outside their government’s minimum wage rules.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Update: The Kingdom

Kuwait and Bahrain have banned controversial US movie The Kingdom that is based around the 1996 bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American citizens, officials said on Thursday.

The movie, which stars Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper, follows a team of FBI agents sent to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deadly bombings.

Both Gulf Arab states have banned the film, although it will still be released in the UAE and Qatar on Saturday, reported newswire AFP.

Kuwait has accused the film of misrepresenting facts surrounding the bombings.

"The screening of the film has been banned in Kuwait for many reasons, chiefly because it is a false depiction of facts," a source at the cinema committee of Kuwait's information ministry told AFP.

However, Bahrain has given no reason for the movie’s ban.

The film has been banned here "on orders from high up in the ministry", said Jamal Daoud, head of publications at Bahrain's information ministry, quoted the newswire.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Your Eyes....

Your eyes are like velvet, soft and warm
They could melt any heart; calm any storm
They are the windows to your soul,
The doors to your heart
They are wells of deep emotion,
With which you'll never part.
Just to look into your eyes fills me with pride
If I only see them I can take anything in stride.
When you smile, you're eyes smile with you.
When you feel strong, they show
There's nothing you can't do.
I only dream they'll show that inside of you
Is a love for me as strong as mine for you

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

OFW Songwriters Compete in 2nd Pinoy Song Fest

The Asosasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (APM) in Riyadh is sponsoring the 2nd Pniyo Song Festival on November 2, 2007 @6:00 pm at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Jeff Almendras, President of APM announced the eight (8) finalists and their respective interpreters.

The free-admission show is sponsored by Pepsi Cola, Geant, Orbit GMA Pinoy TV and Friends of APM.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Harry Chua - a Ginoong Albay 2004 Candidate?

I read news about Harry Chua of "Ang Lalaki sa Parola" and he mentioned about his joining (and losing) the Search G. Albay 2004.

The event, which was organized by Flora Dania, was held at Albay Astrodome sometime in October 2004 where actor James Blanco was the special guest.

Although it coincided with the Legazpi Fiesta celebration, sad to say, it was a big flop. There were only less than a hundred who watched the show.

I was having my vacation in Albay so i was able to watch the pageant and took some pictures. Maybe, Harry Chua is one of the candidates i didn't notice.

I retrieve the photos below taken during the pageant night..

Bloggers' Code of Ethics

CyberJournalist. net has created a model Bloggers’ Code of Ethics, by modifying the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for the Weblog world. These are just guidelines — in the end it is up to individual bloggers to choose their own best practices. CyberJournalist. net follows this code and urges other Weblogs to adopt this one or similar practices:

Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate — and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:
• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blogging blossoms in Saudi Arabia

Blogging is fast becoming a national pastime among Saudi Arabia's youth.

Young Saudi Arabians are increasingly using the Internet to air their views about political, social and economic issues.

In a country where traditional media is monitored by the State, the Internet is providing greater freedom to express opinions and report news.

It is estimated that over 1000 bloggers regularly write on the Internet, according to the Official Community for Saudi Bloggers (OCSAB). Bloggers even have their own term: they are called ‘mudawin' in the Kingdom.

Basem al Sallum, one of the kingdom's pioneering bloggers told Asharq Al-Awsat that blogging could become the eyes and ears of Saudi society.

However, Saudi Arabian bloggers do not have complete freedom to publish anything they like.

Blogs are subject to the same treatment as websites; they are blocked when they contain objectionable material such as pornography in particular, and other things in general, and things that go against the established principles of our religion and national regulations.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Audition for G. & Bb. Pilipinas - Saudi Arabia 2007

Zena Mari Thirlwall - Bb. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2006; Manolito Cobin - G. Pilipinas Saudi Arabia 2006

The audition for Ginoo and Binibining Pilipinas- Saudi Arabia 2007 will be held on November 2, 2007 (Friday) at Al Taj International School, Suleimania District, Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.


1. Female- At least 5’2” in height: Male – at least 5’6” in height
2. with pleasing personality
3. Age – at least 14-27 years old


1. Pictures
a. one (1) 2 x 2
b. one whole body
2. Duly filled-in application form with parent consent, if minor

For inquiries: please call 0560733135; 0566920477; 0507267537

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Vacation Ampy!

Joe (wearing white printed polo) (Ampy) left yesterday for a month vacation; Gabby's wet and wild look during our party at DGC

It is a must for one to come home and loosen for a while after finishing contract work and prolonged homesickness.

Vacation takes another meaning for all balikbayans and OFWs.

Our friend, Joe (famous to some as Ampy because of his loud uncontrollable voice similar to an amplifier, or Amby for being so ambisyosa daw sa love) left yesterday for a month-long vacation (or less!) in the Philippines. But prior to his departure, he treated us to a dinner last Thursday at Gabby Dy’s house near Al Akariah. (Gabby is a new addition to our “club”).

Gabby’s single room is at the Penthouse of a three storey residential building, which he rented for SR9,000.00 (PhP99,000) a year. Although it was quite small, but enough for a single person, he managed to create a groovy ambiance with his artistic interior concept thus making his pad a splendid place to stay.

I was so impressed by his stylishness, minimalistic and creative mind. He was able to contain a Home Theater, 4 big aquarium (1 in his sala, 2 in the Kitchen and 1 in his room), a Gym Lat Machine, two big refrigerators and furniture set in his small pad. But still, his place is great!

What caught my attention is the 42” Sony Bravia TV in his 3 x 4 living room.. “Parang galit ka ata sa TV, with your small room and being alone, mukhang napuno lahat ng malalaking appliances”, I told him jokingly.

Gabby is the only Filipino sales supervisor in an authentic Louis Vuitton department store in one of the biggest mall in Riyadh. His clients are mostly the Royal and filthy rich families who can afford to shop everyday.

We arrived early in his place from our badminton session.

Our friends started to arrive after 12:00 midnight and Gabby’s 6 x 7m pad was able to accommodate more than 20 persons.

Joe brought sumptuous trays of pansit, kaldereta and sweet & sour fish enough for us.

We left the place at around 2:00am. The rest of our friends stayed till morning.

If not because of the tournament, I would stay longer and enjoy the weekend with them.

To Joe, enjoy your long-awaited vacation and hope to see you back in Riyadh before Christmas, which I believe you will, because you have a reason why you have to spend your vacation shortly…..

Friday, October 19, 2007

Are You Looking for a Badminton Club in Riyadh??

Hey guys...

Join Riyadh Shuttlers Club (RSC) in Riyadh.

Visit their blog click HERE

for any inquiry, you can email them at riyadhshuttlersclub@gmail.com

MTV set for Middle East launch

MTV is set to launch its Middle East service by the end of this year, broadcasting from its Dubai headquarters to 35 million households in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and the UAE.

About 45% of content will be produced locally, with the remainder translated, an executive told the Financial Times.

According to Bill Roedy, MTV’s vice chairman for international activities, the move comes as part of the network’s ongoing localisation strategy. Roedy told the Financial Times “In many ways (MTV Arabia) is the epitome of our localisation strategy. It's a different audience (in the Middle East) but this is what we do - we reflect culture and we respect culture. The programming mix on this one is going to be a little more local than normal."

“The key is that the packaging, attitude and obviously the language should reflect the country” he said. “There is already great music there” he added, citing Saudi rap group Jeddah Legends. “There lyrics are a little different” he said. “There’s one song about how much he loves his mother and one about the stress of getting married”.

MTV is considering other ways to respect local customs, the FT said, including placing Dora the Explorer, a Nickelodeon character, in a headscarf.

The network already broadcasts the Muslim call to prayer in Indonesia and is looking for possible partners in Afghanistan.

Roedy told the FT "I feel very emotional about how this part of the world has been misrepresented, especially in the US," he says. "In this world of exclusion, misrepresentation and stereotyping, we can provide a voice to young Arabs."

MTV is working with local partner Arab Media Group, which will cover programme budgets and arrangements with satellite operators. MTV will provide a dozen staff.

The service will be closely followed by the launch of Nickelodeon Arabia next year which will broadcast to countries including Saudi Arabia the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Banned toxic chemicals in iPhone

A new report from Greenpeace suggests that Apple's iPhone contains harmful chemicals that are banned from use in children's toys by European law.

Greenpeace Research Laboratories in the UK analyzed the components and casings of the iPhone, and found that it contained toxic brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which can be harmful to the environment, and that the vinyl plastic earphone coverings contain phthalates, chemicals that can damage health.

"The phthalates found in the headphone cords are classified in Europe as ‘toxic to reproduction' because of their long-recognized ability to interfere with sexual development. While they are not prohibited in mobile phones, these phthalates are banned from use in all toys or childcare articles sold in Europe.

The report also criticized the construction of the iPhone, saying that the battery is soldered and glued into place, which makes battery replacement difficult and further undermines recycling of the iPhone when it is discarded.

The poor performance of Apple prompted Greenpeace to launch its 'Green My Apple' campaign, which aimed to convince the company to improve its production processes and materials. In response, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised to phase out all PVC plastics and BFRs by the end of 2008, but Greenpeace says that the iPhone is a step in wrong direction.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Queens and Desert Hunks Gather Together

Ramadan Holidays in Saudi Arabia, first holiday in Arabic calendar, usually takes place successively for 4-5 days. It’s the best time for expats to unwind, revitalize and enjoy after an 8-month inexorable and arduous time spent in offices, sites, stores and schools.

For Saudi nationals who cannot afford a luxurious world tours, its their chance to travel to nearby avant-garde Gulf countries, where they could splurge freely. They usually travel in ‘open cities’ like Bahrain, UAE and Kuwait where they enjoy the beaches, nice hotels, bars, girls and great food.

But for Filipinos, it is best to stay in the Kingdom and find a good place where they could also enjoy and bond together. Besides, employers seldom grant outside-the-Kingdom vacation to their employees for fear that they might run away. (They safe-keep all their employees’ passport). If expats want to have distant travel, they are limited to cities-to-cities travel only. Riyadh dwellers can go to beaches in nearby Eastern Province (Al-Khobar or Dammam) or Western Province (Jeddah) and vice-versa.

Our friends decided to spend 3 days in Dirab Golf Course and Resort. Actually this is the only safe haven, with 18-hole international standard golf course, 9 resort houses, 1 big pool, gym and horse-back arena, located 45 kms from Riyadh Center.

One villa costs SR1,000 (P11,000) per day. Although its quite expensive, but we are assured that no 'authority' would dare to come inside and spoil our celebration.

Actually we opted to spend the vacation all together since 6 are celebrating their birthdays this month.

Although there were some minor flaws in each assigned task for the party, like the lapse in transportation, food preparation, etc., the celebration ended up satisfying everyone and became more significant because those who have misunderstanding and conflicts in the group had patched out together and settled harmoniously.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shisha: Pipe Smoking.. A Legal way of Pot Session??

Shisha is famous in Arab Countries where prohibited drugs are not allowed

Smoking tobacco using the traditional hookah waterpipe, which is less harmful method of tobacco use, has been part of the fabric of life in the Middle East for centuries.

It is a kind of 'smoking' using a tall glass pipe stand filled with flavored water. 'Shisha' seems to be the patent of men but now there are modern middle class ladies joining the smokers.

I already tried mint and apple flavours with my Saudi friends whenever I visited them or having a good bonding with them, but can't really tell the true taste.

A physician, Hakim Abul Fath, suggested that "tobacco smoke should be first passed through a small receptacle of water so that it would be rendered harmless."

So began a myth that shisha smoking is far less dangerous to health than cigarette and pipe smoking.

However, World Health Organisation has quashed that myth, suggesting that smoking a hookah is more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. It also said that more research is needed into the link between the use of the waterpipe and several fatal illnesses.

An advisory note from the WHO says that smoking a hookah may expose the smoker to more smoke over a longer period of time than occurs when smoking cigarettes.

Because smoking a hookah may take up to 80 minutes, the report suggests that the smoker is subjecting himself to as much smoke as somebody dragging on 100 cigarettes.

And the water does not strip out all toxic substances. Some of the nicotine is absorbed, but this leads to people smoking for longer in order to experience the effects of the drug, and therefore inhaling more smoke containing carbon monoxide, heavy metals and other toxic compounds, which leads to heart and respiratory problems.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Eid Il-Fitr Celebration in Riyadh

From Ardah, traditional Saudi folklore dancing, and poetry nights, to firework displays, circuses, and daredevil motorbike shows, the Saudi capital is planning on celebrating Eid Al-Fitter this year with many family activities.
This years new activities include Somo acts at Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium; a women only festival at King Fahad Cultural Center; a Folklore Tent at Kindy Arena; bungee jumping at Doha Arena; reconstructed car shows at the walk way on King Abdullah Street; Eid activities at the Children's Handicapped Society; and a for-women-only circus in Sowaidi district at the activity arena.
On the first day of Eid is an Ardah dance at Al-Hokum Palace between 7:45 P.M. and 10 P.M.
The following day is highlighted by fireworks display between 9:15 P.M. and 9:25 P.M. The display on the 2nd day of Eid will be held at King Fahad International Sport Stadium, Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium in Malaz, Prince Sultan University, East of Hanging Bridge, Aziziyah Street intersection with South ring road, and Salam Park.
The third day of Eid will have a slew of activities namely Kenyan Act; Motorbike act;Aerobatic act; Fire Act; Somo act; African act; Motorbike show; Aerodynamic acts; stunt car show; for-women-only circus; Folklore Tenet; Museum King Abdulaziz Memorial; "Shatah and Katshup" children's play; Children Cinema; Swan Net play;
Women festival; Family tele-match; Flower display; fireworks; and Aradah dance by children.

**Hey guys, i'll be out from my station till Monday. We'll be in Dirab Golf Course to enjoy the 5-day vacation with my friends. For sure there will be lots of fun!!**

Friday, October 12, 2007

Google in your Mobile??

Search giant Google is planning to lay its hand on mobile phone market. For two years Google engineers have been working on a secret project designing Google Phone which will run on Google's Linux-based software, and will provide integration with other Google services - GMail, Google maps, Google search, etc. The so called GPhone is expected to be a strong rival to the Apple iPhone, and is scheduled for release later this year.

Here’s how Google Phone may look like.