Freeman Cebu Business

Dubai ta bai!

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

Pardon the long absence but I had to do the “para sa ekonomiya” somewhere para sa ating kabuhayan. Lol!   

I have been to the UAE for many times already. I just appreciate it much better now when you immerse yourself in that place sans the tour guides to help you out. Of course, everyone knows the UAE and the imposingly stunning skyline she has in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

But more than just the captivating structures that have enthralled the world, UAE is everything in itself – whether you go shopping or just go around and learn about her history. In my past visits, they were a bit touristy or business-ty in a way because I usually stay no longer than a week. So I get to only visit those very popular sites – the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, The Palms, Gold Suok, the Miracle Garden to name a few.     

Being not the travelling type, I am not as excited as those who adventure a lot in far-away places.  And so whenever I’m abroad, I usually stick around where I stay and do a bit of walking at the parks or at a museum nearby or in a rickety store to hunt for bargains. But my recent trip in the UAE was a bit different this time. I was with my sister and an old friend who works in Dubai (Thank you Ms. Gracey Gabriel for getting us through the alleys and streets and the metro rail) to really understand what it takes to be a pedestrian, a commuter or a resident of the place itself.

Taking the Dubai Metro is one exciting ride to move from place to another aside from the fact that it is faster and cheaper to go around Dubai’s best destinations. It is also so unlike the metro rails we have here in the Philippines (of course), even compared to Hong Kong, Singapore or New York. It is very intuitive from the moment you step on to the station to the carriages. They also have cabins if you want a more private and comfortable seat. Alright, I am already impressed. But what was very impressive is when my sister lost her latest iPhone at the station in Burjuman. She only discovered it when we were already at the Dubai Marina where we were supposed to enjoy the Cayan Tower or popularly the Infinity Tower for its seemingly twisted design. It was really a spoiler as we were all absorbed on going back to find her phone before it got to the wrong hands.

As you know, if you are in a busy and public area, you can never be hopeful when you lost your things. Even in the US, don’t expect that you will recover your phone in any of their airports more so in a rail station like New York. And what a pleasant surprise, when we found that my sister’s phone was picked up by a very kind police officer. He smiled when he gave the phone back to my sister and said, “Nobody steals in my place.” Dubai is a very safe place 24/7. You can be confident to jog even in the wee hours of the morning. 

I hate malls. Seriously. I am probably among the few who prefer to be in the public market than go malling. Not that I don’t want to shop although I am not really so much of a shopper either. But one thing I hate about malls is that I don’t know my way around. I have no patience to ask around or read the directory. I don’t even know where those directories are.

Seriously as well, I have lived all my life in Cebu and I still do a lot of figuring-out each time I step into the malls or Ayala or SM City. But you know what, I can’t believe it myself that I was able to wander inside one of the world’s biggest mall – the Dubai Mall. One thing that makes the moving-around inside this mammoth of a shopping haven is again the intuitiveness of the design or the building. You will never get lost in the area because signs are everywhere to let you know where you are going or where you were. They have digital directories everywhere that you can just search practically all nooks and corners of the mall.

Thing is, at the Dubai Mall, high speed internet is FREE. You can also download their mall app and you are free to wander around to your feet’s liking. The thing that I like the most about the Dubai Mall is that it is connected to the Dubai Metro so from anywhere you are in the city, you always have the metro to get you there quickly without the traffic.

Finally, I would like to say that in all the places that I have been to in the world. It is Dubai that is closest to my heart because I feel like I am in the Philippines however in a more modern environment where there is no trash, less traffic and best of all, I see the industry of the Filipinos who are all up to one thing — to help their families back home. 

I will be back in Dubai again next month to meet more Filipinos and talk about what is in store for them in the Philippines today.

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