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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Mother of kidney transplant patient pleads for help

To give her children back home in the Philippine a better life was what Oilivia Atanante hoped to do in traveling and working overseas. The humble single mother who works in Dubai wishes nothing but the best for them.

But sometimes life can be cruel as one of her daughters, Vengrace was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure on August 2 last year, and is in dire need of help to get a kidney transplant as soon as possible.

Vengrace 1.jpg

“Apektado na lahat…pagkain, bayad sa bahay at ng dalawa kong [anak na] estyudante…’Pag nakakakuha din ako ng pera pambayad sa dialysis. Wala akong naiipon para sa kidney transplant nya,” Atanante shared.

“May donor na kami [pero] ang problema ay pera. Kailangan ng P300,000 money sa bank account para maumpisahan na ang cross matching. Yun na lang ang kulang,” the distressed mother, who feels troubled and confused with the heavy burden she is going through at the moment, told Kabayan Weekly.

Her 18-year-old daughter had to stop going to school due to her condition, and she had been living on dialysis ever since the tragedy happened.

Atanante further said that the amount needed for the kidney transplant is approximately AED 100,000 (P1.2 million), 50 percent of which will be covered by PhilHealth.

“The remaining balance of P600,000 is to be borne by me…I have to pay AED100 a day for dialysis just to keep her alive. I am totally bankrupt. I m borrowing money from anybody to pay for the dialysis. I have been evicted from my bed space as I don’t have any money to pay,” Atanante, who earns AED1,400 per month for working as an assistant teacher, said.

She added that she also has other bills to pay and other kids to support too.

Living in the UAE for seven years, the overseas Filipina worker has been reaching out to people in her life for financial help.

“Ang St. Michael nagbibigay ng AED1,000,” said the Filipina mother.

“Minsan may time na wala akong maipadala, nanganganib po ang buhay niya. Ang mama ko at ang panganay kong anak, pareho na kami lubog sa utang. mama ko laging advance ang sahod,” she added.

Vengrace 2

Trying not to tear up, Atanante said that the much needed kidney transplant will allow her daughter to have a chance to live life once again. The mother showed old photos of Vengrace where she looked health, just like any ordinary teenage girl. The teenager girl’s latest photos, however, looks nothing like her previous photos. Vengrace has lots a lot of weight due to her condition.

For those who would like to help, Olivia Atanante can be contacted through and/or +971 55 376 7584


*This story was originally published on Kabayan Weekly issue March 31 – April 6, 2016

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

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

Death penalty still the norm?

I recently read this story

The Iranian woman was executed out of self defense. I was shocked however, is death penalty still the norm in our society. In many countries for example, in Philippines where the jails are over crowded I think death penalty is applicable to people who have really murdered someone out of selfish reasons.

In certain countries like the Philippines it is hard to implement this as the Catholic Church is very dominant in the country. However in many countries like Iran it is implemented and at times used to take advantage to execute innocent lives.

Is it morally wrong to say to give someone a death penalty in our society regardless whether he was really guilty or not? What are you thoughts. Personally for me it is a huge dilemma as different countries may find it useful.

What I have noticed is that countries that have death sentence have commonly stern Governments. People in those certain countries generally follow their Governments and are content with them. However in countries with no death sentences the Governments are generally not as strict and strong.

Do you think punishments like death penalty should be present in our society to maintain peace and order or do you feel it is not needed? What other ways do you think can be done to have peace and order in the country?

The ‘Right’ Choice

I was watching ‘Dangerous Minds‘ today. It’s an old movie, released around 1995, I think. It starred Michelle Pfeiffer. She was an ex-marine who was going through a rough divorce and needed a new job for a change. She decided to take up a job as a teacher in a public school. Her class consisted of kids who came from broken families or problematic families. I remember watching it for the first time when I was still young and I thought when I get to high school, things would be how it was shown on this movie. However, now that I am in University, I realized it isn’t always like that. I would say I was lucky enough to get into a good high school. My parents made sure I surrounded myself with the right crowd. Of course there were instances where I would get into trouble but they were petty troubles within the school only and not outside like in the movie ‘Dangerous Minds’.

I realized after watching this movie that people have this mentality of taking the easy way out for everything. For example if one would like to get money to get something, they would rob a bank or steal it, etc. However, a lot of people take it for granted that there are other possibilities to get what they wanted. This movie was a reflection of reality at that time however, if you look around you, these particular things are still happening. Why is that so? Even after portraying it in a movie, why do people still continue to do those things? Is it because they are mentally challenged? I don’t think so. I think they are just lazy.

What is the ‘right’ choice? It’s usually getting the right outcome at then end of the day, is the right choice. It’s partly right, I guess. Choosing the right path to get what you want ,and not just getting what you want but getting something unexpected at the end of the day is the right choice. I didn’t know how else to explain this but it made more sense to me now. A good example would be me getting into trouble, I solved my big problem by solving all the small problems first, one by one. Eventually, the big problem became a small problem which was good. When I was younger, I admit that I use to do things tactlessly and always do things without thinking. However I realized that I wasted time as each time I did tactless doings, I ended up being stuck or going backward rather than going forward in life.