MarkLisao.com - The Online Blog

"Actions speaks louders thans words". This is my everyday journey in Arabo Land - updated almost everyday 7 times a week. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Weather Fever

For two days I have this on-off fever during the afternoon and nighttime. I guess it's because of the changing weather. In the morning I'd bathe in chilling water but I already got used to it and also at night the temperature in Dubai Media City is damn cold coupled by gentle winds that carry along the cold chill. This is winter time in Dubai and I've already asked several people that this is just 'preliminary' temperature and it's nothing compared to the 'actual' chill in the middle of winter in January or February. I'm not really used to this temperature change since I came form a tropical country where the wheather revolves around summer and rain seasons. At night I'd open the terrace's sliding door so we can save on electricity that is without airconditioning. I thought I'll never get sick because I try to take care of my body all the time by eating right. So, I might as well bear with minor discomforts today and at least if I'm not feeling very well, my concentration is very good. I don't know the explanation for this but I've noticed that the progress of programming the backend Content Management System (CMS) of my blog is developed at a faster pace compared to the time I'm perfectly well. My advice for people who need to squeeze that extra juice from their brains and at the same time kick fever is to take 500mg of paracetamol to block the pain producing prostaglandin that irritates the sensitive nerve endings of our body which really has no proven explanation but for me it's one good placebo that motivates me.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Strolling bank street

Last night while going to Bur Juman I strolled around Bank Street. Bank street it was because Citibank, Dubai National Bank, Standard Chartered and the rest stood there. Walking around that area reminds me of the day when I first set foot in Dubai and it was quite a good experience because you can really feel that you are really abroad. When I felt hungry I bought some shawarma and ate alone at the bus stop. The place was quite not busy that night and I just watched passing cars while eating. It feels lonely when you were in my shoes and I just realized that I'd be in this situation just what I've thought before in the past. I've always imagined myself before that I'd be alone in a foreign land taking my lone adventure and feeling estranged thriving with other people whom I don't know. It is supposed to be that way because it has to be and it is what I've dreamed of before. That's why when I feel lonely I just immerse myself with the things that really makes other people home sick and it's quite an irony for me because I appreciate it since it only happens to me for quite a while in my life. I'm glad I've been given a chance to be on my own and experience total independence in a foreign land.

The night ended me going home and walking opposite Bank Street and I felt the place was already cold and the lights weren't that bright. The street hadn't much pedestrians on it and I walked the clear area alone. This is just one of the days when I feel isolated and it feels so badly good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Basta diver, sweet lover. God knows judas not pay. Barya lang po sa umaga.

My boss has asked me today to get a driver's license. I have no choice but to do it. Anyway, it's nice to have a car since it's a good chance for me to roam around UAE without getting on the damn bus which smell like ___. The problem is that if I have to take the car then I have to fetch and take my officemates home which is quite a hassle because some of us live on far areas then I have to drive much more longer then take the long traffic which is very annoying and not to mention Sharjah where cars ravel like snails. I guess it's my responsibility because I'm the only one in the office who has a working Visa and capable of driving. Well, as the saying goes: "Someone has to do it." Thank God I was expecting for Jeff, my friend officemate to have his Visa considered by the boss because I'm definitely and absolutely positive that he is aa thumbs up employee in the eyes of our boss and I owe him a lot of teaching me new things in web design and development. Sometimes things should work as "give and take" without knowing because it has to be. It has not to be that we owe anyone or vice versa but rather we should act in the virtue of giving. True giving is not necessarily for the sake of self gratitude but being selfless.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rainstorm Hailstorm

It rained hard tonight and I haven't noticed that it was already pouring not just water but small bits of ice. Although I haven't seen hail before I haven't noticed that it was already ice because I've closed the terrace's door and tried to sleep early. Betchy my little girl dudette friend and Emily her sistor told me beforehand that it is pouring ice outside and I really did'nt believe them and I bet my life ice would come to desert Dubai. It was only early in the morning when I talked about Jeff about the rainstorm and he mentioned that hail hit them. Bad for me because I really wanted to see ice come out from the sky, and I missed it and I have to wait again till next year until storm comes. It was cold in the morning and since then temperature has dropped here in Dubai because its already the start of the winter season. It's my first time to experience winter in another country and I've asked everybody how's the coming winter and I'm quite excited because I'll have to wear thick clothes just like on western countries. Since the start of December I've not turned on the airconditioner obviously because its cold and even the water I use to take a bath is cold but I start to get use to it because I take a bath whatever it takes and at all cost before going to office not unlike the others who smell worse than dogs. These people should be isolate so they wouldn't pollute the office and its their damn responsibility not to smell shit.


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Umm Al Quwain





Satwa, Dubai. After I woke up at around 9 in the morning and it's a holiday(Eid Al Fitr-the end of the Muslim Ramadan), uncle John called me up so we could go swimming at Dreamland resort going to Ras Al Kaimah. We will meet at tita's house in AL Baraha. As usual I took a car lift, my favorite mode of transportation when I'm in a hurry. So, together with my relatives here in Dubai, on we went to Dreamland. It was an hour trip and there you culd see the bare desert, passing through Sharjah, the industrial area and an emirate of Dubai, and also Ajman where my uncle John works. It's cool travelling with all the desertland around and if I had the chance to have a serious desert Safari in dune buggy i'd do so. As we travel around near Umm Al Quwain I've noticed that the desert was somewhat like compared to the one I've seen in the movies in a Las Vegas scenery and I've also seen an abandoned cargo plane hanging beside the road retiring from its fying glory. It's like Con Air! If I haven't decided to go with my titos and titas then I'd be sleeping the whole day then. I guess trying something out you perceive as tiring might pay off at the end.

At dreamland, we took all slides and the best one is the spiral slide where you descend in a half tube structure travelling at a fast speed. I never imagined myself daring to slide because back in the Philippines I never tried being a daredevil like riding the killer rides at Laguna's Enchanted Kingdom. If I took my girlfriend with me to dreamland then she'd probably play around the whole day and slide to death at the 9 storey high water lubricated butt friction slide fearlessly. That will be her happiest day in her life because she is like Indiana Jones when it comes to killer rides. On all the slides I've tried at the park that was the only slide I never dared to slide because I know the day after I'll surely regret doing something stupid and I wouldn't want to die in Dubai for the reasonof just falling off from a stupid water slide. That's why when someone invites me to Wild Wadi with 30% off I'd definitely weigh the consequences. I'm not so adventurous when it comes to killer rides but If you compete against me on eating chili you are not match for me.

At night around 6 p.m. we went to a desert marsh to hunt for crabs land still in Umm Al Quwain. It was an isolated area and the environment can be compared to the waters in the movie "Wild Things". It's cool because you can find marsh in the middle of the desert. For the first time in my life this is the day I have set foot on murky waters with green algae and mangroves around just like in the wild and the ecosystem was so wild that you can find species of crabs, squids and fishes on the shallow waters. Me and my uncles brought water resistant flashlights and spears and moved along the waters on which floating algae was around which made my itchy and the texture of the soil I'm stepping on was so slippery because of the algae and the worse thing is that it was very dark and the only light source were the moon and the stars and the flashlights. I could never imagine of all places in the UAE I was there hunting for crabs on harsh waters with my foot already bruised because I frequently slip on algae and step on the sharp rocks beneath. But being adventurous pays off. We caught a few crabs and I never worried about sea snakes and poisonous fishes and I consider this one of the best adventures I had. Until now my legs are itchy and I'm nursing this wonderful blister on my left foot. I really love going with my relatives because when I came here in UAE they taught me how to fish and now hunt crabs and I value a lot all our outings.

Photos this day are posted at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/marklph003/album?.dir=bd38
. I should have taken more photos if my camera was only water proof. Anyway, those are the only ones I've got.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Boom boom in the Arabo hole!

Last night we played counterstrike at Karama near Lamcy Center and too bad for me I wasn't in a good condition that night because of this terrible headache everytime my migraine strikes. It was a good fight 3 on 3 and my performance wasn't that acceptable compared to the previous fight we had 2 weeks ago which can be considered beginner's luck=). My companions were so equally good that each player had frags by almost the same amount. Though my frags were increasing but on the other hand, number of deaths still exceed my frags. A few practive might do me good and I'd probably excel in assault style of playing because I've noticed that my frags came from close quarter combats and I just got unlucky because all the others were damn good snipers themselves. Though counterstrike is old school, it's one good means to have commaraderie virtually but also as well in the real world. Fire in the Hole!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why the 3D didn't crack the shell

We had this unfinishd project with company dealing with Digital Satellite Receivers and it took us 2 nights of overtime to partially finish the job. Though the job is majorly handled by the 3D Animators they needed me and Jeff's help- the 2D Graphic Artists to do photo manipulation on some angles that will be covered on the advertisement. Due to the ineffective project handling our expense, I guess overshot since it's been more than 1 month of producing this advertisement and the client was so meticulous and arbitrary when it comes to judging the overall outcome of some scenes. They haven't realized that revising a scene takes mor than a hundred frames of rendering to be trashed out then it will be modelled, composited ten rendered again to get the desired scene. Rendering takes too much time and processing power that's why we bought 2 new machines on whom we assembled weeks ago to make things fast. I might suggest to our 3D Animator that he should know what really the clients wants and not insist on what he had in mind. Our Animator is skillfully good in the technical aspect of handling 3D Studio Max, Combustion and Adobe Premier. He was so good that he modelled in careful detail a satellite dish and a space satellite which looked similar to NASA's blueprints=) Yeah, literally it's true. The model was excellent, the lighting was good but the content didn't match what the client really wanted. So, the lesson for this ordeal is to give what the client wants and work practically by setting aside project contents that might be heavy ont he effort. Burning your back nor sleeping less than an hour to finish a project isn't worth it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Web Scripts Ahoy!

I'm programming the content management of my new blog site in ASP. It's such a good thing to study a few code snippets from the net because it's my only means of review thought I've made CMS in the past and a few handy small web-based applications, it's worth giving a try to refer to some what good programmer's have done lately in ASP scripting. I might as well try programmng in VB too because there's adequate spare time to lose. I'm glad my enthusiasm on programming is back after struggling with learning to design effectively and it's like a 'skill overhaul' I had but it's good because you improve yourself on the process and hone some old skills you have. My goal is to do a web application dealing with the following : A complete blogging Contentent Management System, A picture Gallery, Web-based File Explorer System, and a Forum. It will be complete in at least 2 months and I hope my time at night wouldn't be consumed by watching TV because I have to work these things out to add up to my portfolio.




Sunday, November 07, 2004

My Sixth Month

Today is my sixth month here in the UAE. I remembered the night when I left Davao I couldn't sleep and last night I didn't sleep too because I watched too much dvd movies. Now I realize that some things happen too fast that I might not have noticed. From a life I've grown up back home to my new life up here in Dubai, I succesfully made a glorious transition which I consider an achievement. It's fulfilling to live a life now that it has a new direction since I worked very hard to adjust, be strong and most of all be conditional to God. I've heard numerous people quit and go back home and I fully understand their condition most especially when they have a wife and children and even single people too. But now I still don't understand why my attitude of working abroad and living on your own is entirely opposite to what I had a few years back because I thought then that I wouldn't survive on a foreign land and I'll get homesick and degrade. I guess some things aren't what they are, not until you are into it then you can conclude. I don't even worry that I'll be back home a year from now. My roommate says that it's quite long because lucky him, he'll be having his 1 month vacation this december and he had already bought boxes of 'pasalubong' for his folks. I think I have been very busy working and concentrating on learning new programming languages and web design methods that's why I have this good diversion and also, arguing with stupid people back in the office which is a good exercise for me to be a fluent English speaker and writing 'cool' things about them that improves more my English grammar.

On the other hand, when if I had the chance to be a leader of a nation, definitely I'd like to be Shaik Zayed. I've read more about him today on the Internet and I give him more than 5 Stars! Try this link to know more about him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheik_Zayed. I hope people may understand his importance not only in building the UAE but also as well as an exemplary leader.

Last night I stay awoke until morning and I just sat by our terrace and watched the sky. This is what I do every night when I have nothing to do nor if I don't fall asleep early. The outside is a nice place at night, so solemn and cold. But what I'm really after is that I don't think of anything during this time. Seeing the the vast emptiness of the open frees up my mind. When I'm already awake, I may be bothered of some things difficult that I anticipate but I just leave them fate and I guess we'll see what happens when we get there.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Newfound Blessings

I went to church early this morning by 9:00. This time I took a 'carlift' and I had this Pakistani driver whom I dealt with 10 Dirhams from home to church. As we got near St. Mary's Church he asked me that he might have a problem with the police or something to do with parking and I really don't understand what he meant but I'm sure our conversation would end up me-paying more than our arranged fee. He thought that I was a gullible newbie in Dubai that's why he managed to take advantage by asking more. As usual my fool-proof instinct made me decide tha I get off the car and pay his stupid money. I got off in the middle of the street and good thing it was traffic that's why I can jump off without the car moving because I dont want to argue with some useless scum bag because of his dumbwitted talent of asking money from people with an unjustified condition.

I got to church and it was full. This time I prayed that God will facilitate and organize everything and me doing my part because I'm asking Him of something and I wanted to follow up if were still cool. Being conditional as others may perceive is not good. But when I make a deal with God 100% conditional. I always do my part when I ask something because it has to be. I've noticed that everything I have here in Dubai is more than I expected.

First, I became more independent than a stray cat and I rarely miss home and my loved ones back in the Philippines and I don't know why. I guess God wanted me to focus on more important and critical things that I should give attention. I just feel secure that my loved ones are in good condition and they are all happy but If any problem back home will arise I will surely be bothered.

Second, my sleep has improved. I'm not sure what made me better but I guess it's the less stress I experience. Stress is majorly mental-less mental stress, the more improved physical condition you have. Third, I have a god Job and a kind Boss. I really got want I what I always wanted to do and most of all I have good Filipino friends back in the office. Since in the past I wanted to design and code for the web but I'm ever willing to give up my interest because my real passion in line with practicality in order to attain long term financial security is to have a business of my own. I always take it seriously when I am given a big responsibility and I sacrifice a lot to preserve people's trust and when failure is about to be at hand I always plan for a good fallback even though I cant imagine myself going through it because proving myself is all I care and also as well for the benefit of the future.

Third, one good proof God is watching me on ccd surveillance camera is that He did'nt allow me to cook, wash and iron my clothes because He knew that I do badly on that but I'm doing my part to learn. God is really good and he sees even these small things that people may perceive as insignificant but actually it's really a big deal for me. For example, if I cook too badly I'll be feeding on Shawarma on my entire stay here in UAE because it's the only food I appreciate besides it has vegetable and meat and it's cheap. But isn't that depressing? And if I wash and iron my clothes too badly I'd dress crumpled paper going to work. But it's ok with because some people back in Media City dress even more badly and some of them look like walking curtains and it's really true.

Fourth, I'm blessed with a new home. In here I have good accomodation and the people here treat me like a part of their family. I don't cook, wash nor iron my clothes and best of all the food is absolutely great.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Holiday Bore

This is the second day I haven't got work since UAE declared a national holiday for the death of Shaik Zayed for 3 days. The succeding days will be my day off so I have 4 days of continuous holiday this week. I guess the following week will be the end of Ramadan and its three days of no work again. The UAE is very strict on all companies and institutions with regards to the compliance of ceasing their activities when important events occur. As expected, the whole lazy day was spent sleeping and watching pirated dvd movies. I don't understand why I get hungry for short hourly interval when I am not doing anything. Being idle makes me lazy and it's hard to get a good jumpstart to resume normal activities when you have long weekends like today. I still havent started coding my new blogger software on which I am to install on a paid server I've got since April.

I was thinking lately if I could teach web graphics on Filipino Computer Club. Their founder asked me to participate and be part of them and I definitely accept her favor because I'd like to do something of benefit to my kababayan who are willing to learn specific topics in Information Technlogy. I went to the Philippine embassy where FCC (Filipino Computer Club) is housed and it's like more than 200 people back there in one day sitting and listening to lectures of teacher-volunteers. I was suprised by their number and if they get me to teach in front I'd probably die instantly in shame. It's like old and experienced people will be my critics but I'm ready to answer any question in my defense. Maybe next year I'd be starting to teach if there will be a slot available.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Tribute to Shaik Zayed





Today U.A.E mourns for the demise of one of its greatest leader - Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Shaikh Zayed is a great nation-builder, and the 'unifier' of Arab nations which perhaps the status of this great country wouldn't be possible because of his exemplified leadership. I may not know this great man very well but it is his leadership that I am so amazed since in a short period of time, the federation he has moulded has become to be one of the most progressive nation amidst many barriers and he is a good example in such a way that he advocated his life on the principles on whe he believed and defended throughout his life. I've read about him today and the best traits I've found out about him is his commaraderie among other Arab Nations and his openness to change and development brought by the outside world. My admiration rests on these two values since they are great factors among progressive nations which are the following: the ability to strenghten its ties among its people which is a prerequisite to national unity and the other is the ability to adapt to change brought about by the outside world. 'The only constant thing in this world is change'and I absolutely agree that the UAE has done a good job on that through Shaikh Zayed. The 'openness' of this great country to the world is manifested through its flourishing economy since multinational investors and the influx of high value investments brought the UAE more than to it's potential. In behalf of my fellow expatriates, I attribute our prosperity and almost everything we cherish in the UAE to this great leader, and also our chance to work in this nation.

It's pretty hard to imagine building a nation with only a few resources originating from an underdeveloped desert land to a flourishing greenery with its pasture in the form of rapid economic development and a well conserved environment. The status of this country's environment is such an irony to the fact that this desert nation has managed to populate its dry, rugged terrain with lush green vegetation and while on the other hand, countries blessed with natural greenery and abundant rain forests havent't managed to take good care of their rich asset and besides this, they exploit their main asset. The other issue is the fact that a modern country possessing one of the best infrastructures and investments can be be raised up from sand while others still havent manifested improvement in their pace of development despite of its rich natural resources. UAE's considered main asset is its oil but for me its the people. In my opinion, it's through manpower and effective leadership that moves this country'economy since eventhough with resources may be at hand but the lack of the ability to mould these resources into new infrastructures that facilitate growth and increased potential for future development, everything can be wasted and all things rest on the hand of its leader but it's always the people that shape up their future.

I hope this would be a moving example to my home country. I believe that my country is blessed with all the necessary resources for sustaining itself and its people. But because of these unjust structures in the society, we are left plagued with poverty, corruption and underdevelopment. Solving these problems is such a long discusssion and are probably rooted out in the past. But it's always not too late to start again. I don't mean to be too idealistic but this is the idea what every Filipino citizen might agree. They say that change is constant in this world. So why don't our government wake up and change for the better. I wouldn't rest my future's fate in the UAE if I haven't believed that this nation has in store for an expatriate like me but now i've realized that I firmly believe in the capability of this country's government and it really makes a huge mark in its difference compared to my home country's administration.

People have messaged me during the last few days how it is to live 'up here' in the UAE. I tell you it's a struggle at first because it is natural to adjust in a new country. But I tell you everyday life here is going for the better because of the fact that you learn to realize some differences between the things that you've grown up to believe and the things accustomed in here. The trick is to focus more on personal skills and acquire them by all means not for your own benefit but using it as a weapon act something good against the the weakness of others for their own benefit. Being 'self-wealthy' in terms of experience and interpersonanal, academic or technical skills is both an asset and a responsibility. I hope we all can be selfless when we return to our home country and share the blessing we have.

It is good to reflect that a leader through the cooperation of his people can build a powerful nation out of sand and it is their principles that brings them up. And what makes them hold on? - their ambition.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

217.164.72.115





I'm wondering today who you are. A swift email for me might do you good.