Culture Vulture | Fire Station Museum

Culture, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

The art movement in Qatar is in its infancy but it has a lot of potential.  Not only that the government is very keen in amassing a good wealth of artwork from all over but is determined in developing talents within the country.  A perfect example of this is the Fire Station Museum which originally housed the fire brigade.  The idea of recycling a Civil Defense building to become an art hotspot is superb!  But it doesn’t stop there.  Qatar’s Museum Authority uses this hub to hone emerging creatives thru their residency program which I believe is what needed to propel the country as an art destination.


Photo Credit: Veronica Yu

Last week, we made a quick visit (my first) and on display is the German Encounters exhibit.  It’s a very interesting collection of works that range from photographs to paintings to the mundane (stovetop?).  According to the museum’s website, these pieces are from the Deutsche Bank Collection.  I am neither an art critic nor enthusiast but I appreciate the idea and effort they put into this.

Here are some photos I took during my visit.


Just looking around…


There’s a section where you can submit words from your native language as well.  I spotted some Ilocano (a dialect in the Philippines) words in the mix.


I don’t know but this reminds me of those beach hats Koreans wear when travelling in the Philippines. 


That girl is working it!


This can be a good fabric print!

There’s also Cafe #999 in the compound for when you need a break from all the walking and looking around.  They serve breakfast so this can be a good option during the weekend .  Next to the cafe is an art supply store where you can buy all the stuff you need for your next masterpiece. LOL.

So, have you been?



In Photos | Christmas 2017 In Doha

Culture, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

For the fifth consecutive year, I’m celebrating the yuletide here in the sandpit and away from home.  Some of you who have never stepped foot in this part of the world may think that Christmas in the desert is not the same as in the Philippines or Europe or in the US.  It may be true to some extent (Qatar is a Muslim country so Christmas is not really considered a holiday—yes, we work on Christmas…and New Year’s too) but most of the things you enjoy or traditions you do back home to make this season memorable can be replicated here as well.

Oh, and cheat week (month is more precise?) is enforced.  Yay for turkey!

Dinner at the Mestarihis


But first, photo op…:-)


and another one

(Early) Media Noche Feast at Sabai Thai

The lobby at Westin Doha.

And then, gluttony (I love my Asian food).


Welcome drinks at Sabai Thai

Care for some papaya salad?


Taking a break


Cheers to all the hardworking expats in Doha!

Night Out at the Souq

Shisha? Turkish coffee? Souq?  Sign me up!


Bring it on 2018! I’m ready for you!


It was a great week despite the fact that I was alone at home—a first in five years I’ve been staying in Doha.  I would have gone out more, maybe visited some museums, but I was too lazy.  Must be the weather.  LOL.  I had fun and I hope everyone enjoyed theirs as well.





For The Love Of Hookah

Culture, Lifestyle

Shisha is part of Doha culture and the Arab world in general.  I wouldn’t say it’s integral but no one will say shisha or hookah without picturing the sands of the Arab world.  I remember when I first came here four years ago, the first place I went to was Souq Waqif where most of the cafés and restaurants serve shisha.  I tried smoking this back in Manila but it was different when I first had it here.  It was stronger and packed more flavor.  Or maybe it’s the souq and the fact that I’m in Qatar which made the experience more authentic.


Photo taken in March 2013, Souq Waqif

While buying your own water pipe and setting it up at home is more practical than going to shisha lounges, it is more enjoyable to do this sitting with the locals and other expats.  I guess it gives me the feeling of being part of the culture.

Now having spent several years in the sandpit, there are places where my friends and I usually visit to get our fix.  Other than the lounges in hotels around Doha, I prefer the standalone establishments for two good reasons—you’ll get better quality (based on experience) and it won’t hurt your wallet.  The following are three of my favorite hookah hangouts in the city.

Downtown Restaurant

Back when West Bay was home, Downtown is the most convenient for me as it’s walking distance from where I live.  The whole staff is nice and the service is great.  The food they serve is not bad either.  My Lebanese friend even commented that they serve one of the best tabbouleh in Doha.  As this is located in the business area, it’s the perfect after-work option to meet with friends where you can have hookah and a pleasant dinner.

Orient Pearl

This restaurant is situated along the Corniche and very easy to locate (re: dancing fountain).  This place is huge and has good interiors.  This is great for families as they’ve set up a playground where kids can play while the grown-ups do some adulting.  LOL.  They serve some of the best Arabic dishes IMHO.  There are performances every now and then especially during Ramadan which makes this a must-visit during that time of the year.

Souq Waqif

This is a no-brainer.  Located in the heart of Doha, this souq offers a lot of things.  There are dozens of shops selling a wide variety of items, a lot of food options, street performances, art galleries and there’s a museum too. You can literally spend an entire afternoon (or evening!) walking and exploring the alleys of this Qatari market.

Any of the outdoor cafés or restaurants in this area is a perfect spot for shisha and peoplewatching.  Al-Bandar, Damasca and Le Gourmet are excellent examples.  And at 35 riyals, it won’t burn a huge hole in your pocket.


Other than these three, Layali at Lagoona Mall, Eatopia at the Gate Mall, Burj Al Hamam at the Pearl and Shisha Garden at La Cigale are very good options as well.

My usual combo of shisha and green tea

So go now and have a puff.  Just keep in mind that like cigarettes, shisha smoking can be detrimental to your health so do it sparingly.



Culture Vulture | Museum of Islamic Art

Culture, Lifestyle, Photography

The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is one of the best museums in the country.  Inside and out, the place is just beautiful.  As I read from the museum’s website, the architect behind the design is I.M. Pei.

MIA 002


This place is a nice break from the malls and hotels expats usually go in and out of.  Check out their website for exhibition and opening times information.

Here are more photos from my visit: