Happy New Year : Our 2016 Highlights

Happy New Year : Our 2016 Highlights

By a blink of an eye here we are end of 2016 and ready to start our new adventure. 2016 was a year where we lost legends, especially my grandfather and Tim’s grandmother and it wasn’t a pleasant year for lots. 2016 was filled with negativity around the world however lets look at the positive side of things, sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.

Not much of travel happened for us in 2016 but Tim did some work travels. His been to Saudi Arabia, Texas, Bahrain, Oman, India and Kuwait. However on my side, things kinda got rough this year. With my dad’s preparation for retirement, reaching target at work and many things that I do not want to remember. Anyway I’d love to leave 2016 behind and start a new adventure and the thing that I’m looking forward to the most is the new season of Game of Thrones.

For 2017, Tim and I have planned quite few things so hopefully as we say InshAllah (Gods will) it will work out. So before starting our new journey. I’d like to blog and recap the great stuff that happened this year.

Below are the highlights of our year.

January: Tim and I spent a weekend in Al Aqah, Fujairah at one of the resorts called Rotana.

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February: We both pretended to be tourist in Downtown Dubai and wore matching outfits. We also attended ‘Eat the World’ which is a food truck event. It was expensive for what they were offering.

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March: Tim and I visited the Miracle Garden. Just so you know it’s only open from November till April. We also attended the Sikka Art Event where my friend Jessica Avedikian performed. Follow her on youtube 🙂

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April:  We travelled to the Philippines to visit the Familia Grande . Check out my Philippines blog


May: Tim took my father and I to visit Musandam, Oman. We highly recommend it, it’s the best way to enjoy dry nature.

Oman – Swimming in Musandam


June: Tim and I had a proper decent high tea at the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi on the 74th floor. That trip continued at the Emirates Palace Hotel. June was also the Holy Month of Ramadan and we visited lots of restaurants to enjoy Iftar which is the meal you have after breaking your fast. Also the highlight of this month is that I decided to start a blog on wordpress.

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July: Tim learned Salsa at Sevilles, a Spanish restaurant in a place called Wafi. it was also the month my colleague and good friend Beth asked me to be her son’s godmother. The little cutie’s name is Bjorn and July was his christening at the St. Mary’s Church which of course we attended. I also passed the beginners ski class with my brother Mohammad in Ski Dubai. Although Tim was with us, he’s already an intermediate so he joined another group.



August: We attended an indoor food truck which was located in a warehouse and it was for a temporary set up. The funny part, we knew about it through a friends brother who lives in Palestine. We attended my colleague and friend’s wedding and it was a mix of Iraqi Palestinian Lebanese traditions. Another highlight we also stayed at the Rove Hotel with my father and brother ‘Omar’. AND we also stayed at Tilal Liwa for our anniversary.




September: We travelled to New York & UK. We watched Impossible at the Dubai Opera and  Tim got back into Scuba.





October: We went Kayaking early morning in Sharjah. Also participated in a Treasure Hunt in an area called Bastakiya. We also attended SICFF event which my brother Mohammad works for. We also won best couple costume at a Halloween Party.





November: We went to IMG World and attended Les Miserable at Dubai Opera.



December: We attended the rugby Dubai 7’s on UAE’s national day and Tim took me to the Dolphin Bay at Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah. Celebrated Christmas with family in Fujairah.



Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book.
Write a good one.

Happy New Year, 2017.

May your year be filled with blessings


UAE – Christmas Meal on the Dhow

UAE – Christmas Meal on the Dhow

Christmas day was on a Sunday which is the first day of the week here in Dubai which means NO WEEKEND NO DAY OFF.

Since Tim’s mother is visiting us, we decided to plan something special for her. So we booked dinner dhow cruise in Dubai Marina. The cruise was 2 ½ hours around the palm island and marina. The buffet included Indian, Italian and Arabic cuisine and the desserts were French cakes and Arabic desserts. They offered dates, Arabic coffee and black coffee as well as complementary juices. This all costed AED 300 per person which is like approx. £ 66 per person.

The view and weather were just perfect for our Christmas evening meal. We booked with Tour Dubai however there are other Dhow cruise options you can book with.

I’ve attached the below map for your reference if ever you want to visit.

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Tour Dubai:


Tel: +971 4 3368407


UAE – Christmas Eve by the Desert and Beach

UAE: Christmas Eve by the Desert and Beach

Ever since we were children, Tim would celebrate Christmas with his family back in England while I celebrated it with my mum’s family in UAE. This year was a special kind of Christmas for both of us. Tim’s mum ‘Shirley’ is visiting us for the holidays and my uncle and cousin are staying in UAE to enjoy the festive season.

What more can you ask for than celebrating with the ones you love. We love everyone back home in England and Philippines but it was nice to have some of our families celebrating together. 2 months before Christmas, I made reservation at a hotel located by the Indian Ocean in another Emirate called Fujairah. We booked 4 rooms in Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort at a place call Al Aqqah which has a strip of amazing resorts.

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We took two separate cars, my brothers and uncle ‘Alpe’ accompanied my cousin ‘Mark’ and of course Shirley and I rode with Tim. We had an unfortunate moment when one of Mark’s tires broke down and found it difficult to find a tire shop open on a Friday morning. FYI, UAE’s weekends are on Fridays and Saturdays because Friday is a Holy day not HOLIDAY but HOLY DAY and the majority of the country attend the Friday prayers. Luckily they managed to find a shop that was about to close so they quickly got their tires fixed and we all continued our road trip to Fujairah.

It took us 2 hours to reach our destination however since check in was at 2PM, we decided to stop at a historical site. We visited Al Badiyah aka Al Bidyah Mosque and my brothers performed their Friday prayers in that ancient 15th century mosque. It’s the oldest mosque in UAE and was built with stone and mud. The view of the farms from the towers and area was spectacular and although you are surrounded by dry nature such as the rock mountains, the place is a must to visit. It’s located near the mountains and farms overlooking the sea.

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Anyway we continued our journey to check in at the hotel. Tim and I went kayaking around snoopy island * while the others went to nap because they needed the energy for the mini party we were going to have late night. At around 7PM, I borrowed Mark’s car and drove 20 minutes to another area called Khor Fakkan with my uncle and mother in law. We bought KFC and Pizza Hut family meals for dinner and also picked up a third cousin who lived there to join us for the Christmas party. The night lasted till 1:30AM after playing cards against humanity. My uncle won the game and YES he is dirty minded LOL. (google the game its hilarious)

The next day, we got up really early to have breakfast and also went for a morning swim and afterwards said our goodbyes and checked out from our rooms.

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*Note: it’s called snoopy island because it looks like snoopy laying down.

Below are the location maps of the hotel, the mosque and Khor Fakkan for your reference.





Khor Fakkan:



YUP!! We Dubaians (that’s what I call people from Dubai) have an Opera Theatre. Luckily I work for the developer so I sometimes manage to get really good tickets to some of the shows. So far, Tim and I attended ‘The Impossible’ which was a magic show and also attended ‘Les Miserable’ with my girlfriends and managed to get our own personal box. WOOP WOOP.

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Dubai is a city filled with ART. From it’s galleries to it’s lavish skyscrapers and now this classical theatre where all amazing intentional shows are being held such as CATS, Nutcracker, Italian Operas and much much more.

We are so fortunate to be living in such a city and to experience magnificent shows in one of the most sophisticated theatres in the world.

If you ever live or visit Dubai, please experience it even if it’s once.

Below are youtube videos of some of the shows.

Philippines – Holy Water & Holy $#!T

We got picked up really early  and dropped at a station to take a van to join a group of tourists to head to the Underground River. *Phew* lool

We arrived at a meeting point with other groups to take a boat to get to the other side of the island. The tour guides gave us our group number so we won’t get lost and also be able to identify our team.

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As we got to our destination, we were so mesmerised by the scenery that we decided to just enjoy the moment. We were later called to get on a small boat that took us to the cave and were instructed not to open our mouths in the cave because either we would taste the dripping Holy water or Holy S*** from the Bats so literally S***.

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Mid way through the cave, I kinda got bored and decided to play a prank on my brother and cousin who were sitting in front of me. I’d take a handful of water and pour it on their neck. I heard them whisper to each other “Is that bat S***?” “Yes, I think it’s Holy S***”. Tim and I couldn’t stop giggling. Gosh! I know, I’m evil.

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On our way out, the tour guide told us to get ready for our next activity  and later asked each one of us who wanted to go on the Sabang X Zip-line or had the choice of enjoying lunch on the beach. Obviously we went for the Zip-line and the group got split into two.

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Mohammad and Marvin

The view from the zip-line was WOOOOW!!! Anyway as soon as we got to the other side, we were wondering where the HELL TO GO.  We actually thought our tour guide would be waiting for us to take us to the restaurant but no one was there. So we decided to walk and navigate our way to civilisation.

After walking for God knows how long, a random jeep found us and decided to help us find the restaurant. As soon as we located our group, we were like monsters we attacked the buffet and kept eating and eating and eating. After a long day of activity, we went back to our hostel/ resort and hanged out by the river.



We really did enjoy our time in Puerto Princesa, there’s so much to do there. Till we see you again beautiful Island.*Note: You don’t have to book tours in advance, there are many tour guides at the Puerto Princesa airport but BARGAIN your rates. Luckily, my cousin arranged the trip for us but seriously always BARGAIN.


Our random jeep ride



Philippines – Love and Peace Jungle River Paradise Resort

After an exhausting day of Island hopping, our tour guide dropped us to our hostel/resort on a tricycle. It’s an Asian form of transportation and in other countries such as Thailand, they call it ‘Tuk Tuk’.

The hostel/ resort is the perfect place to enjoy and love nature. It’s located in the jungle and the rooms are facing the river. We booked a room that offered 2 floors, Tim and I slept on the lower floor while Marvin and Mohammad had to climb up a ladder to get to their beds. Our room did not have hot water, TV or air-conditions but it was hell of an experience.

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During our stay, the resort/ hostel was being managed by adorable children. The kids were so accommodating and we spent the night telling ghost stories and teasing each other. The funniest thing though was when one of the guests asked for a beer from the 10 year old boy LOL. The boy is super cute, he is the little boy I’m carrying in the below picture and his name is John.

Mohammad and I usually sit and relax on the hammocks while Tim and Marvin sat on a water doughnut floating on the river. Talk about relaxation 🙂

The pictures below show how cozy and cool the place is. It was an awesome experience to stay in the middle of of the jungle. We had no TV and no proper internet. We really did enjoy our stay, till next time Puerta Princesa.

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UAE – Celebrating 45th National Day at Rugby 7’s

On 2ND December 2016, UAE celebrated their 45th National Day.

It was the day Sheikh Zayed (1st president) declared that all 7 Emirates unite together and create this wonderful nation called ‘United Arab Emirates’. I’m very fortunate to be born and brought up here and I’m glad Tim and I will be settling here for some time before our next venture. I’m one of the non-nationals who witnessed the growth of this glorious country from a desert into a futuristic city. We usually celebrate by eating the traditional Emirati dessert called ‘Gemat’ and watch the traditional performances.

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On that day, Tim and I celebrated at the Rugby 7’s. Since I was invited to the event, I had a separate ticket than Tim’s. I have an amazing view of the field but got bored and spent almost 2 hours on my reserved seat and then moved to the general seating to spend the whole day with Tim. We had breakfast and lunch over there and had a great time watching international and local teams play against each other and joining the energetic fans screaming and cheering for their teams.


It was a hell of an experience for me since I don’t know anything about Rugby. It was a 3 day’s events and we just attended the 2nd day. It’s a decent event for families because the adults can enjoy the drinks and the games while the kids are entertained with children playgrounds and activities.

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Overall we had a great time and I learned a lot about Rugby. What’s cool about the 7s is that each game is 14 minutes rather than the norm of 80 minutes so you will never get bored because the teams keeps changing which makes Rugby interesting to watch.

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It was a fun and one the best ways to celebrate national day.

Happy 45th UAE

Philippines – Island Hopping in Puerto Princesa

Philippines has 7,107 islands and out of all of them, we were so eager to visit Palawan. My brother ‘Mohammad’ and cousin ‘Marvin’ accompanied us on this adventure to Paradise.

Maldives can be Paradise but it’s nothing compared to Palawan.

Marvin organised the whole trip and as soon as we landed in Puerto Princesa which is where the airport is located in Palawan; our tour guide immediately took us Island Hopping, so we changed into our swimming outfits and got in the boat straight to Cowrie Island for lunch.

Below are the 4 islands we visited in Puerto Princesa.

Cowrie Island: The island is sunny and the sands white. We stopped there and enjoyed a delicious seafood buffet and walked around the island to digest before heading to our next island to snorkel and of course we drank lots of Buko which means Coconuts in Tagalog.

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Luli Island: We arrived on the shore of the island and took our snorkeling gears with us. While Tim, Marvin and I jumped in the snorkeling area, Mohammad decided to stay back and enjoy the scenery and he explored the island. Tim and Marvin were enjoying their time feeding the little fishies and I went back to the shore to relax.

Turtle Island: By far Turtle Island is favourite place to dive in Puerto Princesa. I’ve done snorkeling before but I’ve never seen such beautiful creatures under water. It was given the name Turtle Island because of the location and the huge turtle on the top of the board.


Starfish Island: The last island we visited in Puerto Princesa was the Starfish Island, it was the perfect island to go for a swim and the island is filled with … yup, you’re right… STAR FISH.

If ever you visit Palwan, you should go Island Hopping and enjoy every moment of it. Never ever forget to take your water camera.



Philippines – Mushroom Burger

This blog is dedicated for Mushrooms Lovers.

I love having mushrooms in my meal, like:

  1. Mushroom Risotto
  2. Sautéed Mushrooms with my English Breakfast
  3. Mushroom & Ricotta Bruschetta
  4. Mushroom Sauce on Chicken

The list goes on and on and on…..

So to all the mushroom lovers out there, brace yourself for ‘TAGAYTAY’S MUSHROOM BURGER’.

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One of the most mouthwatering burgers I’ve ever had. So at the entrance of the restaurant, you will find a glass closet that displays all the types of wild mushrooms. What they do is the following, either mix the mushroom with the beef or chicken patty or just a mushroom patty. Unquestionably I went for the mushroom patty and of course extra mushroom sauce LOL.

If ever you visit Tagaytay, Mushroom burger is a must stop. Just so you know, the queue is long and the prices range from Php 80 – Php 130 depending on the order.


For your reference, I’ve attached the location map below for your visit. Hope it helps  🙂 Bon Appetite