Lock down Experience: The Invisible Enemy

Coronavirus-news-605x340

NCoViD ’19… an infectious disease from a newly discovered type of corona virus. It targets the respiratory system mainly, thus requiring careful management to prevent its spread as it has critically serious consequence when afflicted.

This new kind of corona virus started to manifest itself sometime in December 2019. That is why it is called Novel Corona Virus Disease 2019.

Those with underlying medical problems or health conditions such as diabetes, chronic respiratory disease including asthma, and cancer are the most vulnerable or at most risk of contracting the disease. Likewise, the older people is at high risk category, too. And as such, they need to be well looked after and “shielded” from this deadly virus.

To protect oneself and prevent its spread, proper hand washing is advocated, and use of alcohol-based  hand gel is encouraged. The use of face mask when in public places is emphasized, and people are reminded to avoid touching their faces unnecessarily.

The mode of transmission is primarily through droplets of saliva or discharges from the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Preventive measures should be observed i. e. covering the nose and mouth when one sneezes or coughs, plus thorough hand washing.

No treatments have been found yet. But research centres and medical companies are developing vaccines for clinical trials… This has now become a global fight against this unseen enemy!

Since this has become a pandemic, universal protocol is implemented in this whole wide world… Social distancing is required and being observed everywhere. In a queue, people should be at least two metres apart from each other. Lockdown has been implemented in most countries to prevent further spread of the disease to the neighboring place. Self quarantine, community quarantine is in practice… This is now everyone’s responsibility.

Lifestyle has tremendously changed… Staying at home, self-isolation have become the new norm in the society. Mostly everything is done online or through the internet… GP consultations, shopping for home necessities and food supplies, even bill payments. “Contact-less” transaction between consumers and suppliers is observed. This seems to be the “new normal”…¬†

Not For Kids Only: The Winter Wonderland

Welcome to Winter Wonderland

There is a child in every adult… Especially on a special occasion such as Christmas! Once a year it comes, and the world seems to rejoice and celebrate with glad tidings. Almost every country in the world has its own version of the Winter Wonderland…

So, I did took a glimpse of what is in the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London. Fascinating! Memories of childhood fondly cross my mind, and my heart is full of joy and hope. I can hear the sleigh bells ringing ‘though there were none! Let’s take a walk…

The Madinah Connection

Madinah or Medina… It is a city in the western part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Al Madinal Al Munawarrah, literally translates as “the radiant city”.

Notably one of the important cities for the Muslim world. Masjid Al Nabawi or the prophet’s mosque is situated herein. This is the city where prophet Mohammed (PBUH) lived and died after his plight from Makkah. The first Islamic mosque is also found here, Masjid Al Quba.

Makkah and Madinah are Islam’s two holiest cities. Makkah as the birth place of prophet Mohammed (PBUH), and the site of the first revelation of the Qur’an. The Kaa’ba is in Makkah, and visited by millions of Muslims all year round to perform Umrah. The performance of Hajj (holy pilgrimage) is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory to able-bodied Muslims at least once in a lifetime. Non-muslims are not allowed to gain access to both cities.

Madinah is an ancient city, like Makkah. Until now, it is one of the centers of trade and commerce in Saudi Arabia. It is distinct and unique in itself. Variant cultures interact and create a bond to share religious sentiments and spiritual enlightenment.

The Makkah Experience

Masjid Al Haram

Makkah (Mecca), the Holy Land of the Muslims, the birth place of Islam is situated in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was in the beginning of the 7th Century AD, when Islam was born as an inspiration of a single individual, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)… Monotheism is the essence of Islam. There is only one God and Mohammad is the prophet (the last).

Mohammad established a religious power based in Madinah where he retrested some time in 622 AD. As the merchants of Makkah looked upon him as a dangerous radical with his monotheistic belief, in Madinah religious beliefs were more fluid and less strained. But Makkah was the center of religion in Arabia. Mohammad led his army to Makkah, captured the city, and became Makkah’s undisputed leader. Every victory rendered his claims to be God’s messenger as credible.

The religious day was set on Friday to distinguish the holy day of Islam from Judaism (Saturday) and Christianity (Sunday). A black, glossy stone known as the Hajar Ul Aswad had been sanctified for more than 100 decades as the most religious object in Arabia. It is believed that the Hajar Ul Aswad is a meteorite burned through the atmosphere in some distant era which landed in the Arab desert.

Long before, Makkah was a pilgrim-destination. Visitors pay homage to the Hajar Ul Aswad. Today, this black stone is known as the Ka’bah, Islam’s holiest icon in its temple, the Great Mosque of Makkah, Masjid Al Haram…

I thank you…

2017 has ended… most of us tend to reflect on what the year has brought. Experiences gained, people we met, knowledge acquired through travels and by day-to-day encounter. Positive or negative experiences will bring out the better in us. Life is always a challenge…

I thank my old friends for staying and standing by me. I thank my family, children, and grandchildren for bringing in joy and laughter. I thank God, Almighty for the everyday opportunity to see the sunrise and the sunset, and whatever transpires in between… I thank all my antagonists and protagonists… you helped me prove, that, “what does not kill you makes you stronger.”

The users, the givers, and the keepers whom I have met and dealt with along my path… such a lesson! You taught me how to be more understanding and forgiving. Life is too short to hold grudges. We live only once and it is up to us to make the most out of it.

Thank you, 2017!

When in San Pablo…

“Laguna nang marating ko…” San Pablo used to be the only city in the province of Laguna, with Sta. Cruz being its capital. After the modernisation and the unstoppable progress of the province, other cities where created or developed such as Calamba City, Sta. Rosa City, San Pedro City, Cabuyao City and Binan City. But when in San Pablo(my hometown), there’s always a lot of things to do and places to visit. I don’t miss going to Manila because almost everything is available and accessible in San Pablo. Every holiday or vacation, my kids, grandkids and I never fail to discover new places to eat and try new menus. But lutong Pinoy is still at the top of the list. My last holiday included dinner at Kuya J’s and Gerry’s Grill.

Plus a try out of the newly opened Yellow Cab at SM San Pablo. Of course, we never fail to call on Jollibee and Mc Donald’s and to take a short stop at Andok’s to grab an order of their mouth-watering lechon manok, matched with Budong malunggay pandesal for a healthy option. Not forgetting Chow-king and Greenwich… Oh, how we love good food! The most looked forward and considered as best experience of a holiday is self-pampering with a full body massage at Mont Albo. At Mont Albo’s, I always go for the Filipino traditional massage known as “hilot”. Rendered for 60 minutes by a well-trained masseuse at PHP 300 only, it is a bargain but very well orchestrated. The best part of the session is when heated banana leaves are placed across pressure points on the back. Such a relief from muscle aches! From among the massage spas in San Pablo, Mont Albo never fails.

San Pablo 2
Mont Albo

I have tried others but this is what I considered the best. To culminate my short holiday, a peaceful and relaxing dip at Montelago Nature Estates’ pool was all that I needed. Mount Banahaw overlooks at Montelago. The site brings your heart closer to mother nature with a calming effect. So everytime I am due for a holiday or plans a holiday, my feet always lead me to the Philippines, back to my hometown… San Pablo, a first class city in Laguna.

 

My Sunday morning sugar rush…

Craving for something sweet (but not so sweet)… I found this remarkably delicious pistachio cake at the Simit Sarayi Bakery shop in Hayat Mall. While waiting for the rest of the shops to open, I sat down and enjoy my green-coloured breakfast. The sponge base is soft and moist, the icing is smooth and buttery and the grind of the nuts in the mouth is fulfilling. It is indeed a very satisfying treat to someone who has a sweet-tooth, at a reasonable price. A slice costs SAR 23. Fair enough to start my day with!

Najd Life

September 2016, I set foot again, in Riyadh. Yes, back to Riyadh after 11 years of absence. But this time, I was taken to a place known as Najd Compound. Very unusual, I said to myself.

The morning after gave me a better view of the place known as Najd. Clear skies, mild breeze and serenity. What a lovely place! It looks like a holiday resort (but not as grand as Benidorm).

People seem friendly and mostly polite. It is like a small village within the city of Riyadh. I consider it a haven, away from the hustle and bustle of my London life! To me, it is simple living… and more time to reflect, to plan ahead and to get organised. After all, the kingdom and its religion advocates SALAM…

The Night of Power

Do all of us know that, there exists a night which is better than a thousand months?

For us who have been residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we come to realize that Ramadan is the month which is most accounted for in the Hijirian calendar. This is so for a lot of reasons.

During this holy month, muslims from all over the world fast! Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and indulging in other physical pleasures for a certain period of the day. Fasting is endurance. And the reward of endurance is Paradise.

Fasting is an act of atonement for our errors and mistakes. Fast and the Qur’an shall intercede for the servant of Allah in the day of judgement. The angels are the ones asking Allah for forgiveness in behalf of the fasting person.

Allah, SWT, is so merciful that sinful souls are released from the hellfire during this month. The devils are chained and the gates of heaven are opened. Allah, SWT, has decorated the Paradise for the believers.

The change in the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better than the smell of musk in the sight of Allah, as this believer takes part in the observance of two pleasures while fasting. The two pleasures which a Muslim partakes are the time of Iftar (breakfast) and the time to meet his Creator.

Of all the virtues of Ramadan, consider this as the best of all… Ramadan is the month of Revelation. It was on the months of Ramadan that all the “Books of the Prophets” were revealed.

The Zaboor (Psalms) for Dawood, Torah (Ten Commandments) for Moses, the Injeel (Revelation) for Isaiah and the Holy Qur’an for Mohammed, peace be upon them. The revelations happened in the “Night of Qadr” which usually falls on the 27th of Ramadan.

Lailat’ul Qadr… a night better than a thousand months. It is the night of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. It is the “Night of Power”!