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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Let’s vote!


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*

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


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


To be updated follow me on Twitter @Jekah_Carillo or go to


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 or my Instagram @Jekah_Carillo

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Philippines Bureau of Customs – Taxing and Opening Balikbayan Boxes

The Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC) have declared recently that they will be imposing taxes on all Balikbayan Boxes (boxes sent from Overseas Filipino Workers to the Philippines). They also mentioned that they will now make it compulsory to open the boxes to check. These has led to a lot of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) furious with the said decisions.

Here is a recent interview of Alberto Lina, Head of BOC.

Essential OFW Guide to UAE

Filipinos travel to other countries to pursue better jobs to provide for their families. Between 2009 and 2013, around a million of Filipinos travelled abroad to become Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) making United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the second most number at 261,119, reported by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Although it may seem as a great thing, most of them get into trouble with the UAE law. Michael Barney Almazar, Director of Gulf Law is a UAE legal consultant. In corporation with the Philippine Embassy to the UAE, he holds monthly free legal aids for Filipinos in the UAE.

Filipinos outside the Philippine Consulate in Dubai

Filipinos outside the Philippine Consulate in Dubai

“There are 5 I’s that most Filipinos get into trouble here (UAE).

  1. Indebtedness – people getting into credit cards problems or financial problems.
  2. Intoxication – people caught taking alcohol without license.
  3. Immoralities – people getting into extra marital affairs.
  4. Illegal recruitment – people who give false hopes to others of giving them a job.
  5. Improper documents – people who do not have UAE visas or Emirates IDs.”, says Almazar.

Almazar shared that the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Grace Princesa, started an initiative to make a guide book for the Filipinos in the UAE. It is called “Essential OFW Guide to UAE”. It will be a free guide book to be handed out to all OFWs in the UAE. In the book, it will have guidelines and tips that Filipinos should be aware about, their human rights and what to do when faced with legal issues.

At the Philippine Consulate

At the Philippine Consulate

“Around 4200 people have reached out to Gulf Law to ask for assistance for legalities. The cases ranges from bounce cheques to improper documents.”, adds Almazar. The number of people collected was from their free monthly legal aids sessions alone.

The book was recently released on Friday, June 12th 2015 on the Philippine Independence Day. Here is an article which was published on Emirates 24/7

To learn more about Attorney Almazar and his team you may go to their website

Jollibee in Dubai Mall

This month, Jollibee, a popular fast food chain in the Philippines opened it’s branch in Dubai, UAE. It is located in Dubai Mall. Thousands of Filipinos flocked to the counter to taste their home-away-from-home Pinoy food. Many were willing to wait in line, as long as five to eight hours, just to order their favorite Jollibee food like the Chickenjoy, Jolly Hotdog and the Yum Burger.

Here are some snaps at location. I was patient enough to wait, I didn’t wait that long though, it was around 30 minutes only. I went on a weekday which had less people, which I highly recommend. I was told that they take their last order at 12.30am. To order you had to take a token and then wait for your number to come up from the screen. When your number is on then you can line up.

People lining up for Jollibee at Dubai Mall

People lining up for Jollibee at Dubai Mall

My turn to order

My turn to order

I ordered Take out Jollibee. Bought the favorites for my family.

I ordered Take out Jollibee. Bought the favorites for my family.

My order: Jolly Spaghetti with chicken

My order: Jolly Spaghetti with chicken