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Growing up closely with various church ministries and youth choir allowed me to hear and experience a lot of praise and worship songs. One of the artists that has been very eminent in my playlist is Don Moen. Don is the world's top Christian worship singer, songwriter and producer. His songs speaks so much of praise, thanksgiving, hope and love - which have found a natural way into my life.

Never in my entire life did I ever imagine to be sitting beside a Don Moen - much more be talking to him. When I foung the glimmer, I dreamed. I hoped and I prayed. And when that moment came, I found myself beyond nervous and stiffed. I've lost my words and became a learner right then and there.

Thanks to David of DJMC for making this meeting possible. God indeed made a way for this to happen.

What was planned as a 10-minute on-cam interview became a 22-minute conversation (plus the off-cam talk). Thanks to Don's generosity in sharing his thoughts and elaborating his stories.

Here's what he had to say about his kind of music, the message of his songs and what makes Dubai special:

Don Moen talks to Boy Dubai about Praise and Worship - YouTube

To God be the glory!
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When I learned about Lenny Leblanc joining Don Moen on stage for a concert, I researched a bit about his music and treasure is what I found. As a big fan of romantic ballads, his Billboard chart-topper back in the 70s became an instant hit to me.


"Falling" put Lenny not only in the most prestigious music charts, but also in the hearts of fans all over the world.

But there was a very significant thing that happened to him, and he switched into a more profound music. Here's a very interesting chat I had with Lenny Leblanc:

Conversation with Lenny Leblanc in Dubai - YouTube

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Many times, we find ourselves baffled by careless drivers on the streets - E V E R Y D A Y. I used to fret a lot about them, because road attitude to me is a big deal. One big mistake can harm you, or kill you.

But thanks to a brighter perspective. I started seeing and taking things lightly and positively. Here's what I mean:

When somebody is flashing behind and over speeding, there might be a really critical emergency in the family.

When somebody is not paying attention and not using indicators, he must be tired from a non-stop and stressful work.

When somebody is on the phone and is less attentive on the road, he must be missing his family so much and that's the only chance they could talk.

When somebody is driving so slow, his engine might have some issues.

When somebody caused an accident, he maybe out of focus because of serious depression.

When a pedestrian is crossing so slow on the street, he might have just lost his job.

These drivers can really get into our nerves. I do not tolerate such behaviours, but times like these happen. Instead of judgment, I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and keep a positive approach towards the situation. I do not escalate it within myself.

Don't let these scenarios change your mood and define your day. Give way. Move on quickly.

Be kind at all times. Everyone has a battle of their own. Respect the fighter. We also go to our own battlefields at times.
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Give Thanks! Dubai is about to be inspired and be moved once again.


The legendary Don Moen, one of the most influential Christian music singer and songwriter, is returning to Dubai for "A Night of Thanksgiving." He will be sharing the stage with the equally award-winning hit maker Lenny Leblanc.


It's happening on 5th April 2018 at Sheikh Rashid Auditorium (opposite St. Mary's Church) - Eternitee and Boy Dubai proudly support this event organized by DJMC.

Here to give you a preview - the two jamming together for God is Good All The Time:

Don Moen - God Is Good All The Time (ft. Lenny LeBlanc) | Acoustic Worship Sessions - YouTube


For more information and event updates, please follow DJMC events on Facebook.

Tickets are available from 80, 120, 150, 200 and 250 dirhams online at  Platinumlist. If you buy early, you can get the silver for as low as 50 and the VIP for AED200 only.

Whatever you are thinking, God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.
See you there!
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When Junie talked to me, what was planned to be a 10-minute length video became 4-part - "sabi nya yun!"


We talked about blogging, life in Dubai, work-life balance and the upcoming business ventures. Here's my story in a our fun conversation with Junie:

Part 1:
BUHAY SA DUBAI stories - ION GONZAGA part 1 (BOY DUBAI BLOG) - YouTube



Part 2:
BUHAY SA DUBAI stories - ION GONZAGA part 2 (BOY DUBAI BLOG) - YouTube



Part 3:
BUHAY SA DUBAI stories - ION GONZAGA part 3 (BOY DUBAI BLOG) - YouTube



Part 4:
BUHAY SA DUBAI stories - ION GONZAGA (last part) (BOY DUBAI BLOG) - YouTube


Salamat Junie! Mabuhay ang Buhay sa Dubai!
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Never in my entire life I thought I'd be talking to a beauty queen, much more to a crowned Miss Universe - probably the most memorable winner of ANY contest.

It's an honor to be covering Philip Stein's event as they formally introduce our very own Pia Wurtzbach as the newest face of the renowned global brand.

I had a short list of questions and here's what she had to say about the watches, Filipino Time and Miss Universe's relevance to men:

Pia Wurtzbach in Dubai for Philip Stein - YouTube

Thanks to New Perspective Media for the invitation.
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You must have been hearing Money Talks UAE for quite some time now. This is a brainchild of Randell Tiongson - one of the most sought-after motivational speaker in finance and investment. He's been going in and out of the UAE for 15 times already, and don't you wonder why? This event is on its 4th season now. I bet many of you want to find out the real story behind this annual conference.

Let's get straight to the point. Here are 6 facts you ought to know about the event and the group behind it:
They don't bring good speakersYes, because the group only brings the best and most inspiring financial speakers who share the same vision to help transform the lives of Filipinos overseas. Not just the good, but the best resources who can connect with OFWs. They always bring new faces and new minds year after year that tap in the greater areas of finance and investment.

This time, Randell will be joined by stock market experts Marvin Germo and Tony Herbosa, personal finance queen and ANC's On The Money host Salve Duplito, and Real Estate investment guru Carl Dy.

They don't pay their staffYes and they are proudly committed. This advocacy-driven group is powered by volunteerism. The volunteers are products of the first and previous Money Talks conferences who felt a calling to become advocates and continuously promote financial literacy to the Filipino community, beyond the Money Talks conference.

They travel from one emirate to another, conduct house-to-house or coffee sessions to share what they themselves have learned from their coaches and mentors. Because of their untiring dedication, they're able to empower thousands of lives to this date, and counting.

They want you to stop workingThey don't want you to be OFWs forever. The ultimate goal is to help OFWs define the path that leads to the way back home with a healthier financial status and fruitful investments.

The volunteers, who are also certified AFP and RFP (Associate & Registered Financial Planners), will eventually go back home as well. But a good succession planning is in place so somebody will continue what the pioneers have started.

They disrupt your comfort zoneThe principles you’re gonna learn from the sessions are not as cozy as those get-rich-quick schemes. They don’t give you the “power.” They help you to be empowered by unleashing your potential.

They won't give you fish for a day, but will teach you how to fish so you could feed yourself for life.

Randell has a hidden agendaThe man is not only a financial advocate. He is also a very dedicated steward of biblical finance. Everything he preaches, from the practical life principles to the technical investments tactics, are motivated by what the bible says. He never fails to give us reminders full of wisdom to stay connected to our Creator.

That’s one of the reasons why many people call him “coach.”

They will insist that you invest right awayYes. You’d definitely be encouraged to invest in yourself right away - time, finance and effort to continue educating yourself until you gain that elusive financial freedom.

So how do you feel after discovering the truth behind this event?

We are blessed to have access to these kind of learning from passionate and purpose-driven mentors, unlike the OFWs of previous generation.

Bottomline, if you do not want positive financial changes in your life, do not attend Money Talks Conference.

Randell Tiongson for Money Talks UAE 2018 - YouTube


If you want to remain where you are today, do not register for the event.

If you don't want a DIY financial planning session or discover new wealth creation strategies, do not bother to check the events over this weekend.

If you want to remain an OFW forever, do not follow MTUAE on Facebook.

Nothing will change... unless you start somewhere. That's the real truth.


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Ain Dubai, Blue Waters Island
My previous post, 101 Things To Do in Dubai, written couple of years ago, may now have a place in a museum. It just quickly became outdated.

New attractions sprout like mushrooms in the city. They come quick. Almost every month there are new places to see and new experiences to try. Some of us could easily miss what's happening around if we're not following major news and bloggers on social media.

This is just a list. However, I've linked the significant ones so it can be handy for you to get more info. So let me start with the newest spots that are currently making a buzz in the city:

See the New Sights and Hangout Destinations

One of La Mer's beautiful spot - T-shirts by Eternitee
1. La Mer
Situated by the beach, this place offers uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s iconic skyline.

2. Al Seef Waterfront
The destination includes a marina, traditional souk, a floating market and pontoons with space for floating restaurants, art galleries, and shops selling locally made Emirati crafts.



3. Riverland
A fun-themed dining and retail destination, inspired by "Modern Old Europe" architecture

4. The Yard
The Yard is home to Dubai's first Promise Bridge. This place situated at "The Last Exit" in D89 also offers a rustic courtyard, a farmer’s market, a bakery, a lake and shaded walking trails.


5. Box Park
A riot of green, yellow, orange blue and grey container boxes, Boxpark is a mall unlike no other. It's uniquely very urban and provides a different soul of the city.


6. Dubai Frame
Dubbed as world's best new attraction, this new concept takes the visitors to a journey through time on three different levels: old Dubai, present Dubai and future Dubai. The two towers are connected by a 100-square-metre bridge, which has a 25-square-metre glass panel in the middle offering a great 360 degree view.


7. Dubai Water Canal
See a city in the midst of one of the world’s greatest urban transformations as it launches the Dubai Water Canal, a 3.2km long waterway which winds its way to the Arabian Gulf from the Creek in Old Dubai through Business Bay.


8. IMAGINE Light Show
It is Dubai Festival City’s record-breaking new attraction, which offers unique sensory experience, harnesses the power of light, water, and fire, combined with giant aqua screens, 30 fountains and surround sound to connect with audiences and produce a show like never seen before.


9. Rise Dubai Creek Harbour
Rise Dubai Creek Harbour brings in food, entertainment, edutainment, and retail to an already spectacular destination. All of the programming is curated to provide a flavor of fun, no matter what age you are.


10. Last Exit Food Truck Park
A unique food truck destination with a wide selection of awesome street food

11. Queen Elizabeth II luxury cruise ship
After 10 years of docking in Dubai shores, the world famous cruise ship is set to become a hotel and museum


12. La Perle Aqua Theater Show
La Perle's mysterious storyline, incredibly talented performers and one-of-a-kind stage concept is making major waves as the city's very first in-residence theatre show.



13. Dubai Opera Tour
Embark on an adventure to discover Dubai’s iconic cultural destination, blending visionary architecture with moments of magic. Listen to stories about Dubai Opera’s unique heritage and breathtaking design. View exclusive VIP hospitality suite. Access unique multi-format auditorium

14. Ain Dubai / Blue Waters Island (see cover photo)
Not yet 100% completed, but it's taking shape already and is opening soon. The observation wheel is set to become the largest and highest in the world. Ain Dubai will tower high above Dubai’s coastline with its dimensions far exceeding any similar existing structure. The observation wheel will open up never-seen-before 360-degree views of Dubai and its renowned landmarks and skyline. 


15. Etihad Museum
The museum is focused on inspiring its visitors with the story of the founding of the UAE.

Explore the Theme Parks

16. Dubai Safari
17. IMG World of Adventure
18. Legoland Theme Park
19. Legoland Waterpark
20. Motion Gate
21. Bollywood Parks
22. Global Village (November to April)

Experience the Old and New Mix

23. Dubai Fountain Water and Light Shows
24. Dubai Aquarium
25. Dubai Miracle Garden (Winter)
26. Dubai Butterfly Garden
27. Aventura 
28. Amphibious Bus
29. Ride the self-serving autonomous pods (driver-less cars)
30. Go up to 'At The Top' (124th floor) ot 'At The Top SKY' (148th floor) of Burj Khalifa
31. Skydive over The Palm for the extremes
32. Alserkal Contemporary and Modern Arts
33. Dine and high tea in the sky
34. Aerial scenic tour via Seaplane and land on water
35. Helicopter Tour over Dubai
36. Hot Air Balloon flight over the desert
37. Emirates A380 simulator at Dubai Mall
38. Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates
39. Spot the world's most luxurious police cars patrolling in Jumeirah or in Downtown
40. Watch films at the largest screen in Middle East and Asia at Meydan Theater IMAX
41. The Walk & The Beach
42. SALT BAY Aqua Pod - Floating Food 'Truck' 
43. Chill Out - Middle East's first subzero lounge and restaurant
44. 4Two - world's smallest restaurant - maximum of 2 guests only.

Cruise on Local Waters

45. Dhow cruise Dubai Creek / Bateaux Dubai dinner cruise
46. Dubai Canal cruise
47. Ride the Water Taxis
48. Abra
49. Cruise past The Palm, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Marina with The Yellow Boat

Discover Simple Nature

50. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary bird watching
51.  Desert safari at Al Marmoom
52. Watch a camel race, or ride one
53. Al Qudra Lake camping
54. Hatta Dam & Heritage Tour of Dubai's Mountain Town

Be Amazed with Fancy Buildings and Hotels

55. Burj Khalifa
Light show
56. Burj Al Arab
57. Atlantis
58. Maze Tower
59. Cayan Twisted Tower at Dubai Marina
60. JW Marriott Marquis - the world's second tallest hotel
61. The Gevora - the world's tallest hotel (as of Feb 2018)
62. Emirates Towers
63. Jumeirah Beach Hotel
64. Rolex Twin Towers in Deira
65. Dubai International Financial Centre
66. Business Bay Buildings
67. Jumeirah Lake Towers
68. Bulgari Residences
69. Palazzo Versace

Just Getting Around 

70. Dubai Metro
71. Dubai Tram at Dubai Marina
72. Dubai Trolley in Downtown Dubai
73. Palm Monorail
74. Hop-on hop-off Big Bus Tour

Take the road and sway by the creek - Dubai Wonderbus - the amphibious bus

Immerse in The Old Dubai

75. Shisha along Dubai Creek
76. Dubai Museum
77. Saeed Al Maktoum House
78. Heritage Village
79. Deira Clock Tower
80. Al Fahidi Historic District

Mushrif Park - T-shirts by Eternitee
Chill at the Open Parks

81. Burj Park at Downtown
82. Bay Avenue
83. Zabeel Park
84. Mushrif Park
85. Dubai Creek Park

Flyboarding in Dubai Marina
Be Adventurous in Water

86. Flyboarding in Jumeirah beach
87. Wakeboarding in Dubai Marina
88. Aquaventure, The Lost Chambers & Dolphin Bay in Atlantis
89. Try extreme water thrills and rides at Wild Wadi Waterpark
90. Yacht ride to The World Islands
91. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo + Cage snorkeling
92. Kite Surf at Kite Beach

Shop at these Unique Shopping Destinations
Dubai can easily beat New York, Paris or London as the world's best shopping destination. Malls, traditional and modern souks and popular bargain shopping centres are almost in the every corner of the emirate.

93. Citywalk Malls
94. Souk Al Bahar and Dubai Mall
95. Ibn Batutta Mall
96. Dubai Outlet Mall
97. The Outlet Village
98. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
99. Gold Souk and the Gold and Diamond Park
100. The Outlet Village, Jebel Ali

There you go! You have no excuses not to go out on weekends anymore. Plan ahead to spend more quality time with friends and family in different places. You don't really have to spend much also. Many of the places don't require you to splurge to enjoy.

--

More upcoming attractions are set to open this year, including the following iconic ones:

Madame Tussad's Museum in Blue Waters Island
Mohammed bin Rashid Library
Cityland Mall
Deira Night Souk
Aladdin City
Azizi Riviera


--

NOTE: Photos are source through Google Image search. Credits to their respective owners.

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I am grateful to be in the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf for the 3rd consecutive year.

As long as my stories have relevance to you, I won't get tired writing about these experiences and learnings from my typical day struggles and successes... the fun and the pun of life.
Boy Dubai will remain committed to changing perspectives one story at a time.

Team Illustrado Magazine, thank you for seeing the goodness in people and for promoting excellence in the community.


Mabuhay ang lahing Filipino! To God be the glory.
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I've done silly things in the past and I was stupid. I'm broke and I live in a dysfunctional world. I'm not perfect and at times I feel not deserving to be carrying out a sacred mission. I am a sinner. But with God's unconditional love and unending grace, he has made me WORTHY to carry on.
"Doing business with God" does not entitle us of a smooth sail. As they say, it's tough to live a real Christian life, albeit a doable one. Striving to live a righteous life is an everyday agenda. It's a joy to use our God-given rationale to discern things accordingly. While we are not spared from challenges and struggles, we allow ourselves to be lead by His direction so we would be equipped with the right principles and perspective in facing the tough road ahead.

I will continue to witness for the goodness and kindness of the Lord in my own challenge-filled life.

Philippians 2:13 says, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

I am worthy. We all are worthy.


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