Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Life in Kish Island, IRAN

For those of you who had been to Kish, I know that you have heard stories. Those stories were never pleasant to hear. I did not know that Kish Island is part of Iran. So I was shocked when news finally came to my senses. Anyway, my ticket was booked so there is no backing out. I am blessed to have my cousin with me as she also needs to exit the country in order for our companies to process our working visa.

My company paid for my ticket but I have to shoulder the rest of the expenses. It is a 30 minute flight from Dubai to Kish. The problem is there was a delay on my flight. I was scared and excited.

We bought some groceries to save some money. Our food together with our clothes were checked in. No package tape and grooming kit on hand carry bags. People from the airplane to Kish airport were not very accommodating, they don't seem to be happy people. We were asked to wear abaya before they stamp our passports. (Wearing abaya and head cover is very uncomfortable. Abaya dresses are free by the way.) There was already a bus transporting us to hotels.

Our first choice was Goldis Hotel. I know that some people wanted to stay in Farabi because it was just beside the ticketing office. As for us, we were advised to stay in Goldis because it was safer. Yes it is far from the ticketing office but we would rather pay 10dirhams for taxi and be safe. There are rumors about Venus and Farabi hotel which scared us. The bus stopped at Farabi hotel first which is already fully booked. A man came in the bus and asked for our passports. All our passports were handed to that man (I wished that he introduced himself and explained why he is taking our passports.) The next stop is Goldis Hotel.


My cousin Princess posing in front of the hotel.
The room rates.

Reward Card given in case you decided you wanted to come back.

The hotel seemed a safe place to be in. There is only one way in and out which is guarded by a security personnel 24/7. Rooms for the boys are on the left side of the building while the girls are on the right.

My cousin and I checked in and were assigned in room 319. We were 7 in that room but it was spacious enough for our things.

Our room

Vanity table and TV with cable.

Fridge on the side and clothes drying stand

 Things you might want to know about GOLDIS HOTEL:
  • We had to deposit 100 aed.
  • The first night of stay is free.
  • Hotel Fee is 40aed/day.
  • Bed sheet, comforter, pillow and pillowcase are taken from room 102. (Self-service yun. Ikaw kukuha mismo.)
  • Free breakfast everyday.
Breakfast served with tea
  • Wifi fee is 10aed/day, 50aed/week for 2 users (unstable connection but tolerable)
  • Kabayan housekeeping cleans the room everyday.
  • You can change your bed linens everyday. Just go to room 102. 
  • You can also ask for complimentary tissue sa room 102.
  • Pay phones are available near the reception.
  • Filipino food are served during lunch. Punta lang kayo agad before 12noon para kayo yung first choice sa food.
    • Rice : 5 aed -
    • Viand : 5-10 aed -
    • Water : 5 aed for 6 pcs 1 Liter bottles
  • Walang lutuan but sa room namin may rice cooker. Duon sila nagluluto. Pero we had to hide it because someone inspects the room everyday.
  • There are grocery shops nearby. Pede tumawad sa nagtitinda. Yung ibang tindero marunong magtagalog so be careful. Meron ding pizza and cake shop sa tabi nun.
  • Room is airconditioned. Pero we would often just open the window kasi malamig naman. Yung lamig ng hangin kapag magpapasko na sa Pinas yung pakiramdam.
  • You can wash your clothes and hang them dry. May sampayan yung room namin for wet clothes.
  • Room has fridge, tv and a vanity table.
Kish Tour
This is only 10 aed. Below are few photos from the tour.
On our way for the Kish tour

Things you may want to know about KISH
  • Ladies clothes should be long enough to cover the butt, arms and legs.

  • On your 13th day someone will knock on the door to ask you to fill up the form for the Iranian visa. On that day you will have to pay the 95 aed fee. 75 aed is the fee for the visa, 15 aed for the passport size picture. (May cover dapat yung head sa picture)
  • On your 14th day, you will go to immigration to process the visa. The process takes 3-4 days.
I was there for 23 days! My pocket money was 1000aed and that was not sufficient enough. My best friend, Lovely had to send money through Redha Al Ansari Exchange. It's best to send money through them because you only get charged 40 aed. I forgot which exchange we went for the money. ^_^ (They know which exchange, so just ask Redha.)  
My cousins and I looked for the Christian community that gathers in the morning for daily devotions.

I was thankful for their company which kept my sanity together. The devotions kept my faith together.

Some kabayan were left there by their companies. They were promised this and this but in reality they were not doing anything. That is why some ended up selling themselves in order to survive.
My favourite vendor in Kish. He knows some Tagalog words. So be careful.

Our new Chinese friends. Literally no English. Thank God for Chinese dictionary and internet.

My African brothers from the Christian Community.

Delicious bread from Kish which they will hand to you with their bare hands.

I have learned to cook Macaroni Soup because of scarcity.

Ice cream treat from kabayan's who received their visa.


This trip made me stronger mentally and spiritually. Stories of rape, prostitution and suicide are often the topic of gossips. Until now, I am thankful I got out there alive and unharmed.
 Remember that our GOD is GREATER than all problems.
NEVER EVER GO OUT ALONE! Rule of the thumb for fellow kabayans. Shoot me questions if you want to know more.
FYI. You will see a lot this in Kish.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leaving Philippines to work abroad

I have been wanting to work abroad for the longest time. Things that have happened in the past made me leave the country the soonest. It was hard to leave my friends and family including our dog, Chachi.

She looks sad without me.

A photo posted by Gracelen Ignacio (@graceyignacio) on

I have recently entered a new relationship, and it was especially hard for both of us. Who wants a long distance relationship, right? He knew I was leaving but what to do? I can't help it if I am irresistible. (LOL!)

But I was ready to leave no matter what. 
Thankfully I was with my cousins that day. We hurriedly entered the airport to avoid drama with our families. It was painful! But I know it will be worth it. 

While waiting for departure. Lalaine (girl with the longest hair), Princess (the girl on the middle) and of course me (girl on yellow green).
So it was my first time to ride an airplane. I get dizzy easily but it was not bad as I thought it would be.
Here's the food we got from PAL

Okay, I know some of you would like to know how much it cost. Well, we paid 30,000 PHP to cover everything. That amount covered our visa and ticket. I apologize I don't know how much were our visa and ticket exactly. My pocket money was 17,000+ pesos. We had our peso money converted to US dollars and have it changed to dirhams when we arrived in Dubai. If I am not mistaken we had 1,400 aed when converted.

Pieces of advise: 
1. Bring all your clothes, bags and shoes. I realized this late na. On my mind I thought I will buy na my stuff here. I sold most of my things back home to generate my pocket money. Tapos pagdating dito naisip ko hindi pala ako makakabili agad ng gamit ko dahil ang unang sahod ko ipapangbayad ng utang namin. Pero kung hindi ka naman nangutang eh di dito ka na lang bumili. Pero I tell you not everything here is cheap. There are times na may sale pero as for me hindi pa ako makabili dahil ang pera ko ay nakalaan sa pamasahe. So paulit ulit akong damit.

2. Have your TOR and diploma authenticated by UAE CONSULATE. Magpared ribbon muna kayo tapos pa-authenticate niyo sa UAE CONSULATE. Kami pinadala lang namin sa DHL. Sila na ang nagpapadala dun sa DUBAI CONSULATE CHORVA(hindi ko alam tawag). Medyo pricey yun. Nagbayad ata ako ng 1,700PHP. 7-10 working days ata yun. Important yun kasi yung big companies dito hinahanap yun.

3. Print out 20 pcs of passport size picture. Companies will ask for 8pcs na passport size picture kapag naprocess na yung visa niyo. Nagpaprint ako dito 30dirhams for 12pcs na picture. Wow! Grabe yun. Magkanu lang ang print sa atin.

4. If you have a laptop sa Pinas. Bring it with you because here you have to apply online especially the big companies. Pede rin magwalk-in to pass your resumes. They will call you once shortlisted. Don't be shy to ask how much yung offer before going for the interview so you don't waste your time. Some won't say how much it is though but better ask. 

*** Our pocket money weren't sufficient that we had to borrow money from our cousin. We had extended our visa which cost 900 aed. Kuya Joey (my cousin's husband) fetched us whenever we have interviews. We stayed in their place and they have provided our food for the rest of our stay. I can never imagine going here alone.

We went to pass resumes on nearby buildings.
So nothing is ever easy in life. We struggled to find a job that offers good compensation. Some companies would ask for UAE experience. People were telling me to grab whatever comes first and endure whatever job that is. But in my mind, I don't want to enter a job which I won't enjoy doing. I can't just quit here. I can be banned from this country.

Days passed by very quickly. My other cousins, Princess  and Lalaine has landed a job. There's only 1 week left before my visa expires. My cousins were asking me for news. I turned down a job which was offered by a prestigious company because the job location is in Abu Dhabi. I was losing hope.

Few days before I totally lose hope, the job I have been waiting for finally called and asked me to come in the office to discuss the job offer. ^_^ A heavy weight was lifted from my shoulder. I called my cousins right away and almost screamed. I was relieved!

Next up! Exit to Kish Island in IRAN! That is right! To be continued.........