Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Spring Festival

The winter is not yet over but the summer is nearly approaching here in Qatar. And while the weather is still good and people can still enjoy to stay outside, Spring Festival was given way.
Its my second time to witness the Spring Festival. Last  year I visited SF also but evening with friends, actually we didn't know that Souq Waqif is holding SF that time. And since I was informed this year, I asked my cousins to spent our weekend pasyal in witnessing the 2015 Spring Festival.
SF starts at 3:30 p.m. so if you want to witness the parade I suggest to you to go early. Though they have several sets of parade in the evening, it would be better especially for kids to see them in light. 
They painted the Waqif in different colors! Colors really boosts happiness kahit nga nanonood lang ako yung feeling na natutuwa ka and you even want to follow them for no reason or just to have a picture with them.


Everyone are enjoying the colorful costumes and the joyful faces of the performer kaya naman bata man o matanda sinusundan sila.
They are also giving away freebies like kite. You can just go to the information center and ask for it. Unfortunately, we're not able to get but according to the staff everyday they are giving 100 pieces. 
Since SF inside Souq Waqif, hindi kayo maiinip. They have several coffee shops and restaurants kung nagugutom, pwedeng pwede ang food trip, I suggest try their "isaw". If you have budget, Souq Waqif is the best place to shop for souvenir items from key chains to ref magnets, accessories and shawls, house decors and more.And since its festival, you can see also food carts around and some vendors of balloons and other stuffs for kids.
The parade continues in the evening until 10:00 pm if I'm not mistaken.

They have also some rides that will test your heights power, wala akong lakas ng loob subukan kaya we just remained in the ground and enjoy what they have.
So if you don't have any plan yet this weekend, visit Souq Waqif and enjoy the Spring Festival. Spring Festival will be until February 6, 2015.

The "isaw" like Food Trip

If there's one kind of food I miss being away from home, that is "isaw" and other street foods.

Isaw is a street food from the Philippines, made from barbecued pig or chicken intestines. The intestines are cleaned, turned inside out, and cleaned again, repeating the process several times. They are then either boiled, then grilled, or immediately grilled on sticks. They are usually dipped in suka/sukang pinakurat (Filipino term for vinegar with onions, peppers, and other spices) then eaten. They are usually sold by vendors on the street corners in afternoons. (from Wikipedia)

Every time I will be coming home in Philippines nakaplano na ang "saw" food trip ko with friends, isama mo pa ang ibang street foods like "balut" "addidas" or chicken feet and "helmet" or chicken head, fish balls, kwek-kwek, etc. Though hindi na lang sila sa kalye makikita ngayon, there are several restaurants na rin that's offering isaw and other street foods on their place kaya kung even ang mga maseselang na tao na ayaw kumain sa tabi ng kalsada they can still enjoy it.
Here in Doha they have different version of isaw, e sympre walang isaw dito kasi wala namang pork dito or kung meron man frozen talaga and you need license pa to avail it and additional factor lahat ng mga food vendor dito need ng health license as a proof na nakapasa yung store/ restaurant or yung food brand mo sa health ministry, pero meron pa rin namang nakakalusot kaya lang illegal yon and definitely hindi pwede itinda publicly.
I heard it several times from my cousins that I should try the "isaw" version in one place in Souq Waqif, and since I'm with them last weekend, we did.
We don't know what exactly the place open so after we roamed around Waqif, we go directly to the place bu its still close. But good thing tables and chairs are not fully occupied yet, we had a chance to take some rest after walking around.

We are informed by the staff that they will open at 4:00 p.m.; we are an hour early so after some rest we walk around again and return after.
Though more seats are occupied on the second time we get back, its good thing we still get a good seat. Near the place were we eat is a bakery. They are selling "pita" bread or what they called here "kobus"; it is a soft, slightly leavened flat bread baked from wheat flour.
 One order consists of 5 pieces big round pita bread which only costs QR1.00. Most of the pita bread now are baked in some automatic machines but in Waqif they are still using the traditional method, if you watched some movies na may mga old Arab settings na isinusuot ang mixture sa isang made of stone na pugon then that's it.
They also have with filling too, usually its filled with greek yogurt or cheese. It only costs QR2.00 per 6 slices.
These breads are good to eat while they are hot, you can feel the difference in taste talaga if it baked in "pugon" or if its done thru modern oven. Kaya kahit di pa namin turn na magorder at least di kami nainip masyado at may pampawi gutom na rin.
And here we are, its our turn to order! Check their menu prices, isn't it so so so affordable?
While we are waiting I noticed na padami ng padami ang tao sa sidewalk yun pala they are all waiting for vacant seats, buti na lang talaga maaga kami. I didn't expect na ganon kadami ang kumakain sa restaurant na yon kasi maliit lang sya then sa mejo tagong place sya ng Waqif  - Europeans, Arabs and of course Asians.
So after few minutes of waiting our first set of order is here!
We ordered plate of kebab meat and chicken and plate of kufta. Kebab is skewed in metal kaya reminders kahit anong gutom nyo wag basta basta hawakan ang skewer kasi mainit, pwede nyong gamitin ang kobus or the pita bread na kasama ring iseserve along with your order, may kasama din itong fresh green leaves with lemon, I forgot the name of the leaves pero usually natitikman ko yon sa mga salads, mejo mapait pero masarap. And since we know na baka abitin kami, we order another set. 
For the two sets of kebab and kufta, drinks, humus (made of garbanzos and looks like yogurt that serve as a dip) we only paid QR 112.00.  Busog- lusog na naman kami in very affordable price pa. Imagine each of us paid only QR 14.00.
Until we left Souq Waqif super busog pa rin.
I suggest to you na itry nyo rin, isama ang family or friends and enjoy the taste of Arab authentic food in affordable price.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Traditions + Arts + Crafts = Souq Waqif

I love arts and crafts, though I don't have any formal lessons on arts and crafting I really appreciates them much. For me arts and crafts doesn't only requires that you have a good hand or imagination, its more on heart that working toward a masterpiece. Arts and crafts require time and passion, I always wanted to do arts and crafting and to learn how to be good at it, but for now I need to start step by step. I'm really passionately in love in colors, designs, textures, etc. One of my goal this year is to at least learn and try how to paint and DIY crafts.
I spent my weekend with my cousins invading the Spring Festival at Souq Waqif. I love to be in Waqif, feeling ko nasa ibang era ako, you know how much I like vintage stuffs and classic interiors. Likewise, you can see how the locals love and proud about their culture and traditions despite of the modern age and technology. 
Qatar is not only rich in oil and good income its also rich in arts, crafts and culture. Let me share with you some of the things that really captured my eyes and interests.

Henna is a temporary tattoo that dyes the skin for several weeks. Henna is made of dried plants and made into paste adding essential oil. It is applied using cone plastic bottle, toothpicks or sometimes spatula.
Permanent tattoos in the Muslim world are greatly frowned upon, by having henna tattoos they are not violating Muslim traditions.
Henna tattoo is commonly seen to young girls to add some glamor and to adult women during and after their wedding ceremony. Men do not consider having henna tattoo as it is something feminine and something sensual.
I tried henna tattoo before and I am willing to try it again than having a permanent inked that is painful, costly and lifetime.
Like any other Arab countries, Qatar has so many delicacies though I'm not sure if its only the same of others. I've been to Dubai before in one of their heritage place also and tasted some of their native sweets. I just tasted that they love sugar more than we do in our country.
I don't know how they call it (in the picture) but its like a pan cake - there is a mixture of flour and they will just put it on a hot pan and after a minute or two, you have it. And its tasted good, not that sweet compare to other of its kind. You better try their sweets, its authentic that only Arab countries have!
As you walk at the Souq Waqif you will passing by a lot of these chairs. I guess its an Arab mark also, before I only seen them in movies and some trade fair. Though most of the restaurants here in Doha adapted already some modern interiors, you can still find some that really preserves using Arabic designs fabric and some of them are weave using hands and not looming machines.
I took several look and even got myself closer to it, wood + metals = perfect combination talaga. See kung gaano pinagbuhusan ng oras at pagod just to create a door. Hmmm kung bibilhin mo siguro ito mahal talaga.
Come to think of it, incorporating these old or antique into your modern house, ganda siguro pero for sure interior pa lang or architectural mahal na.
Remember this guys usually sa mga books na lang natin ito makikita or even nga sa mga constructions sa Pilipinas we seldom use this kind but here in Souq Waqif you can see a lot of vendor using it. They use it in transportaing their goods from one store to another sympre sa loob lang ng Souq Waqif lang naman.
I'm happy seeing a handicraft center here and talagang babalikan ko sya. I love crafting and DIY-ing, super nakakrelax. According to one psychologist that I know, one must engage into a hobby like crafting kasi nga yun ang outlet mo to release stress, hindi naman ako sporty kaya buti na lang binigay ni Lord na maging interest ko ang art (arte-artehan..hehehe) and crafting...gusto ko yung mga nagkuku-kutkot at naggugu-gupit ako.
Ceramic painted and according to my cousin, its lamp daw..o di ba nice kapag ikaw ang nagpaint or nagdesign ng sarili mong lamp.

Super naexcite talaga ako nung makita ko itong mga hand weaved carpet na ito. I've been looking for sometimes nang ganito pero bihira mo na syang makikita sa mga mall.
See how they incorporated colors on each piece...hays gusto ko lahat ng designs talaga
I asked this pink carpet, though I already expected na mahal sya pero mas mahal sya sa iniisip ko. According kay ate na Pilipina pala ^__^ usually ang pinakamura nila is 1,000+QR and take note depende pa yun sa size ha...pero sa mga collectors for sure they will really invest on it.

Even here in Qatar they also have native products, I don't know nga lang from what materials they are made of pero ang gaganda rin ng design nila di ba.

This set will be good at your wooden table in your patio or garden or if you have a "kubo" in your house or if the interior of your house is summery.

I had a good time being in Souq Waqif again, at least this time nakita ko ng mabuti itong mga items na ito. I mean kasi nga dati kapag nagpupunta ako madilim na though may ilaw naman hindi ko sya ganoon maappreciate but last Friday wala man akong nabili sulit ang mga mata ko and I really do enjoyed!
So guys if you're planning to take vacation here in Qatar don't miss to put Souq Waqif in your itinerary .

Monday, January 19, 2015

Buttered Veggies

I usually fail in cooking veggies especially if there a lot of kinds on it. The fear inside of me na baka hilaw pa cos to ended overcooked.
Yesterday, I was in cue in our office pantry to use the microwave. I saw the packed lunch of my colleague parang ang sarap sarap ng buttered veggies. It looks pleasing talaga as in yung hindi talaga overcooked kainin parang tama lang yung pagkaluto and maintained pa rin yung crunchiness ng veggies.
Kaya naman when we take our snack break, I ended up bringing veggies from the store - cauliflower, carrots, ampalaya, tomatoes, onion spring, etc. I have few recipes on my mind pero mas malakas talaga ang craving ko kay buttered vegies kaya naman....

Usually hindi ko tinitikman ang niluluto ko or kung tikman ko man basta may lasa ok na for me. But this one to my surprise yehey at last hindi sya overcooked, tama lang yung lasa hindi maalat, hindi matabang and lasang-lasa mo pa rin yung natural taste ng mga veggies!This is my first try of buttered veggies and dahil ok sya for sure na may next time pa.

Chicken breast

1. Wash all the vegetables and cut it
2. Cut the chicken breast into cubes
3. Put butter in pan and heat in low fire
4. Wait for butter to melt, then put garlic and chicken breast cubes. 
5. If the chicken turned brown, add potato and carrots then add water (small glass)
6. Add salt and pepper, wait until simmer
7. Add cauliflower, wait for 5 minutes then add broccoli
8. Let it on fire for another 8 minutes.
9. Serve it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Orange Chicken ni Jen

Since the time I was back from my vacation last week of October I decided to take a healthy living as much as I can and it includes being picky on what I will put on my plate. I tried and continue not to take red meat though last holidays temptation haunted me. Whenever I buy food boneless chicken breast is always present on the cart. As research proved chicken breast is the healthiest part of the chicken kasi nga walang masyadong fat and skin. 
Every night is a challenge for me to prepare new dish using chicken breast minsan paulit-ulit na lang or minsan I do "pacham" which means "pachamba", creating my own dish and using whatever available ingredients we have in the kitchen.
Yesterday I browsed on the net what dish can I try and found the Orange Chicken recipe. I'm familiar to the taste of it since its available in some food chains and restaurants here.

"Orange Chicken ni Jen"

Chicken breast
Cooking Oil
Pepper and Salt
Orange Juice
Brown Sugar

1. Cut the chicken into cubes
2. Beat the egg, add pepper and salt
3. Marinate the chicken for 5-10 minutes
4. Roll the chicken into flour until its fully coated
5. Fry it deeply into hot pan with oil
6. Set aside after cooking

1. Put 1 cup of orange juice (amount depends on the amount of your chicken), let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
2. Put one table spoon of brown sugar (depends on how sweet you want)
3. Add 1 table spoon of honey.
4. Continue to mix until boiling
5. Add grated ginger and garlic
6. Add a pinch of pepper and salt.
7. Combine a little cornstarch solution. Pour into the sauce.
8. Whisk it until combine and thicken.
9. Toss the chicken into the sauce and make sure that it all coated of sauce.

Hope they will like it and sana next time I can improve its taste more, so it will be pleasing to everyone's taste bud and not only to mine ..hahaha

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Thank You 2014, Hello 2015

At last after almost 9 years working in the Middle East in one company, we were granted a holiday starting December 31, usually the office is only closed on January 1. This year since January 2 is Friday (weekend in the Middle East), I took 3 days off from work. And since I'm the only one who don't have work on December 31 I need to be in charged in cleaning our house and doing some household chores. Thanks to Trish, my cousin's cousin who spent her New Year with us and helped me in preparing some dishes for our New Year's Eve.
To feel that it only few hours and we will bid good bye to 2014, we decided to put this banner morning pa lang of December 31. It's just a DIY, cut and stapled it to ribbon and voila! 
When 6:00 p.m. stepped up, everyone of us became busy. Cooking and preparing for each others' menu. Its been a tradition to our family even way back home in the Philippines to have plenty of food in our table during New Year's Eve not because of any superstitious beliefs but its one way of declaring the goodness of the Lord for the whole year, how He bless us bountifully and how He can bless us more for the New Year.
 Just waiting 12:00 a.m.
Its been my personal devotion before welcoming the new year to have a quiet time with the Lord as He gives me provisions through His word.
And He gave me these verses.
After my quiet time, I headed to the living room where my cousins and a family of my friend which is also my siblings in Christ is waiting.

New Year's Eve
At exactly 12:00 midnight, we had our family prayer. We thanked God for all that He done for us. 2014 has been a very great and blessed years for us though we had tough times as well still He never leave us. The Lord continue to embrace us and assure us that all will be fine.
Far apart from the celebration in the Philippines, welcoming New Year here in Doha is very silent - no "torotot" or fire crackers so just to feel have a "lusis-like" we lighted the fountain candle that we bought for our cake. 
Welcome 2015!
Happy New Year! - from B2F12
Though we are all away from our immediate families, we are blessed to have each other. I'm blessed though I don't have my parents here and my sister in law and nephews, I have my brother with me and my cousins.
New Year selfie with my brother, and another one...
Though most of us are living in one flat, the B2F12 hindi pa rin matapostapos ang kwentuhan, kantahan and kodakan.
The last part of our New Year's Eve party is giving gifts.
Usually I opened all the gifts I received on New Year's Eve but due to excitement I opened one of the gift on Christmas Eve, though it was not posted in any of my social media accounts it really means a lot for me not only the gift itself and even the effort of wrapping but the friendship and love from the person who gave it. Like these gifts from the people who are really close to my heart.

 Hello 2015
And since all of them in the house has work on the first day of the year, only me and Trish were left at home and of course it includes cleaning again all the things we used for the NYE.

I want to start my year right and I started on a date with my Maker.
I attended church service. Its my first time at Anglican Church complex - we have two church services in a week, Thursday night (English service) at Anglican Church complex and every Friday morning (Tagalog service) at our church villa. I regularly attends in Tagalog service but since there will no service on January 2 I really tried my best though I have colds, cough and flu to attend on Anglican.
 I was happy to be seated with my BS Mansoura family (my previous small group) and with my siblings from SG Bin Mahmoud (my present small group). I never expected that I will see them together in church as well.
I am so happy and blessed to end and start the year in God's presence.
As we welcome 2015, we set new goals and plans on how we will spend our 365 days but before anything else  have we ever lift those goals and plans to our Maker?  Proverbs 19:21
Let the Lord lead us in every plans and in every goals that we're going to fulfill this 2015. May the Lord continue to bless us abundantly and may our heart's desire to be a channel of blessing as well to others.