Dubai: Long motorcycle ride, out-of-town trips, staycations, movie marathons, bonding with family, friends and pets, training for an international competition — these and more are how Filipinos in the UAE are planning to spend the long Eid holiday.
As many UAE residents are gearing up for a six-day long break — starting on Monday, July 19 (Arafat Day), until Saturday, July 24 — Dubai resident and professional photographer Chris Calumberan, 41, is finalising the route and pit stops for a 200km motorcycle ride with friends Dennis, Edison, Mitch and Rainier. He said their five-men crew, called ‘Tambutso’ riders in Filipino, will have an exciting road trip on two wheels from Dubai to the Hatta-Oman border this Eid.
“We usually ride around the Mleiha area in Sharjah, covering 150 to 250km on an average. This Eid will be another adventure. Going on a road trip is not only fun, it is also a healthy hobby and beneficial to our mental health. But, of course, whenever we go for a ride, we always make sure that safety is our priority,” Calumberan told Gulf News.
Time with friends and pets
For Lerma Landaos, 40, who works as an office manager, the long holiday is perfect to reconnect with friends and bond with pets. She said: “We look forward spending this Eid holiday with friends whom we have not seen for quite some time. This is really a good opportunity to catch up and spend time enjoying each other’s company. And since international travel still seems a bit of a hassle, the next best thing to do is to go to other emirates for a quick getaway. Ras Al Khaimah is our choice as there are pet-friendly hotels and accommodations, plus beach and pool options are available for both humans and dogs to enjoy.”
Belinda Morel, 38, and family will be wearing matching floral summerwear as they head out for a family staycation at one of the theme-park hotels in Dubai.
The cabin crew and Dubai resident said: “We’re a big family. Having my two sisters with their families here in the UAE, our total is 13. And we always make any occasion a grand celebration. We will make the best out of it (holiday) and enjoy what UAE has to offer. We’re planning a staycation at a resort with lots of activities for the little ones.”
Staycation with baking sessions
A short staycation at The Palm Jumeirah is also on the mind of Nouel Omamalin, 45, a pastry chef and entrepreneur. He told Gulf News: “The long Eid holiday is a welcome breather for me as a busy entrepreneur. I missed self-care and bonding with my mates. So this time around, I’ll have a mini staycation at The Palm Jumeirah. And for sure, there will be fun baking sessions with my best buddies aside from taking a dip in the water when the sun is down. And to top it all, I’ll be sleeping for longer hours for sure. Don’t we all deserve that?,” he added.
For Hashim Guinomla, catching up on blockbusters, TV series and going on road trips to secluded places are on top of the list. “We will also play the usual board games (Monopoly, Scrabble, etc.) as we prefer to have more time indoors with the family and also to share with my children what I used to do during my childhood years,” Guinomla added.
“Of course, we will join in prayers on the day of Eid Al Adha and, to keep ourselves fit, we will have early-morning or late-afternoon swimming, walking or cycling,” he continued.
Dubai resident and human resources professional Robie Torre Gonzales will treat her 22-year old daughter Isabel to a post-birthday celebration at a beach hotel in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). “My two nieces, aged three and eight years, will come along so it will be an all-female bonding,” said Gonzales.
“The kids will probably go swimming until they’re exhausted. As for me, since it’s RAK, I will go on a tour of the city to visit tourist spots and immerse in local culture,” she added.
Fun without breaking the bank
For Susan Francisco, a financial adviser, having fun does not mean burning a hole in one’s pocket or breaking the bank. She said: “We will spend the long break to have fun and do more physical activities like bowling and volleyball, while the men will play basketball. We will also go to different beaches, but we will ensure we practise social distancing and wear face masks when not swimming.”
Meanwhile, Filipino triathlete Romeo III Tumayao Puncia, will take advantage of the long break to train and prepare for the gruelling Ultraman World Championships, to be held at the end of November in Kona, Hawaii.
Covering a total distance of 515km, the three-day elite competition will require each participant to complete a 10km open-ocean swim, a 421km bike ride and an 84km ultra-marathon run.
Romeo, who is also a frontline medical worker based in Al Ain, is one of the select 40 athletes who qualified for the World Championships, representing the UAE. “I will have an intense training with friends during the Eid break. We are doing this because we want to inspire the community to get involved in fitness activities and live a healthy lifestyle,” Puncia explained.