Lechon Pork Belly Roll

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Here's my take on the Crispy Crackling Pork with Herb Rice Stuffing by Marion Grasby. We Pinoys call it Lechon (Roasted Pork Belly).

To be honest, I feel intimidated to cook Lechon when everybody else was doing it and even making a business out of it. True story. Some have turned their love for cooking Lechon into a business while I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to give justice to this special-occasion-show-stopper-dish so I never tried cooking it. I just enjoyed eating it when friends brought it to potlucks. Not until the husband asked me if I can cook it for our 2019 Christmas dinner.

Determined to please the family, I searched for the best roast pork recipe online. I found Marion Grasby's Crispy Crackling Pork with Herb Rice Stuffing on Facebook. It looked beautiful and festive. I thought it is the perfect recipe for me. So I followed her instructions and the result is wonderful

presenting...

Lechon Pork Belly
Click on the photo to enlarge
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Camping in Hatta Dubai

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Hatta is a town in the UAE located in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains. It is an exclave of Dubai and is located about an hour and a half from the city center. It is separated from the main part of the emirate by Sharjah (which is part of the UAE), and Oman. It is the town Emiratis escape to in respite from the heat in the city during summer.

I thought I would never be able to visit Hatta. Every time we plan to go, there's always some hold-up. I'm glad we finally visited and actually camped out there for real.

The main reason we are drawn to Hatta is because of this jewel.

The Hatta Dam

Hatta Dam

*Please click on the image to enlarge
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Camping at Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah

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We started the camping season in UAE this year on a high note. We went back up to the spectacular Hajar Mountains in Ras Al Khaimah and camped at 1,934 m above sea level, with temperatures 10 degrees colder than the city's heat and a hundred times better than your camping gig (lol) just kidding.

I am just messing around with you guys. I know that anywhere you camp out here in the UAE is way cooler than just staying indoors. If you like camping and outdoor adventures, it is time.
It was just me and Ferald, no kids. It's our alone time together. Ferald and I always try to make it a point to go out from time to time without the kids. It's a way of refreshing our bond as husband and wife.

Plus, isn't it so nice to wake up next to your special someone in weather like this up in the mountains?


For those who are not aware, Jebel Jais is a mountain of the North-Western Hajar range in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, and also in the Musandam Governorate of Oman. It is one of our favorite camping spots come wintertime.

The last time that we were here, we left Dubai early morning with our friends just to catch the sunrise. This time we set up camp for overnight camping armed with all necessities.

Grilling is allowed at the campsite as long as you keep it off the ground. Authorities patrol the area and check out on campers from time to time. There are bins for used coals if you need to throw them out.


Ferald and I spent the night chatting just about anything over coffee and grilled sausages (aka Purefoods chicken cheese hotdog) and meat (aka inihaw na liempo) under a stary night sky.


We went to bed and had at least 2-3 hours of sleep. Even then, I had a heavy contented sleep. Unfortunately, some campers on the same campsite were up all night playing cards that kept Ferald mainly, awake.


I made coffee for him and myself


and cooked some breakfast while the morning awakes and the mountain that surrounds us is flooded with sunlight.




We enjoyed our meal basking in the sunshine while entertaining a few guests who came to say hi.


These mountain goats seemed used to people, they're not afraid to come close. When they had their fair share of our strawberries, they move on to the next camper

We finished our food and pack up. Drove up a little higher to see the newly built Jebal Jais Viewing Deck. The entrance fee is 5 dirhams for 2 hours


It has twelve binoculars overlooking superb vistas of the Hajar Mountain valleys





and the Arabian Gulf






Just before leaving, we saw a group of hikers starting their trek. Something Ferald and I thought of doing soon.


UAE has plenty of nice camping areas. If you come back, I'll share some more soon. What about you, where is your favorite camping spot in UAE?
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Eat, Explore, Play, & Shop at Singapore's Changi Airport

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Eat, Explore, Play, & Shop at Singapore's Changi Airport

I was never excited about airport layovers. From my previous experience, it meant boredom and long waiting hours. But that's not true anymore in our most recent travel, not with Singapore's Changi Airport.

The four hours we spent at Changi Aiport last January (2019) was the most entertaining airport stopover we've done so far.

*If you are traveling and transiting in Singapore from now onward, continue reading until the end to know a secret.
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How to Apply for Children's Residence Visa Under Mother Sponsorship in Dubai 2019

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Mother sponsoring child in Dubai

Dubai, 29/09/2019

For expatriate married women living and working in Dubai especially those earning less than 10,000 dirhams salary per month and whose job description is not allowed to apply for visas for their family, sponsoring their children has never been easy until the recent changes in Dubai immigration rules that took effect mid of 2019 this year.

The rule now allows any UAE resident (those who have a valid employment visa) male or FEMALE can now sponsor family members provided that he or she earns a monthly salary of AED 4000 or AED 3000 plus accommodation according to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Back in the day, when I tried to sponsor my husband, my experience was completely different. You can read about it here.

Just this month, a friend of mine applied for her children's visa in Dubai. It was approved, and the visa was issued and stamped on her children's passports. We shared below the documents required and the step-by-step process on how to do it.

We hope this can help you in getting the residence visa for your children done smoothly. Please feel free to ask questions or share with our readers your own experience in the comment box below.

Document Required
1. Passport copy of the child/children
2. Passport copy of the sponsoring parent this case the mother
3. 1 photo passport size white background
4. Attested child birth certificate in Arabic
5. Sponsor's salary certificate in Arabic
6. Ejari Tenancy Contract
7. No Objection Letter issued by the father to the wife sponsoring her children. Must be notarized by Dubai Courts in Wafi Mall.
8. Family Status file at Dubai Immigration (Open a new file if you don't have one)
9. Father's Emirates ID Copy (front and back)
10. If the father recently lost his job, copy of his visa cancellation paper (if applicable)
11. Medical Insurance for the children (will not be required until visa stamping)

Fees per child
1. Application for an entry permit at authorized typing center - AED 1,250
2. Change Status - AED 680
3. Visa Stamping to the passport - AED 650
4. Emirates ID 3 years - AED 370 OR 2 years AED 270
5. Translation of Birth Certificate from English to Arabic - AED 160
6. Typing of NOC - AED 50
7. NOC notarization at Dubai Courts - AED 367.25
8. Family file opening at Dubai Immigration - done by typing office - AED 250
Total: AED 3, 777.25

Step-by-step procedure for applying for your children's residence visa in Dubai (The child/children are inside the country in this case)

1. Submit a complete set of documents at the authorized typing center for the typing of the Entry permit.
2. Pay corresponding fees
3. Wait for the text message from Dubai Immigration saying the entry permit has been approved (1-2 days)
4. The typing center will give you a copy of the approved entry permit.
5. They will also be the ones to submit a request for a change in status.
6. Once the change of status is done, submit the original passport to the typing center to process the visa stamping in the passport. This time the medical insurance will be asked for.
7. In Every transaction, the original Emirates ID of the sponsor (in this case the mother) is required.
8. Please note that Emirates ID will also be applied during the visa stamping.
9. Collect your passport once the visa is stamped and you're done.

Now for the other part on How to Obtain and Notarize the NOC from Dubai Courts in Wafi Mall

1. Go to an authorized typing center and have the Arabic NOC letter typed. It should say in the letter that the father has no objection to the mother to sponsor their child/children
2. Take the typed letter to Dubai Courts in Wafi Mall

     Wafi Mall, 1st Floor
     8 AM to 8 PM
     04- 370 6037

3. Take a token and wait to be called. Father's personal appearance is required since he will be signing the NOC in front of the lawyer who will witness and notarize the NOC.
4. Present the original passport as proof of identity
5. Present all documents in 2 copies (NOC to be signed, passport copy of the child/children, passport copy of the father, and, passport copy of the mother as well as the Arabic birth certificate)
6. You will get the document at the same time.

How to Open Family File at Dubai Immigration - this will be done by the authorized typing center for you.

Disclaimer: Please note that UAE Immigration rules may change from time to time. Stay up to date and follow the news in leading news agencies for announcements from the government.
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12-Hour Layover in Singapore l Sightseeing with Kids

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12-Hour Layover in Singapore l Sightseeing with Kids

Our Singapore trip in December last year was only a 12-hour layover. A connecting flight to Manila. Although short, it was exciting as well as memorable because it was the first country outside of the Philippines and UAE we visited together as a family. The kids were excited to get home but they also looked forward to the fun we had in the Lion City.

We usually fly straight to the Philippines but since Singapore is on the same route to our country, we took advantage of the long layover to see a new place. What's great about it is that Filipinos are given visas on arrival in Singapore so we didn't have to bother applying for visas before the trip.

Our ETA was supposed to be at 7:15 am but we reached at 8:43 am. Our connecting flight to Manila was at 7:10 pm on the same day so instead of 12 hours, we were left with 10. It was good that we slept during the flight, we had enough energy for the itinerary I prepared for us. What we were not really prepared to tackle were the heat and humidity. We didn't expect it to be so humid in December. Except for the weather, Singapore was the perfect choice for a layover. It was a small country yet so many things to see and places to visit.

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Filipino Restaurants We Love in the UAE

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With almost a million Filipinos living in the UAE, it is not a surprise to have so many Filipino restaurants catering to Filipino taste in the country. Whichever Emirate you live in, there is always a Filipino restaurant that you can run into when you don't feel like cooking or just having a craving.

We haven't been to every one of them yet but we've been to many. I know that we all have different taste in food. What's good for you might not be good for me and vice versa. But my family and I, we aren't hard to please. We do love good Filipino food and the more authentic it gets, the better. There are those that make the mark and there are those for some reason, we don't think we will ever visit again. And just like you, we also have our fair share of favorite Filipino restaurants, mainly in Dubai where we work and in Sharjah where we live. It is really hard to pick the best because each one has a distinct charm so I'll just share them in random order.

Filipino Restaurants We Love in Dubai

1. Max's Restaurant

Max's is our first restaurant choice whenever we crave for homestyle fried chicken and delicious Filipino food. It is a good place to celebrate special occasions because you know you can never go wrong with Max's Fried Chicken, they have great tasting foods here, always a hit.
Max's Restaurant began operations in the Philippines in 1945. Its success now boasts 170 branches all over the Philippines and internationally with 5 branches in UAE (2 in Dubai, 1 in Al Ain and 2 in Abu Dhabi.)


Some of our favorites are Max's home-style fried chicken, crab meat fried rice, kare-kare, prawn in alegue, sizzling tofu, inihaw na pusit and beef sisig. For dessert, we always order their Max's dessert sampler with buko pandan, ube creme decadence, leche flan, and cream cheese brownie. Ube roll is our favorite Max's cake.

2. Jollibee

Who doesn't remember the epic queuing when Jollibee opened in Dubai Mall. Due to its success, now the company is aggressively expanding, with a target to open 32 stores in UAE by 2020.
Jollibee food is Filipinos ULTIMATE comfort food. Do I need to say more? By the way, when are we going to have palabok here in Dubai?


3. Chowking

Before the boom of Pinoy themed restos whether homegrown or not, Chowking is already the King of Filipino food in Dubai. They are the pioneer of the Asian quick service restaurant concept in the Philippines. Its first branch opened in Dubai in 1998 and now has 13 branches around the city.
The dishes we love and order most of the time includes Lauriat meals, siopao and siomai, halo-halo, chao fan and a lot more. Before Jollibee came to Dubai, Chowking's Asian style fried chicken was our fried chicken fix and we still have it when we eat at Chowking. What's funny is why I couldn't find any photos of my Chowking meals. I probably didn't care to shoot, I just ate.
My personal favorite meal and the first I've tried when they open the branch in BurJuman was their Smoked Golden Tinapa. It is included in their breakfast meal but available throughout the day. Their fried chicken has a unique taste, it has a hint of wild lime known to us as calamansi. This made the dish distinctly Pinoy. Other than pancakes and waffles that they are famous for, they have a wide variety of dishes that we still want to try.


5. Shakey's Pizza

Shakey's chicken 'n mojos and thin-crust pizzas are delicious. We were invited to the grand opening of their first branch in Dubai but was not completely satisfied with the experience. Having dined at Shakey's in the Philippines many times before with happy memories I must say, we have no doubt that it was just due to an overwhelming number of guests during the event. As promised, we went back with the kids, ordered up a storm and went home happy and sated. The kids didn't go home without ringing the bell to show their satisfaction of course.


6. Gerry's Grill

I haven't been to Gerry's Grill in a while but I would love to dine there again. Gerry's Grill offers Filipino and Asian specialties served in a family-friendly setting with occasional live music performances. I'm currently craving for their grilled dishes. Inihaw na pusit and inihaw na manok, seafood rice, crispy tadyang ng baka (beef ribs) and leche flan. My mouth waters just by thinking about it.


7. Tagpuan, Sharjah

Tagpuan is a special place for me and Ferald. It is where Ferald and I used to have dinner after church mass every Friday when we were still dating back to 2003. Even until now, we still frequent the restaurant with our kids. Our favorites are Special Pancit and Sizzling Bulalo Steak. We also frequent their Al Wahda branch for turo-turo viands.

8. Lamesa - Asiana Hotel 

Lamesa Restaurant is Asiana Hotel's all-day dining restaurant. It offers amazing Asian dining experience with warm and cozy ambiance. They have a lavish spread of Filipino dishes as well as  Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Thai. It is a great place to dine with family and friends. It is also where you will find amazing Filipino pork dishes. Yes, they serve pork here. In fact, one whole section is dedicated to pork dishes alone. The pork section has sisig, Lechon kawali, crispy pata, pork humba, pork barbecue, dinuguan, and sinigang. The buffet is priced reasonably and you'll definitely get the value for your money.

9. Little Manila

Little Manila is a one-stop shop for all our favorite food. Zagu, Binalot, Jay-J's Inasal, Bread Shop and House of Lechon Manok to name a few. We love their sizzling deals and boodle fights too.


10. Carinderia ni Tandang Sora

We've only eaten at Carinderia ni Tandang Sora twice but their food is family approved. Definitely one of those restaurants I will visit on a whim. Their boodle fight plates are highly recommended.


11. Pampangenos

This restaurant belongs to Salt n Pepper restaurant group. It is located on the 2nd Floor of Madina Mall in Muhaisna. We always pass by this road on our way home so the location is very convenient for us. We discovered this gem of a restaurant by accident and since then, we became a regular. We even ask them to cater for us twice, for the kids birthday parties. They have a buffet every weekend starting Thursday.

12. Pizza Pizza

We come here mostly for Loming Batangas instead of pizza.


They have the tastiest and most authentic Batangas lomi in Sharjah. The best thing, they are open until 3 am daily. They also serve other Filipino dishes like tapsilog and sweet and sour prawn, my kids order these dishes most of the time if they are not craving for pizza. We usually order the Jumbo Lomi which is good for two, served with pandesal and iced tea.

13. Pita Restaurant

I only go to Pita for their Pinoy style cheesecake priced at AED 100/cake. It is something I can highly recommend. To be honest, we haven't given their food a second try since our first but I saw them renovate the place so maybe it is time we should.

14. Mang Aryeseos Bulaluhan in RAK


When you are in Ras Al Khaimah and are looking for a good Filipino restaurant, make your way to Mang Aryeseos Bulaluhan. Highly recommended. The food here is delicious. The staffs are friendly and the place is clean and tidy. The walls were adorned by the owner's sporty adventures in the city. The bulalo we ordered was nice and warm, with soft juicy and tender meat,  the bbq chicken and bbq chicken liver were just like Pinas. It gets packed at lunchtime so make sure to come in early.


There you go! These are some of the Filipino restaurants that is MYB approved.

Happy eating! Will update when we have new finds.

*This post is not paid nor sponsored
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