Live simply, travel,laugh a lot and don’t forget to breath

“Write it in your heart that every day is the best day in the year”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the year ends, my days in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is also nearing to an end.

It was a wonderful 32 years! Thank you!

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Year 2018 was a year of traveling … emotional turmoil of losing loved ones, yet the gratitude is tantamount to the blessings. May we have all a Happy New year and more blessings for the year 2019!

I compiled photos on air while traveling, the perk of having the window seat! All photos were taken with an Iphone 🙂

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Cheers,

jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Burrow Cafe at Antipolo Bee house – a review

When I was searching for a simple venue to my son’s wedding last month, I came across this Bee house. The couple would like to have simple wedding, so I thought maybe a rustic theme would be appropriate for a simple casual lunch reception. The bride refused because the path going to the cafe is a bit steep for her to use high heels.

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So after the wedding, we checked it out and it’s true, it will be difficult not only for her but also to other adult – aging 🙂 guest hahaha and one … would be ME!

Burrow Cafe is located at Beverly Hills, Antipolo, there’s a 20 pesos fee at the entrance of the subdivision.

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I was imagining, the ceremony would have been in the garden and then go down to the dungeon and crushed all the dragons so everyone can have their meal ! hahaha just kidding 🙂

The place is refreshing, surrounded by a lush of green, a different ambience, definitely this is the place you want to checked out after a long day in the city,however it depends on what are you looking for.. a cool place or a good food?

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Definitely the place is cool but after having a five course lunch in Tahanan Bistro, I say the food in Burrow Cafe did not meet my expectation. The food was presented neatly but taste is just not to my liking.

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This place is good for a change and if you want to keep in touch with nature but doesn’t want to get out of manila by plane, you can always go to their backyard , you’ve got to go down few more steps and wet your feet at the fresh water running through a river stream.

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Burrow cafe – 113 Beverly Hill Ave.,beverly Hills Subdivision, Antipolo City, Philippines

Ladies, want to have short adventure? and who knows.. maybe you will be lucky that your taste bud matched the taste bud of their chef 🙂 , will never know until you try!

Oh by the way, the cafe is closed every Monday and Tuesday.

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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HiYop

DSC_8937Two days after the funeral, we headed to Pandan – north of Catanduanes, (around 96 km from the capital town of Virac) dropped our niece who is working there as a Nurse and of course to lighten our spirit and get some fresh air after an emotional drained from losing our dear father. It was a nice view along the way .

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The road to Pandan was great, a little more time, all the road will be concrete and a 360 road trip to the island of Catanduanes will be feasible and fun!

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Pandan has a total of 26 barangays, and one of the most scenic and highest point is Hiyop 🙂 for a while, I thought what is Hiyop ? is it hayup? meaning “animal”? hahaha I know it sounds like 🙂

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first house in Hiyop point

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On our way back, we passed by another beautiful sight, overlooking the sea.

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a garage in the middle of hiyop point

We also passed through a beautiful farm, that serves organic food like “farm to table” but were not lucky, it was not operational at the time of our visit.

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a small bamboo bridge to get into the house
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dog first 🙂

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Ladies, look what I got ? All the thorns from the weeds (not sure what the name of the plant) senior moment! hahaha I’ll let you know when I remember 🙂

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Casa Santa at Jardin de Miramar

Would you like to see Santa on Summer time?

Me: I wish!

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Well, there’s a place in Antipolo City, Philippines called CASA SANTA – a museum of  3,700 Santa’s collected around the world and it is open all year round. There’s a minimum of 5 persons to open the place and each has to pay 180 Php or if you are willing to pay 900 Php even your group is less than five, they will still open it for you. And if you opted just to hang around the place, its free! Garden de Miramar is a three hectare garden event venue.

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I took advantage of the “mom’s day” no one was able to say no 🙂

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hey santa ! the door is open 🙂

You can find the smallest to biggest Santa in this place, impressive! You can also see his bedroom, dining room and even his bathroom  🙂 Though I must say that the place is dusty and creepy, it should be more festive. Maybe on Christmas, it is a different scenario.(hope so! )

Ladies…ho..ho..ho..ho..seven months to go..

Location: 276 San Jose Ext. Bgy. San Isidro Antipolo City
Telephone No.: 584-3199

Cheers,

jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

Pinto Art Museum

Art and nature at Antipolo City!

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We were lucky the weather was cool and breezy, so we were able to walk around the six galleries.It is about 1.3 hectares of green plants, white building galleries showcasing contemporaries arts, paintings and sculptures of Filipino artist

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Every corner, is a nice place to take photos but don’t worry I will not post all the photos so as not to spoil your imagination. This is a lovely place to spend the afternoon.

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There are two cafeterias to sit ,relax ,enjoy the food and the scenery. We just had our lunch so we just ordered cheesecake and halo-halo.

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Ladies, there are a lot more to see in this museum. Come and see it !

Entrance fees: 200 Php per person

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

Age 58: House Renovation 101

“If the plan doesn’t work , change the plan but never change the goal”

Yay! October is our lucky month.

Happy birthday to us, my sons and our house 🙂

Yep! Thirty years of working as OFW (overseas Filipino worker), the first thing that comes to mind is to buy a house, and we did! But plan change, the two years contract was extended to thirty years! And the house was rented. Some of the previous tenants were caring, unfortunately, the last one was a tyrant! OMG! , I can’t imagine how they live. We always do repair before a new tenant comes in and we are sure that the last tenant receive the house in good condition. Shocks! The house was not livable when I received it, everything was upside down 🙁

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2009 when I became a single parent, a sole provider… it was not planned but reality at times will shocked our nerves and when it hit me, I did not back off, instead I stand firmly , prayed and hope I can passed the difficulties. So many things happened in between, I can tell you it was not easy for all of us but we surpassed the expectation!

I was brave to spent my savings and earning to send my sons to college and they were able to graduate with honors. I was crazy to think I am done after graduation 🙂 Sometimes I would say to myself, It’s ok to be selfish at times, think about when you grow old when you cannot work anymore, no steady income, no pension but I also think what will happen when I go back to Philippines ? No house and no pension, that’s more  scary! Time is ticking …it’s a disguise of invisibility..waiting to expire, but no! I won’t be fool by my advancing age, I like to think what I have been through, are my armor to whatever mishap I may have in the near future.

The tuition fees I paid for my two sons to study abroad, I could have bought a big mansion and a nice car but What shall I do with it? Education came as priority. Travel was second, why? Well, I don’t want to wait till I am old and can’t enjoy the scenery because I don’t remember where I was hehehe… talking about being forgetful 🙂 And renovating the house became the last in the list.

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Once again, My inner me,.. says renovate the house, but I have no savings left, only my service award for five years.Besides , it’s a conjugal property. I like to file for annulment, actually saving for it. You see the irony in Philippines, We are the only country in the world that doesn’t support divorce and we also don’t have any program for single parent. I can’t file for housing loan, I am two years away of my retirement. The government should look into the predicament of single parent, this is not only to free from their spouse but to get support for education and shelter. There are a lot of separated/divorced couple that supports each other. Why can’t we be broad-minded on this subject for the sake of harmony and stability? Instead of paying a big amount of money to lawyers, spend it to other more important things like sharing for the education of children. However, out of no where, I received a quit claim and  the whisper is becoming louder and louder…renovate the house…renovate the house…

Drum roll… here are some photos of before and after renovation!

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the only post in the middle was turned into decorative cabinet

Renovation 101 🙂

I calculated my service award and I said to myself, just do what is necessary and you will be fine financially.I went home, got my architect/contractor – Arch. Rosario Valeza and discussed what I want for my house.The budget of 1.8 increased to 2.5 M, oh la la la.

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Shall I go for it? The inner me… Go!

Alright brave lady, Let’s do it! I talked to my boss to lend me an advanced money but with the economy going down, he cannot promise anything. Luckily, my contractor agreed that I can pay on installment basis. Wow! I am so lucky 🙂 Indeed! She also did a lot of extra work for me without even asking for extra money. Like I sent her to get me the appliances I need from Elba . I am too far away to come every time so she was so kind to extend her helping hand.Hmmm do I really think there’s no extra? Well, of course there will be but she is just so kind to ask and I am taking advantage of it :-)… joke!

Did it went well?

Well, I would say the finished renovation was beautiful compared to the old one but honestly , being far away from home while the house is being renovated is a big stress! Especially when the communication is kind of strange, timing is important, at times, she is free and at times I am not. Having internet is a plus but it is still different when you are there, in the actual site. I’m lucky also that I have my brother Eng. Kelly, who helped me visualized the outcome. Although at times, there was some disagreement between the Engineer and the architect but at the end professionalism works.

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Sketch done by my bro Engr Kelly Mariano to help me visualize how it will look
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the actual renovated view done by Architect Rosario Valeza

Some TIPS on renovating house when your far away from home and with a stretched budget on hand:-)

1. hired a trusted architect/contractor – this will lessen your stress but of course, it should be mutual. She/He should trust you too (financial wise) double wink ** I had some problem in sending remittances, two of the big remittance center in Jeddah was suspended and there’s also limit how much money I can send which shouldn’t exceed my monthly salary. I really appreciate the patience of my contractor.

2. have a concrete plan of what you want to change from the beginning. Think what is your priority. A bigger bathroom?  A bigger living room? Pushed everyone to be a part of the plan, even when they say, “Whatever you like mom” still insist on getting what’s in their mind. Don’t start until you get the plan, finalize and start.

3. Get a support from trusted Engineer, friends and family who has experience in building a house. You can get some tips but stick to your liking ,listen and make your own decision.

4. Think what appliances / gadget in the kitchen. This is very important so the cabinets can be adjusted accordingly. I ask a lot of questions from my chef’s son of course 🙂 I rather have a small but equipped kitchen than a big one with too many appliances in disarray.

5. Have an ample allowance to estimate the finishing date, so you don’t end up having double expenses of renting a temporary condo. Plus your excitement will not be overshadowed by frustration because of extra expenses. Remember you still have to furnish the house 🙂

5. Save money from the start even though you’re not thinking of renovating because it comes handy later on. I think it is better to just demolished the old house and start from the scratch.I didn’t dream of a big house, I always like a single detached bungalow.

Cute ..Simple.. and cozy.

6. Have faith, no one can defined one’s vulnerability and difficulties. I believed my courage comes in faith. I am always thankful of any blessings no matter how small it is.

Ladies, I am so proud to say at age 58, I feel fulfilled ,having done my obligation with so much love and passion…oh don’t give me that look!…yeah don’t say I failed in one aspect “marriage” (Please bring down your eyebrow) well, I survived 25 years isn’t it? Besides, It’s a mutual decision, sometimes you just have to let go in order to process the pain and be healed in time.

” Sometimes, falling is not hard if you know how to get up with grace..What is important..stand firmed and hit your goal”

Drum roll again! Life is beautiful 🙂

Oh, I forgot to mention ,say hello to our new fam member “Arya” the puppy 🙂

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Cheers,

jamilamimi @beautybeyondfity

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Uber versus Careem: a review

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photo grabs at careem website

It’s been quiet long time I wanted to write a review but I was caught up with a busy schedule  (rolling my eyes…anything new? )

If you missed my blog about uber and easy taxi please click Uber or Easy taxi in Jeddah, my choice?

Did you hear about the fiasco in Philippines about Uber and taxi?  in which Uber was suspended for a month for a violation done while there was investigation going on. What? What about those taxis who over charged, drivers who are rude, was there any suspension done immediately? NONE!

We all knew how Uber made our life easy especially here in Jeddah. I hesitated for a while to use careem for a reason that I got used using Uber. But one day, there was a problem with my credit card and I can not book a Uber to work. Careem has choices of payment… either you pay cash, card or top your bank card any amount to save it in your wallet or you can even use qitaf points (from stc) to pay your ride.

And my first ride was awesome! Lexus.. yes! that was the model of the car 🙂 and I was smiling from the inside because my ride was only 7SR (seven saudi riyals). If it was an ordinary taxi, I would still bargain to pay 10 riyals plus a filthy taxi and a smelly driver, though not in general, you can also find a clean taxi with a clean driver 🙂

And so my ride with careem is super! I was able to experienced different car models and drivers who are not only polite but speaks english too. I feel rich having a chauffeur with Lexus, BMW, Saab etc. I was tempted to ask why they do careem when they have this big luxury cars but you know, this is Jeddah, ladies are not supposed to be friendly with strangers 🙂

Today, I was lucky to ride with Mr Abduelah whose car is Hyundai Santa Fe, I forgot my eyeglass in his car and I contacted careem and it was an immediate communication to the Captain and wallah! my eyeglass was returned promptly! If this was an ordinary taxi, how could I ever retrieved my eyeglass?

So, I hope the Philippines gov’t should think about the system of Uber compared to the ordinary taxi. Taxi owners should compete fairly with the Uber, as what careem did to Uber. I think taxi in Philippines should have an improved and reliable system so the passengers are safe and not abused by an ordinary taxis.

Ladies, let me know your experience with Careem!

Cheers,

Jamilamimi (beautybeyondfifty)

 

 

Nobu Hotel-City of dreams or nightmares?

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I went for a very short trip to Philippines to visit my family. Aboard Malaysian airlines, I opted to travel on Business Class, 9 hours from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpor and another 3 hrs to Manila and an hour and 20 minutes to the island of Catanduanes.

My friends were skeptic about choosing Malaysian Airlines 🙂  remember the missing plane? well, I told them, it’s great! my family won’t be spending money to my funeral instead they will received a compensation for my disappearance! Kidding aside, the flight was smooth and on time!

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The meal

And so, to make the story a bit shorter, I also choose a new and rated five-star hotel named City of Dreams – Nobu hotel, located near NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport). I booked for two adults, hoping my mom would come with me but she didn’t. At checked in I was told that the deal I got in booking.com was a honeymoon suite with free breakfast for two and a beautiful view of the pool. Hence, I am leaving early morning, the front desk officer asked.

Would you like to take a packed breakfast instead?

Yes, that would be great! but only for one (hence I’m the only one who would travel)

The room… two bed,two glasses,two slippers, two robes everything is for two! I was curious about the Casino, I was surprised , it’s full of gamers huh? What happened to poverty in Philippines? well, I answered my own question, this is only a small part of the population, the big picture is not here.

City of dreams has two more annexed hotel,namely “Crown ” and Hyatt”. It has also a luxurious brand shopping mall and an entertainment place for kids .

It also houses the famous Nobu restaurant. I had a chance to dine at Nobu Restaurant in Dubai, UAE and I enjoyed the seven course meal. But to my dismay, the breakfast buffet at Nobu restaurant in City of dreams was far from I experienced in a five-star hotels.

My view

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The nightmare…

I was not feeling well but I slept good on my first night. As I opened the curtain the following morning, I was shocked! A maintenance man was putting all his gadget right in front of my window…OMG! I hurriedly closed the curtain, it’s good, I was dressed properly.

I took this shot, after I recovered from the shock and I told myself, I need to speak to the duty manager of the day. I should have been notified about the maintenance.

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I was suffering form Laryngitis so my voice was nil  and yet I managed to relate my complaint to the duty manager and she readily apologised for the inconvenience. She sent a peace-offering to relieved the loss of my voice and hoping my annoyance will disappear

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The same morning I invited my high school friend to have breakfast with me and another confusion came. I was told I only have one complimentary breakfast. What? (rolling my eyes as there was no voice coming out from my mouth).

Again, I asked for a duty manager , This is ridiculous !My room reservation is for two adults and I have two complimentary breakfast upon check in. how come I only have one? They are lucky I loss my voice otherwise , I will be fuming with words…

Anyhow, this is my city of nightmare, I was not satisfied with my stay and I will not think of coming back again.

Nope, Thank you!

Jamilamimi

 

 

My Lady no. 7 – Sophie Defensor- Victoria

so3aI lost two kilo in ten days and when my best friend came for a short holiday, I regained it in two days hahaha. That’s how we bond! We find happiness in food! Who cares we’re the beauties beyond fifties 🙂

My lucky lady at no 7 is a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) graduate of University of San Agustin, Iloilo City, born September 18, 1962.

Wow blooming at 53!

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She lives in London, UK . She comes to Jeddah, every six months to visit her husband and her friends, she has only one very handsome son, who is currently studying Chemical Engineering in UK.

Sophie is a very devoted mother, her dreams revolves around her only son..

Do you have any other dream for yourself?

– of course I do! I like to travel around the world.

You travel a lot! isn’t it? how long you’ve worked as expatriates?

– I’ve been in Jeddah for 26 yrs, I travelled around the world but it’s like a working holiday. I would like to explore the world without thinking about work. I have worked hard and I would like to retire while I still have energy and can enjoy the scenery.

What is your motto in life?

“Dream big, work hard. Stay focused and surround yourself with good friends “

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My friend Sophie is a very energetic woman, she exudes a happy-go-lucky attitude but beware when she is not in the mood, her tongue is like a sword that cut deep 🙂

We didn’t have enough time to do all the chitchat, I still have to go back to work after we did the impronto photo shoot. Hopefully , I will do another photo shoot when I have the chance to visit her in London.

Cheers,

jamilamimi