Saturday, April 02, 2016
Term 2 Break is almost over.  The week passed by with me being sick most of it, it was only this Thursday that I felt better, so I immediately jumped into the piling house chores that needed my attention, imagine doing a week chores in just a few hours. Exhausting!

I never imagined being a SAHM will entail such hardwork. Sometimes, I feel so tired, that I'm entertaining thoughts of going back to work but one smile from Katniss and one embrace from Hermione is all it takes to keep me going. Yes, its hard but its very rewarding, having to witness all the "first" moment, having to cook for them, play with them, and be just with them everytime they need you.


posted by JV @ Saturday, April 02, 2016   0 comments
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
I usually sleeps by 2 or 3AM and wakes up between 11AM-12NN since Katniss gave up her morning up, my life has been upside down.

I  miss my routine. I miss baking. I'm craving for a lot of pies, cookies and cakes but can't seem to find time to do it. Hopefully when the school term and Hermione is on winter holiday we will be able to bake.


On another note, brother-in-law was not able to find job here, his time here has been very challenging, not just for him - but for us as well. We had to make hard decision - I won't go into details but I believe that God has other plans for him. Better one. 

We miss having him around - I guess he is not meant to work here and stay away from his family.


My girls are doing great. 

Hermione has Aikido and Gymnastics for her ECAs. Its her exams week this week. One more week and its winter holiday. Yipee!

Katniss is love. She's such a talker. She likes eating - I feed her with mostly pureed veggies, fruits, oatmeal and yougart. She's very independent, she prefers to play in the playroom or her crib than being carried. 


I was supposed to start my kiddie party business, but, I think this is not yet the right time since Katniss is too young and the business would take so much of my time - maybe a couple of years from now. My priority will always be my girls. 

posted by JV @ Wednesday, December 09, 2015   0 comments
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Despite my busy schedule in a different time zone that the rest, I'm squeezing in some reading on stock investments to help me manage our portfolio. I'm almost done with my second book and planning to go to the bookstore to shop for a few more. I would also be enrolling to attend seminars on this topic to arm myself to be a better investor.

This year, we are aggressively working on saving and investing despite the numerous expenses. First, we redirected Hermione's Trust Fund to Sunlife which gives us better yield as compare to the bank. I'm not a fan of Educational Plan, we opted to save and invest our kids college funds than get an educplan.

We are fortunate that we are not paying for Hermione's schooling now and its being shouldered by hubby's company which is giving us the opportunity to save for her college. Last August, we decided to redirect the college fund that we save so far to Sunlife. We will do the same for Katniss. 

2 weeks ago, we met with an Relationship Manager from Zurich and signed in new investments which will give us interest rates more than what the bank is giving us. This week we met another RM from the same company to get an insurance this time. We felt that its high time we have one, as we are getting older and our kids are still young and we want them to live comfortably if anything ever happens to us.

Life is unsure.

But we can ensure that our love ones will be taken care of with proper planning. 

This is something we wanted to do for a long time but with the limited resources that we have before, its hard to prepare for the future when all you have is for the present needs. I remember getting an insurance policy when I was younger, but I cannot pay the premium that's why I had to stop and the policy was forfeited leaving me with nothing. So I told myself, the next time I will get an insurance policy I will make sure I can commit into it, be in bad and good times. 

Now that we have other sources of income other than hubby's job, I think its the best time to protect our little girls by getting insurance. This way, they will still be able to go to school and have the best life that we can give even if we are not around. 

But I do hope, we will not be able to use the insurance and see them grow and be the ladies that we imagined them to be.

posted by JV @ Thursday, November 05, 2015   0 comments
My days are getting shorter, Katniss - my little one, is on "vampire" mode, mostly sleeping during daylight and up with tons of energy at night. 

We would usually sleep around 2AM or 3AM, the thing is, I haven't been able to take my usual afternoon nap since Hermione started her Aikido classes which is twice a week and from 4-5PM. I feel I'm missing a lot in life, having to wake up mid-day.

I still have not completed the layout of Katniss Christening album and haven't started the layout for their birthday album, good thing the voucher I bought from Photobook can be extended. I've also been wanting to put up the Christmas decorations,  I hope I can do that this weekend. Good thing that my brother-in-law is here to help me out with baby sittinga and house chores or else the house would be a total mess.

I have a lot of things I'm planning to do, but I don't have the time and energy for it. I even stopped baking for a while, been forced to buy a chocolate muffin  when I crave for one from Starbucks which cost QR10 which I can do for way much lesser.

On the other hand, I'm glad that we were able to switch Hermione from Karate to Aikido, she also has Gymnastics during Thursday and chose French Song for her ECA. She likes learning French. And I'm glad she loves it. She is doing very well in school except from being a real chatterbox.

Apart from the erratic sleeping patterns, Katniss is generally well, she had her 1 year vaccine 2 weeks ago. Her teeth are coming out, and she looks cuter than ever. God how I adore her. 

posted by JV @ Thursday, November 05, 2015   0 comments
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
I can't believe that its been almost a year and I haven't blog about anything. I'm extremely busy with my two girls but I promise to find time to write about what's happening on my end.

Well, I feel great! I can't remember ever smiling this often, Katniss is truly an angel. She makes me all gaga over her. Even though there are times that I'm so sleep-deprived that I act like a robot, just one smile from her will wipe all those tiredness away.

Since the start of the year I was busy planning for Katniss Christening and her 1st Birthday and Hermione's 7th Birthday.  Initially we wanted to have her Christening here in Doha but later on decided to have it in PH so there will be an occassion to invite family, relatives and friends we missed so much. Although we have been back to PH almost evey year, its mostly more of "emergency" than of a vacation so we weren't able to meet our friends and relatives, and since it will be impossible for us to meet all of them during our brief stay, the best way is to gather them up during Katniss' Christening. 

I decided to have it again at OLA Church where Hermione's baptism took place and book again Cafe Kapitan for reception. As usual, food was superb and it was a breeze walking from Church to the reception venue.

Katniss Christening Gown was made by my favorite couturier, a gown fit for a princess that she is. Another gown was made which she wore during reception - a pink one this time. For hairdress, I had a dozen custom-made for her and Hermione to be worn during Christening and their birthday party come September, a couple of footband were also included in my orders. They look so fabulous!

I picked OWL for a theme and personally styled the reception venue.  I always wanted candy buffet so I ordered some cupcake holders and candy boxes from Amazon and bought apothecary jars at SM's Home Center. I had an owl cake and cupcake with owl toppers plus choco lollies all with owls to complement the theme.  

I made these personalized chocolate bars, atleast the wrapper haha, it's just kitkat bars that I wrapped with cutie owl wrapper.

For favors, I had notepad made from printed matter for adults. For kids, I ordered personalized pillows. For ninongs and ninangs, we gave them personlized notebook with their names on it and pens with owl design that I ordered from Amazon. For family, we gave purse with owl printed on it and owl pens that I also ordered from Amazon.

More owls - guest book, owl flush toys for centerpieces that I partnered with bird cages and some paper pompoms. Even bottled waters didn't escape my owlistic addiction haha. And the candles for the ceremony.

posted by JV @ Tuesday, October 27, 2015   0 comments
Friday, June 19, 2015
It has been awhile since I last posted, been very busy with my baby girl we named Katniss Ericka and my 6 year-old daughter and of course running the house.

It  has been a very challenging year for me especially having a newborn after 6 years. But I am very happy that God us Katniss...she is truly an answered prayer.

Looking back at 2014.

January - Felt so relax having been able to have a two-week vacation at Turkey.
February - Had to go back to Ph to visit my father-in-law who was very ill and been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I also learned that I'm pregnant.
March - My father-in-law passed away. Had to stay behind because of my high-risk pregnancy while hubby went back to PH for his father funeral.
April - Same old. Same old except for being always hungry.
May - Hungrier and frustrated with the limited food here, apart from it, pregnancy went well.
June - Decided to go to PH with Hermione so I can eat and supervise the finishing of our new project - Amidala Apartments
July - Eat, Eat, Eat
August - Had to go back to Qatar, vacation is over. Nanay travelled with us. Happy that she went with us to assist us.
September - School started, Hermione is Year 1. Celebrated her birthday, can't wait to give birth, my tummy look so huge.
October - Finally, gave birth to my sweet baby girl - Katniss. I couldn't be more happier. Sleepless but happy.
November - Nanay had to cut her stay due to impending operation to remove her gallstones. So sad.
December - Christmas is happier with Katniss around. Struggled a bit, especially being sleepless, so lucky I have a very supportive husband. 
posted by JV @ Friday, June 19, 2015   0 comments
Friday, August 29, 2014
And we're back in Doha!

Last June, Hermione and I went to PH for vacay. I was already 27 weeks pregnant then, ealier during the pregnancy hubby and I decided to forgo the vacay, but I'm secretly hoping we could still push through with it as I want to spend some time back home as there's nothing to do much here during the hot summer months. And besides we already have non-refundable roundtip tickets booked to Manila. 

After consultations with my 2 ob gyne doctors, they gave me the green light to travel as my pregnancy has been recategorized to low risk. So there we were, despite being so huge and with a 5 year old in tow, I gather all my energy and endured the 9 hour flight back home. Hermione and I were sad that we weren't able to travel with her daddy as he cannot go on vacation leave for a long time, he will just fly to Manila on his birthday week to celebrate with us and to travel back with us.

My brothers and father fetched us from the airport. We decided to try the Clark Airport as its much cheaper than landing to NAIA and boy it was a really good decision because it only took us 2 hours from there to our house. And save us a lot. 

I spent most of the days at home, just eating and spending time with my family. I wasn't really hoping to go somewhere far because I'm having a hard time travelling especially with the traffic in Manila and my bulging tummy. Most of the time I would just go to the nearby malls just to eat and buy things that we will bring back to Doha. Good thing my borther is there to drive for me anytime. Wilcon has been also one of my favorite go-to places since I'm personally choosing the finishing materials for the apartments currently being constructed for us. We named it after Hermione - its called Amidala Apartments. 

When we decided to move here, we agreed that we will not have a house constructed until we're back for good. Instead, we opted to put up apartments for rent so it could generate funds for us while the lot appreciates over time. My father is in construction business anyway, and most of his clients now are celebrities - the likes of Kris Aquino and Ann Curtis. 

So there we go, with my mom's help acting as the project manager, my father as our contractor (for free hehe), we had the construction started last February, 8 months earlier than originally planned. And after 6 months its almost complete. We had it blessed during hubby's birthday. Though there are some works to be done, we think everything will be done by September, my brother replaced my mom, he is now managing the construction work as we brought my mom here to stay with us for baby Katniss' birth. 

posted by JV @ Friday, August 29, 2014   0 comments
Thursday, April 24, 2014
So much for travel details, I decided to have a separate travel blog when I find the time - that is when I find one.

And here's the big news...Hermione is going to be a big sister! Yes! I'm one preggy mommy.  I'm currently on my 2nd trimester. The 1st trimester was a total bummer, nausea all day, quesy tummy, zero appetite for food other than cheeseburger (I know its not a healthy choice) and now Steak. Now, I feel a bit better except for occassional headaches that can be attributed to progesterone overload that my ob gyne put me into to ensure healthy pregnancy this time.

I love being pregnant, it's just that it's really hard to live by all these pregnancy symtoms. And boy I'm glad I'm not working or its going to be WW3 in the office. I usually sleep all day, in between picking up Hermione from school and some cooking - but most of the time, we eat out or have some food delivered. 

I get to see our baby every check up, unlike in PH where ultrasound is ordered just 3x all throughout pregnancy. I also passed my 1st trimester screening which includes down syndrome and edward syndrome detection and early on bloodwork screening. Thank God everything is normal. 

The hubby has been doing all the housework after office. I sometimes feel for him because I know how tired he is from working all day. But I would rather be an obedient wife as I don't want to overextend myself, childbearing is hardwork itself and besides I don't have the energy to do anything, I'm always nauseted and sleepy. 

But all in all, for as long as my dear baby is well, I'm one happy preggy mom. 
posted by JV @ Thursday, April 24, 2014   1 comments
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Day 5. Pisa, Italy

We were supposed to go the the outlet store for Prada but was not feeling up to it, so we decided to go to Pisa instead to see for ourselves the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But, I was not able to go with the group since I was feeling dizzy so I decided to stay in the hotel instead. I let hubby and Hermione go since I don't want them to missed anything as special as this is.

And true they enjoyed it so much, it was a 30minute train ride from Florence. They brought me real nice souvenirs  and we met for a late lunch before heading to Milan.

posted by JV @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013   0 comments
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Day 4. Tuscany, Italy

Another train ride took us to this very beautiful part of Italy.

I was not aware that we would be going to Tuscany so you can just imagine my surprise when I realized that we were actually there! To be honest, I was not paying attention to the itinerary that my SIL provided me for review and approval - I just had a quick scan then said yes to it. What can I say? I'm busy running the house.

The itinerary said we should be doing wine-tasting, I was not very fond of doing the wine-tasting tour since I'm not into drinking but I had to join since everyone is going. The very helpful receptionist of our hotel made the reservation for us - she is such a darling. We paid 45 euros for the tour including transportation. The bus is huge, new and super comfy. 

The view in Tuscany region is awesome! So green with olive trees and grapes vines as far as your eyes can see.

We went to a private vineyard and wine factory at Casteliani where I've tasted the most delicious black vinegar. We were also served with cheese, olive oil and had a lot of Wines - I'm not into Wines so I just took a sip  but had to stop since my allergy is catching up on me. There is also a small store in the vine factory where I bought some yummy goodies.

The movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" suddenly came into my mind as we were walking in the village. I love it! Its a place you would want to spend the rest of our life. So peaceful, serene.

We had another stop at Monterrigioni Castle for another wine and olive oil tasting. And had some gelato before going back to the bus.

I'm happy that I went along since its such a great experience.

I love Tuscany. 
posted by JV @ Tuesday, November 19, 2013   0 comments
Day 3. Florence, Italy

It was our last day in Rome, after a quick brekky we boarded Frecciarossa, the fastest bullet train in Italy  to Florence. Just took us no more than an hour to get there. SIL and I were just a little stressed over being harped by his hubby as we did a little detour doing shopping at one of SIL's fave shop. But it was me who did all the shopping hehe. His hubby has this thing about being extremely early. It was Mother's Day and the train company were giving out single-stemmed red rose, I got a couple, felt extremely special as Hermione handed those to me.

Rain welcomed us in this beautiful city of Italy that was once the capital of Italy. Our hotel  was nice and homey being a family-run hotel.  After taking a little rest, we wasted no time and went to grab a late lunch at McDonalds and went straight to Palazzio Veccio Museum, and Catedrale Di Sta. Maria Di Fiore by foot as these were just 5-minute walk from our hotel, with lots of shops to see on the way there. 
Its so marvelous! We also sat down the plaza and get ourselves entertained by musicians - so Italy!

Then I got a chance to check on some Chanel bags at the nearby store but found nothing to WOW me. We decided to have  dinner at one of the Italian Resto nearby Catedrale Di Sta. Maria and I regret dining there as it was pricey and the food was just so-so, nothing special. Since we were not happy with the food, we stopped by at one of the little nook there and had another round of dinner. This time we were quite happy as we get to ordered roasted pork and had some gelato and cappuccino  I swore not to eat again at those fancy resto as it can be frustrating at times.

We headed back to the hotel a bit earlier to rest and do some chitchatting.

Tip: Do try small resto over classy ones, great ambiance may not equate to great food.

posted by JV @ Tuesday, November 19, 2013   0 comments
Day 2. Rome, Italy

We woke up early, I had a good night sleep, I feel fresh - no more haggard-looking me. SIL and I went to the nearby grocery to get some breads and water while the others went down for breakfast. You may want to do this before going to the tourist spots as they can be very very pricey over there. The free breakfast that comes with the hotel room is just a cup of cappuccino and some pastries - really Italian! And I'm not happy about it.

We went to Collosseo - this is Hubby's favorite since he is a great fan of Gladiators! Palantine Hill was the next stop and then comes the Roman Forum. Again, we opted for a guided tour for 25 euros per person. Had a great time with our tourist guide, he has his way to capture and keep them all hooked up with his stories. Never a dull moment. Well spent 25 euros.

After shopping for souvenirs we headed back to our hotel via train,  its just a quick ride. We rested a bit before going to a Pinoy restaurant serving Crispy Pata and the likes, coming from Middle East, we  love eating PORK everywhere we go hehe especially my SIL's family since pork is banned at SA. Unlike in ours that we get to buy but 10 times the price in Pinas. Really expensive!

We left the pinot resto with heavy tummies and took the bus to Piazza Navona, bus in Rome are not strict, its up to you if you will swipe your  travel card or not. The reason we know that is that we were not able to use our cards since we can't find the card slot, but I'm sure its just there somewhere hehe. For those who doesn't have enough money, they can just simply take a free ride.  Glad there were two friendly locals who were there in the bus with us who gave us the signal on when to go off the bus since we were not sure where is the exact location of our destination.
We walked to The Pantheon and watched some artist onsite. We were really amazed by the artists showing great talents using spray paints, you can instantly purchase their works at 10 euros, I was tempted to buy one but carrying it would be a problem since we will be visiting other countries too. Then we walked more over to Fountain of Four Rivers and Trevi Fountains. Glad we had a few coins to spare. 

I love walking in Rome at night. Reminds me of those romantic movies. 

posted by JV @ Tuesday, November 19, 2013   0 comments
Yes I'm back from our vacay, its been a very enjoyable and memorable trip for the family.

Day 1. Rome, Italy

We arrived at  FCO airport around 7AM, I wasn't able to sleep during the 6-hour  plane ride as I got hooked with the movies. It's one of the best things I love with Qatar Airways, they have  great movie selection. Hello eyebags! 

Line at the immigration was quite long, there were so many asians, Chinese among others traveling by groups. We were able to get a taxi that brought us to our hotel. It was less than 30minutes drive, though I was feeling sleepy I managed to enjoy the view while on our way to our hotel. The city street made me feel that I'm really in Italy! 

We booked a hotel near the train station. SIL and family arrived there a day earlier so we stayed at their room while we wait to be checked in. The hotel was quite small, but the rooms were newly renovated. We were excited to see the Yaps. Hubby immediately went to our  luggages to fish out the two Ipads we bought for our nephews. They were extremely happy to see the new gadgets we have for them. They didn't waste time and began tinkering their new toy. We decided to give them iPads for their birthday and Christmas, but since shipping could be very costly, we just opted to give it to them  personally since we will be meeting them anyways for our trip.

We went to the nearby resto to have a quick breakfast and headed to Vatican City. We decided to avail of the guided tour since its much better to have someone who could explain us the history and all there is to know at the Vatican City and Sistine Chapel. We paid €45 each for the guided tour. And it was indeed a good idea as we learned so much than just merely looking around. Michael Angelo's Creation is so amazing! So insanely amazing to be exact!

We went to St. Peter's Basilica, appreciated every bits of it. And shopped for rosaries and murano-glass cross at the shop Basilica's shop.

We were really starving when we reached the strings of restaurants, we chose one with the most Italian ambiance we could find. Eating out is pricey, imagine a coke-in-can would cost you €4! 

After the dinner, we went back to the hotel to take the much needed rest. Our bed being for double occupancy only is quite small for the 3 of us. I'm glad I was able fo sweet-talked the Pinay in-charge to give us an extra bed at no extra cost.

posted by JV @ Tuesday, November 19, 2013   0 comments
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
I'm into baking these days. After being at rest for most of the days because of colds and coughs due to shifting weather. Weather here is insane! But airconditioning helps and so cheap too. 

I tried doing cheesecake earlier, but the oven here in the flat is not digital so I'm still having a hard time figuring out the right setup. But I'm pleased with my cheese cake, its yummier than the one we ordered for 80riyals, and I don't want to be bitchy about it but they should not be selling those in the first place! 


On another note, I'm super happy with JapJap, my new ride. It's a 2014 model of Mitsubishi Pajero. I was initially looking at Hummer, but since the last model available in the market is 2010, it's quite hard to find decent-looking ones. And I have a no-no policy on second hand vehicles, or anything pre-owned so I opted for a brand new pajero. And I made the right choice. Thanks to Hubby for buying me one. He is a little envious of it because nothing beats an offroad vehicle so he would soon sell the Captiva to get a pick-up for himself 😝. 


Hermione is enjoying school, apart from that she can read already with just barely a month after school has started, she is also learning arabic, and next year french - I'm sooo jealous. One of my goal this year is to learn a new language. And I'm not sure I'll be able to achieve it. 

And speaking of my goals for this year, I started stocks investing this month and so far, so good. 

That's all for now. 

posted by JV @ Tuesday, November 05, 2013   0 comments
Sunday, October 06, 2013
I know I have been absent for a while. There are so many things to blog but I can't find the time to write them down.

This is my first day to bring my little girl to school. The Daddy has an early shift and he left the car with me to take the girl to school.

Driving in Doha is great! But getting a driving license is a different thing - and that's deserve a separate blog entry.

While the girl is away I took the chance to spring clean the house, my SIL and her family will be coming here for a vacay and I'm making the house as decent as possible haha.

I'm having this feeling that I am where I want to be - in life. And I thank God for it, eventhough I has a few disappointments along the way like the recent miscarriage and driving test torture. I always believe that if I can't have what I want - God has better plans for me. And that's enough for me to carry on a Happy Life.

I love my life now. 
posted by JV @ Sunday, October 06, 2013   0 comments
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Two weeks ago we decided its time for the little girl to have her own bed. I talked to Hermione about our plan and she happily agreed since Sleeping Beauty (her favorite Princess) has her own bed, that made me smile.

So off we went to Ikea and pick a nice bed for her. The bed is extendable so she could fit even if she grow a few inches bigger. At first, she is so excited to sleep on it, asking us if its bedtime already. But after a while, she would go to our bed and insist on sleeping with us again (arg). She found a way to sleep with us as she has colds and would blackmailed me that she is so "kawawa", silly little girl.

However every time her Daddy would tell her we would just return her bed to the store, that would trigger her to sleep on it, but would always climb up our bed in the morning and sleep some more while hugging me. She's so sweet.

Its okay with me, for I know she is taking baby steps to be independent.

posted by JV @ Sunday, August 11, 2013   0 comments
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
As I secretly promised myself that I will not be making bag purchases for the year, unless, its the Chanel Flap Classic, I stumbled upon this gorgeous Balenciaga City. That's the thing with secret promises, nobody knows about it other than you - so its easy to break!

Since I'm into bag business, there are times that I don't get excited anymore with bags, because I'm always surrounded by them. But, my immunity has its limit. When I went to Balenciaga store to get some orders, I saw this, and I don't want to ever put it down. This color  is called  "Lagoon" which is part of the Fall/Winter 2012 Collection. 

I sometimes asked myself, when will my bag addiction will come to an end??? I guess, NEVER! As long as they keep producing beautiful bags such as this.

posted by JV @ Wednesday, July 17, 2013   0 comments
It has been awhile since I last blogged. Promise, I will be posting my Euro Tour experience.  But for now, here are the additions to my collection lovingly bought by my uber generous hubby.

Inside the black box is a GST Black in Silver Hardware, while in the white box is a 2013 Spring Collection Flap and a pair of Chanel earrings in the small black box. I was hoping to  get a Chanel 2.55 Flap or Chanel Reissue, but when we went to their store at Champs de Elysees, the Reissue presented to me was not as gorgeous as I imagined it to be. There is also a Chanel Flap but in Jumbo (and not a  black one). Since Jumbo size will not compliment my body frame, I decided to just get the Chanel GST. The next day, hubby suggested that we visit Chanel's flagship store at Rue Cambon. The SA was an asian male, he was very accommodating, he managed to give me a Chanel Flap in Black but also in Jumbo size. While I was waiting for him to get the stock, my eyes caught a Chanel Flap in White with a splash of gray in the middle. And yes, it was love at first sight... I immediately went and  tried it on me. Its very beautiful, but a bit longer that the usual flaps. And then the SA came back with the Chanel Flap Jumbo, he told me that I was so lucky since they just received it that morning and its been out of stock for some time. But my heart goes to the Chanel Flap, I told myself that since the Chanel Flap Jumbo is a classic style, I can always get it. So after posing here and  there with the bags on my shoulders, I finally decided to go with the Chanel Flap 2013 Spring Collection. 

Afterwards, the SA asked me to look at the earrings and wallets, unfortunately, there were no wallets available with silver double C logo, I'm into silver hardware. But I was able to find a beautiful pair of Chanel earrings with pearls. I gave the darling hubby a look asking for approval, and he said YES. So there I was, so happy with the my Chanel purchases. 

posted by JV @ Wednesday, July 17, 2013   0 comments
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
We are truly going to Europe this summer! Our schengen visa was released last April 11. Application itself is a breeze, you just need to schedule an appointment with the embassy and submit all your requirements, you will need to appear as finger-printing is now mandatory. Application fee is €60 (Qr 280), children don't need to pay application fees. Processing will vary as per nationalities, its 5 working days for Filipinos, others would know the result after 3 days and could go as long as 10 days.

You need to confirm appointment with the embassy as early as 2 weeks from your target date as queue is usually long.

Required documents for a short stay or transit visa :

Visa application form duly filled in and signed by the applicant.
Two applicant’s recent passport size photos WHITE background
Copy of the passport and of previous Schengen visas
Bank statement (last 3 months) showing salary transfer
Copy of flight booking (round trip)
Copy of hotel booking or of the « attestation d’accueil » stamped by French authorities
Copy of travel insurance covering all medical expenses and repatriation up to 30000 €

Non Qatari citizens have to attach also:

Copy of the resident permit
A letter from the sponsor showing clearly the monthly salary, the position in the company, the purpose of the trip, the starting date and the duration of the professional contract. This letter must state to guaranty the return of the applicant to Qatar after the trip
Please bear in mind that:

Original passport must be shown when applying
for a visa
In order to take fingers prints and picture (new biometrical procedure), every applicant over 12 years must submit his own application.
Administrative and security process before answer varies from a nationality to another and can reach 15 days.
Separate application form must be filled in for children; regardless of their age and even if they appear on their parent’s passport.

We were granted 60days visa, however, we managed to round up our itineraries to 21 days. Our first stop is Rome, Italy then we will be heading to Florence, then Montecartini. After that we will spend a few days in Venice and Milan before going to Prague in Czech Republic. Our last and final destination will be Paris, France where we will be spending 9 days. Yahoo!

I bet I'll be spending a lot of time at Chanel at LV stores!
posted by JV @ Tuesday, April 30, 2013   1 comments
Thursday, March 28, 2013
As I was doing my usual bloghopping yesterday, I came across the updated Chanel prices as of December 2012 and was totally sad learning that the two Chanel bags (GST and Reissue) I have been eyeing increased by 450 and 800 Euros  respectively in a span of 5 months.

This made me realize that I should buy them as soon as I can as Chanel prices keep on getting higher and higher. I was thinking of just getting the GST so I could spare the cash to my ongoing business but heck, price increase is such a bummer.

posted by JV @ Thursday, March 28, 2013   1 comments
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Earlier as I was outside Villagio mall waiting for hubby and hermione to pick me up, a very nice car stopped in front of me. Then a Qatari man driving it went out leaving his car with the engine still running and went inside the mall to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I was really surprised that the car he left just like that is a Rolls Royce! And there's no one inside...

Sometimes I will see a Ferrari, BMW, Brenthley parked reckelessly in the streets. Back home, cars like that are usually guarded with life. Here, its just a car...

And even if you leave your cars with the key and doors open, you will see it the way you left it even hours after. In Ph, even with the driver onboard, it will not discourage the carnappers from getting your vehicles.

Here I don't need to worry that there will be pickpockets hauling over me, even if I leave my iiphone and bag in the table to line up for meals, you can be assure that it will be there. I usually goes to jewelry shops here that sells diamonds, the sales people will leave me with a tray of diamonds to try on. People here are really so thrusting.

Life here is sooooo peaceful, no worrying about carnapper, kidnapper, holdaper and other bad people.

Qatar really never ceases to amaze me. True, this is one of the safest, if not the safest place in the world.

I hope Ph will be like this in the future.
posted by JV @ Thursday, March 21, 2013   0 comments
I'm still wide awake right now as I'm preparing a bunch of leche flan for the potluck dinner of the Pinoys in hubby's office. I decided to bring leche flan and shrimp rolls, both my SIL's recipes.

The pinoy mafia as they call themselves usually holds get-together potluck style. Those with wifey here usually brings home-cooked meals while those that are single and busy usually buys from the restos.

It will be my first time to meet the Pinoy Mafia as I was not able to join the previous gatherings. And I'm very confident that my food will be a hit! Yes, my cooking skills have improved tremendously since being a SAHM. Hubby told me that his team mates usually looks forward to his baon or any occassion that will call for my home-cooked meals.

SIL and I are thinking of opening a catering business if ever she and her family will relocate here.
posted by JV @ Thursday, March 21, 2013   0 comments
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Givency Nightingale is one of the biggest favorites of hollywood stars since its birth. It's a very versatile and not a high maintenance bag which made it more popular.

I like the goatskin with silver hardware givenchy logo, I got a red and black. But the red one is soooo hard to find, I'm glad I got one for myself.

posted by JV @ Sunday, March 17, 2013   0 comments
Friday, March 15, 2013
Before I came here I have been reading a lot of blogs/websites regarding life here and one thing I noted is that finding a school can be very challenging for  expatriate parents like us.

Armed with this information, I decided to put "school hunting" on top of our priority list. I intend to start reviewing schools since January, however, I got sidetracked with the Euro tour and business ideas. It was just last week of February that I was able to finalize my school list.

There are a lot of schools to choose from american, canadian, british, filipino and other schools that caters to expatriate and local students. We wanted to enroll our little one to a british school, however, majority of the british schools here holds a very long waiting list, and most of them have to give priorities to british nationals.

I send out 2 applications (since most are not accepting new applications already), to Parkhouse English School and Newton British School. I already knew that Parkhouse is a long shot since one my friends here is waiting for 2 years already to get her daughter into that school. I'm settled on enrolling her to one of the Philippine schools here while we are in the waiting list of british schools. Newton Bristish School scheduled Hermione for an assessment/test after receiving our application, we had to pay Qr 200 fee, there are some schools which also collects application fee from Qr 100 to Qr 500 apart from the assessment/test fee.

Hubby was quite anxious that Hermione might not pass the test since she have not gone any formal schooling yet (oppose to other kids here that are already in school from age 2), I on the other hand is very confident that my little girl would pass it since she is very familiar with all the colors, letters, shapes (even up to octagon level hehe), numbers and she speaks english very fluently since its her first language.

Her Daddy requested to leave the office early during the testing day since I don't  have a license yet and he does not want to miss Hermione's test day. Hermione was able to answer all the questions correctly! However we were not that positive that she will be considered since there are a lot of applicants. So imagine my disbelief upon receiving a call the next morning telling me that my little girl has passed the test and they are giving her a slot. In my excitement I was not able to ask for what level she is being considered haha. I wasn't also expecting the result to be given a day after since we were advised to wait for at least a week.

We had to pay a whooping Qr 3,650 as registration fee the next working day so they can officially reserve the slot for us. That is just registration fee, that's almost Php 42K and a whole year's tuition fee back home in a private school.

If you happen to be wondering how much tuition fees here for pre-schooler, it starts with Qr 25K to Qr 55K on a full year term. Come to think of it, its more than half million in pesos for pre-school alone! That is for american and british schools, philippine and other schools are cheaper.

So if you're thinking of reserving a slot to several schools cause you are not sure  yet where you really want your kiddos to enroll, you have to pay registration fees to each one of the schools so they will hold the slot for you or they will give it to others who passed and interested. We're so thankful that hubby's company pays for our kid/s schooling or I will be dreading every time school opens.

Since getting into a british school is hard enough, we didn't think twice and reserved the slot for Hermione right away. Glad we did, since after a week Parkhouse English School replied to us that they will not be able to invite our child even for assessment since the waiting list is so full already.

By the way Hermione will start as Kindergarden 2 here come September, she skipped Nursery and Kindergarden 1 and we have chosen French lesson as her elective class.
I'm really one proud mommy!

posted by JV @ Friday, March 15, 2013   0 comments
Thursday, February 28, 2013
I'm so into Baleciaga bags lately,eversince I got the Balanciaga Giant 12 Velo, its kinda growing on me. I want a red,a blush, a blue and a yellow one in City,Mid Day and Work. I like the Work next to Velo as its roomy!

Balenciaga Work is the most popular here. Its a bit pricey than the others but its all worth it.

posted by JV @ Thursday, February 28, 2013   0 comments
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today, we are celebrating our 8th year wedding anniversary. We got married twice, in a civil wedding rights last February 21, 2005 and a catholic church wedding last December 27, 2005. And I'm glad we did have two weddings because we get to celebrate it twice a year. And I get to have to receive two anniversary gifts. Last December I got an LV Bloomsburry and today hubby got me this:

Belenciaga Velo Giant 12 (Gris Tarmac)

Love it to bits!
posted by JV @ Thursday, February 21, 2013   0 comments
Friday, February 15, 2013
Last January 28, we received our first pay out for the Retail Treasury Bond (RTB) that I placed last October, 2012. Before I left the country I was thinking of ways on how to increase our savings and I chanced upon RTB Tranche 16 which was offered last October 25, 2012.  Here's the details about the RTB:

RTB Tranche 16 Terms of Offering
  • Public Offer Period: October 9-22, 2012
  • Issue Date: October 24, 2012
  • Interest Rate: 6.125% p.a.
  • Interest Payments: Paid quarterly
  • Maturity Date: 25 years from date of issue (Due 2037)
  • Negotiability: Negotiable and transferrable

As we were frustrated with the interest earnings of our savings and time deposit accounts, we decided to switch to other investment instruments. The RTB is negotiable and transferable so we could sell it anytime we need to. However, we did not entirely shy away from TD and Savings accounts, we still maintain a number of accounts to ensure our liquidity.

One of our goals this year is to increase our investment portfolio. With that, we are planning to buy a lot wherein we can put up at least 5 units of apartments for rent. We're fortunate that my father owns a construction company and my brother studied civil engineering so the construction itself will be taken care of. Since last year, we've been on the look out for a lot but unfortunately there is nothing yet available for sale that would suit our requirements. We hope the lot that we have been eyeing would be up for sale this year so we can start with the construction proper. My mother volunteered to manage the tenants on our behalf so we got ourselves a property manager for free *wink*wink.

We initially wanted to start building our dream house, however, since we're now based overseas, it wouldn't be a good idea to put our money into a house which would require maintenance work and property tax on a regular basis but will be used only once a year (during our vacay) or not even once since we will not be going to Ph yearly. So we decided to put up apartments instead which will provide us additional income at the same time appreciate in value (at least for the lot). I have been reading a lot of self-help books before and I can easily recognize an asset vs. liability. And those assets that appreciates in value than those that are not. It's very easy to buy and say that this is an "investment", I usually say that to justify major purchases while in truth its not since its not helping us increase our bottom line.  But now I am more mature in managing our finances.

Real Estate. I lean towards accumulating house and lots. But location is a tricky part. Its easy to buy one  but if its in Cavite or the likes, I don't think it would be a wise choice. Likewise, buying in cash would be best as to avoid interest from mortgages and it would give us more elbow room to negotiate the price.

Vehicle. I don't like expensive vehicles as this depreciate over time, we just opted for a vehicle that would suit the family needs. Nothing fancy, just a reliable mid SUV. And I made sure hubby and I are on the same page on this one.

Jewelries. I don't like custom jewelries or designer accessories, I like gold and diamonds as these appreciate over time.

Bags. I like designer bags over regular bags, relatively expensive but they tend to appreciate in value. Did you know that Chanel bags prices increase by 25% yearly or in 2 years? And LV increases atleast 2x a year. You can't easily sell a regular bag, not even at 50% off its price tag but a Chanel or LV will be sold higher than what you paid for it, no doubt about that. But its not all the same for other designer bags, usually those that goes on sale like Balenciaga, Gucci, YSL, Goyard are sold lesser than you bought them (except for Gucci's Sukey, Balenciaga's City). So I limit my purchases to those LV and Chanel only as much as I could unless the bag is a gift from my dear hubby. Well, all in all, the resale value depends on how well you use it. So I make sure that I take care of all of my bags. But for me, I don't go for 2nd hand bags, or anything 2nd hand. I don't like things with history. I think it has something to do with a Kris Aquino movie that lingered on my mind hehe.

Shopping. I usually buy during sale season and I keep in my closet so if there are occasions that calls for a gift, I just get from my stash. That goes also for grocery items that expiration date is not so soon, I usually buy in bulk or in big sizes as its cheaper.

Vacation. Not like others, I like going on vacation regularly, I don't believe that we need to push this back during our  retirement age. Because I will not be able to enjoy it as much as now since I will be too old to climb,walk and eat my hearts out. And airfare as well as hotel accommodation increases every year with the inflation rate factored in, its not really practical to let the vacation money sitting at the bank until we reach old age.

For me its about having a BALANCE LIFE. 

posted by JV @ Friday, February 15, 2013   0 comments
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Recently I have been thinking on what business to get into since I resigned to the fact that I will not be going back to the corporate world - at least not in the near future.

For one, I want to earn my "own" money. Being an "ate" in the family, I'm used to giving and not in the receiving end.  Though hubby is more than generous to me, aside from the expensive gifts he  showers me, weekly shopping spree, he gives me monthly "allowance" so I could buy whatever I want - be it for me or for my family and friends. I know, I know what is his, is  mine - but I can't help to feel a bit guilty that I'm spending his money left and right. I'm just soooo used to earning my own money and spending it the way I see fit.

Second, when Hermione goes to school I will have a lot of spare time. And I want to have something worthwhile to do.

For now, I have a long list of business options in mind. I ask dear Lord for a sign. 
posted by JV @ Thursday, February 07, 2013   0 comments
Monday, January 28, 2013
Me and sister-in-law (SIL) are busy with our plan to go on European tour this summer. Since hubby is not too keen to go back to PH for vacay since we just got here, and we wanted to go to Europe especially Paris ever since, we decided to do it this year while Baby # 2 is not yet in the picture. Our nephews will be off the school by the time as well.

We plan to go to Italy (Rome, Florence, Montecatini Terme, Venice), Prague and Paris. It will be a 3 week vacation. We wanted to cover more countries but hubby is not allowed for more leaves if taken full straight. So I guess it will have to wait for our next Euro trip.We are on the process of booking the hotels now and gathering up the requirements for Schengen Visa application.

Part of Hubby's package is airfare allowance for all of us. The best part of this benefit is that it is given in cash and not in the form of airplane tickets, so its up to you on how and when you will use it. It is computed based on the IATA rate of your country of origin. The airfare allowance given to us this year is enough to cover not just our airfare to Europe but our whole vacation, yippppppeeee! This means that "Mr. Piggie Bank" will not be asked to report on duty. *Wink*Wink*

I'm really excited about this trip since we will be traveling with my SIL  as well. My SIL (is like the sister that I  never had), we are sooooo close. I'm glad that we get along really well. 

Apart from the vacation itself, we are more excited about the bag shopping that we will be doing there. SIL has an endless list of LV bags that she will buy in Paris. While I have this one in mind:

Chanel GST (Caviar, Silver Hardware)

Well, I firmly believe that every baglover should have this. So perfect for a mom like me *Wink*Wink*

Other Chanel Bags that's in my wish list:

Chanel Flap 2.55 Reissue 

Chanel Tote

 I'm also thinking of getting a Balenciaga. Maybe this?

Balenciaga Giant 21 City Bag in Silver Hardware (Arena Red)

Oh the dear husband might have a heart attack upon reading this. But as he is really one generous husband, he already given me the moolah for the Chanel GST. For May's trip, I swear to limit my bag purchases to two. So its a tough choice between Balenciaga and Chanel Flap 2.55 Reissue.

posted by JV @ Monday, January 28, 2013   0 comments
The weather here in Q is driving me crazy.

Its  been freezing cold for two weeks which made me sickie. After accepting the fact that I'm  not really  built for the cold weather, we decided to get a heater.  As I was beginning to scold  myself for not getting one earlier, the weather went back to 20 degrees. Boom! I also bought a lot of winter clothes and just boxed up our summer outfits! I never gonna understand the  weather here.

On a happy note, I'm beginning to love hubby's gift for me. iPad Mini.

Hubby insisted on giving me the iPad Mini since the little  girl and him have both one. Not only does he feel guilty about it but he has this secret obsession with Apple products that he is not aware.  As for me, I'm happy with my Macbook Pro as it serves me well especially that I'm just here in the house but having iPad Mini is really awesome. I can't get my hands off it.

The husband really knows how to spoil me, ever since I got here, he would drive me to all the malls to shop and buy me nice stuff. To prove my point, he added my collection with these:

LV Sarah Damier Ebene

And my latest favorite to my LV collection is this...just what I need for everyday use.

LV Bloomsbury Damier Ebene PM 

I have been frequenting the LV Shop here at Villagio Mall. The price of LV here is just a little over than if you buy it in Paris, not taking into account the tax refund. The people here especially the locals are crazy about bags - more on Chanel and LV.

Other designer bags that are popular here are Christian Dior, Celine, Carolina Herrera, but Chanel is really the runaway winner. As for me I'm more of a Chanel, LV lover.

posted by JV @ Monday, January 28, 2013   0 comments
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
This time of the year I see my favorite four-letter word everywhere - S. A. L. E.

And I'm taking every opportunity to visit all the stores on sale - GAP, ZARA, MANGO, SPLASH, SHOE MART, MOTHERCARE, OSHKOSH, ALDO, OASIS, NEXT, VICTORIA'S SECRET.

I'm starting to stock up on our wardrobe and also buying gifts for our families and friends back home. And ohhh boy sale here is really SALE, not what malls used to do back in PH that they will reprice the items making it more expensive before tagging it off. I was able to score a lot for half the price or even up to 75% off its original tag. Its awesome.

I can't wait til my credit card is here. Hubby  is thinking of putting a cap on  my credit card limit hehe.

But I'm not about all shopping, I'm taking my mommy duties seriously. We enrolled Hermione to ballet class at Qatar Foundation Recreation Center, she is really enjoying the 2x a week class (Wed & Sat). More than the class itself, she is really more on mingling with the other kids. She likes playing with her classmates. We're so glad that we manage to have english as her first language as it really helps her in making new friends.

Me and hubby started also going to the gym, I'm taking aerobics while hubby is doing circuit training. I want to do circuit training as well and latin dance but the schedule kinda conflict with Hermione's ballet class and Hubby's. On another note, I've also started checking out school for Hermione, atleast the one she could attend while we're trying to get in to our school of choice.

posted by JV @ Tuesday, January 15, 2013   1 comments
Monday, January 07, 2013

1. Get Hermione accepted to Qatar Academy or British International School
2. Go on European Tour
3. Buy an investment property - put up apartments for rent
4. Learn about stock trading
5. Learn a new language
6. Work on having Baby #2
7. Get a driving license here in Qatar
8. Add up to our investment portfolio
9. Ballet, Swimming and Piano lessons for Hermione
posted by JV @ Monday, January 07, 2013   0 comments
Sunday, January 06, 2013
I have a killer migraine for 3 days now. It comes with my monthly period and I hate it. Thanks to Aleve for making it manageable. And another thanks to my hubby for taking care of the house and the little girl while I'm on "sickleave." Hubby went to the grocery earlier since I'm not in the mood due to my bad headache before fetching our friend from the airport.

While he is away I popped a lot of Aleve because I really want to go out and shop hehe. Mango texted me that they are now on their final sale so off we go to Villagio Mall. I was able to score some tops from Mango and Zara. Then we went to Patchi and ask hubby to buy me chocolates. Patchi and Godiva are heaven-sent. Though price is really a bummer (around Php3K to 5K) so I don't get to have them as often as I want,  I can settle for the good old Bounty, Mars and Cadbury for my everyday chocolate ration. However hubby is buying me my supply of Patchi every month.

GAP is also on sale for more than a week now. I was able to get Hermione some tops while hubby and I were able to buy shoes from Aldo and Naturalizer respectively. This is my past time here since we can't go to movies with the little girl in tow. So its just shopping and eating out.

We have yet to try crabbing (like fishing but with crabs), swimming and other outdoor activities, because I'm a bit lazy due to the cold weather hehe.

posted by JV @ Sunday, January 06, 2013   0 comments
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
We celebrated new year with a simple dinner that I prepared spaghetti, roast chicken and leche flan.
Yes, you read it right, I know how to roast a chicken haha. Well, thanks to food network.com!

My father was teasing me last new year's eve, he was happy to see me in the kitchen (via Skype), he said that I now know how to cook while before I cannot even bring water to boil hehe. Well it was true, when I was single and living with my parents, my Mom would always be there for me. Even boil water for my bath (during the cold weather)....ohhh I'm beginning to miss my Mother.

Now,  I'm a mom - I take care of my daughter maybe more than my Mommy took care if me, because Hermione is one high-maintenance little girl and I'm one hell of an OC mom *Wink*Wink*

We were able to skyped with my family, I was soooo happy to see and talk to them, they were a bit sad that we are not there and I'm a bit teary-eyed looking at them from the laptop screen. But knowing that they are okay and in good health, make the blues go away. My father would always say that OFWs nowadays are luckier because during his time technology is not that advance and all they have is snail mail and voice tape.

It's a good thing I'm with  my little girl and hubby, I can just imagine the OFWs that are forced to work abroad just to provide for their family. If only there are more work in our country. If only our government  is really serving their people and put our taxes to good use and not just on their own pockets. I remembered when I was getting my medical exam, I would eavesdrops on the conversation of OFW-wannabe all lining up to get "fit to work" certified and I was really shock that some of them are paid just Php 20K monthly and still they would choose to leave home and family - Oh My, its just merely a fraction of what I'm getting paid and I don't even have to leave the country.

The same way, not all pinoys here in Qatar are living the time of their life. Some of the pinay nannies here are paid QR1,000 or even lower than that. But still, they take it because its far better than what they are getting back home. Their salaries here could do a long way when sent to  Pinas  - it could pay for the housing, send their kids to school and provide food. In return they need to endure the homesickness.

I mentioned to my hubby on our way home that there is no really a place like home - being in Pinas, how hard it may be, how polluted and how unsafe it may seem, brings me a feeling of being HOME. Because every time we are out in the road, I always feels this pang of sadness. I don't know, maybe its seeing and realizing that I'm  not in my own country. Then I would remember my fellow "kabayan" who are here on their own, without their families and I would say a silent "Thank you Lord for all the blessings you are giving us".

So much for the heavy stuff.

posted by JV @ Wednesday, January 02, 2013   0 comments
2012 has been a good year for us.

Early this year we were presented with a new opportunity when hubby was given post in one of the biggest IT company outside the country. It came as a surprise as he was not planning on working overseas again and I'm happy with my work. But the compensation package is so tempting and he was given a family status that means we can  be with him. 

We decided to take it. The next 3 months went by processing his documents while I became busy with work as I was given bigger and challenging projects. We were able to bring  the little girl though for short vacay despite our busy schedules to Cebu and Hongkong. 

Hubby left last May, and I resigned from work last June, so I could focus on what needs to be done before we leave the country. 

I was able to rest and take care of my little girl, hone my cooking skills, go to the gym, spend time with my family and friends. I was able to attend my bestfriend's wedding and celebrate Hermione's 4th Birthday at Girl's Home Orphanage.

Leaving my family and friends is the hardest part of migrating to a new place. I surely miss the weekly bonding with my parents and brothers. The coffee sessions and dinner with my friends.  Thanks to facetime, facebook, skype and viber, I get to see them often.

Being a full time SAHM is a new game for me. There are times that I want to go back to work but whenever I would try to talk to Hermione about it, she would always say: " Daddy will go to the office and Mommy stays here with Hermione. Mommy takes care of Hermione"- I would just smile and shrug off the idea of going back to corporate world. Not now.

Hubby has been very supportive of my new role, he would help me with the house chores and would always drive and show me around. He would always take me to shopping as he knew this is the main reason I want to work so I could shop (without guilt) haha. He is really a very generous and loving husband.

Hermione is as adorable as ever. Being with her gives me pure joy and happiness. And I treasure each moment that I get to spend with her. She is just perfect. 

Thank you Lord for all the blessings, love and guidance. 
posted by JV @ Wednesday, January 02, 2013   0 comments
Sunday, December 23, 2012
This is the first Christmas that I will not be spending in the Philippines. I am usually uber busy preparing during this season hosting and attending parties and shopping for gifts.

As we just arrived here, there's no need to host parties and there's no invitations for parties. We would be celebrating the Christmas Eve at Millenium Hotel dining with Hubby's team who the same as us, stayed here. Most of the pinoys have gone back to Pinas to celebrate with their families so it would just be a small group here celebrating.

I was spared of the endless Christmas shopping for families, friends and godchildren. I managed to buy my 3 brothers their Christmas presents before I left (iPhones so they can communicate with me), for my mom, I just gave her the money to shop whatever she want. And gave bonuses to our helpers. We didn't get the chance to pick a gift for my Tatay and in-laws though.

We hope to celebrate Christmas in 2014 and thinking about that makes me excited, I have to start my Christmas shopping early to prep for that!

posted by JV @ Sunday, December 23, 2012   0 comments
Friday, December 14, 2012

After weeks of raiding the malls  here in Qatar, we decided to have a feel of sun and sand. 

It was about an hour drive at 100 kilometers per hour from our place (speeding up can be very costly as they have cameras installed strategically to catch you). We troop down with Hubby's team. The drive is all worth it since we don't get to see enormous sand in PH. Yes, mountains of sand and just sand everywhere. 

We paid QR120 for an hour use of the quad bike, we got two for me and Hermione and hubby. It can be tiring especially if you're riding with a demanding little girl who wants to go to the mountains of sand which I really don't agree. Some "dune bashers" are even using their 4x4s climbing up the mountain sand...I'm a bit scared just by merely looking at them. Talking about "flashsand" (read: flashflood but in this case sand). And some even have their own quad bike - its a sport!

There are quad bikes also for children. But I wouldn't imagine Hermione riding one of those, well, not until she's old enough to be scared of the "mountains"

We were supposed to have dinner with hubby's team when we returned home but we were so tired to go out so we just ordered at Take Away, just a few blocks from our flat. We feasted ourselves to ribs, chicken and cake!

posted by JV @ Friday, December 14, 2012   0 comments
Monday, December 10, 2012
This is my new life now.

SLEEP. From the usual 5 to 6 hours, I get to sleep around 8 to 10 hours now. Yey! When I was working, oversleeping (read: more than 6 hours then) would surely give me a headache. Now, I would be really cranky if my sleep would not meet that 8 hours minimum. Bye, bye, eye bags!

ROUTINE. My routine would usually revolve around household chores and mommy duties. For now that the little girl is not yet in school and I don't have my resident permit yet, its not advisable to roam around alone. Disney Channel is heaven-sent to me as it makes my little girl happy as I attend to the housework. It can be tiring at times especially that I'm not used to do physical activities, since  I'm used to being paid for "thinking" and not mopping the floor. Hehe.

HELP. There are helpers you can hire here on an hourly basis. They are pinays who do this as their "sideline" during their off days. They charge QR25 per hour (PHP275) for cleaning and ironing clothes. We usually hire their services if I'm a bit tired or not feeling well. For ironing, we usually send hubby's office clothes to a laundry shop who does ironing for QR2 per piece (PHP22). I take care of mine and Hermione's clothes since it doesn't require much ironing skills like hubby's.

DINING. There are lots of food to choose from, being an expat-friendly country. They have just about anything except for Pork dishes that you can only cook at home (if you are lucky enough to have a permit to purchase at QDC). Eating out can be very expensive if you do it regularly. Serving is big, it can be for 2-3 people so its not that expensive after all. You just have to be mindful that an order can be shared already by a couple. A dinner can be between QR20-QR125 depending on where you eat. A 2pc Chicken at KFC is around QR19 (with fries, bread and drinks), while a Sirloin Steak at Applebees is QR90 (without drinks).

ACCOMMODATION. This is really EXPENSIVE. Most of the pinoys here and other expats (except for Westerners) share accommodation. We're very fortunate that we are able to afford our own flat. Accommodation depends on the location and type. Villas are usually the most expensive because of its size. Flats are similar to condos but much bigger. Accommodation can range from QR2500 (for a room in a shared flat) to QR20K (5 bedroom Villa).

VEHICLES. This is the land of Land Cruisers and 4x4s hehe. Majority of the population here have their own vehicle, since public transport is not that frequent (bus and taxis). Some of the expats here are making a living by driving other people to-and-from their destination (called "transport service"). Transport service are privately own car/vehicle - same as colorum in Pinas. They charge depending on the distance. A short 15-minute drive would cost you around QR25 while if you have your own car, a full tank would only cost you QR50, enough to last you for 2 weeks or more. Ladies here usually owns 4x4, they rarely drive a car. If you are a girl, the bigger your vehicle, the better. I guess, for the image. So I'll be getting a Hummer once I got my license *Wink*Wink*

GROCERIES. Or Supermarkets here are awesome! They carry almost everything, even XBox, iPhone, iPAD and Laptops! Fruits and veggies are way way cheaper here. For example, oranges sells for QR4 per KILO (PHP30 EACH in Pinas), fruits and veggies are sold per Kilo and not per piece. Actually, everything here is cheaper! much cheaper than in Pinas. I would remember buying a small pack of Ariel detergent powder way back would cost me around PHP 300++ while here you can get 2 big boxes of Ariel already for that price. Heck, when I'm at grocery I want to buy almost everything and send it to my mom hehe.

APPLIANCES. And gadgets here are sooooo cheap. Imagine, a 32-inch LED TV would only cost QR1,100 (PHP 12K if converted in pesos), and not the so-so brand, its the leading brands already. We bought a 55" LED SMART SONY TV for QR7K while it cost PHP165K in Abenson! Imagine the difference!

LOUIS VUITTON. is relatively cheap here, just a little over the price range when you buy it in Paris.

SHOPPING. Shopping here can be cheaper compared in Pinas, I think this is because they rarely impose tax. Even high end brands would usually go on Promotion (SALE, that's how they call it). They would normally give up to 45% discount. Just last week, we went to Charriol and hubby got me a bracelet and sunglasses only to find out that its 40% off for the bracelet and 45% for the sunnies! What a steal?!

JEWELRIES. And diamonds are CHEAPER! I'm going gaga over bling bling!

SERVICES are expensive, a regular manicure/pedicure would cost you QR120 (PH1,350), my my, how much more for a massage? Wahhhhh! I would really miss my weekly massage because I can't simply afford it here.

PEOPLE. Qatari are very gentle people. And they are so good-looking! They have very expressive eyes, pointed nose, they are generally beautiful people. While 11% of the population here is Filipino, I feel so at home, sometimes except for the beautiful surroundings, I tend to forget that I'm not in Pinas because there are Pinoys in almost everywhere I go. So except for Hermione, I don't even have to speak in english.

This place is starting to grow on me. I love it here. My new home.
posted by JV @ Monday, December 10, 2012   0 comments
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Name: JV
Home: Manila, Philippines
About Me: 30-something. A wife to a wonderful husband. A mother to my little chinita. Career Woman by Choice. A Coffee Drinker.Shopaholic.Book Lover.Blogger.Movie Addict.
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