Elections fever abroad

On Saturday, April 9, the overseas absentee voting officially kicked off to a good start. Compared to Philippines where the voting only lasts for one day, on May 9, overseas Filipinos have a chance to vote for their President, Vice President, Senators and Party list organization within a month from April 9 to May 9.


I personally have voted on the first day itself and I was surprised how seamless it went unlike the stories I have heard where there were a lot of difficulties to vote during elections.


The election fever is so infectious as everyone on their social media have utilized their posts to encourage others to further vote as some have not officially voted yet even though they are a registered voter.


As a Filipino it feels great to exercise my right to vote and I do feel everyone should do the same for their own country when they have elections. Best thing about voting is there is no wrong or right answer. What is important is you have practiced your own right to vote.


Here are articles I wrote recently about the current election fever in UAE. Enjoy!

Overseas voting starts in UAE

By Jekah Carillo

DUBAI—Overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) commenced on Saturday, April 9, with Filipinos full of excitement voting for their President, Vice President, Senators and Partylist organization.

Remigio Bernardo, who works as a family driver in Sharjah, took the opportunity to vote on the first day at the Philippines Consul General (PCG) office in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

“First ko lang na bumoto uli. Matagal na panahon hindi na ako naka-boto. . . sa Pilipinas pa. Kahit sa Pilipinas matagal na rin,” the 55-year-old Bernardo shared.

… read more http://kabayanweekly.com/oav-starts-uae/


Be cautious when campaigning for favored political candidates in UAE

By Jekah Carillo

DUBAI—Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes has stressed to those who are campaigning for their favored political candidates in the emirate right now to be extra careful.

“I urge all our kabayans here in the UAE to be a little bit more cautious and to be more circumspect, especially when they start giving out flyers, banners, or letters endorsing a political candidate. We all know that sort type of activity is not allowed here in the UAE and we do not want them to be accosted by the police or by CID simply because they are giving out flyers,” he told Kabayan Weekly.

… red more http://kabayanweekly.com/cautious-campaigning-favored-political-candidates-uae/


To be updated follow me on Twitter @Jekah_Carillo or go to www.kabayanweekly.com.


Sad news

As I put my bags down from work today, I was shocked to receive unfortunate news. Baby Raimi, the baby who was suffering from Biliary Atresia that I featured a few issues ago on our paper has passed away. I received confirmation from his father Ramil moments ago.


For the past few events, Ramil together with his sister had been given a chance to sell t-shirts for Baby Raimi. They were there for OPM Hitmen, Andrew E and The New Salbakuta, and World Vision with the help of Ms. Vagelyn Federico.


I had personally purchased a couple of shirts from them to help. They did say that having Baby Raimi be featured on the newspaper had already helped them a lot too which the Sencio couple are very grateful for.


I may not have met Baby Raimi personally but through his loved ones, I have become attached to his story. I did not expect to be emotional as I am right now. My sincerest condolences to the Sencio family.


May you rest in peace Baby Raimi.



Here is his story


A life to tale

As a local reporter, I meet lots of different people from all walks of life with different stories to tell, ups and downs, struggles and achievements. Professionally, I deal with them as much as I can that they are able to share their stories with me comfortably.


I am human after all, there are times that some of the stories I hear that do leave an impact in my life. I do not know everything in life so I am also learning to be a better person through the process.


One of the recent stories that I reported was about a baby who is suffering from biliary atresia. It’s a condition where the person’s liver is not properly working. The baby is 8 months old. To know more about it I’ll put the article that I wrote. I was happy the story was published in both our paper and website.


 Mother asks help for 8-month-old baby

By Jekah Carillo

A baby’s cry can be of a thousand reasons, not because he was hungry or needs a mother’s touch. Parents will never know the real health condition of their baby until running multiple tests.

Eight-month-old Raimi Sencio, son of Ramil and Catherine who both work in Abu Dhabi, suffers from biliary atresia. Raimi was diagnosed on December 18 and his parents was told by doctors that a liver transplant is needed to be done as soon as possible to save his life.

To continue reading click here or http://kabayanweekly.com/mother-asks-help-for-8-month-old-baby/


I don’t know if you have noticed but I have been MIA lately. That’s because I now work for a newspaper, Kabayan Weekly. It’s a Filipino English newspaper in the UAE. I write local stories for online and print which is great. I cover events, meet and interview influential people from different industries.

Currently I was able to interview famous PBA stars from Alaska Aces and meet the world boxing champ, Manny Pacquiao. Other than that, I have also met people from the UAE government and from the Philippine government. It was a true honour how my work has led me to meet these people.

To keep up with my new stories which are published online or on print, follow my Twitter @Jekah_Carillo , my Facebook profile www.facebook.com/JekahCarillo or my Instagram @Jekah_Carillo

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#ChatWithRTA in Twitter

RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) announced a few days ago about having a live chat with it’s followers on October 5, 2015 at 12pm – 1pm. All you need to do is to tweet to @RTA_Dubai and use the hashtag #ChatWithRTA.

@RTA_Dubai tweet #ChatWithRTA

@RTA_Dubai tweet #ChatWithRTA

Numerous questions flooded in the twitter sphere. Some of the popular questions were whether they could make Friday a Salik free day like how Friday is a free parking day. “Salik is targeted to distribute traffic movement on the roads and Fridays witness intense traffic movement.”, @RTA_Dubai tweets.

The Al Maktoum Bridge Salik toll gate has applied an exemption of no toll fee charges between 10pm and 6am from Saturday to Thursday and until 9am on Friday. Some have suggested to do a similar exemption on Sheikh Zayed Road during non peak hours. It is a good idea and ideas like these are welcomed and not ignored by the RTA.

RTA did tweet about new road plans in place to improve the daily commute of the residents in communities like Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubailand. The authority did not comment on new Salik toll gates.

Humidity levels in the UAE

It is now October, Fall season for some countries but not for UAE. It is however the time where the temperature changes from the blazing Summer to prepare itself to a cool Winter. Over the past few weeks, there has been numerous reports and posts on social media that the thick fog in the mornings are at zero visibility at times. This is dangerous for carpools to people rushing to work. There has been accidents due to this.

Abu Dhabi weather forecast from National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

Abu Dhabi weather forecast from National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

The fog usually isn’t present during midday but during dawn or early mornings. It has been reported and forecasted by the National in August that the humidity levels are going to be very high, at 75%. Let’s look at how high it has reached today.

Dubai weather forecast from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

Dubai weather forecast from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

You can see from the two pictures above that the humidity level differences are very far away in numbers. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are at humidity levels ranging from 25% to 90%. This causes thick fog blanketing the city roads.

Other than the visibility problems, respiratory health problems also occurs. Here is a report on the said problem by The National last month.

High humidity puts the body’s cardiovascular system under increased strain, placing heart disorder patients at higher risk.

Dr Ahmed El Hakim, a senior adviser to pharmaceutical firm Cinfa, said: “When temperatures rise, the body works hard to maintain a normal temperature of about 37°C.

“This is done through radiating the heat away from the body, and evaporating sweat molecules.

“Both of these natural methods of cooling down require the heart to pump faster and harder to eliminate the heat, and are made more difficult with high humidity levels.

“While people with normally functioning hearts can more easily adapt to these changes, cardiovascular disease patients must take precautionary measures to ensure their hearts are able to cope with the added strain.”

Warning signs of heat-related health problems include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, disorientation and muscle twitches. If any of these symptoms appear, the sufferer must immediately be transferred to a cooler place and drink cold water. If the symptoms persist, professional advice must be sought.

Even though the temperature is cooling down now in the UAE, residents still need to drink plenty of water to keep their bodies cool and at the right temperature. The sudden changes of humidity levels will give a shock to the body leaving it helpless to normalize the body, making the person ill.

Gitex Shopper celebrates 25 years this year

Gitex Shopper this year is celebrating 25 years from October 3 – 10, 2015 at Dubai World Trade Center. In honor of this occasion, they have numerous prizes to win through their daily raffle draws to the big final draw. Prizes to be won are from mobile phones to a brand new car.

Gitex Shopper 2015

Gitex Shopper 2015

I had the opportunity to visit it this year. It has been a while since I last visited the event. If you are a tech savvy person then Gitex Shopper is perfect for you.

Numerous booths at Gitex Shopper 2015

Numerous booths at Gitex Shopper 2015

Left and right, promoters are holding up sign boards with their promotions while fellow gitex shoppers are busy collecting flyers and browsing to get the best deals.

The people selling their promos there were very convincing. They had one promo which was very good for example which was offered to me, though I didn’t ask. “If you buy the new Samsung Note 5, you will get the chance to get a free gift of either a smart watch or tablet.”, said the salesman who was pushing for me to buy his product.

Obi mobile flyer at Gitex Shopper

Obi mobile flyer at Gitex Shopper

There were two mobile brands present that were unheard to me, Obi mobile and Lava mobile. It was interesting. Affordable too. I did go to Gitex Shopper to help my friend look for Asus Mobile. However, they are not available in the Middle East at the moment.

Lava mobile at Gitex Shopper 2015

Lava mobile at Gitex Shopper 2015

Other than mobile phones, gitex also had other electronics available like washing machines, microwaves and televisions for sale. They had great promos too.

Gitex Shopper 2015 at World Trade Center

Gitex Shopper 2015 at World Trade Center

There is still time for you to visit the event. The entry fee is dhs. 30 and you get raffle tickets to enter the draws. You have to make sure to fill it up and drop them at the raffle boxes provided so that you may have a chance to win. Good luck!

Uber and SPG in Dubai

Uber application on a smartphone

Uber application on a smartphone

Uber and SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) have partnered up for a unique service for their customers. Uber riders can now earn 1 Starpoint for every US$1 (Dhs. 3.70) spent on their Uber rides. Dubai is one of the five selected participating cities to serve this joined special service.

Uber taxi and SPG allow their customers to book their taxi and hotel rooms respectively online through their applications. SPG also allow their customers to check in to their hotel rooms using their smart phones using bluetooth technology for a keyless initiative experience. Both applications can be downloaded from Apple Store and Google Play store.

RTA taxi on Dubai roads

RTA taxi on Dubai roads

Moamin Elatawy, 25, a Senior HR Executive from MARKA stated that he has not heard of Uber Taxi. When told about what it was, he said that, “It might not be as safe and qualified as RTA taxis. RTA taxi drivers are trained straight from the Government.” Elatawy mentioned that he has heard of applications like SPG from different hotels, however, he feels that there won’t be much of a difference as UAE has a law of giving a copy of Emirates ID or passport upon check in. “It will be the same if you book from Booking.com.”, Elatawy said.

Dubai is a tourist destination and is a growing hub. Numerous hotels have popped up over the years in the city. Anina Georgieva, 25, Assistant Front Office Manager from Doubletree by Hilton said that she has not heard of Uber Taxi but has heard of SPG. She said that most hotels have their own services like limousines for their guests. She mentioned that SPG is not the first type of service introduced in Dubai.

SPG application on a smartphone

SPG application on a smartphone

Hilton Loyalty members have been getting a similar point system and have a special application called E-Check in. Hilton Loyalty members can download the application and can directly book from it and choose which particular room they want to book. The map of the hotel is available for the member to choose, similar to choosing a cinema seat when booking for an e-ticket online.

The technology of these two applications is great but getting the public to use it might be a challenge. As Georgieva said, “This type of service will only appeal to executives who travels a lot and not to the general public.” It may start slow now but in the future, specially as Dubai is gearing up for the Expo 2020, the Uber and SPG experience might be one of the most popular to use.

Have you used this service or similar before? What are your thoughts on this? Comment below.

My own thoughts on the refugee / migrant crises

I have been following the refugee crises or I would like to call it as migrant crises. Most of these people are innocent and did not want their own children, parents, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers to go through this difficult ordeal.

It is heartbreaking to read, hear and watch news reports about what they have been going through. Some have walked for months crossing one country to another. Some countries have welcomed them while some have not.

These people have been running away or in hiding since the conflict have started on 2011. If you run after them, I am sure they will not think twice but run due to what is conditioned in their minds, run for safety.

Many people do not realize that they are also just like us. I have put myself in their perspective and I too would have done the same thing that they are doing. Many of us have the luxury or the opportunity to choose to move to another country for a better life.

Imagine having no choice but to leave and drop the life you had before, it would be very difficult. Expats talk about being homesick and missing their own families back home in their homeland. That is sad too. However, imagine being homesick to a life and land you can not go back to right now, that’s heartbreaking.

I grew up traveling due to my parent’s nature of profession. I do admit being angry of my parents uprooting us from one place to another. I had to leave my friends behind, my LIFE. It was a choice that my parents made to help us have a better future.

However what I went through is nothing compared to the refugees. They did not have any other choice but to move out. They do not know where they want to go but do know moving away from their humble homeland is their best option right now.

When I grew up moving, I was confused at times why we were moving again and again, packing and unpacking our boxes. The children among the refugees have harder questions in their heads to fathom for sure.

I always wish for every single one of the refugees specially the children that they do not give up, that they do have a better tomorrow.