April 29, 2017

Pilipinas

Birds chirping, tricycle and motorcycle engines starting, people talking by the sidewalk, and trees swaying: these are some of the sounds that I miss in the Philippines.

We went home to the Philippines last April 2. My husband only spent a week and had to go back to work while I stayed for the rest of the month. I did enjoy my time in Naic but it would have been best if my husband didn't have to go back quickly; he needed the vacation more than I did.

What I love about coming home is the feeling of being present with nature. You can just go outside, take a short walk, and see God's vast creation. You don't need to go too far. I tried as much as I could to put in my memory the beauty of the fields and greenery, the sea, the clouds, the blue sky, and everything so that when it's time to go back to Saudi Arabia, I have them with me.

I took the following photos when I wanted the beautiful natural colors to be captured. They're best when seen with your own eyes. Hopefully, we can visit the Philippines again, soon. :)
Birds and the blue sky
Sunset in Ternate
Sand and palm trees
Visita iglesia in Inmaculada Concepcion
Clouds and tall buildings

March 28, 2017

Purchasing from iHerb

I was having bad breakouts when I decided that I should improve my skincare routine, therefore investing in good skincare products. I guess my breakout was caused by the treatment that was prescribed by my gynecologist; maybe my body was adjusting to the drugs at that time because my face was just doing fine before the treatment. Anyway, I was looking for affordable products with good reviews which do not contain harmful chemicals. Then I read about iHerb through this blog. It pretty much answered some questions I have about ordering from iHerb and having delivered the products to Riyadh.

I read about the reviews and the product information before deciding to finally purchase. I ordered the items below for an affordable price (inclusive of the shipping fee.) I chose DHL express since it seemed more convenient than the other options.
When the package was on the shipping process, DHL sent an email about the required documents such as the filled out form from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), copy of identification, copy of prescription (if any), and copy of invoice. DHL sent a code to download the form below.
 
I found out in my succeeding orders after the first one that a clearance from SFDA was not asked anymore. Maybe the clearance was only required for first-time orders, I'm not really sure. It was also easy to track the parcel through the number iHerb sent me. In case that the DHL page does not show the update or progress of the delivery after a few days, I suggest contacting iHerb about it.
Finally, after four days, I received the parcel. I checked each product and they seemed to be in perfect condition. I'll leave some reviews of the product in the website soon. So far, I love all the products I ordered. Great buys!
Aside from these products, I also ordered supplements and had no problem with clearance. Vitamins and supplements in iHerb are way cheaper than those in stores here.

If you happen or like to order from iHerb, I definitely recommend it. For first-time orders, they give discount when you use the code WELCOME5, or you can also use my rewards code JIL5716 to get a discount! :) 

February 26, 2017

Al-Janadriyah Festival Experience

"Takusa?" a Saudi man carefully holding a cup of tea whispered to my husband while we were looking at displays in a booth in Al-Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival. I thought we misheard what he said but then he spoke further upon seeing our confused faces, "Takusa - takot sa asawa." (Takusa is a Tagalog slang, meaning someone who is afraid of his wife.) We burst out in laughter and the rest of the night had been relaxed and fun. I couldn't imagine how the locals learn that much of the Filipino language.

It was a Thursday night when we went to the 31st Al-Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival. There was a heavy traffic going to the venue and fortunately, it did not rain that night. The parking spaces were almost full but we chanced a spot near one of the gates of the festival. We lined up to enter the gate and the security was pretty tight. Entrance was free and there was so much to see inside.

We actually didn't know where to start - the first thing we saw was the sea of people walking in different directions. Women were wearing head accessories and jewelries and men had different kinds of canes. I couldn't remember what we first checked out but I think we almost toured the whole place. Some of the exhibits have English translations while most were written in Arabic. I wished that we went there with someone who understands Arabic. Anyway, there were people in some exhibits who gladly explained their displays, while some even gave away freebies. Some exhibits showed different cultural dances while some had live musical performances.

The locals were generally friendly that night. Someone even asked if we needed help to take a picture of us.  A lot of walking was involved to tour the festival and at the end of the night, we were quite exhausted but overwhelmed with all the things we have seen and learned about the Arab culture.

We wish to visit again next year and hope to learn more about their heritage! Here are some photos I took at the festival:
 Inside one of the provinces' exhibits
Busy men doing their craft
 Music and dance show for children and families
 A Saudi man singing to his audience
 One of the Kings's horses
On top of a bridge
 Igloo-looking plant exhibit
My husband checking out a record player

January 4, 2017

Gracias por todo, 2016!

And just like that, 2016 has gone. It felt like the second half of last year went by quickly, and now, we're welcoming 2017. Can you believe that?

The past year was full of memories, both great and challenging. I try as much not to dwell on the mistakes I or others have done, and on the things I have lost; so whenever I look back on the years that have gone, I would remember the good stuff. Surely, there were unpleasant memories we cannot simply forget, best thing to do is accept them as part of our human experiences and pay attention to the lessons they taught.

I am grateful for all the experiences this 2016 and I hope I've become wiser, kinder, and more caring because of facing them. I'm sharing here some of the fondest memories of the past year, that I hope to experience and live through more this year.

Knowing that I am appreciated with the work I do. When I left the school early this year unsure if I would return to teaching the Nursery class, some parents told me about how their children told them stories about our class and how they would miss me. It was a sweet thing to hear! I couldn't share photos of the kids, so I hope this one would do.
My kids enjoying the trampoline in the playground
Meeting and traveling with good friends. When we traveled back to the Philippines for a vacation, my husband, nephew, and I went to Baler with my friend Arlene to visit Chai and her baby. I think this was the first time that I traveled far with Arlene. Arlene and I talked about traveling together for a long time and I'm glad we did it. I'm looking forward to more travels with them.
Baler with Michael, Janus, Arlene, Chai and her baby Casey
Spending time and exploring new places with family. After being away from our families for more than a year, we finally had the time to go home and go places with them. My husband and I went to El Nido, Palawan and Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro with our families. It was summer when we were in the Philippines, so going to the beach is a good idea. The tours we had were quite tiring but worth the views and experiences.
Beach with family!

Experiencing the Antioch Weekend Formation once again. Another reason why summer is fun back home is the annual youth formation in our Antioch community. We were fortunate to catch this event and helped our brothers and sisters in the community. Much have changed in the community in such a short time that I've been away but I believe it's all for good. Talking and catching up with friends in the community meant a lot to me and made me feel that I'm still part of something good, of something with a purpose that will stay on.
Sing Alleluia to the Lord
Visiting different churches. Since we missed the Holy week in the Philippines, we just visited different churches near Cavite. We went to the National Shrine of Padre Pio, Caleruega Church, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Pink Sisters Convent. Aside from visiting new churches, it's also good to hear mass celebrated by a different priest - listening to different views and ways of delivering God's messages.
National Shrine of Padre Pio
Discovering new places in Riyadh. Going to malls and checking out sales become uninteresting after some time, especially when we're saving and avoiding to buy stuff we don't actually need. Checking out places we've never been to here in Riyadh has been the alternative to those. We went to Wadi NamarUshaiqer Heritage Village, and Khararrah lake last year. They say travel to somewhere new once in a while, that's what we did and it was a good routine breaker.
Top: Ushaiqer Village; Bottom: Khararrah Lake
Traveling to another country by road. Yes, we made it to Bahrain by road! We enjoyed our short time in Bahrain. I hope to write a separate post about crossing the border, finding a decent hotel, the places we've been, and the crazy experiences we had! Good job Michael for our safe drive there and back home.
In the parking lot of BH National Museum
Celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary. Our wedding felt like yesterday, but yes, we've been married for two years! I'm grateful for our relationship, and I pray that we grow more in love in the years to come. Having someone so selfless, sometimes annoying, in my life is something I won't trade for.
Gracias por todo, 2016, for all the happiness and the challenges, and for all the people that I got to spend you with. I now welcome 2017 and hope to invoke more dreams!

(Sharing this wonderful song, too!)

December 18, 2016

Take a walk

My husband and I had visited the hospital several times this past few months. I underwent some examinations and I'm taking treatment for three months now. Maybe I'll write about those experiences on a separate post. Aside from the treatment that I was given, the doctor also told me that it's pertinent that I lose some weight.

I haven't thought of losing weight particularly since the time I felt comfortable with my body. Yes, I'm not in my fittest self, but I'm not having problems with the extra pounds that I have. So, when the doctor told me to shed some weight, I was a little clueless where to start. We began with making healthier food choices. My husband is motivated to lose weight too and I think that it has made all the difference.

I tried aerobics for more than a month. I found some good resources and followed the exercises for twenty minutes five days a week. It was tiring but I enjoyed it for a time. It worked for a while but the routine became less motivating. Then I thought of walking instead.

Walking has helped me lose weight when I was in the university years ago. I took a P.E. course on walking, and we walked at least 5 km each session. Good thing that there are many parks here where we can walk or jog around. It has been a month already since we started this walking exercise. We walk at least 3 km everyday and I feel better. It's already winter here, but the cool breeze won't stop us from walking. Anyway, we'll get by with the help of thick sweaters and jackets, and occasionally holding hands. The outdoors, the sounds of birds and the wind, the weird joggers we encounter, and some noises of the cars passing by the park make walking even more enjoyable.

We have seen some progress so far and I hope that we see some more in the future.

Walking is an inexpensive alternative for people who want to lose weight, especially when enrolling in gym classes costs a lot. There are many benefits that we can get from walking, you'll find scientific studies about them. For people who are struggling to lose weight, I think allotting some time to walk everyday would be a good start. It won't give quick results but it will help you feel better and healthier. 

Go, take a walk outside, and see the difference that it can bring. :)
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