December Notes

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are inescapably winding down to end 2022 and the holiday season. But being in this country where it isn’t recognized, I just seem to have been celebrating it more in my imagination – and I’m not even saying it in a low-spirited way, but in a delightfully adaptive way.

I’d relish by defining it as the season of working without bosses breathing down our necks, as they seem to have all flown out for vacation. Although these last days have been a struggle of sleeping early, waking up early, and focusing at work. My mind seems to have been in a slack, and I just want to put off work until the new year!

Chilly air in Jeddah, December 24 2022, 5:55pm

Arjay & Hashim unsolicitedly serenading Flat 6 with ‘Over You’ by Daughtry

I won’t deny the holidays has been making me wistful too, especially when I listen to the slow piano version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. And sometimes cheeky, as I mentally shake my ASS in the beat of Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me.

I’ve also been unwittingly becoming a quintessential TITO abroad. In case you haven’t realized, keeping a WordPress blog in 2022 was the first sign.

I’ve been cracking Jokoy jokes in chats (and here), sponsored a dinner without me, commented “ang gaganda at ang popogi naman!” on Facebook, getting excited over clays and ceramics, reading The NYT every morning, getting interested in “main accords” of perfumes, and trying to perfect an Indian curry recipe.

My authentique Kerala Chicken Curry

I was writing parts of this post in the night of December 25 while doing my laundry and reacting to Facebook friends’ posts about their Noche Buena.

I remember this time last year – my first holiday away from home, I had felt desperate to set out my own celebration, perhaps fear of missing out. But it wasn’t as amazing as I had thought it would be, so nvm! Human nature’s pursuit for social approval and self-esteem is FUNNY.

Now I’m just here genuinely appreciating everyone’s holiday photos, while judging who among them has gotten FAT this year.

Anyways, here are some of the things that happened in my December that you might appreciate (or judge):

First, we signed up for a Race

Running, in its first few minutes, gives a breath of fresh air, a faint excitement, and a nervous anticipation of the STRUGGLE to kick in. That’s one of the recurring episodes in the first half of my December as Arjay, Salvi, and I had been preparing for the Jeddah Half Marathon this year.

Race Day’s stretches and warm-ups at the Jeddah Marathon Village

I only signed up for 10km category though, because I was a pussy it was just my first official run, and we only had A WEEK to prepare. I didn’t even do fun runs back in PH, except that one optional 5km event in college we had chosen as subject requirement. I had thought it’s foolish to solely pay for an activity so mundane as running.

Arjay with his BALLS of steel had initially insisted that we run in 21km but after few nights of feeling like dead meat at each end of 5km, the thought of finishing 21km had been making me laugh!

I thought I’d be TRAUMATIZED if I’ll not be able to finish my first ever run just because I’ve bitten more than what I could chew. But I give him props for believing he could do it – which he did! (for 3 hours 💀)

Your boy as the 354th 10km-Finisher out of 970

This haircut makes it look like my name is Oleksandr or Volodymyr

Despite I had to start running dehydrated and badly needed to piss (didn’t wanna miss the gun start), I had that triumphant sense of accomplishment reminiscent of our nightly jogs, leading up to the actual race’s finish line.

There were officials and organizers along tracks that were loudly cheering on us. There’s this one group about 50m before the finish who was holding a white placard with a big red circle on center, like the Japanese flag, along with the words “tap for a boost.”

I got to them, sheepishly tapped the red circle, and dashed with all my remaining energy as if it had really boosted me physically. 😆 I annoyingly had gotten past around 8 runners ahead up to the finish line and dude, that felt like the CRINGIEST thing ever! 💀

I also have enjoyed the illusory sense of belonging in that foreign crowd. As if being in it makes me feel I’m really part of the world, if that makes sense.

The morning sun slowly casting its light upon us

I’m also glad to have met kabayan Melvin who had been with us throughout the event. And in true pinoy fashion, we had waited for the raffle draw at the end in hopes of winning a brand new car.

Those hopes were apparently crushed, as we booked an Uber for a late lunch at a mall. 💀

Salvi and Melvin trying some of the game booths in the event

No water!

Another thing that seems to has been recurring is the 1-3 days (max.) of no water supply in our villa. Either the tank gets empty, or the pump gets busted. The night before our running event, it was out of service again and I had to take a bath in other villa a corner street away.

We got home tired and sticky the next day afternoon, still with no water. 💀

That inconvenience is one thing, but not having water for the kitchen is something else. I have flat mates and I couldn’t care less if they choose not to shower for days, but the pile of unclean dishes at sink nestled by dozens of roaches is what gives me the ick.

Soiled dishes at sink when there’s no water (not mine)

Mid-Post Camroll Dump 📸

Girls shooting a Tiktok at a restaurant

A glimpse of Delta Mixed-Use Development

A selection of dishes at LuLu Hypermarket

Football Bandwagon


This was also the month of FIFA World Cup 2022 which I usually don’t fw to be honest, but it had always been in the news and officemates had been keeping talk about it. Moreover, we each had randomly drawn 2 teams to bet for free dinner.

On finals night, we had headed out from office thinking it was an easy match for Argentina with a 2-0 lead, and by the time we had arrived at our dinner place, jaws had DROPPED finding out Kylian Mbappé had caught up the score to 2-2 within that short period of time!

According to news, it was arguably the most exciting finals in FIFA history, and as someone who’s not a fan, I could totally agree, especially knowing what it had meant for Leonel Messi.

I feel honored to have witnessed and felt that moment in football history, but dude I didn’t really know what Messi looked like until that World Cup! 💀🤣

Sinigang na Baka

We had our dinner at Bora Café & Restaurant where I finally had the best sinigang na baka for the longest time. I’ve tried cooking one but only with sinigang sa sampaloc mix. I can’t seem to easily find the one with gabi or even an actual taro here.

I had REALLY enjoyed that hot sour broth, and that sinful chunk of beef FAT! We also had pushed Wilson to sing up on stage (which he obviously had wanted 💀).

Wilson singing ‘Ligaya’ by Eraserheads Daniel Padilla

I watched “Jean Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

That’s a mouthful title. A 1975 French film directed by Chantal Akerman, and was critically acclaimed by Sight and Sound as its no. 1 Greatest Film of All Time (as of 2022). But it was notable that there were a lot of criticisms regarding that.

Thoughts: that’s a long-ass movie! And I had to finish it in segments throughout the day. It’s one of those art films that isn’t for everyone, and might need a certain mood and headspace to be appreciated.

I agree how it has been described as a very slow film, almost not moving. It’s about a 3-day insight in the life of a middle-aged woman living alone with her teenage son. She discreetly does sex work in their small apartment to earn money for their daily sustenance.

95% of that 3-hour film is just about her doing mundane house chores, and there weren’t even much talking! It’s all about nuances. I honestly have appreciated (not necessarily enjoyed) it, as it has reminded me of those zenful day-in-life YouTube vlogs, but in a dead serious way. I was fascinated how strange the film was presented, yet evoked such strong familiarity.

For some bizarre reason, it had gotten me in a passionate mood of doing ALL my chores for a good week. I have even started a habit of wiping dry my washed kitchen utensils with a towel before keeping because of it.

But I don’t think that’s the point of the film, I’m just saying! 😆

I’ve been eating a LOT

I’ve truly gained weight in this season of eating out and getting lots of free foods (lots of pizza). And I’ve also been too lazy cooking and going to the gym. 😩

A LuLu Hypermarket have finally opened near our office this month. It’s a huge convenience to us and gone are the days of being stuck with Kabsa, Laham, and Biryani for lunch.

I was fascinated seeing this packed, raw, and skinned rabbit at the cold meat racks. I know it wasn’t an unusual meat in other countries but it’s my first time seeing one, and it looked extraterrestrial to me.

Bad Bunny

I’ve also been enjoying LOTS of carbs and sugars lately.

I’ve gotten to try something called Halawet El Jibn which kuya Niño just shared to me. He also didn’t know what it was and I’ve only found out by describing it to Google: arabic dessert, pastry roll, cream on center, with nuts – and there it was!

A Syrian dessert made of semolina and cheese dough, filled with clotted cream and drizzled with rose water syrup. It was good, JUST a little too rich and heavy for me.

Halawet El Jibn (Sweet Cheese)

Laham (Lamb Meat)

Salloura Chocolate Biscuit

Kare-Kare (Filipino Curry)


That would be all for now.

May we all have a great new year ahead! I still think of you! 🌪🌪🌪


November Dump

Hello! Is this real I’m writing again here since the last one in 2019?!? A LOT had happened since then and I don’t think it’s even possible to sum up everything here.

Let’s just take that long gap as that part of a film where it says 3 YEARS LATER… and the characters suddenly have different hairstyles or whatever. As it unfolds, viewers slowly connect the dots to what had happened. It could also be that page of a book which suddenly refers to something specific and then ya’ll wonder what the fuck is it talking about???

ANYWAYS, this is just my fantasy as an indie artist who doesn’t post a lot in social media. No one knows where he is, because he’s peripatetic and very busy with his niched interests. He just sends paywalled newsletters to his fans and cryptically talks about his life every now and then.

But seriously, I just missed writing. I think it’s time for the pendulum of internet to swing back to reading/writing because EVERYONE is tired and has brainrotted from shitpostings everywhere.

Jeddah Rain


Today was pretty crazy. It’s the first time it rained the longest throughout the day since I’ve been here in this city – 1 year and 4 months. The skies been murky since yesterday and it makes me feel strange amid a country where it’s sunny 98% of the time. Everything felt subdued, like you can’t take anything too hot or too seriously.

And yea, I finally experienced work suspension here today due to rain and ngl, i’m stoked. Not that I’ve been waiting for it, but living very mundane makes something perilous quite exciting. I wonder how worse that was compared to their previous experiences here. Saudi is very prone to flooding because it doesn’t have capable stormwater drainage in relation to its arid climate, so slight rain could cause major inconvenience.

We got out of office at noon but unfortunately our bus got stuck in flood not too far. Some of us decided to just get wet to hitch a ride home, but some including me waited a little longer for the rain to ease off and for our supposed rescue to arrive.

Not until we realized no one’s coming soon because the weather wasn’t getting better. We decided to just brave the rain and flood, which by that time was already above knee high. Tbh, as bad as it may sound, I was enjoying every bit of that experience. I missed the rain so much!!! Despite being drenched in soiled water, I was genuinely giggling and taking selfies like it was a tour.

SAYA yan? Happy birthday Wilson!

Asian Snacks

This month I craved for Korean food – spicy, deeply savory and slightly sweet. I imagined having juicy kimchi and partnering it with sizzling pork! I could have opted for beef instead but decided to just go for the quick and simple protein that is tofu.

Thankfully they have Asian stores here and it was my first time going in one. I found this Indonesian snack called Sale Pisang which translates to smoked/dried banana fritters. I just googled it after already finishing a piece yet still couldn’t figure out what it was. I just knew it was a fruit. I’ve never had banana in that way before and it was good! I want more.

Dubu-jorim 두부조림 (Spicy Braised Tofu)

Sale Pisang (Smoked/Dried Banana Fritters)


Arjay invited Salvi and I to join their UAP Chapter’s GMM at Intercontinental Hotel as guests. The event was sponsored by Jazeera Paints and I just wanna bffr, I was mainly there for free food but pleasantly surprised we met and shared our table with Ar. Raymund Beltran who’s a PUP almumni and Church of Christ brother. I didn’t think I’ll find someone here that will click with me right off the bat! Enchanté sir!

It’s been a while since the last time I had a decent buffet, and we were happy to be full with beef and lamb steaks that night. Merci Beaucoup!


Watched List

I’m done binge watching Emily in Paris Season 2. Choices, right??? 😆 Hence my stupid use of French. Something about the show just kept me hooked. I’m fascinated with their culture, liberalism and deep appreciation to arts. Emily is such an eye candy and she’s like, “I’m so stressed right now, my life is in shambles!” 💃 while looking so pretty in fashion hundred percent of the time.

And Slyvie Grateau, that woman looks expensive and sultry yet sassy. Let me just digress a little, among things that I miss in this country along pork, are lady boss figures at work like Sylvie. I’m not saying I prefer them, but I just miss that work dynamic with them that makes things a little more rounded.

“Emily, you’ve got the rest of your life to be as dull as you wish, but while you’re here, fall in love, make mistakes, leave a disastrous trail in your wake.”

Sylvie Grateau, Emily in Paris, Season 2

I know that sounds problematic and I’m not making it my entire personality, but don’t you think it’s so powerful and polarizing?

I also watched Barbarian (2022) which I enjoyed and highly recommend to YOU. It’s a horror/thriller and I’d suggest you not to look it up, just watch it blindly. It’s 92% in Rotten Tomatoes as of date.

Bad Bunny

I have this inclination to trap/hip-hop and this album Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny grew on me as it ticked boxes of what I like about the genre. I’m in love with its overall concept and direction. Swag beats with sad undertones, the album title literally means A Summer Without You, and god I could relate to it. I think it also helped that I like Bad Bunny’s identity: out-of-the-box, gender-fluid, and in league with WWE Wrestling? That’s sexy if you ask me.

Me listening to Bad Bunny for the 17th time today

I look forward to posting more monthly dumps in the future as I had fun writing this. However, I think no one will understand the amount of mental energy I shed to reread and edit, it almost feels like insanity to me. The funny thing is it’s not even THAT good. But it’s alright, anything we enjoy but challenges us at the same time is the way to go.

I’m still in beyond belief of WHAT could happen in a year, or the coming months, or the next few days. Like we ALL literally have never imagined what 2020 be like. I personally have never imagined I’ll be able to see actual Nabatean Tombs with my bare eyes in 2021.

Now, this year has been a snow at the beach. I don’t know exactly what to make out of it. An uncharted state of having the BEST and WORST feelings both at the same time. I seem to have lost in translation with people who mean so much to me, I’ve got no one to blame but my stubborn streaks and self-serving maxims.

I used to be very decisive, but life really has its way of challenging us up to our limits. Now I’ll just go with wherever life takes me and not close out on anyone or anything. Always for growth, always for the truth, always for the best.

No Context Camroll Dump














Muchas Gracias Mi Corazón,

Dust Devil

Anyare August


Ang bilis ng mga bwan, shet! Nanjan na naman yung memes ni Jose Mari Chan na sumisilip! 🤣 What a bad luck that I’m spending the start of “Ghost month” at home nursing my injured right knee. Naaksidente na naman kasi ako sa volleyball nung isang gabi, the first one was on my left knee on 2016 at the same court. 😔 Sucks that I’m posting about this first instead of my recent birthday.

Ganito kasi nangyari – nag-set si Paul sakin for a middle spike, I ran and jumped from behind tapos pag-land ko sa floor, rinig na rinig ko yung pag-crack ng tuhod ko, feeling ko nga it was loud enough for everyone to hear, pero parang ako lang yung nakarinig. Tapos napahiga na ako sa sahig tightly holding my knee up on my chest, wincing from the sharp pain. Thoughts running in my mind were, “shet ano na namang nangyari saken?,” “nabalian ba ako ng buto?,” “muka akong tanga dito.” It took a while bago nila mapansin na I was still lying on floor, saka nila ako pinagkumpulan sa gitna, walang tumutulong saken for a couple of seconds, they were all just staring at me. Siguro di din nila alam ang gagawin. Pero in fairness dito sa volleyball ah, ang takaw sa aksidente within just half of the year. I heard someone said “tawag na kayo ng medical.” Hanggang sa tinulungan na nila ako to calmly breathe, lie on my back and straighten up my leg. After nun unti-unti nang nag-subside yung pain. “yey, sick leave,” I thought. 😅 I remembered being conscious pa sa facial expresson ko kasi alam kong lahat sila nakatingin saken.

Inalalayan ako nila Sam and sir Alvin sa court side to rest, saka dumating si nurse Pat para lagyan ako ng benda at ice pack. The whole time I was hesitating kung magli-leave ba ako the following days kasi sobrang daming rushed drawings sa team namin, also because the pain was becoming tolerable (and I didn’t like that because half of me wants to take a leave anyways). Gulo noh?

I took a Grab going home for P490 (di ako maka-get-over, ang mahal). Salamat nga pala kanila Che at Franz sa pag-alalay at paghatid sakin sa sakayan. Pagdating sa bahay, pumapak na naman ako ng bare-baretang chocolates. Hanggat meron talaga sa harapan ko, di ko tinatantanan e, kaya fucked up sugar level ko lately. Dala na din siguro ng stress at lungkot (wow).

Woke up in the morning at 5:30am without an alarm. Malamig at umuulan. Galing ng body clock ko, pero pinulikat naman yung left leg ko, tangena. Kaninang umaga pinakamasakit yung injury ko and I was really struggling to walk, kaya naman guilt-free na akong nag-text kanila sir Raf/Mike na di ako makakapasok. Sabi ko nga kanila Che nung gabing yun kelangan sumakit to e, kasi magi-guilty lang ako buong araw. Though I took a leave, I decided to still work on my loads. Nahihiya na din talaga kasi ako kay sir Mike. Kelangan na yung drawings sa site! Aaaghhh! Feeling ko ambagal-bagal ng team namin, di kasi kami ni sir Raf nag-oot on weekdays unlike some teams (but I would on weekends). Karapatan rin naman namin yun.

Pakiramdam ko college ako ulit while doing drawings at home. Pero tangina, di ko alam kung anong nangyayare pero parang nagloloko lahat. First of all, etong cp ko. Ambagaaal! I’ve bought this on June 2016. Bili na ba ako? Parang burat na burat na sya sa dami ng files & data. Yung pics naman I try to transfer once in a while. Ano ba yang mga cookie na yan?! (charot, alam ko yun)

2nd, my Gmail. Ayaw na nya maka-receive at maka-send! Full memory na daw. Kelangan ko na daw mag-avail ng additional storage. Hassle! I’ve been using my Gmail since college, pero organized ako sa email. Di ako yung hinahayaan na may 2,368 unopened messages, and I delete if I don’t need them anymore including the ones on trash. Categorized pa yung saken, including subscriptions. Yung mga ka-batch ko jan sa gmail, ni-require na din ba kayo magdagdag ng storage?

3rd, wtf is wrong with you Yahoo Mail? Bakit everytime na maglo-log ako kelangan pa ng sms verification? Ang hassle pa when I’m on mobile kasi kapag iche-check ko na yung text message code, mawawala na yung original login page so panibagong text message code na naman, tapos mawawala na naman yung login page so it’s a fucking cycle that I’ll never get through!

4th, hirap na hirap yung laptop namin with its free AutoCAD 2010. Ang bagal! I don’t know, I didn’t have so much time to upgrade & clean all its shit. Gone are the days na eto pinakamalakas among my college mates’ laptops.

Puro konsumisyon. Thankfully, na-send ko this Friday yung drawing na ginagawa ko kahit papano. Pinilit ko na lang ipasa, because I’ve already committed it to be sent yesterday but wasn’t able to. Kaninang umaga, I committed again to send it before 10am, pero ayun, 2pm ko na kinaya! Hayst, nakakahiya. 😔 I wonder kung anong dadatnan ko sa Monday. Stress Fest! Kumusta kaya si sir Raf? Dami kong naiwang urgent tasks, e alam kong fully-loaded rin sya. I’ve tried being a one-man team for a time, and it’s the worst. Sorry talaga. Pero in fairness naman sa team ko, wala silang pinaparamdam sakin na pressure. Like, “kami na muna bahala.” Thank you, sir Mike & Raf.

On the other hand, di ko ginusto mapilayan at this crucial point. It kinda feels unfair na nahihirapan kami nang ganito. Bakit kasi ayaw magdagdag ng tao? Nabubulunan na kami e. Kasalanan ba namin to? Maybe partly yes, kasi responsibility rin namin na di paabutin sa ganitong point, but God knows I try to work hard every single day. Samantalang yung ibang officemate namin, keribels lang ang workload tapos same sahod pa din naman, minsan nga mas malaki pa yung sa kanila. Well, ganito nga siguro yung sinasabi ng iba sa corporate world. Hopefully, I’ll be in a way better situation than this.

I tried to express my guilt to friends and family na napilayan ako at this time na tambak ang workloads and deadlines, and that I prefer to still work at home. They gave me what I wanted to hear – I deserve to rest. They told me na wag ako magpakaalipin, and that the company won’t save me in the end. Sabi nga ni papa, “kahit bumagsak pa yang DMCI, kesa naman ikaw yung bumagsak.” That’s exaggeration but we know what he mean.

Before I end this, quick share lang on my check-up. Gusto kong i-bash yung duktor pero baka ma-Yeng Constantino ako. Tho I don’t really know her issue and haven’t seen her video, nadadaanan ko lang comments ng mga tao sa soc med. Anyways, di ko na lang sasabihin kung saan, pero wtf yung consultation, wala pang 3 minutes. Ni di ako tinanong kung san masakit o gano kasakit. When I showed her my leg, she just told me na maga. In my head, I know na di naman maga e. O baka di lang talaga ako bilib, kasi she was pointing on a certain part of my knee na maga daw, but I know na di naman dun yung tama e, alam ko kung san part ako nasaktan. Kairita din na sira daw yung x-ray machine nila and instructed me to go somewhere else instead. Eh bakit kasi di nila sinabi kaagad para dun na lang ako dumerecho (mag-isa nga lang pala ako pumunta dun, fyi). Niresetahan nya lang ako ng mga gamot, but it won’t help the healing raw. Para lang raw sa maga at kirot. Fuck, I could’ve just Googled that myself (charot). So yun na yun? P500 na yun?

Sungit ko noh. Tangena, Titos of Manila reprezent. Anyways, Happy Cinemalaya 2019 bukas! I’m so excited to see the films!!! Bye.

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