Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Chief Protects His Own

While browsing through my phone trying to check previous notes, I came across a note I have saved on my 27th birthday.

In choosing a partner, always look out for someone protective of you. Protect by definition is to keep someone from being harmed or lost; to provide a guard or shield; to cover from damage; and so the list goes on. Your partner must always consider how you will feel before he takes any actions. It is a good exercise when he seeks your advise before making decisions that will affect you. This doesn't mean that he cannot make decisions on his own. It is about being sensitive to what your partner will feel. In simple terms, think about how you both decide where to eat. Do you not consider what your partner fancies and what they are allergic to? The same rationale works in thinking carefully before he makes any move. After all, his actions will reflect what he values the most.

In my experience, I had to let go of my career in Dubai and risk transferring to another country in the Gulf without any prospective employer. For visa purposes, I had to accept an offer that did not match my idea of a perfect working environment. Who else here has had to grasp at straw because time was ticking and you need to get that visa? My fellow overseas workers would understand the stress! I endured days of dragging myself to work only to find out that my efforts are unappreciated and my salary cut low. I literally cried buckets of tears trying to move forward from heaps of gratingly unfortunate events. But with much faith, coupled with confidence and the will to get what I deserve, I have decided to resign. I cannot fathom the peace it gave me knowing that God will not allow things that do not have a greater purpose than the temporary feeling it creates. Yes, I was massively disappointed and it came to a point where I struggled to stay in the Gulf but Andrew has been very supportive and have offered help as much as he could. He took the extra mile by referring me to his comrades in the hopes of scoring even just an interview and when it didn't pan out, he shared encouraging words.

He would give full on support even when he was inconvenienced. I remember him leaving office during work hours just to drive me to where I need to be* and that one time when we had a misunderstanding and he had to go to work but decided to drive home just to iron it out.

Sometimes, we do not sing from the same sheet of music but when push comes to shove, he would always listen to how I want to face the situation and what we both can contribute to resolve the issue.

I never saw him hobnob with people and put me in an uncomfortable position; he will always stick to me like glue because he knows how much of an introvert I am when introduced to new faces.

When I finally found a new job which by the way I love so much, he continues to pick me up from work and drive home as he has done ever since I got here so we need not rent a private taxi in the afternoon.

And whenever he is faced with a dilemma, he would open up to me and seek my counsel which I appreciate so much for it gives me a sense of security that I am his confidante and that my voice matters.

Your man should always be protective of you. He must know from your words and gestures when and how you feel comfortable. He will take the extra effort to seek your heart and pursue you to the ends of the earth no matter how difficult you are. My sullen behavior has made it difficult for him to handle me but still he decided to pursue me even when it meant that he would set aside his feelings.

So remember ladies, your man should protect you from anything that will make your life a misery. You two should be frolicking at the beach or traveling to places you have always dreamt of, taking pictures and trying delicacies. Because what is life if you don't share happiness with the person you love!

When you find him, this must ring true: a chief protects his own.

*Transportation in Bahrain is not as advanced as in Dubai. Bus transport is available but wait time is ridiculous you'll never get to your destination on time. There is no Metro railway and taxi costs a fortune. Although there are news that plans are developing for a railway system connecting countries in the Persian Gulf and a light rail network within Bahrain.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Wonders of Tithing

Grace (χαρις). As the bible study tool defines it, grace is the unmerited favor of God toward man. Even as a child, I was brought up to be generous to other people knowing how God has been generous to me and my family. I could even remember a time I had to give my last bill to an elderly person because I feel blessed that I have a home and food to eat while she suffers from homelessness and hunger. Then in my time of need, a friend would offer unsolicited help which will justify what Proverbs  11:24 teaches us, "One person gives freely, yet gains even more..." which tells me how generosity comes back in unexpected ways.

As a Christian, I have learned about tithing only when I started joining weekly bible group meetings. And to be honest, it didn't come easily for me to give a portion of my salary knowing that I have payables to bear. But as time passed by, God worked in my heart. And soon as I started to tithe, God has promoted me in life. After seven years with my orevious employer, I 
had the opportunity to work with the quality team and later on handpicked to work for the Division Leader. My relationships were strengthened and I felt more comfortable in life. How I got to Dubai was a blessing - financially and more importantly, spiritually. Part of that is because I have constantly prayed for Him to lead me to a place where my faith will grow stronger. For those wondering where they heard this from, it's a line from Hillsong's Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).

I cannot tell you how much favor I have received from our gracious Father. From the time I checked in at the NAIA terminal up to the time I searched for a job, God worked behind the scenes and did great wonders. At the terminal, my luggage weighed over 30kg and yet the ground crew spared me from paying almost Php 3,000. In Singapore, my good friend Jury, roommate Vanessa, and high school bestfriend Annabella have made my visit a fun-filled experience, not to mention I had a short trip to Legoland - Malaysia. May God bless them! And even before I left for Dubai, the ground crew in Singapore airport delayed my flight and gave me lounge access while I wait for my connecting flight to Sri Lanka where I was supposed to wait for seven hours.

Grinning because...!

Peace out!
Make some music!!!
Wow! Can I take this home please?

Oh no! Free the kitties!

Jury busy with his DIY coaster

Miniature tourist attractions made of Lego
"Your lack of faith is disturbing..."
At Aston with Annabella

Much thanks to the ground crew of SriLankan Airlines
Finished my food in a heartbeat, lol

First time to relax in a lounge

View from my seat

So everytime I am tempted to delay tithing or intentionally use it to bless other people, I remind myself of how much grace God has been giving me. Recently, He made my wanderlust dream a reality when I traveled to UK. It is the most enjoyable travel I've ever experienced ~ next to Thailand where I shared a memorable time with my family in January 2016. If you have read one of my previous posts, I was granted a UK visa with the help of my partner. He took me under his wings while I was in UK and made sure I went to all the places I have planned to visit. He even filled my luggage with goodies that I can share with my family and friends because he knows that Filipinos are fond of pasalubong (souvenirs or gifts). And just to give you a glimpse of the fun that Andrew and I shared in UK, here are some pictures~

My Princess Diaries at the Warwick Castle

The Cambridge Story

We were laughing because of the "bibe" in the next picture


The famous telephone booth of course!

Outside the Buckingham palace

Big Ben selfie!!!

London eye... Raining, thus the picture lol

Green Park selfie

Notting Hill underground selfie!

"I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her..."

And the London trip is incomplete without the underground experience! But first, let me take a selfie. Hahaha! Thank you love! :*

And the best bit about my UK travel is my flying experience c/o my dear aviator, Andrew.

Upside down in Wacky Wabbit - a T6 Harvard warbird

God is so full of grace that you will come to a point where you will feel so amazed at the blessings and provisions that come your way. My heart is consumed by His love and in response, I want to continue my obedience in tithing. And I pray the same for you! ♥

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Maple-Lemon Glaze Salmon

Are you tired of eating the usual? Do you want to eat healthy? Are you on a budget?

Then you came to the right place! Here, I shall teach you how to make your own Maple-Lemon Glaze Salmon which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and doesn't hurt the pocket!

I am no guru at cooking but because I love experimenting, I discovered a healthy way of cooking salmon. My friend recommended the caviar salmon at the grocery store which I have used ever since.

First is you want to marinade your salmon at least 30 minutes or overnight by letting it soak in lemon and garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Before cooking, mix 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, dash of pepper, and a few drops of olive oil in a mixing bowl. When you are ready to cook, heat your nonstick pan (I use a very small pan from Ikea that I purchased for AED 12) and put some olive oil (I put a few drops and move the pan so the oil is distributed). Then place your salmon (including the marinade and garlic) and cook for 2 minutes. Before turning it to the other side, coat the top of your salmon with the maple mixture. Do this on the other side and cook for another 2 minutes. As you go along, the maple syrup will thicken, giving your salmon that glaze you are rooting for. Continue cooking each side for 2 minutes everytime until the salmon is ready to eat. Mine usually takes 3 turns before I take it out of the pan. You can also squeeze some lemon while cooking if you want to add more flavor!

If I feel like putting an Asian feel to it, I put in some rice to the pan, add melted butter and cut the salmon into smaller pieces. This is good for one person only so if you will be cooking more salmon, just tweak the ingredients. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Air Asia's Inflight Contest

Blessings come in different forms and mine came in blue!

Back in January 2016, my family decided to go on our first international trip to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday. We booked our flight from Bangkok to Phuket with Air Asia and during the trip, I took the time to enjoy the flight reading their inflight magazine.

While scanning through the pages, it piqued my interest when I saw their inflight contest. I'm a sucker for joining contests! I remember winning a pair of bikini and a Kiehl's monster box from joining contests in Instagram. So with enthusiasm, I took pictures of my favorite articles from the magazine hoping I can sit down after vacation and do a write up.

My Thailand trip was unforgettable because (1) I was with my family, (2) the tourist attractions - especially the beaches - are to die for, (3) Air Asia crew members are accommodating and well-organized making my flight experience amazing - from check in, on board service, up to baggage collection. Here's a glimpse of my winning article as published in the magazine:

Thank you Air Asia and Universal Traveller! I am now ready for my trip to London and countryside areas in the United Kingdom!

PS: Below is the care card from Universal Traveller for my Royal McQueen luggage:

Can I just say? My heart is flushed with appreciation that my new luggage came right on time for my trip. This is one of the best blessings I have received! And did I mention it was delivered on my birthday? How cool is that!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

UK Visa Application from Dubai

I am writing this blog for the purpose of helping my fellow Filipinos working in Dubai as they apply for a UK Visa.

First of all, you must be conditioned to go through a tedious process of requesting documents and arranging them according to the Consulate's expectations. You cannot be too confident that your visa will be approved just because you are providing them the required documents. I believe the arrangement is also important. So take note!

The process begins with you checking the application process in the VFS Global website:

Upon registering at the official UK website for online visa applications, select your preferred appointment date (and time) and type of visa. You will then be asked to pay for a fee based on the visa tier you are applying for. At the time of my application, I paid $132 to get a 6-months visitor visa. Please note that you need to have a UK address when accomplishing the application online.

Once completed, you need to print the application form and document checklist. Now, brace yourself and start collecting the requirements!

Here are the documents I have submitted (arranged in the order indicated in the checklist and all in English as required by the British Consulate):
1) PH passport (old and new)
2) Emirates ID
3) Travel Itinerary
4) Dummy flight ticket - from Skyline Travel, Tourism & Shipping LLC - call 06 563 3669 or 06 563 6923 for assistance
5) Letter of invitation from my sponsor
6) Passport of my sponsor
7) NOC and Salary Certificate from my employer
8) My bank statements (must be stamped by the bank) - last 6 months
9) Sponsor's bank statements - last 6 months
10) Property deed in PH
11) Sponsor accommodation details
12) My mom's passport (as evidence of family member remaining in PH while I travel)

There is a separate page where you can list additional documents you are submitting. Here are other documents I have submitted:
1) Bahrain visa
2) Indian e-visa

The last page of the documents checklist is a signature page that you must NOT sign until you are at your appointment. Make sure to photocopy all documents for your reference.

What to do next? On your appointment date, go to the application centre preferably 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. My appointment is at 4:15 PM and I was at VFS Global Application Centre around 3:30 PM! I cannot contain my excitement. Lol! Their Dubai office is located in Wafi Mall, 3rd floor. Since I came early, I was asked to wait at the benches and only approached security at 3:45 PM. By then, he let me in and so the process started. I approached front desk and was given a checklist (different from the application document checklist) and a number. As my number had been called, I handed over the documents to the VFS Global staff who then double checked all documents. I subscribed to SMS alerts and paid a courier fee with the VFS Global staff so that I didn't have to go back for passport collection. Then, I had to wait for my number to be called again for Biometrics and picture taking. Tip: Come to the application with your best suit on! This picture was later on used as the photo on my approved visa. :)

On that same day, I received an SMS stating that my application was forwarded to UKVI and amazingly on June 13th, I was alerted that my passport is ready for collection and a separate SMS stating that my passport has been dispatched. I also received an email stating that Aramex will be contacting me to schedule the delivery of my passport or contact Aramex on 600544000 to schedule the delivery of my shipment. With my excitement, I called Aramex and requested to deliver my passport immediately! And voila, I got my passport the next day with my UK visa! Praise God!

To all, may God reveal to you His great plans in His own time. All the best on your application! Feel free to drop a line if you have any questions. :)

From my experience, I gathered some of the requirements first before I even applied on the website. I applied online on May 28, 2016 and scheduled my appointment on June 7, 2016 to give myself ample time to complete all requirements and arrange it accordingly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ugly duckling

Beat that!

For the years that have passed, all I did was make myself a better person. Have I succeeded?

Uhm, yes? Maybe. Tell me!

When it comes to dealing with other people, I guess I'm better at it now. I have always loved to listen to other people's sentiments. That's because they experience too much while I don't. And that's because I'm afraid of taking risks. And that's because I've been hurt. Well I really don't wanna talk about the "hurtful past". It's part of the past anyhow.

I definitely am good at listening. It gives me a sense of fulfillment in terms of being a friend. And it also gives me wisdom, coz even though I have not experienced things first-hand, through listening, I learn so many ways on how to handle challenging people and heated situations.

What I am recently concerned of is if it is a sign of maturity when you accept that you are in love with two people at the same time? You already are in a relationship and when someone new comes along, you also give him a chance. Is it really acceptable nowadays? I'm still questioning myself why I can tolerate friends with such dilemma. Because I can't help but think of how people will react to it once the truth is revealed, and how people will see me once they get to know that I have such friends. Am I being selfish if I can't understand their point of view? Should I try putting myself in their shoes? Should I stop being friends with them? IDK.

Moving forward, there is one habit that I've learned to break. Before, I used to cry my heart out in every heart-breaking situation. There were those days when I just locked myself up in my room, crying non-stop. Phoning my friends became an obsession because I wanted to hear consoling words. Worst, I lost weight and lost my appetite which eventually led me to gastric illnesses that is now destroying my diet. I am so into gaining weight. I've tried Appeton Weight Gain and Mosegor but they didn't work for me. I've tried the sleeping-after-meals-habit but it still didn't help me gain weight. It was during those times when someone told me that I should not be too conscious of my weight because many people envy me for having such a svelte figure. I was thankful but seriously, they should not be envious of me. Although it made me realize that at least, I can do things that "healthy" people can't. Well maybe it's just a matter of looking at the brighter side :))
    word for the day : Pulchritudinous : physical comeliness     
Something I want to achieve. Because growing up was difficult for me. When I was a part of a volleyball team, one of my team mates did really hit me when she said that I looked like ALICIA (main character in a series at a local TV station). After hearing it, tears fell down my face and I went into haste to the nearest washroom so they won't see. My sister, my savior, followed me and told me to stop crying. Oh up until now I feel the pain of being criticized in such a way.

There was also an instance when I visited a friend at their house. Her younger sister bluntly said "why does she look ugly?". Well, I just smiled. I'm used to hearing those things, before.

But despite all those experiences, I am thankful they made me see what I can improve on. So, cheers to all those constructive criticisms :)) You brought me to where I am right now. :))

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I want to hear it from the horse's mouth!

It's been one of the goody-good-good days.

Less calls. Less stress.

But why can't I sleep again?

My everyday routine:
Upon reaching home (coming from work, after rendering overtime for w/c I am so addicted to), I rest for a couple of minutes by watching MTV / STC / ETC / FTV. Seeing my favorite stars & international models brightens my day.

I take a half - bath.

Eat (breakfast? / lunch?) whatever it is that was prepared by my parents.

Continue watching TV.

Once I feel sleepy, that is the time I lay in bed w/ lights off.

Even without the lights, being aware that it is still morning and the sun is up (hot hot hot), I can't sleep. I try my best to sleep. Eyes shut. Still I am wide awake. Weird me.

Anyhow, I wake up around 6:45PM. Take a bath, major bathing this time. Then I prepare myself for work. -Choose the best outfit that fits my mood for the day. Try not to eat much. Brush my teeth. Apply sun block (I know it's weird, knowing that there is no sun at night. I just like to. Why care?!). Comb my hair; fix it. Apply a lip gloss. Use my eye paints (whichever color is best for my outfit). Check my bag. Wear my earrings/rings. Carry my packed lunch (As if I'm a grade school student). Leave the house.

I reach the office always past 9PM. Just in time for my graveyard shift in a call center. First I open my profile. Second, check my mail and pull up the system. Third, ask someone to accompany me to the washroom and to come with me so I can refill my mug (or whatever you call it) with warm water. I don't wanna drink purely cold water, I mix cold&hot water. That's what I prefer to drink. And then if I can use my time to sleep, I sleep. If not, then I just use my remaining time checking my mail.

Once 10PM strikes, I get ready for another busy day answering calls. I would often get calls wherein customers would like to be escalated to a supervisor, w/c I find to be unfair. Why do they have to speak with a supervisor? Some customers say: "I want to hear it from the horse's mouth!" (w/c I find AMUSING!). Even though I encounter irate customers, what amuses me is the fact that I am being compensated for whatever I am doing. That is why I love to render OVERTIME! I'm addicted to it. You should too. Think about it. I receive calls everyday. So why should I hesitate rendering OT when I'm already used to taking in calls? Right? It's just the same. It might be stressful, I know. But, what's important to know is that I am being compensated for the extra work. Another benefit from rendering OT is you have plenty of time to handle each possible type of call. It only means one thing: Product Knowledge / Account Mastery. Of course, knowing the back-and-forths, run arounds and follow-throughs would make life easier. Simpler.

Being a customer interaction associate is not an easy job. I live in a constant danger of receiving calls from angry customers w/o any warning. This being my first work experience, I still can't explain the feeling. I don't know how to explain it but I'll make every effort to extract my brain just to describe what I truly feel inside. In the beginning, it was fun. Then at some point, I cried. One call did make me cry. A customer was disputing a VALID CHARGE. It being valid was the reason for me declining waiver of the fee (FYI, when customers hear that you will not grant their request, they become sick, figuratively speaking). Because of the fact that I declined to reverse the valid chg, the customer started YELLING at me. And it made me cry. Why? It is because no one ever yelled at me like that. The customer was brutal (figuratively speaking) in words. You know how it feels when you hear words you do not normally hear. When my supervisor saw me crying over the account pulled up on the system, it gave her all the more reason not to waive the fee even though she knew that Excellent customers must be allowed a one time courtesy for being a valued customer. The irate customer was an Excellent customer. However, because of what she did (w/c was terribly inappropriate), my supervisor decided not to use Delegation of Authority to waive the charge.

That call was and is the worst & unforgettable call ever. And even if I already had more than a hundred bad calls, still I consider that call to be the worst.

Enough about work.

Whoaw. I am still awake. As a running computation, I'm awake for almost 22 hours. Who can beat that?!? Huh!

Anyhow, I need to end this. So, GTG. Until next time. Ciao!

Enjoy life. While we still can.

A helpful tip for the day:

The best way to deal with irate customers is to avoid giving them reason to become angry in the first place. Knowing how to appease them can prevent a misunderstanding from turning into a catastrophe.