Category Archives: salalah

Photoblog: The bushes of God’s revelation, Dhofar Oman

Exposure: 1/500 sec. F/11. Focal 70mm. ISO 400. Title: “The bushes of God’s revelation.” Dhofar, Oman. December 2010.

While growing up back home, I always watch the Ten Commandments movie during the Lenten season whilst there’s no TV channel broadcast – no shows, except for the Ten Commandments and the Life of Jesus of Nazareth.

The story of Ten Commandments always starts with Moses and God’s revelation. In this time, God revealed and spoken to Moses through the burning bush.

“I AM THAT I AM.”

Such powerful words that have always been taught during my religion and theology classes in school – from primary school until my university days. However one thing I won’t forget is that bush – that variety of plant imprinted in my mind and prayed that one day I would see that.

Having lived in the slum of Cebu and the slum of Manila, I’d never imagined settling overseas with a wonderful Christian husband let alone travel to couple of continents including the Middle East. When I reached Oman in 2010, the first glimpse of the country made me felt I was in the movie. And the wind blows my hair and my cheeks relived my childhood days of watching the Ten Commandments, Exodus, and Jesus of Nazareth.

I never realized my prayer when I was a child would be answered. After almost 30 years it does. God, truly answers prayers.

My road trip experiences combined with watching the sunset beside the beach in Oman with my eldest brother together with friends made me appreciate to be at peace with nature, with life, and with God.

And the picture of the bushes above will keep as a reminder that the true and ever living God exists. Ask the 2 Billion Christians across the globe and you will hear different testimonies and acclamations about God and our Lord God Jesus Christ.

If you’re looking for a church in Singapore, me and husband cordially invite you to visit Moriah Assembly of God at Vivo City Cinema Hall every Sunday at 10AM. See you around brothers and sisters.

In Christ.

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Expressions

Different faces.
Different places.
Different representations.

People I met.
People I treasured.
People I cared for.
People I found.

Some left.
Some stayed.
Some returned.

One thing I won’t forget is they allowed me to see them in the lens of my camera.

Memories.

Expressions.

In my journey in life.

~ Chic Pencil

Few of my snaps from different places, faces, travels and art.

Exposure: 1/3200 sec. F/4.0. Focal 34 mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Jawohl! My cousin on his dunk moves. Gutersloh, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/25 sec. F/4.5. Focal 70 mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: ONE. My best buddy and his wife on their wedding ceremony. New Delhi, India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/80 sec. F/4.5. Focal 24mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Growl. He was playing with me during our road trip to Hamburg, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/3.0. Focal 19 mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: Mood! One of my bestfriends in life. In his dancing mood. New Delhi, India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/3.8. Focal 38 mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: Graceful. I called her my baby sis in India. She dances gracefully. New Delhi, India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/4.0. Focal 38 mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Dad & Son. Gutersloh, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/90 sec. F/4.5. Focal 70 mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Stunt! Taken at Movie Park, Bottrop Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/20 sec. F/4.0. Focal 45 mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: Nasi Goreng. Singapore, 2009.

Exposure: 1/45 sec. F/8.0. Focal 27.9 mm. ISO 400. Fujifilm FinePix S5500. Title: Two-gether. Taken at New Jersey, USA. 2005.

Exposure: 1/680 sec. F/5.6. Focal 5.7 mm. ISO 64. Fujifilm FinePix S5500. Title: Nation’s Pride, The Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, 2006.

Exposure: 1/800. F/4.5. Focal 34 mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Melanie. My baby sis in Germany. Taken at Cologne, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60. F/4.5. Focal 50 mm. ISO 640. Title: Innocent Grin. New Delhi, India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/4.5. Focal 17 mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: 1001 Meaning. New Delhi, India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/3.8. Focal 38 mm. ISO 400. Nikon D200. Title: Lovely smiles. Gutersloh, Germany. 2010.

F/3.2. Focal 4.9 mm. Nokia E71. Title: Comprende? Taken at Movie Park, Bottrop Germany. 2009.

X-res 72 dpi. Y-res 72 dpi. Rim Blackberry 9700. Title: Windy at Jebel Samhan. Salalah Oman. 2010.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/5.6. Focal 78 mm. ISO 400. Nikon D200. Title: Confidence. My eldest brother. Salalah Oman. 2010.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/4.5. Focal 40 mm. ISO 400. Nikon D200. Title: Mother & Son. Gutersloh, Germany. 2009.

 

Exposure: 1/20 sec. F/4.5. Focal 55mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Her Eyes. New Delhi India. 2009.

Exposure: 1/100sec. F/4.0. Focal 50mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: Simply happy. A wedding made in India. New Delhi. 2009.

Exposure: 1/4 sec. F/5.6. Focal 120mm. ISO 500. Nikon D200. Title: The Bride’s Makeup. Singapore. 2013.

Exposure: 1/45 sec. F/4.5. Focal 33mm. ISO 1600. Nikon D200. Title: The Bride’s Hair. Singapore. 2013.

Exposure: 1/13 sec. F/5.3. Focal 50mm. ISO 1600. Nikon D200. Title: Surprises. Singapore. 2013.

Exposure: 1/20 sec. F/3.2. Focal 4.9mm. ISO 800. Nikon Coolpix S3000. Title: Attention. Philippines. 2014.

Exposure: 1/8 sec. F/5.6. Focal 12mm. ISO 500. Nikon D200. Title: Gnex & Harini. Singapore. 2013.

Exposure: 1/8 sec. F/5.6. Focal 11mm. ISO 500. Nikon D200. Title: Dad in-law’s birthday gift. Dad in-law’s 65th. Singapore 2013.

Exposure: 1/60 sec. F/3.8. Focal 38mm. ISO 320. Nikon D200. Title: The Innocent Cry. Gutersloh, Germany. 2010.

Exposure: 1/125 sec. F/5.6. Focal 70mm. ISO 400. Nikon D200. Title: Me and the gracious ladies. Salalah, Oman. 2010.

Exposure: 1/8 sec. F/3.0. Focal 21mm. ISO 800. Nikon D200. Title: Sultan Al Qaboos Mosque. Salalah, Oman. 2010.

Exposure: 1/750sec. F/5.0. Focal 50mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: Here they come! A unique brewery! Hamburg, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/15 sec. F/4.5. Focal 17mm. ISO 640. Nikon D200. Title: The Cathedral. Cologne, Germany. 2009.

Exposure: 1/500 sec. F/11. Focal 62mm. ISO 400. Nikon D200. Title: Let’s finish the job. Workers at the ruins of Queen Sheba’s palace (Remember King Solomon in the Bible?). Salalah, Oman. 2010.

Exposure: 1/40 sec. F/3.3. Focal 26mm. ISO 1600. Nikon D200. Title: Family party @ Germany. 2010.

Til next time. Au revoir.

The Iconic Figure Of The Queen of Sheba

When King Solomon received the wisdom that God has bestowed upon him, he became famous and so does his kingdom. The thirst of wisdom led him to discoveries of variety of things including his desire for women. He was known to have marriages to different women of royal bloodlines from different kingdoms but not neglecting his leadership to his people.

Such popularity reached the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba who is in her own possesses such wit and intelligence as a ruler of her kingdom that is rich in gold, incense due to trades. Magnetized by King Solomon’s wisdom she and her servants went to King Solomon. She offered the king all the rich gifts in exchange of wisdom from the king.

However, human as they are, there were beliefs that it is very possible that the two had an affair. I guess having such intelligence and wit, a person can have such charisma and magnetism. There are still debates pertaining to the topic of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba of whether they had such an affair and whether it was the Queen of Sheba who is referred by Solomon in the book of Song of songs from the Old Testament.

However, the Queen of Sheba is already a ruler in her own right. The wisdom of King Solomon as a leader is an attraction for the queen. It is also possible that the King and the Queen were merely discussing affairs of their states. However, such intelligence and wit can be the basis of admiration and probably infatuation.

In the end the two leaders separated ways. For reality still is, they have different kingdoms that they have to rule and lead. Different lives they are bound to live. The Queen of Sheba together with her servants went back to her kingdom.

The Queen of Sheba has been very popular though very little is known about her. There are still debates of her origins and bloodlines. Her kingdom was believed to have been very strategic with respect to location. Though there are discussions of where her kingdom is, archeological findings of the Queen of Sheba’s palace were discovered in the Dhofar region of Oman. It is called Sumhuram.

Sumhuram was known as the greatest city of Southeast Arabia during 1000BC. The port was strategically built and its location paved the success of frankincense trade route from Arabia to Jerusalem to Alexandria and even to Rome. Having such powerful kingdom and the frankincense route, the kings and queens of Sheba protect and control their incense together with Yemen who controlled myrrh of Yemen. The frankincense routes were watered from places with zigzagging approach  across Arabia as implemented by the Queen of Sheba due to the advise of King Solomon. This is to protect the frankincense routes and trades. Powerful as these trades as the bags of frankincense can reach India and even China.

All such discoveries were uncovered by archeologists and the site was first excavated by Wendell Philipps, the American who first dig the site in Dhofar region.

Could it be that wisdom of King Solomon helped the Queen of Sheba protect her trades and kingdom?

As the helping of kingdoms and affairs of states, were the two leaders actually had such affection for each other?

Leaders as they are, they are still humans with feelings and emotions. They have kingdoms to rule, lives to live, culture and religion to follow. Such amount of responsibilities entails sacrifices and compromises.

I salute the Queen of Sheba as the ruler of her kingdom and the successful trades and frankincense routes. She’s a powerful figure yet remained unnoticed and hidden.

I was privileged to visit the place of Khor Rori, the archeological place which is known the be the palace of the Queen of Sheba. Together with my brother and his buddy, we drove towards the excavation site which is located between Wadi Attair and Wadi Dirbat during my Salalah visit last December 2010. The place is preserved and until today birds such as flamingos, herons and gulls can be seen.

The strategic port location of Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

Nikon D200. Exposure 1/640. F/13.0. Focal 17 mm. ISO 400.

 

 

Birds of Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

Nikon D200. Exposure 1/640. F/13.0. Focal 300 mm. ISO 400.

 

 

Birds of Sumhuram. Using telefoto lens. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

Nikon D200. 1/400. F/10.0. Focal 300 mm. ISO 400.

 


Overlooking the sea. The Port opening and location. Sumhuram Salalah Oman. December 2010.

Nikon D200. 1/640. F/13.0. Focal 17mm. ISO 400.

 

 

Khor Rori archeological site. Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

 

The storehouses and gate. Sumhuram. Salalh Oman. December 2010.

 

The storehouses and gate. Sumhuram. Salalh Oman. December 2010.

 

The ruins of monumental building. Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

 

The residential area of Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

 

My brother Pat and his buddy Kuya Bong at Khor Rori archeological site. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

 

Me with my brother at Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

 


Enjoying my archeological visit to Sumhuram. Salalah Oman. December 2010.

The story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba have always been famous and I have constantly listens to it even when I was still a child.

I wonder sometimes if the two leaders had an affection for each other, letting go must have caused some pains.

I guess saying goodbye to the person that you care about has always never been easy.

 

 

Til next time. Au revoir.

 

References:

– Bradt Travel Guides – Oman

– The Queen of Sheba by Michael Wood – BBC History UK

 

 

Realizing Prophet Job’s Lessons

The grave of Prophet Job is in the northwest part of Salalah Oman. It is in the peak of Jabal Atin and is reachable with a road trip taking Ayn Jarziz.

The typical road in Salalah Oman.

While my brother is busy driving, I was busy taking snaps from the road side view. On the way to Job’s tomb.

Another road side snap while the car is fast moving.

The herd of camels. They are often called the ‘Kings of the road’ as you will need to stop and slowly drive when you see them crossing or walking on the roads. Taken inside the car while I was watching them passing us.

Prior our journey to visit Prophet Job’s tomb, I was contemplating on how the grave and the place will look like and how will it impact my view on the side of faith.

Inside the area where Prophet Job is buried is this small mosque.

The entrance to the mosque.

A simple sign asking for a little respect wouldn’t hurt to follow.

After the mosque is where Prophet Job lies.

He manages the area and I was surprised that he joined us during the photo shoots.

Prophet Job is an iconic figure in the following religions:

  • in Islam he is known as Nabi Ayoub and is present in the Quran;
  • in Jewish faith he is known as Nabi Iyov and is present in Tanakh;
  • in Christian faith he is known as Prophet Job and is present in the Old Testament.

Prophet Job’s footprint preserved.

I was born and raised in a Catholic family. The religion I grew up with came from roots of Judaism. History will give us a long story telling of how the religion started and how it became known to those countries who were colonized by Western Europeans (Spain & Portugal). Thanks to Emperor Constantine. And of course, the scholars may still be in the battle of minds regarding the faith of Christianity.

So I’ve known Prophet Job since I was a kid as part of school curriculum – to study the religion.

If there’s one notion of the prophet’s popularity is when we asked the question ‘Why do we need to suffer? And why did God allow suffering?’

The story of Prophet Job is pretty much universal to the above mentioned religions. He is a righteous and powerful man (a sheikh) and is loyal follower of God and does not complain on God’s will. His loyalty at heart paved the way for Satan to ask permission from God to test his loyal heart. God allowed it and Job and his family were ripped of their wealth. Job didn’t complain. Satan again ask permission to test him. God allowed it as long as no life will be taken. Job suffered from leprous sores. From a respected man he became penniless and avoided by people due to his disease. As I recall his story it is this time when Job started to question back God on why He allowed such misfortunes.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

The tomb of Prophet Job.

All of us have suffered in our lives. We have undergone challenges and problems on those events we may have questioned the Big Guy up there why He allowed those things to happen. However, trials in life is what makes life worth living. The said trials is always the realization of ourselves, our capabilities and the acknowledgement of God.

Realizing Prophet Job’s lessons, I learned:

Suffering is a part of life and each suffering is bound to tell us of acknowledgments or lessons to ourselves and God’s presence.

God allows suffering to teach us of humility (learn to let go) and acknowledging Him. We sometimes believe that our current state is the result of our actions and behaviors. However, we should realized as well that we are spiritual in nature. We cannot explain why people come to our lives and events in our lives happen for specific reasons.

God as a loving father wouldn’t want people to hurt us. However, we have been given the gift of ‘Free Will‘ whereby people can choose freely what their heart desires. Sadly sometimes, people changes heart that doesn’t conform to our happiness.

Me with friends inside Prophet Job’s tomb.

I wish I know what was written in this board.

With my brother at Prophet Job’s tomb.

Surely the story of Prophet Job has its equivalent to my brethren in other religion.

Suffering is universal; however, we can always choose to follow God’s will and acknowledge Him.

The view outside the area of Prophet Job’s tomb.

The Salalah Oman travel blog still continues in the upcoming article…

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

– Oman Tourism website: http://www.omantourism.gov.om

Travel Destination: Salalah, Oman

Oman is a middle economy country in the Middle East region with a geography of approximately 309, 500 sq. km. In its north is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the northwest is Saudi Arabia and the southwest is Yemen.

The country is officially called Sultanate of Oman. And it is being headed by Sultan Qaboos. The country is heavily dependent on its export of oil.

Oman’s country GDP (purchasing power) is estimated to be USD 76.53 billion in 2010 with an estimated growth of 3.6% in 2010.

Oman’s tourism is currently on its turning point and generates increasing revenue.

Dhofar is the region that is in the southern part of Oman with its administrative capital is Salalah.

I had the privilege to travel to Salalah, Oman last December 2010 to visit my eldest brother. It was my first time to visit the middle east region. Initially I had the impression that I will need to wear the traditional Abaya, the dress that is being worn by the Muslim women in public. However, I learned that in Oman the foreign women does not require to wear Abaya.

My journey started via Emirates EK349 from Changi to Dubai then EK862 from Dubai to Muscat. Traveling alone can be challenging but few conversations with interesting people and catchup with my book readings eased up the boredom.

Gearing up for Oman. At Changi Airport for EK349. December 23, 2010.

Breakfast at Dubai International Airport. Tiramisu and Americano from Paul resto. December 24, 2010.

EK862 from Dubai to Muscat. December 24, 2010.

In Muscat airport there is a Premium Lounge available to everyone. If you are a holder of American Express and other known credit card issuers that came from the gulf region (GCC), you can use the lounge without a fee. Whilst for those that doesn’t hold credit card from the gulf can pay OMR 10.00 for 3 hours and OMR 15.00 for 5 hours stay. I stayed in the Premium lounge for 3 hours and I am amazed by their hospitality not to mention free wifi, food which changes every meal time, shower room, and nap rooms are available.

The Premium Lounge at Muscat Airport.

Muscat to Salalah is via OmanAir WY907. It was first time that I traveled with this carrier and I must say I am impressed with the flight.

Light meal with WY907. December 24, 2010.


Aerial view of Oman. On the way to Salalah. December 24, 2010.


I was impressed by Salalah’s safety to tourist. And the simplicity of life can be felt by tourist like myself.

By 5PM, the Omanis and Oman residents will start to have their evening coffee and chat with their friends.

The late afternoon and evening catchup are regardless of age.

The sea view of Salalah, Oman. Breath taking.

The sunset by the sea at Salalah, Oman.

Oman’s religion is majority Islam. As such, mosques can be seen everywhere in Salalah.

Sultan Qaboos Mosque is now completed. It is the grandest building in Salalah Oman.

The Omanis are very warm and friendly people. They accommodate foreigners and welcome them. Even the women are friendly. Together with my brother and friends, I was able to take a snap with Omani ladies.

Me with the fashionable Omani ladies. December 2010.

Arab men were also friendly. They’re warm with foreigners though we don’t know each other.

Arab guys who requested for a snap though we don’t know each other. Taken at Marriott Resort, December 2010.

The transportation in Oman is usually via private cars. The car models available in the car industry are always updated. For tourists, car rentals are very affordable and the models are updated. Even though we rented a car last December, 2010 but the car that was released to us was Nissan Tiida 2011 model. Impressive.

How about the car full tanked? Well, it was very surprising that the car full tanked in fuel only cost approximately SGD 12.00. Very amazed.

The rented car. Nissan Tiida 2011 with my brother inside.


The car rental business. The company who provided us with the updated car model.

During my Oman visit I enjoyed the middle eastern food. Shawarma from Dharbatt hotel (specialized in Turkish food) top notched combined with their Turkish coffee. Yummy.

And what could be best in Middle East but to taste the Kabab with its traditional salad, and Hummus, and the middle eastern bread. Couldn’t ask for more in dinner.

My brother and his buddy with our dinner – Kabab, salad, Hummus, and bread. Yum. yum. yum.

Shopping in Oman is cordial. Especially when you’re in search for gold jewelries. Though some would say gold in Oman is slightly higher in price in comparison to other gulf region, it is still lower in price when we’re comparing with outside of Middle East continent. Regardless of design, the amount is based on the gold weight.

My gold find and my remembrance. Three bangles and a set of earrings with necklace. Retail therapy completed.

Tourism in Salalah has improved and not surprisingly provides revenue for the state. If you’re into archeological sites, tombs of prophets, and frankincense, you will definitely enjoy Salalah.

For more information on Oman Tourism, you can visit http://www.omantourism.gov.om.

My travel went very well and I’m very thankful for my brother and the circle of friends who cordially went with us on our road trips and adventures.

Their smile and their faces. I owe them gratitude for my accommodation and stay at Salalah, Oman.

Me with my eldest brother in Prophet Job’s (Ayoub) Tomb. Taken December 25, 2010.


I had an unforgettable experience in Salalah, Oman. Needless to say, I had a sibling time with my brother whom due to age gap I wasn’t able to grew up with. Definitely a memorable experience. Surely I will visit again Salalah, Oman.

My travel was concluded with EK867 from Muscat to Dubai and EK348 from Dubai to Singapore.

Shukran Salalah Oman!

A continuation of this travel blog will be the upcoming article, Realizing Prophet Job’s Lesson.

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

  • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs June 2007, Background Note: Oman
  • Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook Publication, Middle East: Oman