May 30, 2011

Productive Sunday

Posted May 30, 2011
The Usual but not so much..
I toured my colleague, Eka, to the usual places in London. The same places where my other colleague, Jenny, toured me before plus more because we entered the British Museum and we get to "accidentally not by accident" attended a Hillsong service which was great. (love the oxymoron)

It's the second time for me for the Big Ben, Buckingham, St. James Park and several nearby landmarks and I'm still mesmerized most especially by the great deal of effort the city made to preserve its history through its architecture.

This time it's more peaceful, less tourists and I get to enjoy the scenery more without getting stressed by people walking around in great numbers. I took pictures of several animals in St. James park and again I was amazed because I don't get to see much of the wildlife in my country as free as this. Most of the times they are just caged or leashed which is sad, really. I remember the tortoise in Guimaras which was tied in a long rope, I'm not sure but I think its shell was punctured where the rope was tied.

The Highlights: Desserts.Museum.Hillsong

One of the highlights of this Sunday is the dessert from an Italian restaurant named SPQR(?). Fresh strawberries, just the right amount of sweetness, lovely texture; it was heavenly! Considering I find most of the food here unexciting, this dessert was definitely a surprise. I don't know the name of the dessert, just pick any of the two which has strawberries in it; believe me that are both are satisfying.

It was the same dessert shop I was hooked into the first time I visited but didn't get the chance to taste it. It was love at first and second sight :) I'd recommend this to anyone who's visiting, and just this once, don't mind the price.

The next highlight for me is the British Museum. I enjoyed it as I basked myself with culture... plus it's free; can't beat that.

I especially liked the Egypt room because the things I watched in Discovery and Nat Geo were realized in that room. It was a bit disappointing not to see majestic relics like the mask of Tutankhamun or the gold sarcophagus with Anubis head.

I had a feeling of "history information overload"; to appreciate all of the things inside the British Museum, I need more than one day. I just skimmed through most of the items, maybe next time I'll get a chance to read more about them. More pictures here.

And to cap this Sunday, what's better than to get lost and find your way in a Church service. I like God, He has a witty sense of humor.

All was great and it was powerful. No nonsense, just pure worship, testimonies and God's word. A visiting pastor from India preached and shared his life. It was inspiring. I also became aware about the status of children in India and it's very sad to hear about their poverty and abuse.

It's good that Christians are helping to rise a new generation of capable believers; and when I say capable, they are not just giving them a belief, they are giving them a life with education, health-care, food, job, faith and a direction in life with Christ to help them get up and later help others as well. It's a viable chain reaction and probably the only networking or multi-level marketing I'll be involved with. More pictures here.

May 26, 2011

Season 10 American Idol Winner

Posted May 26, 2011

I wouldn’t be shocked if Scotty were to win this competition because I was already caught off-guard when “Need You Know” by Lady Antebellum dominated the Grammys. I have nothing against the song, it's actually very good. I just didn’t expect it will be the song of the year. Just goes to show that America loves Country music that much.

And from the cliché of Randy Jackson, Scotty's in it to win it! LOL

May 15, 2011

Filipinos are most hospitable when we're not in RP

Posted May 15, 2011
I'm here at Doha Airport in Qatar, arrived around 6am and my next flight is at 2:30pm. A long wait, it is. During my stay here at the airport, I met a group of Filipinos and all I did was to answer their simple yet profound question, "Pilipino?" They are a happy bunch, and talkative too but not in a bad way.

It is through them I found out that there is free food for my connecting flight! What you need to do is claim the free food from the Qatar customer service then they will sign your boarding pass and give you the food stub. I feel that this process has been obscured intentionally. The food is less than satisfactory but it's enough to get you through the long waiting time.

I happily agreed to join them for lunch when they invited me and had a chance to get to know them a bit. Most of them are Filipinas working as housemaids in Lebanon. I asked one Pinay, let's name her Kate (not her real name), how's life and work in Lebanon. She said it has its ups and downs. If you are lucky enough you'll have a kind employer. She has a kind employer, but when I asked how she's treated, I began to question in my mind what kindness means, and how worse are the "unkind". Kate shared that she was never physically abused but she already heard all kinds of harsh words, especially the "F" word.

She continued with a side story that Lebanese are more casual than, hmm, strict Muslims. Their style is more western and casual. It is most noticeable in the clothes they wear; they can wear skimpy clothes. She added that many Lebanese love Pinays because of their cleanliness. One story is that you can see panties scattered around with the napkin still intact... that's an interesting account. As I'm becoming more and more exposed to the international community, I think Pinoys are among the few who take a bath at least once a day, seriously!

Kate started working in Lebanon at the age of 19, she finished a course in programming but decided to risk it in exchange for a better pay. She has a husband who works in the Philippines; a programmer too. When she learned that I work for an IT company, she wanted me to refer her husband to my company for the hope going to London. I said that my case of going to London is strictly situational and heavily depends on the project you are in and the work you do. I just want to level her expectations, she might hope for too much.

It is certainly noteworthy that she, at 25, already owns a house and lot in Manila. I was certainly astonished to learn that I'm older than her. Epiphany struck me that I'm 26, and still don't have a house of my own. Maybe her risk has payed after all. I'm not sure though if it's worth it to leave her family. I didn't get to ask that question anymore. I'll leave the topic as purely subjective, kanya kanya lang 'yan. Whichever works for them, at least they have a house and the education of their child is secure.

And this is just one story. It is interesting to listen to their conversations. Pang telenobela lahat. This is how Filipinos interact; sharing our life stories even to people we meet only for the first time. And yes, as the title says, I wouldn't expect this kind of friendliness in my home country on a day to day basis. :)

May 7, 2011

Is it safe to drink tap water in London

Posted May 7, 2011
Yes it is, I tried it and I didn't die! *crickets* Neither did my stomach churn. But seriously, after I tried I read that it is really safe to drink water from the faucet here. Just avoid the hot water because it contains high levels of copper.

I did buy bottled water, but I want tap water for my coffee because coffee tastes better with it! I also want to be sulit (cost-effective, frugal, economical) at the same time, haha! Fine, kuripot na ko!

Maybe next time it is better to read first before trying it out for myself. Just a thought :)

What Jet Lag?!

This is one of the things I'm excited and worried about at the same time. I don't know what it is. I have an idea but I want to experience it for myself and this is the perfect opportunity for it.

Jet Lag... but where is it? This is my second night to sleep in this wonderful city and I haven't felt a change that my body needs to cope with. The worst is I slept at 9pm and woke up 5:30 in the morning. Very early for my usual bedtime but still normal and adequate. Maybe when I go back home, but as for now, my body is a wonderland. *crickets* :))

May 6, 2011

A Very Good Morning

Posted May 6, 2011

It's still surreal to be waking up here in UK.

My breakfast, Nescafe choco fudge coffee and croissant with butter and marmalade. Typical... joke haha! Classy na 'to for me.

And this is where I slept, and will sleep for the rest of my stay: on the sala, because two rooms are occupied by Jen and Ka Yu.

Hello London!

I was a bit anxious about my flight to London earlier today because Miss Jen took a different route from Doha so I was alone on this one. Both of our flights were delayed, but mine took longer (additional 1hr). Luckily, I have still found Miss Jen on our designated meeting point at the Waterloo station even though I was more than an hour late.

Side note: Every time I see the word "Waterloo", Little Lulu's song pops into my head haha! "Waterlulu, Waterlulu with freckles on her skin..." Anyhow, I took "The Tube" (see picture below) from Airport to Waterloo. It's a railway system underneath the city much like a subway but I'm not sure if it can be considered as such. I remember Hong Kong's railway system, it's similar to that.

Finalleh, I'm in London! It's breath-taking... Good time of the year (Spring), cold breeze much like Baguio, clean air, walkable streets, vintage buildings; the positive things can go on and on... but I must not forget that I'm here for work! work! work! Hahaha!

However, I try to avoid converting prices here to Philippine Peso so as not to focus on the fact that the cost of almost everything here is a bit high; from transport to food. Thus my dinner for tonight: a Burger King Whopper sandwich (£,3.69) and a bottle of coke, yummy nevertheless. :) I don't know if it's just me, but the coke here tastes... "Coke-ier". Lol! More pictures here.

This is a really nice place, but it would've been extraordinary if the time spent here is with the people you love and care the most. I'll definitely be back here. <3

May 5, 2011

Aloha Doha!

Posted May 5, 2011

Aloha Doha sounds like a spell hehe. Anyway, I'm here at Doha Airport (Qatar) for a connecting flight to London. It's 11:30pm now (4:30am in the Philippines) and our next flight is at 8am! Argh on the long waiting time! I'm reminded of the time we flew to CDO where we saw people literally sleeping on the airport floor. Will this be our predicament? Haha!

We left Manila at 6:20pm (UTC+8) and arrived here at 10:30pm (UTC+3). The entire trip took 9 hours which is a bit confusing at first due to the time difference. I found myself bouncing between my cellphone which is in RP time and my watch (thank you Pearl!) which is in UK time then doing some basic math which is hard!

So why am I here? This trip is for a business visit to a client in London. I'm with my officemate, Miss Jen, she's easily nauseated but it is a good thing that she didn't throw up. We didn't encounter much turbulence so I enjoyed watching two movies (The Mechanic and I am Number Four) and three 30rock episodes.

On my left was another pinay. Her name is Sheila and she's from CDO. She's on her way to Copenhagen as an exchange student, specifically a working exchange student. It's interesting to know the ways of Filipinos on other countries, but I'm afraid I cannot disclose too much information here.

I don't know much about other airlines but Qatar Airways is great! Well, maybe because I've been used to Cebu Pacific's sub-economy flights. Qatar Airways economy flight from Mla to Doha includes unlimited drinks and two decent meals (Choice of Cream Dory, Chicken Adobo, Braised Beef, and Chicken with tomato sauce). I chose cream dory and orange juice for my first meal and braised beef and apple juice for my second. Sarap rin! Although vegetables was a bit saggy and the salad had a bitter taste. I would've gone for white wine for my cream dory but I didn't know they serve wines for free. They offer Smirnoff too, so maybe you can get a bit tipsy without the extra charge.

Signing off... hope to get pictures for my next posts... and yes, I miss you too ;)

As a side note, just now, a big guy just approached me with an iPhone and a cable and said "wujuju?", yeah I didn't quite understand what he said but it's clear he wants to charge his iPhone on my computer, I just smiled and he assumingly went closer and plugged his cable in to my laptop. and yes, he's still in front of me. Lol at plugging his cable to my lap... top