Posted in Everyday Living, Qatar

Another Day in the Office


I am starting my day slowly, sipping my hot coffee, checking email… nothing new.

I hate surprises. I was caught off-guard with our client’s requirements that I failed to see! Hairs on the back of my forehead started to rise. I knew it, something’s wrong.

My once slow start accelerated to higher gear. Next thing I know, my coffee gone cold, my lips went dry, my stomach got starved. I died, came back to life because I cannot die this time, then  died again, then resurrected. I cannot pass out not until I submitted our requirements.

I have to wrap up everything and be ready at 5pm, and I have to do everything in my power to make it happen. So I did what the usual sane people would do: I closed my eyes and ran like crazy 🙂

To cut the story short, I arrived at client’s reception desk at around 5:15pm. Pretending I’m not late, I casually approached a receptionist – lovely lady named wynna (don’t know if I spelled it right). I presented my documents while catching my breath. I was motioned to sit down, take some rest, and recollect my sanity hehe.

The receptionist sings. Being an expert in evesdropping, I listened. In the thinnest of tone, I am able to pick up the ‘Jesus’ in the song. She’s a believer (not belieber, grow up!*wink). I’m in the Middle East for so long, but I can’t get enough of excitement whenever I come across with fellow expat sharing the same faith. We have a cool conversation which is the first time today I’ve got one. I’m so focus with my client’s requirements that I moved heaven and earth to make it happen. And such a relief that I felt having accepted by our client. So prior to that, nothing seems to matter.

I’ve got a short webchat with my loving wife and cute son. I may have lack some things, but when I speak to my wife and son, I could not ask God for more. Except food of course, am starved.

Heading back, I’ve waited for my two colleagues who will join me in the car way back home. The thing is, these two gentlemen are so caught up with their conversations, that they did not include me. Rude, so to speak. I just sit silently, saving my english for rainy days hehe. I casually stare my smartphone, reading Robert Ludlum’s  “the bourne.” I have to admit,  I enjoyed reading than watching the actual movie, or listening to the two jerks who put me in an awkard situation haha. OP (out of place).

I went home fulfilled. It’s a challenging, tiring day. I can take rest, but can’t go to sleep. I can’t help but thank God for this day. I’ll be forever grateful.

Posted in Uncategorized

Only Introvert Can Understand


I prefer isolation. I wake up each day wanting more minute, not because I beg for more sleep, but because I don’t want to face the world. I’m not ready yet. 

All I want after a dayjob is to sit in silence, in the dark… alone.

But I wasn’t built for that.

I can lead a team, I can collaborate, I’m a master negotiator. You will never spot a hint of introvertness in me, ever. Ironic as it is, I’m possessing a particular skillset only introvert like me can relate. I can hide. I can blend. That’s what we do. We’re practicing that, every single day. It’s like learning a musical instrument: first you play by the rule, then you play with your heart. 

As an old saying goes: “no man is an island.” We need each other, one way or another. I can understand that, no dispute. But I’m more comfortable living in seclusion. Invite me for a drink, I will respectfully decline. Ask me for a meal, I’m all in 🙂 

Had you spotted my mask? See, I just threw you a part of me I can move around. I’m not comfortable socializing, but I recognize it’s essence. So I sit and dine with you not because I like to, but because I love to be closed to you. I want to build a relationship. I am not comfortable yes, but I am flexible. Not to mention, I don’t want to be labelled as anti-social. But please, don’t pry. Respect my privacy. I’m paranoid, can’t help it.

I’m an introvert, but I can be your most trusted person. I can keep secret, that’s what we do. After all I stood the test of time. 

Posted in Everyday Living, Reflections

Let Not Your Past Dictate Your Future


This one’s for those labelled as misfits out there.

Had you ever felt an emptiness? Vague? Felt like you’re a failure? Like you didn’t lived out with people’s expectations in which sometimes somehow You set a standard for the first place? Worry not, you’re not alone.

Look at me. Well, I failed in numerous aspects, but i’ve got the face value -haha. Allow me to share some of my experiences in which life’s failures taught me lots of lessons, to be where I am now – still handsome (i know you heard me first time, i know).

Being a college dropout, need to say more? I can’t help but to have an insecurity built all around me. But I have Jesus. I may sound unfair of bringing my faith in the table, however I don’t have much under my sleeve. While my classmates are busy finishing their degree, I am busy working all day, if not sulking away. I will be a hypocrite if I did not envy them. Then God taught me one strategy: if I can’t beat them with their diploma, I’m going to beat ’em with skillset. So I focus on learning new skillset, crafting it, and mastering into perfection. All my efforts are paid off. Even today, people are being amazed of my skills which I humbly and shyly refer to as ‘due to years of working.’ 

On one occasion, I broke someone’s heart. It’s a failure in handling a relationship. Many contributing factors popped up, however, cultural norms (wherein people favors a woman) – ended myself guilty as charged. I took the blame. But that did not stopped me from loving again. I knew God must’ve His reasons why I experienced that. He should have! My pain is real. 

You know, there’s a tendency to hide in a cloak of invisibility. I’m not referring to some kind of superpowers. It’s the pain behind a smile, bitterness behind cheerful aura, insecurities buried in the deepest of our being. That’s a cloak of invisibility. The drawback? no one seems to notice, no one seems to care EXCEPT those who went through, or are still undergoing the pain you are into. 

Here’s where we are good at. We can blend in our surroundings, while God in His lovingkindness, is shaping our bruised heart. Yes, we are tired. We never wished for it for the first place. We did our best, given our all, but we’d fallen short. Listen to this: you have to focus on the growth factor. Believe that everything is essential for your character development. And keep believing that God is preparing you into something – in which you will fit in, in due time.

If there’s one lie you should not believe, is the voice that telling you ‘You’re a failure.’ We all fail, but don’t let that setback hold you back from reaching your destiny. God, throughout history, called people who are notoriously/horribly failed. He called the doubtful (Thomas), the proud (Peter), the coward (Gideon), the insecured (Moses) – to fulfill important missions. Inspite their failures/shortcomings, God thought they’re fit for the job! So let God humor the humanity once again by choosing YOU as important piece to complete a mission that in due time, God will call you to fulfill.

Look at me, I am a school dropout, yet have a job. I once believed a failure in relationship, yet happily married with a son. If there’s one trait that did not changed is my confidence with my face value (laughs). Yeah, that’s what we do, we laugh – genuinely.

If you are still reading up to this part, let me tell you this: God is not finished with you yet. 

Posted in Family

Dad’s Journey


Every journey is never easy. It takes more than a desire to move forward. Drive, passion, dedication, name it. Bottom line is, you’ve got to have that to separate yourself from merely an enthusiast. 

My journey as dad started one year after quitting my day job. Being an expat, I have to give up my job abroad to make baby(ies). Creating a baby is harder than I thought! Especially, we’re racing against time. She then conceived, prayer works, indeed.

We are grateful for God’s provisions throughout the next nine months. She did not experienced morning sickness, spotting, and even labor pain (CS #kaway-kaway). God always give financial provisions everytime she have appointment with her OB. As in my case, I’m struggling to keep my computer shop open. 

As the day of giving birth is fast approaching, I am thinking of ways to provide for my family. I can tell I’ll be a good dad. I don’t want to wake up one day without a food for my family. I must think, and act the earliest. I chose not to tell my wife of my thoughts. She’s carrying heavy enough (literally) to get worried.

One day, we’ve been invited by our former colleagues for their wedding. I then decided to ask them a possibility to come back. Never left a bad record, they assured me that i can come back. Now, that’s a ray of sunlight 🙂

Ironic as I thought, I left my job because of baby, and for that same reason I’ll return. 

Running out of option and time, I decided to speak with my wife to discuss my intentions. We agreed to pray for it, and wait for God’s answer. I’ll give it a shot, and if our company decided to have me back, that’s a sign that it’s God’s will. He will not allow anyway if it’s not for us. That’s faith in action 🙂
 

I can say, I cried…bitterly. The pain of leaving my loving wife with unborn son breaks me. My only consolation is the realization that it’s harder to leave my son after seeing him, and giving birth is costly! These justify the pain that it takes.

That’s my first sacrifice as a dad, way to go!

Long-distance relationship with your spouse is one thing, with your son/daughter is another.

I went home for annual leave on my son’s 1st birthday. It’s the first time I laid my eyes to him, to hold him in my arms, to tell him that his virtual dad actually exists 🙂 That experience added to my ever-colorful life. God must’ve favored me in all ways imaginable. He can allow me to be united always with my wife and son. He can make it happen, He is God. But He didn’t, because He wants me to experience how it feels to be away from my son, and the joy of uniting with him. I’ve been reminded of the parable of a prodigal son. I can relate. If I have an advise to give to younger generation, I will tell them to speak with their parents especially when they are away from each other i.e. expat. Every opportunity to have a glimpse of my son brings joy to my heart. I knew at times my wife is getting annoyed but she understands. 

Things are getting more exciting when my son started to talk. Inasmuch as it brought joy, so my heart was wrenched when it’s about time to leave. I knew it’s not the setup God wants us to live – being far away from each other.

I am aware that my journey as a dad is far from getting over. I enjoy every moment. 

I can talk endlessly about a father’s love. It’s a blend of sacrifice, joy, longingness, and a little bit of bravery on accepting the fact that we cannot move each and every wall. We can for now rest our back against it. And find a way to climb o’er it.

Posted in Devotions

Offering our Hearts


Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

The above passage portrays our desire to surrender fully in the Lord. We can only arrive on this place when we are saturated with His presence in the spirit of worship.

I have to admit, I’m not always receptive to God’s investigations. There are times I want to hide from Him, makes me feel like what Adam and Eve felt after committing sin.

I can’t thank God enough for everything. All I can do is to offer this heart wholeheartedly. After all, it’s for my own sake. God will not benefit because l have this somewhat self-centered,egocentric heart. The scripture is pretty much accurate. God knew my anxieties.

Let’s continue reading below, which concludes the thoughts of the matter:

*[[Psa 139:24]] KJV* And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

As you can see, obedience to God starts with surrendering our hearts. We cannot say to God: “guide me,” unless we are willing to set aside our selfish thoughts. We have to allow God to search our hearts and get rid of impurities. He cannot work His way in our hearts if we’re wrestling with Him to take control. It’s either we, or God, who will drive. Someone must be in the passenger’s seat. We usually drive our lives like crazy, then jump on passenger’s seat and ask God to take charge when we lost control. Tsk!

Do not put yourself in a vulnerable situation, and then ask God to rescue you.

Isn’t it more comforting to sit tight and allow God, the Master Driver to increase the gear? Continuing to contemplate will lead us into the issue of trust. We have to trust God. Will you trust your house key to a random pedestrian?

Let’s continue to trust God with our lives. And start counting marvelous days with Him.

Posted in Uncategorized

Intention


I desire to love God deeply

When everything are lost in the shadow

No drama, no superficial ceremony

Just worship, the rest will follow.
In this world full of popular opinions

Let’s go back to the Word, focus on vision

Sinplicity of the gospel is: Jesus died for you and me

No sugarcoat, no politics, just a message that from sin you’re free!

Posted in Tagalog Posts

Eskinita


Binabaybay ko ang maliit na pinitak,

Paglagpas ng sementeryo, aking tinatahak,

Makipot, nakakakilabot,

Sa takipsilim

Kadilima’y pumapalibot.

Umaambon pa kasi

Malamig na hangi’y dumadampi.

Papalapit na ako sa malaking puno ng balite

May maligno daw, dapat magpasintabi

May nagpapakita pang white lady

Ba’t naman kasi iniwan ako ni ate.

Nag-umpisang tumayo ang balahibo ko sa batok

Parang may sumusunod sa akin

Pagtapat ko sa puno ng sampalok

Nakita ko ang sarili ko, galit na nakatingin!

Kapag pala sobra ang takot mo

Hindi ka makakakilos, hihinto ang iyong mundo

Nagkatitigan kami ng aking hunyango

Hanggang sa dilim, siya ay naglaho.

Dalawampu’t limang taon na ang nakaraan

Ang karanasan ko’y parang kahapon lamang

Sa paglaki ko alam kong kasama ko lang siya

At minsan, naglakas loob sa aki’y magpakita.

Posted in TechTalk

Opera VPN: Because Privacy Matters


I don’t know about you, but I take my privacy seriously. Living in the Middle East subjected my online access into censorship. I don’t mind the government blocking various websites, makes sense to me. My paranoia is, the government must have its way of reviewing my weblog.

It’s like in Will Smith’s “Enemy of the State,” or in tv series “Person of Interest.” The thought of Big Brother watching my move and being able to record all my fingerprints electronically scares me. That’s when Virtual Private Network (VPN) serves me very well.

VPN comes with a price – around US$30/year bundled for up to 3 devices. Go for free version, then you’ll be bombarded with lots of bloatwares (unwanted programs) so annoying that you can trade off your privacy just to uninstall these adwares. Not to mention the time/data limit.

As a promoter of open-source apps, I am delighted to stumble upon Opera VPN. It’s interface is simple, just connect/disconnect. And you can choose which region you want to be identified. I choose United States, as some websites can be accessed only within US. Nohidden catch there, just a small ad banner at the bottom. It’s ok for me that Opera will monitor my activities, so long as I can seclude myself from the outside world.

Tips: go in-cognito mode in Chrome browser. This will not record (apparently) your browsing history. If you’re a tech savvy/enthusiast, you can go to Tor browser. Promoting anonymity, you’ll pass with lot of ports (nodes). This will slow down your browsing speed. That’s fine for me, especially when I’m into online booking, and e-commerce of some sort.

The only trouble I’m experiencing is about external link within facebook. I have to manually copy its address and paste to new tab. Quite annoying at times. I have to disconnect Opera VPN for a while.

This is a goldmine for me. Feel free to test its features, let me know your experience. So far, so good to me.

Freedom! 🙂

Posted in Family, Pilipinas

A grateful father


 

As me and my wife are conversing with my flight bound to abu dhabi, my son did not pay attention to me. He’s busy playing with his toy jollibee.

Before retiring to bed, his mom is training him to pray. My safety here abroad is one on his prayer list.

Little did we know, Aldaen is listening intently with our conversation. He don’t want to talk to me, but he’s all-eared. His mom haven’ t told him yet about my flight.

The Prayer

Roughly translated: “Jesus, salamat po, sa pag-iingat kay tito, kay daddy na pupunta sa Abu Dhabi, Amen.”

Truly a tear-jerking prayer.

Jesus’ heart is close to children. Thank You Lord.

Posted in Qatar, travel

A good day to visit


Beneath a cloudy horizon spreads a gulf mena. Once was a scorched desert turned to be a melting pot of oil so rich that it paved way for this region’s development. Dubai, here i come – again.

It’s not so (annoyingly) hot on this season. With 23°c, feels like a tropical country i came from: the Philippines. Equipped with a phone with gps app designed for idiot like me, i confidently grabbed a taxi. Destination: Main office. I’m confident i will get lost somehow.

Now here’s where I’m good at – predicting my misery. I got lost, unsurprisingly, and started to bug our beloved Ms Melody who is exceptionally beautiful and patient to assist me. To cut the story short (and my ordeal), i finally reached our office in time – with an hour allowance for travel time :).

I was received with warm welcome (red carpet with press conference and everything – just kidding). Our team are so polite and eager to hear latest development in Qatar. After catching up with our team, I grabbed a taxi with unwavering confidence that I will be stucked somewhere in the desert. Destination: Abu Dhabi.

The moment I sit on the passenger’s seat, the driver started complaining that he waited for half an hour, that it’s his shift. I’m not a newbie on such excuses and to humor myself, I dropped a bomb: “abu dhabi,my friend.” Believe me, his eyes widened in disbelief and he let go a sigh so deep that i feel sorry for him. Wrong place, wrong time. So we collaborate on how to resolve the situation. Apparently, he’s not making up excuses. We agreed that i will be handed over with his partner (shift) to drive me to Abu Dhabi.

Upon reaching Abu Dhabi, my gorgeous friend (former colleague) Ems chatted me. I’m looking forward meeting this lovely lady. I am about to reply, then my load ran out. It happens to an idiot like me, which I refer to as murphy’s law as an scapegoat :). So i deviated from my route bound to hotel, to Dallma Mall where we will supposed to meet – which she still don’t know because I haven’t sent my reply yet. Poor me. I sought assistance with a saleslady to help me recharge my account. It turned out that i need to input my number (you guessed right, i have no idea what my number is), so i opted out for a voucher. I was instructed to climb on the first floor. I finally able to load, i am awesome!

Being able to contact Ems, I was thrilled to be informed that Imee will join us. Am so excited.

Imee is a food guru. We feasted on juicy salted chicken sprinkled with citrus, matched with ensalada-like fried eggplant as a side dish. The bread is freshly baked. Everything is perfect, minus the rude waiter that Imee has a grudge with (peace, Imee!).

See our snapshots below:

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Me, Ems, and Imee
The “enselada” I am referring to.
Crunchy cookies
Hot bread
The famous salty roasted (then flattened) chicken
Ems, Imee, and me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We talked a lot. From work-related to personal life. Joining these intelligent and cheerful beauties left me with my jaw wide open (okay, it’s a bit exagerrated – the jaw thing). It’s a no-nonsense conversation, that I haven’t experience for a long time, that I will treasure. I’ll look forward on future opportunities on sitting with you two – and I will pay this time (that’s a promise).

Arriving on hotel, I tried to show off by paying upfront. I’ll pay it anyway upon checking out. And guess what, I was upgraded to VIP! Talking about God’s tender love.

So here are the perks: a basket of fruits, a wardrobe, slipper and a pouch of toothpaste&toothbrush. I was also offered VIP access to gym and pool. I’m satisfied, but have to request for flat iron. I had a pleasant stay.

Waiting on hotel’s lobby took longer than expected. Perhaps due to traffic congestion. I waited until 8:30am, and started to get worried. Calling our office in abu dhabi, i was informed that the driver arrived and somehow cannot find me. I don’t know how many reception the hotel has, but we missed to see each other somehow. Being smart as I am, i waved for taxi (again). This time I did it first time. Feat!

So the training went well. I am now equipped for slavery 🙂

Before coming back to Doha, I decided to visit our colleague. I met our geophysics guys with Mr. Satar (the Living Legend). Then I headed to Imee. It’s really nice to pay a visit. You know the feeling of being special, receiving a warm welcome.

Then I move to next building. I first met this lovely lady: Jacqueline. Finally, i met her, who i usually communicate thru email exchange. Decided to see some more, I headed upstairs to meet the rest of FSME force. Here comes Imelda. She’s oozing with personality. She extended a  courtesy of touring me around. You’ll never believe when I come across with commercial team. No shortage of excitement and joyful acquaintance. I feel blessed upon meeting ruby and yasmine. They’re so cool and (strangely) happy to see me.

Then there’s praveen, ebtisam (i call him sam, for short), youssef, and oh this young indonesian guy maybe.

All in all, I have a great two days holiday. I am looking forward on meeting them once again.

God is so good that He allowed me to meet such individuals. We may not see each other often, and acquaintance is no more deeper than good friends, I’m grateful for the opportunity. This makes me reflect on how God thru the years surround me with beautiful people that I may never have an opportunity to meet but lately. Surely, if I will be in need, they’ll be my friends indeed. I’ll do the same likewise.

Tomorrow is another day in the office, yet will be meaningful to other people we might cross with. I admit, Ms.Yasmine reached for my assistance once. I am about to go home that late afternoon feeling tired and extremely stressed. Instead of grumbling, i took a deep breath and get back to work. Assisting her is the task I am doing routinely. So I forgot about it. When I visited her, she is very happy. What if I grumbled? The feeling will surely be reversed.

Maximus (Russell Crowe, from the movie “Gladiator”) once said “Whatever you do today, echoes in eternity.”

It is okay to do everything diligently. As for me, I’m doing it for the glory of God.