Win Free Plane Tickets! Dubai-Manila-Dubai

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Being overseas, I always look forward to holidays back home. Knowing that I’ll be seeing my family and friends and going to places in my past always excites me! And how much more exciting could it be if you could go home for FREE!!

Yup, you read that right. For my dear UAE kababayans, I bring you the chance to get roundtrip plane tickets.. on the house! ☺

Proudly the only Philippine carrier to fly direct to Dubai, Cebu Pacific Air joins with GMA Pinoy TV to bring 100 lucky Filipinos to Manila..at no cost!

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Who Can Join:

All Filipino citizens who comply with the following:

– Ages 25 to 65 years old

– Subscribers of GMA International Channels – MENA airing

– Legally residing in UAE – Allowed by employer to have a Leave of Absence on October 7 onwards (depending on return date)

What To Do:

• Simply like Cebu Pacific’s page here, look for the 100 Lucky Juans app and enter to join.

• Once you are there, get creative! You’ll be asked to answer the question “How will I make my homecoming in the Philippines fun?” And you can do this by via a 2-minute Video, a 1 Photo Collage, or a 200-word (maximum) Text/Story Format.

How fun is that?

Contestants will be judged according to creativity, adherence to theme and number of “likes” you will get on facebook. Contest runs until August 18. Travel period is from October 8-November 30, 2013. I’ll be posting winners and updates on this contest on this blog so dont forget to come back or subscribe to receive emails from me. Don’t forget to like my facebook page as well here.

Good luck!!

Fun travels,

Cristina

Madinat Jumeirah

If you told me you had 24 hours in Dubai, aside from showing you the world’s tallest building, the largest indoor aquarium, and the most majestic of dancing fountains, I would bring you to our family’s favorite resort—Madinat Jumeirah.  It is only 15 minutes away from those tourist attractions and with the Burj Al Arab seen from there, we’ll be hitting 2 birds with one stone.

Madinat Jumeirah is particularly special to us as we celebrated last year’s (and my hubby’s first) Father’s day on these shores. My dear sister also took me here five years ago.

This place is an exotic private Arabian beach resort balancing high drama of Middle Eastern opulence with a comfy, laid back, sand-in-your-toes feel.  It is designed resemble an Arabian citadel.  “Madinat Jumeirah” actually translates to “city of Jumeirah”.

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The  beach offers a spectacular view of the Burj Al Arab.  Cabanas and huts for your ample privacy, beach toys for your kids, and large beach towels are also available.

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The resort also offers a great swim with its massive pool.   Plus the lifeguards (there’s one every few feet away) offer a sense of security.  When you get hungry, world-class restaurants are aplenty. And if you need some retail therapy, find your way to Souk Madinat for some delightful local items.

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The place is really worth a visit, whether you have a few hours or a couple of days. The beach and other facilities, however, are exclusive.  But if you just want to satisfy your curiosity, you need not check-in, just stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere 🙂

Other nearby beaches have visited:

Public Beaches:

Kite Beach

4×4 Beach

Sunset Beach 

Private Beach Resorts:

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa

Six Senses Zighy Bay

Beach Getaway: Kite Beach

This beautiful shoreline formerly known as Wollongong Beach has generated appeal with the active set, especially kite surfers, thus the name.

Last Saturday, even if it was a weekend, the the crowd was small, which for me is a good thing.  Due to light wind, we didn’t find many kites either, but it fun to watch the few of them try to maneuver and control a large kite.

My dad wanted to give it a try but it was almost 5pm and we were told we needed at least 6 hours of lessons first, at 250 dirhams/hour.  A bit pricey for “trial”, if you ask me.

We flexed our muscles building sandcastles instead lol.  Lil T enjoyed frolicking on the beach but I had to move him twice away from a particular kitesurfer who was practicing on sand.

In my opinion, this beach is not particularly safe for toddlers or kids in general.  I can just imagine the hazards kiteboarding can pose to beachgoers, bystanders and even other kiteboarders.  The sand was a bit rocky too with shells and other loose particles close to the water. As much as he wanted to run to the water, we carried Lil T to in instead.

At least his sandcastle has plenty décor with all the rocks and shells that we easily found around us.

 

Location: Umm Suqeim 1 about 3km north of the Burj al-Arab, past Umm Suqeim Hospital.  The beach is located at the corner of 39a and 2nd Streets.

Other Public Beaches:

4×4 Beach

Sunset Beach 

Private Beach Resorts we’ve visited:

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa

Six Senses Zighy Bay

Beach Getaway: 4×4 Beach

Temperatures are higher, days feel longer, climate is getting hotter…you know summer is just around the corner.

This warm season is never complete without white sands and cool blue waters.  So bring out your bikinis, put on sunscreen and get yourself to the b-e-a-c-h.

Last Friday, popular Jumeirah Beach Park was so full cars waiting for parking were overflowing to the road.

The good thing about holiday heaven Dubai is that when it comes to public beaches, you always have an alternative.  Plan B was this beach right next to it. A long stretch of sand greets you from the road all the way to the shore.  It didn’t have either shady trees nor toilets but at least it had room for us.

Parking was a breeze as you could drive your “4×4” right up to the beach.

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Location: Al Athar Road and Beach Road, next to Jumeirah Beach Park

Other Public Beaches:

Kite Beach

Sunset Beach 

Private Beach Resorts we’ve visited:

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa

Six Senses Zighy Bay

360 Club, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

A perennial favorite of tourists and expats alike,  this odd-looking club is hardly noticeable from the rest of the hotel.  It is positioned so far out, sitting in the middle of the sea.

Walking toward 360 takes a bit of an effort. Somewhere back in Florence, I was relishing skipping on cobblestones but right here in the middle of a windy Dubai night, for someone wearing high heels, it was anything but pleasant.   Buggies are available but Jumeirah Beach Hotel is busy, even on weeknights.

Once you finally get there, you’ll see that the place wows! Classy interiors don’t fail to impress.  Plus one hundred meters into the sea promises a spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf and the Burj Al Arab.  And it doesn’t hurt that this club offers unparalleled views of sunset.

What surprised me is that it’s actually comfy with a chill kind of vibe.  Not the type of club where people stare each other down.   Crowd at that time (Tues night) was a mix of office people, boy band types, couples dating, and a few single ladies.

We ordered some cocktails, took some photos (with my itouch, pardon me, it’s blurry) , then left for dinner at Latitude Restaurant.

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The Desert Lifestyle Experience

Hello my lovelies!

How is everyone doing?  I’m back again to send you sunshine from not-yet-scorching-summer Dubai.  I know it’s been a while since my last post.  I have my reasons you know..hehe..I was busy taking around my first-time-in-UAE tourist cousin and I did some part-time job-hunting.  I’ve sort of found a job.  It’s not part-time as it does not have a regular shift, so I’d say it’s more of a freelance thing.  My cousin is loving Dubai, by the way.  She even says she feels as if she’s in a “movie set”.  Hmm.. maybe because everything seems so unreal and commercial? ;p

Just this weekend, we went dune bashing in the desert.  Now this didn’t feel commercial.  We were guided by a couple of experienced friends but since it was my hubby’s first time to drive in sand, getting stuck was almost inevitable. It happened twice!  I had a mini-hyperventilation moment which was quickly forgotten once we saw what lay before us.

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We arrived just before sunset and witnessed the sand go from a welcoming deep shade of beige to a fiery reddish hue before it finally settled into darkness softly lit by the glowing moon and several constellations.

In between roasting marshmallows, lighthearted conversations and stargazing, we had a mild Lawrence-of -Arabia-roller-coaster experience via a local friend of the organizer who drove us in his dune buggy. This same local guy spent over an hour wood cooking an excellent chicken biryani for all us in the group, without even knowing our names before this whole trip.   I was amazed at his generosity.   Someone informed me that it is really part of the Arab culture to be hospitable 🙂

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The whole experience was a refreshing break to the city’s glittering skyscrapers.  In the desert, it is just you and a horizon with seemingly eternal connection to the sun, the sand, and the stars.

There are several companies that offer the dune bashing experience complete with henna tattoos, an Arabic dinner, and even belly dancing lessons.  The ride could be truly unforgettable as these company drivers seem to want to fly the vehicle! Downside is you are on schedule and can’t leave early or stay as long as want.. and with all the tourist-y activities you have in the desert, it does not feel as nomadic anymore.

Whether you chose to do it your way or through a desert safari company, I wish you an enjoyable experience.  May you find beauty in this barren land.

Big Toys for the Big Boys

Distinctively recognized for encouraging sheer decadence and opulent self-indulgence, this is, without a doubt, the place to spoil yourself silly!  And when I say silly I mean over a million reasons to!

Last weekend hubby and I visited The Dubai International Boat Show, a showcase of boats of various sizes from less than 10 to more than 40 meters, for different types from fishing to sailing, from new to used, for sale and for showing off.

While we are not considering buying a superyacht, it was fun to use the VIP invitations given to us.   What better place to window shop for luxury toys than here in the land of lavishness.. Dubai.

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Since I know this post has already awakened your appetite I might as well share a few photos of fresh supercars from the Auto Trader Luxury (what else?) Car Show at Festival City and juxtapose it with old movie momento beauties from the Emirates Classic Car Festival at Downtown Dubai.

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“Nice to touch, nice to hold, but if you break it, consider it sold.”

XX