Young Ben and Vivian

Bienvenido De Guzman Dela Cruz- my dad probably during his teens

Concepcion Camua Dela Cruz - my mom also in her teen years

To preserve their photo, I have them with me, worn out and may not stand the test of time so I have them scanned, post it here so my kids, my grand children and my great grand children will still see them even when we are gone.
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Travelling Back in Time and Admiring the City

A Clean and Beautiful City that was Manila-wasn't actually in Spanish time but the American era

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Stuffed Squid-A New Home Cooked Recipe

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I bought five pieces of six to eight inches squid from Al Maya two days ago, we had it for dinner last night. I usually cook the squid the tradition way, adobong pusit (squid cooked in vinegar) and ginataang pusit ( squid in coconut milk) but I get bored cooking squid using the same recipe over and over again and the once appealing squid recipes turned bland for me. I searched for new recipes of squid over the internet and I was lucky to find an easy recipe where ingridients are available in my pantry.

Let me share it with you, my family liked it, I like it, it is new to the taste but I guess I added too much of the cheese so it became too rich but except for that, the food was really delicious.

I actually did not follow every single ingridient, I did some substituing, I am not afraid to do that since I trust my cooking skills anyway.

5 squid 6-8 inches long cleaned
2 onions chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
3 stalks of green onion chopped
5 tbps olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, you can use bread and crumble it yourself
1 fresh egg bitten
115g grated halloumi cheese - substitute it with cheddar and cream cheese
Sprigs of rosemary fresh or dried
5 medium size ripe tomatoes chopped
Chopped squid tentacles
tabasco sauce depending how spicy you want it, you can also use red or green bird eye chilis
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure: Squid
1. Clean the squid remove tentacles, cuttlebone (discard) and skin
2. Chop tentacles and set aside

1. Heat large skilet or frying pan, add olive oil, sutae garlic, onion and chopped squid tentacles until cooked. set aside
2. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, green onion and egg then add the cooked garlic-onion-squid tentacle mixture and mixed it until even.
3. Spoon stuffing to each squid but do not overstuff since the squid will srink and the stuffing will expand during cooking. Seal squid opening with toothpick. Finish stuffing all five squid
4. In a skilet, sutae onion and tomatoes, add some sugar, tabasco sauce and rosemary, cover for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes are blanched. Add squid, salt and pepper to taste, cover and let boil for 30 minutes or until squid is done, add little water if the sauce dries up a bit.
5. Serve hot with steamed rice.

I don't have time to take photos, the gang is hungry so when I serve it on the table, they start digging in, maybe next time :) promise.

Happy eating everyone!
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Toughest place to be

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I have two wonderful kids, my little girl is turning seven, she was born in 2004 at Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah and my little boy is turning one, he was born last year at Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai, both celebrating their birthday this April. I love them so much and I will do everything for them.

My mom used to tell me that giving birth is not easy, it is the time in a woman's life when one of your feet is on the grave. Perhaps she was right if a woman gives birth in a place where there is not much of a facility or at home without having a qualified person to deliver the baby.

Today I stumble upon a video documentary by BBC in YouTube about some toughest place to be as a midwife which they featured Liberia in West Africa - one of the worlds poorest country where there is a very high infant mortality rate. The documentary was divided in five parts and at every segment, Suzanne a practicing midwife for nine years in Sutton Coldfield learned and discovered a world of midwifery different from hers where they lack the basic resources. All first four parts is a learning experience and on part five, she was allowed by the co-midwives to help a woman deliver a baby pleasantly and less painfully by simply waiting and letting the woman's body do the natural way of birth, Suzanne was very gentle, calm and helpful and the woman seems happy about it, she showed them how they do it in her country, she said that birth must be a wonderful time for a woman having a baby.

I definitely agree with her. I gave birth to my two kids here in the UAE and there was a big difference when the people around you seems to care specially when loved ones and family members are not around to help you out. Between my daughter and my son, I can say that I have suffered more with M's delivery. It was in Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, a quite strict emirate, government hospitals wouldn't allow husbands to be with their wives while they are in labor and delivery, well simply men are not allowed in the maternity ward. The nurses at Al Qassimi are kind, helpful and gentle, the facility is almost modern, they have what was needed. With Prince whom I had at Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai, nurses are also kind, helpful but more gentle and vocal. It seems as to my observation that the facilities and equipments are more high tech now, well there was a six years difference so I am giving the other hospital the benefit of the doubt that they must have upgraded their stuff over there. Not only that, the best thing was that they allow my husband to be with me every step of the way until Prince was delivered. I was very happy about it and grateful to the nurses and doctors that allow him to stay and helped me.

I was lucky, in some parts of the world where there is less or no resources at all, a lot of babies and mothers die for no reason at all.

Update 04/05/2011: unfortunately the videos I sourced from youtube are no longer available
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Dubai World Trade Center - photo taken by my husband in 2010

This photo was taken from the Etisalat building near the Dubai World Trade Center. A beautiful view from the elevator of the building eh? DWTC building was inaugurated in 1979 when all the building behind and beside it are non-existent. If only it could talk, it can tell us the story how each and every skyscraper along SZR was built. It was hazy but you can still see the shadow of Burj Khalifa from far, the Emirates Towers and look at the Metro, looks gorgeous. 

I searched for the old 70's picture of DWTC with the clock tower as its background for comparison but to no avail instead I put this (above) for you to see the difference of then and now.

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My Sharjah Love Affair


Sharjah is a beautiful emirate although far from Dubai’s grandeur. Sharjah was my province and Dubai is my Metro like Bulacan is to Manila. I have lived half of my life in Sharjah after I came to UAE in 2002 before moving to Dubai in 2007. The main reason we moved to Dubai was the annoying traffic within Sharjah-Dubai highway four years ago.

Going Back to the Province

Dubai and the UAE as a whole went into recession during Q1 of 2008 along with the world economy downturn. Although the rent keeps on falling as number of projects entered the market which is an advantage for many, still the price of a 1BR and 2BR apartments are still high and cannot be shouldered alone by a medium earner family of five. The constant rising of food prices, water, electricity, gas, fuel and other main commodities are completely impossible to imagine and come knocking without prior notice. We can simply say that the cost of living in Dubai is perhaps higher compared to other emirates.

If you are paying fifty thousand for a two bedroom apartment in Dubai, you can get the same flat OR bigger in Sharjah for half the price, isn’t that good news? For me it is a wonderful idea for many things, for decorating, organizing, and designing the house which I love doing, giving my almost seven year old daughter her own princess bedroom she always wished for, a bigger area for my almost one year old son to crawl and practice his new found walking skills. We get to socialize with old friends we seldom meet when we were staying in Dubai and hangout in some places me and my loved ones used to go before. I also have a bigger shopping area; by just walking along Jamal Abdul Nasser St. and Al Wahda St. one can experience the best bargain shopping experience. If opting for a higher class of shopping, Sharjah City Center is just right around the corner where all well known brands are available. Just opposite the mall is the Al Majaz Park, a family park and next to it is the corniche with a beautiful view. You can relax and enjoy snacking with some beef or chicken shawarma and a can of soda…simple life but pleasurable. I am only talking about the nearby places from my apartment, there are other must see places in Sharjah as well which I can also share with you over the coming months.

Some who have not experience living in Sharjah have a different connotation of the emirate, the usual replies would be it is very far from Dubai or so much morning rush going to work to Dubai or it is a boring place to live. Well it is not really far from Dubai, without the traffic from my place it is a just a 10-15 minutes drive using the Sharjah Dubai road, the morning rush and traffic is lighter compared to a jammed packed road two years ago. It is not a boring place at all; there are lot of shops and places to see. Cheaper services for all your needs at every corner – laundry, internet cafes, tailoring, massage, etc.

I am not convincing anyone at all to move to Sharjah, I am convinced of what Sharjah has to offer me and my family and the big impact of moving back will make in our life. The decision is right to go back to my province, to relive the love that once died.
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