Sunday, June 29, 2008


VIP Class is not only on airlines, SAPTCO- Saudi Public Transport Co. can make your travel comfortable because VIP buses offer you space and comfort that never seen on any other buses.Plus food,beverages,computer facilities,newspapers in english and arabic and mobile recharging servicesfor you to enjoy the comfort of first class travel aboard on bus.What makes me really comfortable and relax is that the driver and his assistant were both my kababayan,Filipino.

SCHEDULE AL-olaya Houard Johnson Plazza Hotel-Tel. 01 4629939
Departure times from Riyadh to Khobar
Saturday and Sunday- 06.00 and 17.00
Monday and Tuesday- 09.00 and 17.00
Wednesday 09.00 and 17.00
Thursday 14.00
Friday 15.00, 17.00 and 19.00

SCHEDULE Al-Kousaibi Hotel Al-Khobar-tel. 03 8874481
Departure times from Khobar to Riyadh
Saturday and Sunday- 06.00 and 17.00
Monday and Tuesday - 09.00 and 17.00
Wednesday 10.00, 15.00 and 18.00
Thursday 14.00
Friday 15.00 and 17.00

Regular class of travel is every hour and the bus terminal is in Dammam near Governor's Palace

Saudi Public Transport Co. (SAPTCO) was established in 1399 H (1979 G) with a fully paid up capital of SR 1000 million to provide public bus transport services. SAPTCO operates around the clock with terminals in the Kingdom's major cities and through an extensive network of local and international agents.

SAPTCO operates a fleet of 2,714 modern buses of different capacities and sizes carrying out 579 daily scheduled trips, connecting 362 cities, towns and villages Kingdom wide. Daily international trips are scheduled to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E., Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Sudan and Lebanon.
SAPTCO's intracity services covers 10 major cities which include: (Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Dammam, Abha, Gaseem, Tabuk, Hael), and special transportation to the Holy Shrines during Hajj and Ramadan. SAPTCO also provides a distinguished VIP service, offers Charter bus service and operates school/college transportation services.The number of passengers transported by SAPTCO has reached more than 2.005 Billion passenger.
The number of local and international agents of the company reached 161 Agents.

Our distinguished VIP services are between Riyadh - Al Khobar, Makkah - Madinah and to Bahrain. These trips are direct and non-stop. Passengers are provided meals, hot and cold drinks, newspapers and the outlet to use mobile phones and laptop. The company is planning to expand its VIP services to include new routes.
We have a team of skilled and well trained bus drivers, comes in compliance and adherence with safety and security precautions for our customers. All our fleet, drivers and passengers are fully insured.
SAPTCO - as Future plans:- is looking forward to cope with the developments that transport sector witness. It continues to update its fleet with most recent technologies in bus's manufacturing in addition to its efforts to introduce "integral Umrah and Tourist" service

Welcome to KSA Mark and Edgar

After my work on June 25 at around quarter to eleven in the evening,I hurriedly went to the bus station of SAPTCO (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company)to catched up the last trip of the day headed to Riyadh, the bus left at around 12:30 am and it takes five hours travel from Dammam to Riyadh.

It was a nice trip I only sleep at the bus and the moment i open my eyes wow i was now in Riyadh.The reason why I went there is just so simple, just to meet and welcome my friends Edgar and Mark, both of them will now work here in Saudi at the same company where i am working.To EDGAR and MARK welcome to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I just renewed my IQAMA recently and the new one is with me now.So what is this IQAMA,why it is very important here in Saudi Arabia being an expat like me.Sorry no photograph of my iqama to be posted here for security purposes.

The first paperwork hurdle once in Saudi Arabia is your own Iqama term used for residence permit.Dont wait for HR personnel to ask you,present them with the documentation on day one once you are here in the Kingdom. You will need to do another medical- known as the iqama medical and results take three to four days.

Issue of Iqama takes two to five days, for the mean time the company will issue a letter together with the photocopy of your passport attached to it,because the emloyer will keep your passport for safety and for exchange for it is the iqama.The letter will serve as your temporary Iqama with a validity of one week until you received the Iqama.

The new iqama issued , it looks like an ATM or credit card with your picture,name in english and arabic characters,birthday,nationality, expiration date,name of the company.Unlike before its look like a mini passport green for Muslim and brown for non-Muslim.
  1. Get Iqama medical done
  2. Prepare company letter
  3. Copy of contract
  4. Copy of medical results
  5. passport
  6. photographs

The iqama can be viewed as your residency card. The iqama indicates you are a legal resident in the Kingdom. With this document you can open a bank account, rent or buy a car, rent lodging and any other legal and/or business transactions.It is needed when you are going to buy a sim card for the mobile phone, prepaid or postpaid and for telephone line at home and for dsl connection for internet.Iqama is needed in buying tickets for bus,train and plane for local travel within the kingdom.

Without an iqama, one is very limited in what they are allowed to do. For example, one may come into the Kingdom on a visitors visa but that visa will not allow one to engage in many standard transactions of day to day life.

Make a photocopy of your iqama and have that with you at all times. Keep your original iqama in a safe place. Also be sure and note its expiration date.Validity of iqama is one year only.If your iqama expired you cannot perform any transactions in the bank like to deposit or to withdraw from your bank accounts! You will have no access to cash.Until you renewed it.Iqama is very important here in Saudi Arabia.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pinoy abroad

Living life as an expat is very good when you are earning enough or married to someone who can afford the life there. Living abroad exposes one to other cultures, food, places and ways of living one would otherwise have not known if they have never gone out of the Philippines.

It is great exposure to cultivate an open mind and to develop a mature perspective of the world. One can experience culture shock but if one keeps an open mind and keep a positive attitude, one can easily adapt to changes and new cultures. However, it can be sad when one realizes how far they are from family and friends and things that are familiar.

We are fortunate that technology nowadays like the internet and mobile phones allow people to connect in more ways than one and to communicate as if loved ones are just in the other room. The best way to combat homesickness is to bring something that reminds you of home, keep busy at work and make lots of friends. Before you know it, you would have made your new place your new home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Its been a tough week for me.Feeling blue, I must say, for some reasons maybe because due to the bad weather. Sandstorm althroughout the week, to add more the uncontrollable hot temperature here in the Kingdom.That is nature and it is beyond my control, all i have to do is to take care of myself.Mag ingat wika nga.Aside from nature human matters also.
So I was on the verge of paranoia a while back.Working here in the Kingdom is a multicultural setting.One incident that i will never forget that add to my burden is that this certain workmate of mine from the Lahing 5-6(my code for that race and kabayan you knew it, lots of these people are working in the Philippines popular for that act of business deal)I don't understand why he is trying to put and pull me and my fellow Pinoy down when it comes to work and it happened so many times.I don't know hes motive.Always want to make fight on absurd things.Maybe because he want to prove to us noypis that hes race is better than mine.Based on my observation they are believing in this mantra that,If you are good on this things, well I am better than yours.In other word kabayan "kung may amoy ka mas matindi ang amoy ko" ayon sa paniniwala nila hahaha EWWW.....anghit!!!siguro ganoon nga,anyways just want to make you laugh and so with me because i dont want to take it seriously and I dont want to sound racist here.For Human peace and love sake...we are now okay...pakisamahan na lang sila.On a lighter side of this issue among noypis when it comes to work na hindi na kailangan magbuhat ng bangko, let others noticed the quality of our work as an expat.While reading Arab News yesterday(the well read english broadsheet here in the Kingdom),June 16 i came across this featured article written by Abdullah Al-Maghlooth by the name itself i must say he is an arab.The article helped me to ease the blues with in me.Reason to celebrate and be proud.......Cheerio!

Imagine a world without Filipinos

By:Abdullah Al-Maghlooth Al-Watan,

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad that I lost my appetite.”

Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000 workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.
Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20 percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors.

So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore.

Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,” she said.

This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom. Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except boredom.

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the entire world economy.

We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences.

We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve perfection in our work. This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his flower shop.

We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thank you:Ka Pete

To inspire,one must have been inspired.To influence others,one must first have been influenced by someone else.

In the age of Internet nowadays, nothing is impossible to reach every people around the globe.One gets the chance to dialogue not with one or two people at any given time but with the whole world.

One way to get noticed and be recognized by using Internet is trough blogging.For almost a month now that i am into this hobby, still i can't believe it for myself that some people that i didn't know read my blog.Maybe this is the purpose of this technology man had created.Making and bringing our planet so close to each other.As my past time here in Saudi Arabia,during my idle time at home i read others blog.Some are so much interesting and so much inspiring,that my eyes is glued to the page and with out any hesitation i read it until the very last word of the entry posted.One of those is the blog Jose F. Lacaba.I like the poem very much that he created,a masterpiece done by a genius.It is my honor and privilege to have his permission to post his poem on my page.
The poem that i am talking about is Tagubilin and Habilin.He wrote the following poem, obviously inspired by "Desiderata" and "Sunscreen," sometime in 2002 or 2003. It was commissioned by Armida Siguion-Reyna for her album POP LOLA (Viva Records, 2003). Armida's recording of the poem, with background music by Ryan Cayabyab, got a lot of airplay on Ted Failon and Korina Sanchez's program on DZMM teleradyo last year, 2007, just before the elections. Sometimes Ted himself recited the poem. In the wake of the Jun Lozada revelations in the Senate.

Who is Jose F.Lacaba?
Perhaps one of the most prolific and versatile writers of his generation, José F. Lacaba has been a journalist, poet, translator, university lecturer, screenwriter, and show business specialist. Once a student at the Ateneo de Manila University, Pete Lacaba has since received recognition from several eminent award-giving bodies such as the Manila Critics' Circle, Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA), FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines, Urian, Manila Film Festival, Palanca, and National Press. Recently, he has also been a recipient of the Centennial Honors for the Arts, given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines to 100 outstanding Filipino artists of the last 100 years.

His poetry collections include Mga Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran (1979, 1996), Sa Daigdig ng Kontradiksyon (1991) and Sa Panahon ng Ligalig (1991). A new edition of his important, highly charged Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage (1982), a reportage on the First Quarter Storm and the subsequent times, has also been released. Many of his screenplays have been ingrained in the Filipino consciousness; these include the acclaimed Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984), Sister Stella L (1984), Orapronobis (1989) and Segurista (1996).
Pete has served as a deputy chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). He is also a resident fellow of the U.P. Institute of Creative Writing.
Maraming salamat Ka Pete.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Magandang araw sa lahat lalo na sa mga kababayan ko,akoy natutuwa at labis na nagagalak sa kagandahang naidudulot ng makabagong teknolohiya sa ngayon.Dahil sa pagbabasa ng blog ni Bianca na aki ng nakahiligan bilang isang expat nabasa ko ng buo ang isang napakagandang tula at nahanap ko rin ang link kung saan matatagpuan ang blog ng may akda.Hindi ko mawari na ang isang forwarded sms ay hango sa isang tula.Ibinabahagi ko ito sa inyo at naway magustuhan ninnyo at mapagnilanilayan.

(Slightly revised version)
Ni Jose F. Lacaba

Mabuhay ka, kaibigan!
Mabuhay ka!
Iyan ang una't huli kong
Tagubilin at habilin:
Mabuhay ka!

Sa edad kong ito, marami akong maibibigay na payo.
Mayaman ako sa payo.
Maghugas ka ng kamay bago kumain.
Maghugas ka ng kamay pagkatapos kumain.
Pero huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay para lang makaiwas sa sisi.
Huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay kung may inaapi
Na kaya mong tulungan.

Paupuin sa bus ang matatanda at ang mga may kalong na sanggol.
Magpasalamat sa nagmamagandang-loob.
Matuto sa karanasan ng matatanda
Pero huwag magpatali sa kaisipang makaluma.

Huwag piliting matulog kung ayaw kang dalawin ng antok.
Huwag pag-aksayahan ng panahon ang walang utang na loob.
Huwag makipagtalo sa bobo at baka ka mapagkamalang bobo.
Huwag bubulong-bulong sa mga panahong kailangang sumigaw.

Huwag kang manalig sa bulung-bulungan.
Huwag kang papatay-patay sa ilalim ng pabitin.
Huwag kang tutulog-tulog sa pansitan.

Umawit ka kung nag-iisa sa banyo.
Umawit ka sa piling ng barkada.
Umawit ka kung nalulungkot.
Umawit ka kung masaya.

Ingat lang.

Huwag kang aawit ng “My Way” sa videoke bar at baka ka mabaril.
Huwag kang magsindi ng sigarilyo sa gasolinahan.
Dahan-dahan sa matatarik na landas.
Dahan-dahan sa malulubak na daan.

Higit sa lahat, inuulit ko:
Mabuhay ka, kaibigan!
Mabuhay ka!
Iyan ang una't huli kong
Tagubilin at habilin:
Mabuhay ka!

Maraming bagay sa mundo na nakakadismaya.
Mabuhay ka.
Maraming problema ang mundo na wala na yatang lunas.
Mabuhay ka.

Sa hirap ng panahon, sa harap ng kabiguan,
Kung minsan ay gusto mo nang mamatay.
Gusto mong maglaslas ng pulso kung sawi sa pag-ibig.
Gusto mong uminom ng lason kung wala nang makain.
Gusto mong magbigti kung napakabigat ng mga pasanin.
Gusto mong pasabugin ang bungo mo kung maraming gumugulo sa utak.

Huwag kang patatalo. Huwag kang susuko.

Narinig mo ang sinasabi ng awitin:
Gising at magbangon sa pagkagupiling,
Sa pagkakatulog na lubhang mahimbing.
”Gumising ka kung hinaharana ka ng pag-ibig.
Bumangon ka kung nananawagan ang kapuspalad.

Ang sabi ng iba: “Ang matapang ay walang-takot lumaban.
”Ang sabi ko naman:
Ang tunay na matapang ay lumalaban
Kahit natatakot.

Lumaban ka kung inginungodngod ang nguso mo sa putik.
Bumalikwas ka kung tinatapak-tapakan ka.
Buong-tapang mong ipaglaban ang iyong mga prinsipyo
Kahit hindi ka sigurado na agad-agad kang mananalo.

Mabuhay ka, kaibigan!
Mabuhay ka!
Iyan ang una't huli kong
Tagubilin at habilin:
Mabuhay ka!