A Little Too Busy in Doha: Racism, Culture, Religion

So, it has been months again before I write another blog entry–random thoughts, I guess, brought me here again this time. I just feel like writing now because, ya’know, I feel like writing and I actually miss writing. Feeling ko kinakalawang na ako in terms of grammar and my brain too, well, probably because I don’t get to talk to real English speakers because I mostly converse with Arabic people. I am not a racist though.

I just want to share my thoughts and somehow rants in what I am going through these days. This afternoon while chatting with my workmates in the studio, one mentioned that one of our accountants said bluntly to one of the Filipino workers here that we, Filipinos, “work during the day, and work during the night“. Which literally means…you know it already.

To give you a backstory, it was Sunday last week (my off day) when I and my two other workmates (I’ll name them Ate and Mars) got a little of enjoyment and went to a bar after our food trip in Qatar International Food Festival. Our curfew is at 12pm but Ate’s is 11pm because she did something that made our Madam upset. Anyway, back to the story, Ate decided to stay with us ’til before 12pm, meaning lagpas na siya sa 11pm curfew niya. She said it’s okay because “she doesn’t care anymore” since she’s the apple of the eye of our Madam, which means pinagti-tripan siya.

To continue the story, we reached our accommodation at around 11:50pm, a little tipsy but not drunk, definitely not drunk. Unfortunately, our receptionist, who happened to be our “guard”, saw us three going out from the taxi–Ate was the first to come out running so she didn’t notice the receptionist, so it was me and Mars who saw that the receptionist was there watching us (which she doesn’t usually do). So, there I panicked a little bit because she (receptionist)  saw Ate running late for her curfew.

So that was the issue. However what shocked me the most was that, it wasn’t only the issue. The receptionist told our Madam that I was wearing a very short dress. IT WASN’T! I actually wore it before and that was not an issue! And, hello?! There were other ladies who wear shorter than my dress and my dress is more of a casual-formal dress and not a seductive one. C’mon! Sa totoo lang, kung anu-ano na lang talaga ang ginagawa nilang issue sa amin, and what I mean with “sa amin” is we, Filipino staffs.

To cut the story short, ‘yon ang pinaghuhugutan ni Indianong judgmental accountant. I never thought that I would really encounter such racism in my whole life. Dapat ini-expect ko na nga diba because I am in an Arab and Muslim country pero ang sakit pala, it hurts kasi hindi lang ikaw ang minamaliit nila kundi ang buong lahi mo. Masakit kasi babae ako at bakit kailangan sabihin ng isang walang alam na lalaki ‘yon? Hindi ako nagmamalaki or what, pero that was really foul. Really bad.

I know that this is a Muslim country but this also an OPEN MUSLIM country, which, unlike Saudi Arabia, people here are more open-minded that’s why they allowed hotel bars to open and offer alcoholic drinks. I respect their culture, their religion and their beliefs but somehow there are still other people, whether they are from this country or from other race who also work here, who will try to look some faults in us, Filipinos, because they are happy to see us suffer. In my almost two years here, I shouldn’t rant about this anymore, I should be used to it already, but I still can’t accept it especially when they look down to us, Filipinos, because if they could only just accept the truth…this country’s workforce is not gonna run as it is today if not with the help of Filipinos. Each and every household of this country is not gonna run completely without their Filipino helpers. I am not saying this only for Filipinos but also for those who are being discriminated because of their belief, culture, religion and most especially, because of which race they come from. Nabubuhay ang dugong aktibista ko but I can do nothing but this, write. Because the more you fight, the more they will degrade you because they think they’re greater than me, than Filipinos. If I only had a chance to talk to the Madam and to that accountant I would have said this thing, “I am a Filipino and I am proud to be.”




A Little Too Busy In Doha: The Rice Room


It was our third visit to this place that made me sure I’m gonna write something up about The Rice Room.

It’s a typical food stall in a food court inside a mall that we found so indulging to eat and to satisfy our craving for something oriental, something Vietnamese that’s actually something Asian, something Filipino.

Our first visit there was actually a push of curiosity not because its tables and chairs were full of hungry mall-goers but the opposite of it. Well, this is Doha – Arab people would choose to eat oriental cuisine the least above their usual Arabic food. Unlike us, we would choose to eat oriental food the most over Arabic food. (Note: I also love Arabic cuisine)

So there, empty chairs and tables in front of their stall occupied our empty stomachs and ordered from their set of Vietnamese menu. The usual thing we do when we go to a new restaurant is to ask what the best seller is or the best sellers are.

Rice, is the common staple food for Asians and  different combinations of it varies. Relatedly, according to research, Vietnam is the one of the world’s richest agricultural regions, Mekong Delta serves as the heart of their rice producing area. Vietnam also is one of the largest rice consumers; seventh for that matter.

And since this is “The Rice Room”, from the name itself, we asked what’s the best seller from their Rice and Noodles set aside from the plain white rice (and yes, we were really hungry).  From here, the staff said that it was their Com Chien Do Bein or the Seafood Fried Rice. So we got that on our order list because it’s good for two pax for 33QAR. And the staff from the counter said that the best seller from their Main Course from the Wok set is the one they called Bo Luc Lac Shaking Beef Cubes, which is diced fillet steak in black pepper sauce, and is served with a cup of plain Jasmine rice for 47QAR. We waited for more or less fifteen minutes, and voilà! The Bo Luc Lac enticed our tastes buds with its shaking appearance and big serving, which can serve two persons.


Bo Luc Lac with Jasmine rice



Com Chien Do Bein

Hot from the wok, I really tasted seafood in Com Chien Do Bein because it was well combined with, of course, tidbits of squid and shrimp and a sprinkle of lots of onions in it. Moreover, Bo Luc Lac was undoubtedly delicious! At first, it was a bit tasted like adobo (a very popular Filipino specialty made of meat or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic) minus the pinch of sour taste plus a bit sweet. A taste of, seemingly, oyster sauce enhanced the strong but tolerable salty flavor of the black pepper sauce, and the green and yellow peppers plus the red bell peppers added to the variations of slight bitterness and sweetness to the sauce, maybe that’s why it is called “shaking beef”. And as it is with black pepper sauce, black pepper added some punch of slightly sharp and pungent aroma to the dish.

Bo Luc Lac was perfect with the Jasmine rice, but if you wanted to explore and combine things up, it is also as good with the seafood rice.

All in all, with the 500ml bottled water and canned soda, 84QAR would be very well spent for two persons.

We ordered the same set of food on our second and third visit but on the latter we added appetizer dish called Goi Cuon, which, according to their menu, is fresh Vietnamese rice paper rolls with herb and and served with hoi sin sauce. The rolls are refreshingly satisfying with its combinations of carrots, shallots, mint, lettuce and parsley rolled with sticky rice wrapper dipped in something and sour sauce.

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Goi Cuon, 15QAR-4pcs

Everytime we crave for seafood fried rice, The Rice Room is the first we think about. And we always leave the place with a happy and full tummy. The service is also good and pleasant. Hungry shoppers can always stop by for a good food and good rest during mall hours. I can’t say something bad about it for now and the next time we visit The Rice Room, we will try their likely popular noodle soups or the Pho(fuh).

My friend, Katrin, and I always wanted to explore more of what Qatar has to give when it comes to wide diversity of food. More likely, I will post some of our food tours from the past and surely in the near future.

The Rice Room is located in Gulf Mall Food Court, Al Gharafa, Qatar

*The author wasn’t paid nor forced to write a review for The Rice Room



A Little Too Busy In Doha: Drop-Focus

Things don’t really go the way you want it to be, but life is still the life that everyone can curse and be grateful with at the same time. Besides, everything will fall into its place, whatever happens, if you won’t ever give up.


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Doha’s landmark view from Skyview, La Cigale Hotel. 1/10/15


A Little Too Busy In Doha: Starter

A lot can happen in a year — I mean A LOT! 2015 has been so bad and so good to me, and I wouldn’t mind going back to that year, I mean it. Papa God has given me a challenge He knew I could survive, and I thank Him for everything. Fast forward to first quarter of 2016, I am now in Doha! Marhaba! Well yes, working as photographer/videographer a.k.a. OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). I still remember the time when I told a friend that if ever I would leave my previous job I would definitely work abroad. I intentionally said that though I didn’t have any moves yet that time to pursue doing such. But here I am now, sitting on a chair inside our room at our accommodation in Doha while thinking about what to write –and oh, it’s kind of rainy day today, a sign of changing weather from spring to summer. I was actually thinking about and how to write again a blog like this. I haven’t done this for a long time now. Tsk. Anyway, there you go. As I write this, I am using my dearest friend’s Macbook because my mobile phone for more than three years, Cyrus, gave up on me. Maybe it’s tired and just stopped in the middle of me not planning to buy a new phone until next year. Funny how technology has no forever as love and relationship. Hmmm. May masabi lang. I miss writing random thoughts like this–a write up without a thought, just random. 🙂

I would definitely love to write again and I will definitely write again. Just let me take a little time to compose words up to make a thought and a good article or maybe photoblogs will also do.

So let me think starting now.