Tilal Liwa Hotel Summer 2012

A road trip to the southern most part of Abu Dhabi was our best bet for our summer getaway for 2012. We booked two rooms at Tilal Liwa Hotel for the weekend. Tilal Liwa Hotel is perched at the edge of the Rub Al Khali desert-the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world and is home to the highest sand dune Tel Moreeb.

We started from Sharjah at 9 am Picked up our friends and head for a quick breakfast before starting our journey. It was a three to three and a half hour drive to Liwa from Dubai. That's about 330-380 km so we stock up on water, finger foods and filled our tank with gas full.

We reached the hotel by midday and it was scorching hot outside. Ferald chose to park the car himself instead of giving it to the valet. There was an ample parking space just outside in front of the hotel but it was too hot to walk from the parking to the hotel even if it was just a few meters away. A covered walkway would be great.

Nonetheless, the doorman greeted us with a smile and assist us with our bags. They served us some refreshing mint lemonade as we check in.

The very friendly Filipina staff allowed us to check in an hour early since one of the rooms we booked was ready. As she handed the keys to our room she said that they have upgraded our rooms with balcony and courtyard view. I have requested for this while booking the room but was not given the confirmation and was told it is upon availability. Thank you Tilal Liwa :)

The rooms are spotlessly clean. There were complimentary tea and coffee. The shower is working well with the hot and cold setting. There are many TV channels including English channels and wifi is also available and it is for free.:D

Dinner and breakfast were good. Dinner and breakfast were included in our room package but it doesn't include the barbecue. The smell of grilled meats and seafood at the terrace was irresistible so, in addition to the lavish spread already at Al Badiya restaurant, we shelled out an extra AED 175 or $ 20/ person for it.

The infinity pool was our favorite. Instead of overlooking the sea, it overlooks to some great sand dunes.We enjoyed it most in the morning after we finished with sand boarding since we really need to cool down. We could only manage sand boarding for 20 minutes before deciding to go back to the hotel. It was really fun but it was too hot to stay out. If it was in winter, we could have stayed longer and try to find higher dunes to try.

There are other activities like camel farm tour, dessert safari, quad biking, and table tennis. We could not go to the camel farm tour for lack of time so instead, the boys played table tennis while me my friend chilled at the swimming pool.

Tilal Liwa is not in Liwa proper, Liwa and Madinat Zayed City is another 30 minutes drive from Tilal Liwa and the Tel Moreeb-the highest sand dune in the world is another hour drive but it is really worth the visit.

Have you been to Tilal Liwa. Honestly, I want to go back.
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Share A Touch of Love this Ramadan

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Do you have clothes that you don't wear anymore or never wear before and the tags are still on? Are you planning to wear these clothes once you get back in shape or you just bought them because you are keeping them for some special occasions but never used them for more than a year? Do you have kids who already outgrown their baby clothes? Then its time to do some wardrobe check and those that are worthy of donating must go to the donation box. Please let them go! :D It is Ramadan and it is a time of giving, let the goodness flow in you and share something to the less fortunate. It's also another way of teaching kids the act of kindness.

Alright you have decided to let go of them but still don't know where to take them and still no plans for the weekend? Read on so I can help you.
Comfort Creations and UAE Red Crescent once again joined hands in its Ramadan charity campaign "Share A Touch of Love this Ramadan" now on its third year. This campaign aims to collect as much clothes as possible for distribution to our less fortunate brothers and sisters as part of Zakat Al Fetr charitable acts during the Holy Month.

The donated clothes are placed in a giant Comfort Creations bottles and each donor can leave their hand prints on the bottle creating a colorful design representing their charitable acts. Each campaign supporter will be honored with 750ml bottle from the new Comfort Creations range-Gardenia and Violet or Rose and Jasmin. The good news is they have just reach 10,000 donations so lets keep it coming.
Comfort Creations donation booths are now accepting donations at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Center that started last July 15 until the 31st and at Mirdif City Center from 15 July to 14 August so we still have time, I am heading down there this weekend with my kids with my pile.

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At the edge of a great big desert...

Can you guess where this awesome place is? Are you clueless or have you been here once and wanted to come back just like me?

This place is the home of the highest sand dune in the world. A cranking 120-meter tall 50-degree slope and is located at the edge of Rub Al Khali Desert - the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world also known as the Empty Quarter. 

This is Liwa -  the birthplace of the Baniyas Tribe or the Al Nahyan family and now the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. Liwa is in the southernmost part of Abu Dhabi, almost at the border to Saudi Arabia. It is an oasis with around 50 thriving villages.

This is also the farthest road trip we have done ever in UAE. A stretch of 330-380 km drive from Dubai/Sharjah all the way to this place for three hours, four if you cannot help to stop to take photo.

We stayed at the Arabian inspired hotel. Tilal Liwa Hotel is a four-star hotel with a five-star appeal.

Tilal Liwa is not yet in Liwa proper but already the sand dune overlooking the car park is surreal. 

Liwa from the hotel is another 30 minutes drive while the Tel Moreeb Hill is to another hour. The hotel provided us a road map to Liwa and to Tel Moreeb so we weren't lost at all.

The ample car parking outside the hotel was full and the hotel was fully booked even it was in the middle of summer.

We saw this fort on our way to Moreeb Hill.

The road to Tel Moreeb gets a little bumpy at times. As you can see, nature tries to reclaim itself.

This is the Tel Moreeb dune. The highest among all the giant shifting sand dunes in this area. It is deserted during our visit but once a year there is a festival here attended widely by motor enthusiasts.

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Hot summer days are over...

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at Ski Dubai. The temperature inside is at minus 4 degrees but it records minus thirty on the wall thermometer. This giant indoor ski resort in Mall of the Emirates is the first and only one of its kind in the Middle East. Since it opened, it became one of the leading attractions here in Dubai.

For someone like me who have not seen snow and wanted to see real snow, entering Ski Dubai with that perfect winter setting is like a dream come true. I feel like I am in a fairy tale or in a movie. With only my daughter in tow we enjoyed chilling (literally :D) and playing in the park for about two hours, more than that and we would have frozen (we're not built for the weather you know). After two hours I felt that my fingers and toes are aching, the same freezing effect of holding ice in your hand for a long time. Only kids from age three and older are allowed inside so my two year old son Prince and his dad went to Magic Planet instead. Just like me my daughter is seeing snow for the first time and I can tell from her face that she is excited yet uncertain of what to expect but as you can see my little explorer is everywhere.

The famous character of Ice Age movie series Scrat and Sid are both present at Ski Dubai to entertain kids. More so there was the five playful penguins in the Penguin Show.

We would have stayed longer if our body allows us to do so but we don't want to be the first case of hypothermia here :D. I promised Mica that we will be back at Ski Dubai next time but we have to wait for Prince to turn three so dad and him can tag along, it will be more fun I'm sure.

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Just a bbm away!

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When you are missing someone and you had the chance to see that person again there is no room for senseless talk. You just want to update each other with whats up in each others life and you are just so happy to connect again, endless talk, endless laughter, endless fun.

My older and only sister left for Qatar three years ago from Dubai to work. Our annual vacation in the Philippines never match so we never had the chance to see each other.
She was in Dubai for 3D2N during the first week of July for an assessment. The assessment was only for a day but her kind boss granted her request to have a day off the following day in order to spend the time with me and my family. She said she missed Dubai after working here for so long before moving to Qatar. She miss the food, she miss the place she wanted to see again the Burj Khalifa and watch the Dubai dancing fountain, meet some old but best of  friends and re bond her hair :D. So little time and so much things to do. The good thing was coincidentally me and Ferald are both on local leave and the kids are also on summer vacation so we had all the time to be with her and to take her around.

The first thing we did was to take her to a favorite restaurant. A Japanese-Filipino restaurant in Karama that we used to frequent back when she was here. After that we went malling in Dubai Mall, visit some of her friends at Marks & Spencer and then watch the dancing fountain at sunset that left my sister in awe just like every one else who watch it for the first time. Her best friend Emma took time and came to see her too.

We head home after three fountain shows. We pass by a grocery shop to get some all time favorite sausages and processed meat products that she want to take to Qatar for her family as these products are not widely available there. My sister said that one firm recently got the license to sell pork meat products but that was far from their place.

At home we shared pork sinigang and b-b-q over dinner and watch the birthday video of my kids after that. We are all dead tired as we hit the sack. The following morning, Ferald and I had to go to an appointment while my sister went for her hair re bonding, she said it is half the price to do it here than in Qatar.

After that it's time to say goodbye, we drop her at the airport and bid farewell. I am gonna miss her again and I never felt so sad again until that time. I shed a tear and felt my heart ache a little seeing her go. We are going to miss you ate but we are looking forward to see you and your family in December next year. Till then I'm just a bbm away. :)
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Short Shorts!

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The hardest part of shopping pants, jeans and shorts for me is finding the right size. For the longest time, I did not wear any skimpy jean shorts because I am not finding the right size. Every time I go shopping for these items either it is loose on the waist but perfect on the hips or it is the size of my waist line but wouldn't go through my hips, that was my ordeal. Once a fashion blogger said that I must find the perfect fit before buying any clothes and don't resort to alteration.

I think I got lucky one day to find three skimpy jean shorts in a shop in Karama, they are not branded though but alas I don't mind. I got three colors and they are just the perfect fit. I am happy to fill a gap in my wardrobe.

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