An Afternoon at Oli Oli Dubai

Summer break is almost over and some of you are still on your summer breaks away from Dubai. And to the rest of us enduring the unforgiving heat, searching for activities for kids is like looking for a SALE pants that fits you in a boutique store. You want something that is cost-friendly yet something that will be good for your kids physically and mentally. My good friend Ruba (founder and owner of 3Dinova) recommended Oli Oli and my kids loved it! Oli Oli is an interactive children's museum located in Al Quoz (beside Time Square). They have 8 galleries and 40 hands-on exhibits.

Khloe loved Toshi's Nest and Kurt's favorite was the Cars and Ramps. They both enjoyed the Water Gallery but I personally would have spent one full day at the Creative Lab. We all had fun on that afternoon spent at Oli Oli Dubai!

Out & About: Colours of Arabia

It has been a happening 2 months since November. Weddings and events here and there and whenever I see a gap in timings, I made sure it was well spent with the kids and family. There are so many things we are thankful for but an experience made me realize that there are some things we take for granted. There are intangible blessings in life that we do not notice we are blessed with.

Last month, I was invited to participate in a dining in the dark experience sponsored by Colours of Arabia sponsored by Berger Paints. Being a photographer, I am a visual person and I am very dependent on (my camera) my eyesight. The invitation was to dine in this unique restaurant called Noire. Of course, when it comes to food, I couldn't turn down the offer.

So me and Koreen went curious about the experience. There was a briefing first to let us know what this experience is all about. When we watched the short video, we suddenly thought that this "dining in the dark" really meant pitch black. I was under the impression that it would just be darker than the usual candlelight dinner with dim lights.

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Watch this video so you will have an idea of what I will be writing about.

After the briefing, they let us to Noire for another briefing. Our assumptions were right. It will be a completely dark experience. We will be eating like blind people. How dark you may ask? Close your eyes and eat...that's how dark it is. Waiters had to wear night vision goggles to serve our food. The exciting thing also is that you do not know what food you are going to get. When you book with Noire, you will have to indicate your preference and if you are allergic to some types of food upon booking. It was first time in my life that I somewhat felt helpless. Without my eyesight, it was so difficult to walk (you will be guided to walk inside Noire), eat and drink. I wasn't even sure if I had finished my food. After 1 and a half hour, after a delicious 3 course meal, we were free! After the experience, they will let you know and show you what you ate. Taa daa!

Don't look at it to closely as they serve different dishes everyday. It will be a surprise.

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When I went home, not only was I full but I also realized how blessed I am to have the gift of sight. It is a GIFT! Whenever I take photos, I am blessed because I see these beautiful things around that some people don't. I am thankful that I get to share it to people too.

Thank you Berger Paints for inviting me to this unique experience and "opening" my eyes to what we really should be thankful for.

Yee-Haw Texas!

I have realized that I haven't concluded our US trip post. Our last leg of the trip was in Houston Texas where my father and mother were staying. It was the relaxing part of our vacation as we pretended to be Texans but we of course stood out with our brown skin, button noses and black hair. And yes, with our Filipino accents.

We shopped at Wal-Mart, ate at Denny's, drove around with a GPS and watched American TV. We visited Texas Roadhouse to see if it was the same with our favorite Texas Roadhouse in Dubai and the answer is 99% yes.

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If one is in Houston, Texas, one must visit the NASA Space Center. It was interesting to see the beginnings of space travel.

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Don't worry, that ain't a real person floating inside the whole day.

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To Khloe's delight, we went to see the Children's Museum. To be honest, I found it more entertaining than the Space Center. Khloe enjoyed learning about science and playing pretend. It was like Kidzania except that she was allowed in all areas. They also a Superhero themed presentation in the auditorium.

The temperature was a bit high so we skipped checking the zoo out. Instead, we chilled out with a dinner at Cheesecake Factory in the Galleria.

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Texas may not the best state in America but it was definitely worth visiting especially when you have family there.

Family Trip to Houston Texas

Out and About: A Trip to Ferrari World

Have you been to the Ferrari World in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi? It is the largest indoor theme park in the world and has the fastest roller coaster called Formula Rossa! Can you believe that? We did, so we went there last January. With me, all crazy about roller coasters and thrill rides was beyond excited. So excited that I even wore black and red shirt and rubber shoes to match the Ferrari colors. Arish was all excited as well. Khloe seemed to be thrilled too.

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We would not be in Ferrari world and not take photos of Ferraris, wouldn't we?

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And how about Italian food! PIZZZZZAAAA! I already have a tiny pizza lover...look at how Khloe almost grabbed my slice!

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So going there as a family was not a good idea. We could not go on a ride together and leave Khloe on a stroller by herself. That is just inhumane. So we went in turns which was no fine either. While Arish went for his turn, Khloe and I rode the carousel and the little girl LOVED it. She loved it so much we went for five rounds. When I went for a ride while hubby and daughter waited outside, I felt ridiculous in the midst of group of friends and of families with older kids. They were all giggling and laughing and by the time the ride started, they screamed and "woah-ed" and "ooh-ed" while I missed my better half who would have screamed too (he is afraid of heights).  I felt miserable...entertained but miserable.

Ferrari world

With all the ups and downs, life is like a roller coaster for most of us. Sometimes, the fall is too steep you cannot keep your eyes open. Sometimes the ride is too fast it leaves you in a daze. Sometimes it is scary and fun but not as fun if you are not with someone you love. We often take our family and friends for granted and we just realize their worth when we are by ourselves, taking that ride of a lifetime. To Arish and Khloe, thank you for being there for me. The ride can be nerve-racking and sometimes fun but it will always be good as long as we are together.


The Grandeur of Sheikh Zayed Mosque

This is a must-see place when you visit Abu Dhabi. We have been several times to the UAE capital but we never visited the Mosque before. So 2 weeks ago, we decided to do a side trip when we planned to visit our friends across the emirate. She just gave birth to a lovely baby girl.

We have seen amazing photos of the Abu Dhabi mosque but nothing has prepared us with what we saw.

The intricate details of the exterior matched the beautiful artistic inlay work inside. We were lucky to have brought our fish-eye lens so capture the magnificence of the place. You will also notice that there were more visitors that day due to the holidays.

This is the world's largest chandelier and it weighs 9 tonnes! After learning about that, we didn't spend much time admiring it from beneath. The carpet is also the largest hand-knitted carpet in the world.

If you wonder what this is, this is a portion of the Qibla wall where Muslims face when they pray.

Here are our attempts to take HDR photos. What do you think?

I took this photo of the abolution which reminded me of a scene in one of the Harry Potter movies...

When you drop a visit to UAE, make sure you jot visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on your to-do list. It is really a magnificent work of art!

Cassells Hotel and Resort

I just want to share pictures we took during the AWANA Honor Camp in Cassells Hotel and Resort, Ghantoot Abu Dhabi. They have very friendly staff and clean rooms. Amenities like the swimming pool, billiard rooms, sauna, tennis courts are available to guests. Room prices are very competitive and the place is not very far from Dubai. I don't have any commission in promoting the's just a way to thank them for their services. :-)
There is a yacht dock nearby.
This was a view from the royal suite terrace.
Hotel grounds
View of the hotel from the beach
Swimming pool area
Hotel interior
And of course food!