PNoy SONA’s Words of Wisdom

aquinoMy collections of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III,  State of the Nation Addresses or  SONA’s that are well said, also truly worth remembering and will stick in my memory longer.   Thank you Mr. President for the Job Well Done! 

First SONA:

I encourage everyone to take a step towards participation rather than fault-finding. The former takes part in finding a solution; from the latter, never-ending complaints.

Second SONA:

Let us make the effort to recognize the good that is being done.

Third SONA:

Thank those who have done their share in bringing about positive change in society. 

Fourth SONA:

You made this transformation possible

Fifth SONA:

The transformation we are experiencing now, we can make permanent with the guidance of God.

Last (Sixth) SONA:

The reforms we have sown along the straight path are already bearing fruit, and will bear an even more bountiful harvest in the future. But this will only happen if we nurture and protect what we have already planted.

KACST tower to house Knowledge Center


The King Abdul Aziz City For Science and Technology (KACST) will be building a SR500 million high-rise tower to set up its new Knowledge Center on its campus.

The contract for the construction of the proposed tower was signed on Monday by KACST President Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel and Sadoun Al-Sadoun, general manager of ABV Rock Group, which has undertaken to construct the complex in 27 months.

Al-Suwaiyel said that this will be an iconic tower which can be spotted from any part of the city. The project, he said, will be the first of eight to be constructed under its master plan spread over a period of five years.

Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency was engaged to develop a wayfinding strategy and to design signage)

The proposed Knowledge Center. Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency engaged to develop a way finding strategy and to design signage) – click image to zoom

Building a Knowledge Center is the most important project for the city, and it will include research institutes and centers to support scientific research,” said the KACST president. It will also provide the perfect environment for professionals and researchers in keeping with the spirit of the changing era which is going through a series of scientific and technological developments, he said.

The Knowledge Center will be a model of exclusive architectural work to go with scientific research. It is a unique design consisting of 18 floors with a total area of 47,000 square meters to house 1,750 employees in the complex. The complex will have two basement parking facility besides four floors for offices, media, public relations and communications.

Pointing out that the design of the building will take into account the use of the latest environment-friendly technologies in energy applications and smart buildings, Al-Suwaiyel said the building will provide innovative design and comfortable office environment within the organization for maximum productivity of employees. (ARAB News/22.02.2014)

2013 in review by WordPress


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 410,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 18 days for that many people to see it.

Where did they come from? That’s 196 countries in all!

Most visitors came from Saudi Arabia. Philippines & The United States were not far behind.

How did they find you?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jawazat, saudi labor law, philippine embassy riyadh, jawazat riyadh, and jawasat

The top referring sites in 2013 were:


Thanks for flying with in 2013. We look forward to serving you again in 2014! Happy New Year!

Acceptance Speech – OBRA

Acceptance SpeechOutstanding Balikbayan and OFW Reputation Award

This coming 13 December 2013, the OFW Empowerment blog will be celebrating its 8 years anniversary.

When I found out that I will be receiving this award today it gave me time to ruminate on the period of time I have spent on my laptop, day and  night  just to pleased my fellow OFWs in  search of answers to their woes and grievances working in the foreign land.

First and foremost  I would like to thank them  for their trust in me and the ofwempowerment blog for all these years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast year, OFWempowerment Blog review of the WordPress 2012 Annual Report stated that “about 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!”

As of  today, the blog has 1,104,931 visitors and No. 8 in the list of Philippine top blogs under the community category. We have  2,341 followers,  1,679 emails only followers, 1009 Facebook followers, 19,045 comments, all answered and as of to date 263 comments unanswered yet, because I am here with you today.

What I achieve is just like a drop in a bucket; yet I owe it from my fellow OFWs who made the OFWempowerment blog stronger as ever that even a mightiest storm surge cannot weaken the foundation that this blog has been molded for the past  years. And to receive an award for something I love doing is a true reward  for which I am very grateful.

I would like to express my heartfelt  and sincere appreciation to  Exlinkevents the creator of OBRA (pang lima na PO ngayon) more particularly to Ms. Mitch Ballesteros, the woman behind this big curtain and  the awards WE are reaping today; and to Orly Ballesteros as well, the COO of Exlink Corporation.

There is only one thing we can do as a gesture of gratitude to the organizer, to all the AWARDEES WE CAN DO MORE by supporting EXLINK recent events that are just around the corner, the 10th Megabalikbayan OFW Expo, the OFW Business Summit, the International Beauty, Health and Wellness Expo, the International Travel Expo and many more.

I want to finish up by once again thanking everyone for giving me this beautiful Christmas, this wonderful award. Your guidance, your warm camaraderie, and my personal special thanks to Lyza and Sarah of Exlinks.

To my wife-Minda and my brother-Daniel, Jr. and his wife Lorna, who are here today to witness this once and a lifetime occasion. To each and every one of us who are here today-  thank you for sharing with me this glorious memory of a very proud and happy time in my life, a memory I am sure to reflect upon for years to come.  I am truly honored to receive Exlink events OBRA’s  Outstanding Filipino Blogger Advocate Award.

LASTLY, To the seven Filipino health workers died just recently in  Yemen blast along with the Eleven other Filipinos wounded in the attack – THIS AWARD IS FOR ALL OF YOU!


Thank you Sir Roussel! “Mission Accomplished”


I am sad to learn that Consul Roussel Reyes finally ended his tour of duty as one of the member of the diplomatic corps of our Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

I first met him in his first days of assignment during the Partidong Pandaigidigang Pilipino tripartite meeting where he was our Guest of  Honor representing the then former Ambassador to the Kingdom Tony Villamor. We finally became friends when he accepted my invitation as one of our panelist during the OFW Forum – “Know your Rights and Obligations as OFW in the Kingdom” held at the 2nd Industrial Area of Riyadh.

Consul Roussel Reyes during the Farewell get-together at Philippine Embassy

Consul Roussel Reyes during the Farewell get-together at Philippine Embassy

Reyes tenure was marked with plenty of hubbub coming from the so-called progressive alliance of OFWs in the Middle East; from “no indelible ink” in the last Absentee Voting where he  oversees the implementation of the OAV in Riyadh; to non-assistance of jailed OFWs where he heads the ANS-Assistance to National Section till his tenure ended. But these allegations never stop him from doing his job silently and satisfactorily with no media mileage. I still remember when he explained to me in details  how difficult to follow up some ANS sensitive cases.

For the past five or six years of his posting as Third Secretary and Vice Consul and just recently as  Consul, I was able to track his work and how he managed to deal some complexities of his job. He told me and accepts that his first experienced as a diplomat was challenging, tough and grueling. According to Consul Reyes in one of our friendly chat, “the Saudi legal system and the procedural aspects of their criminal law is very complicated” he said. Yet despite from all the untiring efforts that he and his colleagues had done in assisting distressed OFW cases, there are still some quarters that don’t believed ANS  are doing their very best.

with Consul Reyes & Mario Ben (KGS)

with Consul Reyes & Mario Ben (KGS)

Consul Roussel Reyes is a lawyer from San Juan, Metro Manila. He graduated in 1998 from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the same institution in 2002 and passed the Bar examinations of 2003. Just recently the DFA named him as 2012 Outstanding Diplomat-Gawad Mabini Award.

He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2004 as Foreign Service Officer, Class IV, after passing the Foreign Service Officer Examinations of 2003. Prior his posting in Riyadh, he was a Principal Assistant in the Office of Legal Affairs of the Department from April 2005 to August of the same year. He was subsequently designated as an Acting Division Director in the office from August 2005 to October 2006. His first foreign assignment was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Third Secretary and Vice Consul from October of 2006 to February 2013. He is married to Mary Michelle C. Reyes and has two daughters.

For me, I don’t have the superlatives to describe who he was as a diplomat and a friend. He has been an exemplary Consul. It is good to imagine that the DFA  got it so right in sending  Consul  Atty. Roussel Reyes and for posting him first in Saudi Arabia. To those who know him well, will going to miss him. And of course I will miss his smiling face and sparkling eyes, the part of his imagery.

Surely, he will look back on a job well done, in a place where he will be missed. 

Thank you  Sir Roussel! “Mission Accomplished.”


imagesCA5NK2HOAssistance-to-Nationals Citizen’s Charter and Procedures

OFW Empowerment Blog 2012 in review from: WordPress


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.


A creative practical joke


To : All OFWEmpowerment blog readers

This is regarding  to our blog post titled “Job Opportunity“,  please be informed that the  two email addresses posted in that particular entry where you can send your resumes was hacked as reported by my friend Mr. Jun Saldo.

In view of this, please send your resumes or biodata’s  direct to the recruitment agency in Philippines. You can click this link:  and look for their email address.  This could prevent  the hacker from whatever he/she have in my mind or reason for hacking my friend’s email addresses.  I am so sorry for this inconvenience.

To the hackers,  may I remind you that hacking is punishable under  RA No. 8792 or the Philippine E-Commerce Law which penalizes hacking under Sec. 33 (a) which states:

 “Hacking or cracking which refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including the introduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic document shall be punished by a minimum fine of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to the damage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years.”

In Saudi Arabia  article 3 of the country’s “Anti-Cyber Crime Law, Royal Decree No. M/17 8 Rabi 1 1428 / 26 March 2007states: “Any person who commits one of the following cyber crimes shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding hundred thousand riyals or to either punishment:”

1. Spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization.

2. Unlawful access to computers with the intention to threaten or blackmail any person to compel him to take or refrain from taking an action, be it lawful or unlawful.

3. Unlawful access to a web site, or hacking a web site with the intention to change its design, destroy or modify it, or occupy its URL.

4. Invasion of privacy through the misuse of camera-equipped mobile phones and the like.

5. Defamation and infliction of damage upon others through the use of various information technology devices.

To those “hackers” who stole my friend’s yahoo and hotmail account;  identity theft or larceny is punishable under above applicable laws by a number of different crimes, depending on the circumstances.

hackers-100013444-largeFurther, in U.S., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the Cyber Genome program to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks on US resources.  Cyber Genome, a project aimed at developing a “cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA”, so that the hacker can be conclusively identified. The project under the supervision of DARPA will strive to produce “revolutionary cyber defense and investigatory technologies for the collection, identification, characterization, and presentation of properties and relationships from collected digital artifacts of software, data, and/or users.

Maybe with the recent cyber developments in U.S., the “hackers” days are numbered but for the sake of our readers – the following steps may  safeguard your computer and prevent computer hacking (taken from WikiHow).

  1. Perform required software updates for your operating system and web browser.
  • Hackers attack where they see weakness. A system that hasn’t been updated recently has flaws in it that can be taken advantage of by hackers.
  • Go to the Microsoft Update website to download patches and secure the most recent version of your operating system. If you have a Mac, click on the apple in the top left of your screen and choose “Software Update.”
  • Type your browser plus “update” into a search engine to find the company’s site and download the newest version.

      2.   Install a firewall on your computer.

  • Firewalls forbid outside threats such as hackers and viruses from gaining access to your system.
  • Personalize your firewall settings during the setup process to reflect how much data you want to allow into your system from the Internet.
  • Update your firewall regularly.

     3.  Change your passwords every month.

  • Use multiple, intricate passwords for each website you log onto. Banking and other financial websites are especially important to maintain security.

     4.  Purchase or download anti-virus software.

  • Many computers come pre-installed with certain anti-virus software, but if not, or if you want more powerful software, research online to find what product suits you. Anti-virus software is crucial to keep your computer healthy. A “sick” computer, or one racked with viruses, is more susceptible to hacking.
  • Set your preferences so your anti-virus software updates automatically.

     5. Install anti-spyware/adware programs onto your system.

  • This type of intrusion is not as dangerous as a virus, but adware places advertisements onto your browser and incorporates pop-ups into your programs. This can slow down your computer, making you vulnerable to a hacker. Spyware can survey your Internet behavior and copy your passwords to use for illegitimate purposes.

     6.    Delete emails from unknown sources. Never click on an emailed link that looks questionable.

According to online article  “The Meaning of Hack“,  “hacking” might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity’. Whether the result is a quick-and-dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art, you have to admire the cleverness that went into it.  An important secondary meaning of hack is ‘a creative practical joke’.  This kind of hack is easier to explain to non-hackers than the programming kind.

Paalam DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo


Ang OFW Empowerment BLog  ay nakikiramay sa pamilya, kamag-anak , mga kaibigan at sa buong bansa sa pagpanaw ni Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.  Ang kanyang paglisan ay isang kawalan ng bansa sa isang  magiting at totoong lider  ng bansang Pilipinas.

Maalaala po namin kayo Kalihim Robredo bilang isang maka-Diyos at maka-Taong lider na ipinahayag ang tunay na katapatan bilang lingkod publiko ng bansang Pilipinas

May 1958 – August 2012

Kapag hayag at may pananagutan ang pamamahala, malalaman natin kung hanggang saan tayo nararapat na tulungan ng ating pamahalaang panlalawigan, bayan o panlungsod sapagkat magiging madali para sa ating makita kung magkano at ilan ang nakalaan sa bawat serbisyo publikong kinakailangang ipatupad.
DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo


Government Record

Appointed DILG secretary by President Aquino in 2010, Robredo, 54, was one of the most prominent figures among a rising generation of local officials becoming known on the national stage. His performance in Naga, where in 1988 he was elected mayor at the age of 29 – then the youngest city mayor in the Philippines – brought him national as well as international recognition.

Robredo was born on May 27, 1958, in Naga City. He is a second-generation Filipino-Chinese, and the third of five children of Jose Chan Robredo Sr. and Marcelina Manalastas.

He served the city for an unprecedented six 3-year terms, DILG records note, in 18 years, transforming Naga into the Bicol region’s premier city.

In 1996 he was named one of the Philippines’ Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) as well as one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons  (TOYP) in the world. Two years later, at the age of 38, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

Asiaweek Magazine called Naga one of Asia’s Most Improved Cities, and credited Robredo with bringing dynamism and innovation to public service, the local bureaucracy, and community concerns from housing to public health matters.

Academic record

Robredo was an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the DILG says on its website.

He earned a degree in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from De La Salle University, and then an MBA from the University of the Philippines.

After his graduation from DLSU, it seemed Robredo was on track for the corporate life, joining San Miguel Corporation’s Magnolia division. But then he returned to Naga City in 1986, and was convinced to sign on as Program Director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program. Here he developed his taste and passion for public service, and two years later he ran for mayor.

His fellow local officials elected Robredo to lead the League of Cities of the Philippines in 1995. “He was also elected chairman of the Regional Development Council, the regional planning and coordinative body of Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities, from 1992-98. Since 1995, he also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council,” the DILG says on its website.

“A trustee of Synergeia Foundation, a national advocacy group for education governance reforms, Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party of the Philippines and a prime mover behind the Kaya Natin!, a national movement that seeks to bring genuine change and ethical leadership in the country.”   ( )


We are looking forward to a very nice day today! Baby Maven, the little warrior is going home.
Thanks to ALL BIG HEARTS WHO HELPED HIM & US IN THIS BIG BATTLE. Touching as it was, thousands of good men & women all over the world, known & unknown to us, silently responded voluntarily and gave love in any small ways they could – to snowball this MIRACLE to happen. We salute you and we will never  ever forget you in the entirety of our lives.
Three months ago, it was an impossible dream. Hopes were nil. The only thing possible was prayers. Yes, prayers – what else? But GOD operates in strange ways. He enlightened the minds of Buboy & Hannah to have this love campaign at FB. And it came. The baby had been operated on and he is now recovering. God made it happen through the big hearted men & women in you! Thank you guys for being made the instrument of God in delivering this Miracle.

GOD IS GOOD. Thank you LORD.

Join me in Thanksgiving prayers. Amen. Continue reading

Expats Top Ten Attributes at Work in Saudi Arabia

The business set up in Saudi Arabia is exceptionally conservative and to make sure successful cross cultural working environment you will need to uphold a proper degree of formality.  

1)  Superiors and those in senior positions are always deferred to and be treated with utmost respect. Treat your co-workers with respect as well.

2)  Do not question the decisions that has been reached inside the workplace or in a round table. Decisions are only made by the highest-ranking employees while in general their subordinates will wait to be told what to do.

3)   When working with people from Saudi Arabia, it’s advisable to bolster the importance of the deadline agreed upon. Saudi educated managers appreciate the importance of executing deadlines and work schedules.

4)   Saudis are tough in negotiating table at work. They believe that everything is open to discussion and should arrived a concrete decision on the matter and repeating your main points will be interpreted that “you’re telling the truth” and “they’re telling lies”. You may need to compromise on a point if someone’s honor is at stake.

5)   Saudi’s sensibilities are common in the working environment, so ensure you don’t offend colleagues by telling them “you are wrong” on a certain decision that were made. Business and friendship go hand in hand in Saudi Arabia.

6)  It is necessary to get to know your associates in the workplace. As an expat it is good to note that the traditional Saudi greeting is “As-Salaam-Alaikum” which means “Peace Be Upon You. The traditional response is “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam” means  “and Peace Be Upon You”. Saudis are very proud of their culture, learning this small phrase is very pleasing to them. 

7)  When meeting, you should shake hands with everyone present, starting with the most senior and proceed anti-clockwise around the room and eye contact is important as this will show honesty and naturalness

8)   Saudi Arabians have a different sense of personal space to expatriate workers and most likely stand close to you while talking or discussing something. The significance is placed on politeness and the building of relationships, so always be considerate and civil.

9)  Saudi’s address each other in the workplace by “Ab” or “Abu”, this means “Father” and usually followed by the name of their son ie: “Abu Sultan” or “Abu Saad” (Father of Saad or Father of Sultan).  Do not address them using “Ab” or “Abu”,  it may cause offense as it is usually only done if you are close personal friends. Saudi traditional greeting will do followed by a sincere smile.   

10)  The Saudis have a relaxed attitude towards timekeeping. Meeting decisions often take time but never show impatience as this will be regarded as a sign of weakness and defeat.

If you have this kind of attributes at work  in Saudi Arabia, surely you will be rewarded with  respect and you will always be treated someone special.  

About the Author:  Manuel Amora is an Overseas Filipino Worker who’s been working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 18 years. He is now working at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST, a Saudi government institution. He is also an active Filipino Community leader, helping fellow OFWs to be aware of their rights and obligation as expatriate workers in the Kingdom.  

KACST will make Kingdom Global Research Power by 2025

Competition, Tough Standards, Bring New Vigor to Saudi Science
AAAS News and Notes
Edited by Edward W. Lempinen

Several years ago, Saudi Arabia’s leaders were confronted with a challenge: The kingdom had a well-established science sector and strengths in several areas, but while research publications were surging in some Middle Eastern nations, Saudi publication numbers were flat. Science competition was escalating, and they were falling behind.

King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology-KACST

To reverse the trend, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology—KACST, the Saudi national science agency—committed to an ambitious research and education plan designed to make the kingdom a global research power by 2025. As one element in this effort, KACST asked the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program to help shape a grant competition based on international standards and tough, independent peer review.

Today, research funding has increased, and competition for grants is growing more intense. With the support of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with extensive new science-related construction and projects. And the KACST-AAAS partnership is expanding into important new areas.

“From the start, we decided that… we should raise the bar quite high so that we get our researchers used to tough competition and strong evaluation,” said Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud, KACST’s vice president for research institutes. “And we chose AAAS because of its experience in this—it is a leading science organization and it has done evaluations like this in the United States and other places. We think that this is the right organization to work with.”

Left to Right - Dr. Abdulaziz AlSwailem (Vice Pres. for Scientific Research Support-KACST), H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel (President-KACST) and His Highness, Prince Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud (Vice Pres. for Research Institutes-KACST)

The AAAS-KACST relationship reflects the kingdom’s broad science ambitions and growing international recognition of the venture. It has established partnerships with corporate giants, leading universities, and top scholars. It built the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a state-of-the-art, coeducational research center, to serve as an engine of innovation.

AAAS President Nina V. Fedoroff, while serving as Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, delivered a keynote address at the university’s inauguration ceremonies in 2009. Today, the influential plant biologist is a distinguished professor there.

KACST was founded in 1977. In 2002, the kingdom’s Council of Ministers approved a national S&T policy, and in 2007 the science agency adopted its National Science, Technology, and Innovation Plan.

Turki, who earned a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, explained the plan’s goal in an interview: With investments, partnerships, and initiatives to develop the skills of the kingdom’s 26 million people, Saudi leaders want to transform their oil economy to a knowledge economy. The plan focuses on more than a dozen areas of research and advanced technology, from water desalination and solar energy to nanotechnology, biotechnology, and space science.  read more>>>>>

Ramadan Mubarak!

As the crescent moon is sighted…
 And the holy month of Ramadan begins…
May Allah bless you with happiness  and  grace your home with warmth & peace!

Ramadan Mubarak

May This Ramadan be as bright as ever. May this Ramadan bring joy, health and wealth to you.May the festival of lights brighten up you  and your near and dear ones lives.

May this Ramadan bring in u the most  brightest and choicest happiness… and  love you have ever Wished for.

May this Ramadan bring you the  utmost in peace and prosperity.

May lights triumph over darkness.

May peace transcend the earth.

May the spirit of light illuminate the world.

May the light that we celebrate at Ramadan  show us the way and lead us together on the path of

Peace and Social Harmony.

Wish you a very happy Ramadan Mubarak!

From: OFWempowerment WordPress Blog