Philippine Embassy hosts Diplomatic Reception to celebrate 116th Anniversary of Philippine Independence


The Philippine Embassy celebrated the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence on 27 May 2014 with a diplomatic reception at the Al Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh. Around 200 distinguished guests attended, officials from the different Saudi government offices, Saudi businessmen and Ambassadors and representatives from the various diplomatic missions in Riyadh.

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This year’s theme is “Kalayaan 2014: Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago,” calling on a new generation of Filipinos to take inspiration from the lives of the Philippine revolutionary heroes and emulate their nationalistic fervor to bring about positive and lasting change in the Philippines.

The celebration was honored by the attendance of His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the new Emir of Riyadh. The Emir congratulated Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago, who in turn thanked the Emir for gracing the occasion and personally invited him to visit the Philippines.

The partnership between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia has remained strong and productive through the years, and bodes well for the warm friendship sure to endure between their two peoples for generations to come.

Bilaterally, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia continue to build on their economic ties. Saudi Arabia is the Philippines’ 12th top trading partner and ranked 32nd among the latter’s export markets. Saudi Arabia has also remained the Philippines’ 8th largest source of investments.

In terms of tourism, there has been an increasing trend in the arrival of Saudi visitors to the Philippines since 2009. A total of 38,969 Saudi visitors came to the Philippines in 2013 compared to only 19,101 in 2009, buoyed largely by the Embassy’s active tourism promotion in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with local travel agencies.

Another landmark was set in May 2013, when the two countries signed the bilateral agreement on the recruitment of domestic workers. (Press Release: PR- 075 -2014 11 June 2014)


 Philippine Embassy Entertains Filipino Community in Riyadh on Independence Day

(RIYADH, 13 June 2014) – Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago gathered the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino community on 13 June 2014 to celebrate the 116th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence.

Reversing the usual practice of community members presenting entertainment and cultural numbers in past national day celebrations, this year the Embassy officers and staff, their spouses and their children prepared song and dance numbers for the delight of the Filipino community.

The program started with the video message of President Benigno S. Aquino which was delivered in Naga City in the morning of 12 June 2014. This was followed by the message of Ambassador Tago.

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In his message, Ambassador Tago conveyed his appreciation to the Filipino community for taking time-out from their busy scheduled to attend the celebration. He conveyed to the community the importance of the sacrifices of our heroes for us to gain the freedom and democracy we all enjoy today.

The Filipino community was entertained by the Embassy children’s rendition of the song “I Am But a Small Voice”; followed by a ballet number, “Dalagang Pilipina” performed by Ms. Farrah D. Dingal, nationalistic song “Tagumpay Nating Lahat” by the Philippine Embassy choir, traditional “Pandango sa Ilaw” led by Social Welfare Attache By Ms. Perlita V. Panganiban and Embassy Spouses.

A Filipiniana Fashion Show showcasing traditional/classic, ethnic and contemporary Philippine fashion was participated in by Embassy personnel, spouses and their children.

This was followed by back-to-back song numbers by Minister and Consul General Marshall Louis M. Alferez who sang “Kahit Isang Saglit” and Second Secretary and Consul Mary Jennifer D. Dingal who sang “Ikaw.” For the finale, Ms. Mae I. Galvez, spouse of Attache Emmanuel P. Galvez, sang “Dakilang Lahi”.

During the program, Ambassador Tago took the opportunity to welcome and introduce to the Filipino community the new officers and staff of the Embassy and also bid farewell to its personnel whose tours of duty will be ending in June 2014.

The program was hosted by Second Secretary and Consul Winston Dean S. Almeda. (END)


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)

Manila seeks Saudi investment in tourism projects


The Philippines is trying to sell Saudi businessmen on investing in the development of its infrastructure, especially in projects related to tourism.

Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago presented his case in a meeting at the Asharqia Chamber yesterday. He invited Saudi businessmen to consider investments in hotels, motels, resorts and recreational facilities in the Philippines. Tago was leading a trade delegation from the Philippines, which presented an array of foodstuffs for import such as sweets, snacks, noodles, biscuits, agricultural products and a range of tropical fruits including pineapples and bananas.

Asharqia Chamber board member Abdullah A. Almajdouie and Secretary-General Abdul Rahman A. Al-Wabel welcomed the Philippine delegation.

The Best Beach in Panglao Island, Bohol (HENANN Resort)

“Only in the Philippines” The Best Beach in Alona, Panglao Island, Bohol /HENANN Resort / Click Image

Highlighting the potential in his country’s tourism sector, Tago said the Philippines was an archipelago composed of 7,107 islands offering a wide selection of beaches. Some Philippine beaches, such as Boracy with its famous white sand, have received international recognition and awards.

The Philippine diplomat focused on Palawan Underground River which is one of the renowned tourist attractions in the Philippines. It was listed in the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012. With a length of 8.2 km, the Palawan Underground River is the longest navigable underground river in the world. It is also one of the two UNESCO Heritage sites in the Philippines.

“Although we have a lot of world-class tourist attractions, the number of tourists from Saudi Arabia has not reached satisfactory levels,” Tago said, adding that nearly 30,000 Saudi tourists traveled to the Philippines in 2012. The country attracted more than 4.2 million visitors last year.

The ambassador outlined his government’s public-private partnership program under which a number of projects have been planned to be developed in cooperation with foreign and local investors. He urged Saudi investors to participate in these projects. In January 2013, four major infrastructure projects under the PPP program have already been approved. The projects concerns roads and railways, communications and a gas pipeline.

The resort is so serene – so quiet you can hear the crickets. The pool is inviting (as is the poolside bar) and the sandy beach is a few steps away, but screened from the resort itself by more coconut trees.

HENANN Resort in Panglao, Bohol. The resort is so serene – so quiet you can hear the crickets. The pool is inviting ( poolside bar) and the sandy beach is a few steps away, but screened from the resort itself by more coconut trees. “Only in BOHOL, Philippines” (Click Image)

Tago delineated Saudi Arabia’s contribution to infrastructure development in the Philippines. The Kingdom has already provided $ 20 million as soft loans for the development of various road projects in the Mindanao region. This was part of Saudi Arabia’s commitment of $ 100 million to Philippine development projects.

In 2011, the Kingdom imported SR 500 million worth of Philippine bananas. This represented more than half of Saudi imports from the Philippines. Saudi Arabia also imported SR 40 million worth of pineapples in 2011.

Almajdouie hoped that Saudi Arabia’s current trade and cultural relationships with the Philippines will further be strengthened as more than half-a-million Filipinos live and work in the Kingdom and their loyalty and experience have won the hearts of Saudi employers.

“There are also frequent reciprocal visits of high-ranking government officials and trade missions, which have resulted in a noticeable increase in trade exchanges between the two countries in recent years,” he said.

According to Saudi government statistics, two-way trade rose to SR 13.9 billion in 2011 as opposed to SR 10.2 billion in the previous year. In 2011, Saudi imports from the Philippines amounted to around SR 800 million while Saudi exports to the Philippines were valued at SR 13.1 billion.


Filipino community leader in EP honored

AL-KHOBAR — Engineer Ernesto N. Mapanao, a longtime Filipino worker in the Eastern Province (EP), was honored here last Friday for supporting distressed compatriots and working with various Filipino community organizations throughout the years.

Mapanao received a plaque of recognition from the Overseas Filipino Workers Congress in EP (OFWC-EP), a pioneering Filipino association established 12 years ago in the Kingdom.

Photo by:Joe Avancena (SG)

The simple ceremony was held at the resident of Mary Jane Tupas, president of OFWC and the director of nursing of Mohamad Dosary Hospital.

Mapanao is leaving to join his family in Canada after some 20 years working as an engineer for leading Saudi companies in the oil and gas industries. Active in community affairs, he had served as the Third President of the Overseas Filipino Workers Congress (OFWC) from 2005- 2007.

Leading EP community leaders attended the event, including Dr. Gener Benter, Dr. Peter Marpa, Engr. Bong Dionisio, Martin Valenzuela, Chito Arcilla, Mulong Odsinada, George Palencia, Lito Tomas, Jun Mones, Charlie Rapanut, Ed Saballa and Orly Arcega.

taken from: Saudi Gazette-MARHABA 3 March 2012

A blog “Definitely for Filipino”

At first, I never thought that blogging will be part of my daily routine or perhaps became part of my life.  My week would be empty if I can’t post anything and my days would be boring if I don’t receive or read  comments and inquiries from our readers more particularly fellow OFWs.

And it is a fulfilling day if I can share with someone my thoughts, advices and opinions. Though I can’t say that what I shared or reply to those who asked my opinions are perfect, but it’s quite relieving that someone out there believes in you.

Blogging is being promoted as one of the easiest ways to promote oneself, organization, company or a product, etc. My friends asked me why I don’t put any ads on this blog and other money making features that can make money or earn money out of it. I told them blogging from the start is just a hobby and this is my personal blog and I am determined to write anything that will pop out in my mind, no one can ask me what to do, what to write and what to say because I owned this blog. I am the writer, the editor and publisher rolled into one.

Blogs these days are very popular form of expressing one’s self, pouring out your emotions on a certain topic  that you think entertaining or interesting to others or posting something that you think an important events, ideas and useful information that your readers may know.

The Philippines has plenty of historical buildings still standing today. To me, this particular building really stands out as it is one of the few that has survived the test of time and war. I am going to make the photos speak for themselves. (Click the Photo)

During most of my spare time in the office and at home, I surf the internet, and read blogs too that might interest me and give me an idea on what to post.  Today, I stumble upon a blog that I may consider calling it  “a fantastic blog” and a very informative blog in which you can find all the topics you want, from business, living, sports, technology, news, travel, photography, you name it!  You can find in this blog. It even has a chat room and a store, huh! If you’re a writer, you can submit articles. The design is superb and neat.  If you want “Nostalgic Videos”, it has! You can even watch “The Battle in Manila, 1945”.  Whew! My snappy salute to Ben Totanes the creator of DEFINITELY FILIPINO.

Want to see it for yourself guys! Visit “the blog for online Filipinos”, DEFINITELY FILIPINO!

I Won’t Hold You Back

This song is dedicated to the late Beauty Queen Melody Gersbach, 24, who died yesterday in a car accident. Gersbach represented the Philippines in the Miss International beauty pageant in Beijing last year. A native of nearby Legazpi City, Gersbach was born to a German father and a Filipino mother.

Melody Gersbach

The best way to show beauty is to give a sincere smile” – MG

Father and Child

I submit the article below to be published without conditions nor royalties. I am dedicating a photo entry that won 2nd place in the recent Singapore Sun Festival to the Filipinos afflicted by the typhoons. May they find strength in the fathers of families as they rebuild their lives.

Christopher J. Tuason

I am an OFW who recently won second prize in a national competition of Insight Guides Photography which is one major event in Singapore Sun Festival held annually. My entry was called Father and Child which is a picture of my friend when he was consulted by his daughter over a homework she had in school. This is the first competition I joined and beyond luck, is the family value that the love of a father matters.

As a person, this is one tiny accomplishment and is nothing compared to what others have achieved in life. However, I am proud that the photograph I have taken is an image of my race and my nation on what matters to us and what we, the Filipinos, value beyond materiality.


"Father and Child" Photography by: Christopher J. Tuason

As a foreign worker, I have witnessed over the news and television the horrors of nature over a week when storms Ondoy and Pepeng ravaged Manila and the northern provinces. I understand and empathize with my countrymen who are forced by circumstances to start from scratch and I have heard family men interviewed over TV who submit themselves to the sorrows of nature. Many of my countrymen have lost everything and a number have lost their dearly beloved ones. To the fathers of families, know that no storm can ever defeat your strength. In times like these, your loved ones turn to you for solace and security, so do not lose this opportunity of a lifetime to reveal the father deep in you.

I am proud to be a Filipino and I am proud to see Filipino fathers conquer the most testing times in their lives.



Yesterday, I read an online news at GMANews TV  about “72 Filipinos” rounded up during a concert inside a compound in  eastern Riyadh.  Gays are not prohibited in Saudi Arabia but  display of homosexual behavior is strictly forbidden.  Such offense could suffer imprisonment and lashing for immorality.

Vice President Noli De Castro who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs reminded OFWs to abide laws in their respective host country more particularly in Saudi Arabia.

This blogger also reminded fellow kababayan’s in KSA to respect the strict laws of the host country in an entry titled ” Immorality a Serious Offense “.

Just two weeks ago  the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Kingdom raided a Gambling Den (Sabongan) in Buraydah.  A total of 150 gamblers in different nationalities many of them Filipinos  were arrested during the raid.

2Gambling is also strictly prohibited in the Kingdom.  Caught and if found guilty of organizing such gambling arena will be imprisoned for months, lashing and be deported to their respective country of origin and be blacklisted to enter back again in the Kingdom (see related entry “Massive Fingerprinting of Expats Begins“).

Filipinos said “we are smarter than other nationalities when it comes to work, we are not lazy, we are very industrious, we have bigger brains, we can invent things that can make our life more easier and safer”  that is why in every corners of the world there are Filipinos and it is true. Though sad to say that in every part of this world there are also “PASAWAY Filipinos” see more photos below.





Christening of Manuel Dane “Andrew” Amora

I and my wife Minda (Vi)  conveys our heartfelt gratitude to our Kumpare(s) and Kumare(s)  re: Christening of our son Manuel Dane “Andrew” Amora last December 21, 2008 at Sacred Heart Parish Church and Patio Isabel Filipino Resto, Cebu City.


Manuel Dane Amora

Manuel Dane Amora

Sacred Heart Parish Church

Sacred Heart Parish Church

Back (Ninongs) - Tabon Tabon, Leyte Mayor Rusty Baderian, Davao City COuncilor Peter Lavina, Mr. Loreto Bantaran, Mr. Alex Veloso Bello, Atty. Fred Pamaos (Front) Ms. Ma. Carmen Salidadia, Mrs. Gina Parona, our daughter Angel, My Wife and Dane, Sis inlaw Mimi Amora & Former Mandaue City Vice Mayor Noel Soon

Back (Ninongs) – Tabon Tabon, Leyte Mayor Rusty Baderian, Davao City Councilor Peter Lavina, Mr. Loreto Bantaran, Mr. Alex Veloso Bello, Atty. Fred Pamaos (Front) Ms. Ma. Carmen Salidadia, Mrs. Gina Paronia, our daughter Angel, My Wife and Dane, Sis inlaw Mimi Amora & Former Mandaue City Councilor  Noel “Kiwi” Soon

(L-R) Mr. Kim and  Mrs. Fe Gimarino-Kim (Outstanding Overseas Filipino 2008 Presidential Awardee - Banaag Category)

(L-R) Mr. Kim and Mrs. Fe Gimarino-Kim President-Filipino Korean Spouses Association & Global President-United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development (2008 Outstanding Overseas Filipino Presidential Awardee – Banaag Category), (next)   Mrs. Merlita Amora  and   OFW Congress Pres. Alex Veloso Bello with wife  Vangie Morden Bello

Again to all of you my Kumare and Kumpare, THANK YOU SO MUCH! From the bottom of our heart.

 Fairy Godmother
Anita Sese Schon
  1) Mr. Alex Veloso Bello
2) Dr. Lito Astillero   
3) Engr. Jun Aguilar
4) Engr. Ronnie Ulip  
5) Mr. Mike Bolos  
6) Mr. Antonio “Boboy” Arante 
7) Atty. Fred Pamaos
8) Councilor Pete Lavina
9) Mayor Roy Doyon
10) Mr. Pete Vicuna
11) Prof. Cesar Torres
12) Mayor Rusty Balderian
13) Mr. Julius Gregorio
14) Mr. Loreto Bantaran
15) Mr. Rommel Baguio 
16) Mr. Gin Sung Son
17) Mr. Noel “Kiwi” Soon
  1) Mrs. Fe Gimarino Kim 
2) Mrs. Susie Abenojar Barbiere
3) Mrs. Freda Contreras 
4) Miss Grace Cabactulan
5) Mrs. Agnes Bello Ong  
6) Ms. Malou Mariano
7) Mrs. Eden Tiu Gicum
8) Mrs. Gina Parona
9) Ms. Ma Carmen Salidadia
10) Ms. Cherry Mae Parba

IIEE-NCC Christmas Party

Engr. Doods Amora IIEE former Region 7 Governor and now Member of IIEE National Board

Engr. Doods Amora IIEE former Region 7 Governor and now Member of IIEE National Board (click link IIEE Philippines found in the right side bar)


I attended the Christmas Party of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers – North Cebu Chapter (IIEE-NCC) held at Mandaue City, Salu Salu Grill & Restaurant last December 18, 2007 as one of their guest.

 It was indeed a great honor attending such gatherings of professional group

The blogger w/ long time friend former Mandaue Councilor & Vice Mayor Noel "Kiwi" Soon

The blogger w/ long time friend and Guest former Mandaue City Councilor & Vice Mayor Noel "Kiwi" Soon

 that I truly admired and respected since I became one of the IIEE-7 e-group subscribers.

To the new officers of IIEE-NCC, thanks for inviting me and more power to the group. MERRY CHRISTMAS & A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!



dine with old close friends

A long time family friend invited us yesterday in their “family get together” and his grandson birthday at Blue Water Beach, Maribago, Lapu Lapu City. Though at first we felt uncomfortable because I, my wife and my daughter are just an outsider on the said occasion, but were very happy knowing that our old friend never changed since I’ve known them for many years now. They’re still very accommodating despite of their status in life in the political arena particularly here in Cebu.

with Alang-Alang Councilman Marianito "Aning" Soon

with Alangalang Councilman Marianito “Aning” Soon

Actually we communicate each other even I’m busy doing a living away from home, I always texted them when there is special occasion such as Christmas, Fiestas, Birthday’s and even when someone from their family passed away. Whenever I arrived from KSA, I always visit them as a sign of respect to the renowned and beloved personalities in Mandaue City and Lapu Lapu City respectively.

I am talking about the Soon-Ruiz family of Mandaue City, Cebu. Their elder sister Congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, “Inday Nerry” to her constituents is currently the Cebu’s 6th District representative in Congress. Actually, my close friends in their family is the former City Councilor of Mandaue City, Mr. Noel “Kiwi” Soon and the just concluded barangay election 3rd termer Barangay Councilor of Alang Alang Mr. Marianito “Aning” Soon. (The three  “Soon” I mentioned are siblings of the late Dr. Toto Soon).

Me (wearing CMA Center for Migrant Advocacy Tshirt) and former Mandaue City Councilman and Vice Mayor Noel "Kiwi" Soon

Me (wearing CMA Center for Migrant Advocacy Tshirt) and now my Kumpare former Mandaue City Councilman Noel “Kiwi” Soon (wearing white t-shirt)

We arrived in the beach and we were able to shake hands with the honorable Congresswoman “Inday Nerry”. Unfortunately she was busy in her lunch at that time, the reason I was not able to chat with her until she leaves bringing her mother home, the behalf of the late Dr. Restituto “Mano Toto” Soon known as “Mandaue’s Gentle Physician“, the once very popular personality in Mandaue and former acting Mandaue City Mayor after Martial Law.

Maybe in some other time I would discuss with her the plight of our OFWs; Inday Neri was the former Committee OFW Affairs Vice Chair in the last 13th Congress.

I wonder to myself if the family members in the circle especially the youths and the little ones playing around the beach would follow the footsteps of their grandlolo and Inday Nerry. Knowing that my friend Kiwi quits politics and Aning told me that he will stay in barangay where he can concentrate his time to serve the people in his turf.

Me ( in Soon-Ruiz cap) and my wife Minda "Vilma" Amora

Me ( in Soon-Ruiz cap) and my wife Minda “Vilma” Amora

My thoughts ended up answered because a new breed of the “Soon’s” is now ready to embark the political scene the family has been into. A very young but I considered “malayo pa ang mararating” the newly elected Sanguniang Kabataan in his area SK Chairman Gian Soon Gobalani (now Mandaue SK CHAIRMAN).

The untarnished record of the “Soon-Ruiz” in the political field really admires me and they are my model politicians for all these years.

my wife and daughter Angel

my wife and daughter Angel

Try to ask an ordinary employee, tricycle drivers, fish vendors, parents and even businessmen in Mandaue City and Lapu Lapu City, “Inday Nerry” Soon Ruiz is always the name for Congress representing District 6 of Cebu.

Last night I texted my friend Kiwi and Aning to say many thanks for the warm welcome they provided to us with a quote that follows: “IT IS NOT WHAT ONE SAYS; BUT RATHER WHAT ONE DOES THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD“.

Thanks again my friends.