New PH passport

The Philippines just released its new passport design and I had the opportunity to see it first hand. Below is my report on it. My favorite part is its illustrations of multiple Philippine sites.

PCG shows new passport equipped with upgraded security features

The lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang” are also available inside!

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Touching lives

I recently received a package from someone who I interviewed earlier this year. She gave me the right gift at the right time. I have been getting sick on and off lately.

 

Desiree Vlekken, founder of 4get-me-not, gifted me a lavender oil scented relaxing pillow. I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate gift at the moment except I wasn’t expecting anything at all from the start.

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Hand made relaxing pillow from Desiree Vlekken

Every person who I have met have left an impact on me personally which I have previously mentioned. However, this time I was taken a back as Vlekken said that I helped her moved on from something which she thought she could not move on from. I feel happy to hear that she has moved on and is happier now. I am proud of her too for taking the step of getting back on track and to be honest she did it herself.

 

Check out http://www.4get-me-not.org to know more about Vlekken’s organisation. It is a non-profit organisation dedicated to spreading awareness about Alzheimers, a condition that can happen to anyone regardless of race or age.

 

Thank you again Vlekken. I really appreciated the kind gesture you have done. Now you have touched my life too with the right gift at the right time in my life.

Let’s vote!

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With a few days left to go, it is important for every Filipino to exercise their right to vote. The Philippine Consulate in Dubai has extended their timings for overseas absentee voting.

 

Take note also of the free bus rides to the Consulate (see second image above).

 

Let’s vote!

May 5 to May 8, PCG – 8 am to 12 midnight 

May 9, PCG – 5 am to 1 pm

*announced by Con Gen Cortes today*

#lifeofajournalist

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.

Barbie at Mall of the Emirates

A Barbie exhibition is showcased at Mall of the Emirates this month. It displays 24 collector dolls dressed by international designers like Monique Lhuiller to Calvin Klein. The Barbie dolls are dressed fashionably with mini version of clothes off the runway from designers on different years.

Barbie at Mall of the Emirates

Barbie at Mall of the Emirates

Barbie has been dominating the market for over 50 years. This exhibition is celebrated in honor of Majid Al Futtaim’s 10th year anniversary of Mall of the Emirates. The Barbie dolls are available for the public from September 6, 2015 to September 8, 2015.

A Barbie dressed in Monique Lhuiller design

A Barbie dressed in Monique Lhuiller design

Starting from September 9 to 14, there will be fun activities for Barbie lovers. Barbie Rock’n Royals experience will allow Barbie fans to listen to music, dance, do some creative arts and crafts and play wireless musical instruments with other band members.

Discounted vouchers will be handed out to participants of Barbie Rock’n Royals experience. These vouchers can be used to purchase Barbie Rock’n Royals merchandise available at The Toy Store in Mall of the Emirates. For more check out http://www.malloftheemirates.com or http://www.facebook.com/malloftheemirates

Message from UAE Government

Please be advised that the Government of UAE asks the public to be cautious of what to share in social media about the current situation about the war except from authorised Government agencies. Please also refrain from sharing the pictures of the brave UAE soldiers who recently lost their lives, may they rest in peace. #uae #Dubai #mydubai