Chasing Sunsets in the Desert

Ever since I read about Fast Company’s article on Going Home at 5:30 Brings Talent a few days back, I made it a point to be out of the office at 5:30, too. It’s one big challenge for one who has made it a routine to stay up late at office. But then, there’s no harm in trying!

And because I succeeded in ‘punching out’ at 5:30 PM, for 2 of the 5 work days, I found a new activity on my drive back to the villa.  The lack of zoom lens and filters, and the nice clicks that comes from the gadgets of the shutterbugs didn’t stop me from chasing the sunset. Equipped with only my camera phone, here are the photos of the chase I made on the fleeting sunset.

Be blessed everyone!

“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When I admire the wonder of a sunset, or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.” – Richard Paul Evans
“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under.” – C. JoyBell C.
“Every sunset gives us one day less to LIVE But Every sunrise gives us one day more to HOPE.” – Ritu Ghatourey
“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.” ― Elbert Hubbard
“I have a stalker, a beautiful one: the sunset. Every day she’s there, watching me, whether I watch her or not.” ― Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title
“And yet day and night meet fleetingly at twilight and dawn,” he said, lowering his voice again and narrowing his eyes and moving his head a quarter of an inch closer to hers. “And their merging sometimes affords the beholder the most enchanted moments of all the twenty four hours. A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.” ― Mary Balogh, A Summer to Remember
“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color — oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…” – Anna Godbersen
“Keep looking up! I learn from the past, dream about the future and look up. There’s nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a healthy day.” -Rachel Boston
“Even the most beautiful days eventually have their sunsets.” – Unknown Author
“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” – Carl R. Rogers

“Life is all about enjoying every sunset and looking forward for the next Sunrise.” - Sandeep Shergill.


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Jeddah Owns 2014 Guinness’ for World’s Tallest Flagpole

A view of the world’s tallest flagpole at the King Abdullah Square in Jeddah during its launching that coincided with the celebration of the 84th Saudi National Day, 23 September 2014. (Photo Credit |

Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, 24 September 2014

As thousands of green and white flags were waved yesterday in the different cities and regions across the kingdom in celebration of the 84th Saudi National Day, a giant flag, 49.5 meters long, 33 meters wide, 1,635 square meters (an area equal to half of a football field) and weighs a whooping 570 kgs, was hoisted and unfurled last night at the 171-meter pole before thousands of Saudi Nationals and expatriates. The 26,000 square meters King Abdullah Square along the intersection of Andalus Road and King Abdullah Road now stands as a monumental landmark for the city of Jeddah as it is the seat of the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s tallest unsupported flagpole.

The King Abdullah Square on the intersection of Andalus Road and King Abdullah Road became a monumental landmark for the city of Jeddah as it is home to the world’s tallest flagpole. (Photo Credit | Saudi Gazette)

The flagpole project is the first of its kind and magnitude in the Kingdom in terms of design and construction. Trees and plants cover an area of 9,000 square meters.

The flagpole is surrounded by 13 special lights representing the 13 governorates of the Kingdom. The area around the pole includes a representation of the emblem of the Kingdom: two 75-meter-long swords and an 85-meter palm tree covering the entire area of the square. It is said to be the largest emblem in the country.

The flagpole is made from 500 tons of steel in a cylindrical shape with sufficient width to accommodate the service units of the project, and allow workers to climb to the top for maintenance. It is equipped with an automatic hoisting system, advanced cameras, and a system for measuring wind speed and a lighting system for important occasions.

The system has also incorporated a unit to gauge the wind direction and speed, atmospheric humidity, volume of rain and for the aircraft-warning light. Other units have been added to absorb the shock of the flutter and ensure the stability of the pole, which is claimed to be fire resistant.

Previous Guinness Book of Records Holders

The most recent Guinness Book of Records holder for the tallest unsupported flagpole was Tajikistan. Rising 165 meters (541 ft 4 in) in the air, the world’s tallest flagpole landed Tajikistan in the Guinness Book of World Records in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 24 May 2011, just in time for their nation’s 20th anniversary of independence.

The race for the World’s Tallest Flagpole started when Abu Dhabi constructed a 123-meter flagpole in 2002. This feat had ignited a serious case of what was known as the international “flagpole war”.

In 2003, the 126.8-meter flagpole was built  in the Jordanian capital of Amman.  It was also reported that Jordan began work on another flagpole in 2004, in the port city of Aqaba which was an even taller one at 131 meters.

In 2008, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan held the record with 133-meter high flagpole. With 162 meters flagpole, Baku, Azerbaijan took the record in 2009 but in 2011 the record went to Tajikistan which held the record for the tallest flagpole in the world until 2014.

Guinness World Records Certificate
The certificate from the Guinness Book of Records recognizing the Jeddah  flagpole as the tallest in the world. (Photo Credit | Arab News)

The following texts are written in the Certificate:

“The tallest unsupported flagpole measures 171 m (561 ft)  and was erected by the Jeddah Municipality & Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 23 September 2014.”

Officially Amazing

Record Holder

Thus, the giant flagpole in Jeddah has been recognized as a world record by the Guinness Book of Records.

The official adjudicator from the Guinness Book of Records,  Pravin Patel declared: “The pole fulfills all the specifications required to deserve the record.”  He praised the Jeddah Municipality and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) for overseeing the successful project.

Flagpole Construction Project

The Abdul Lateef Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI), undertook the national landmark project in collaboration with the Jeddah Municipality using the world’s latest technology with the objective of dedicating it to the king and marking his return to the Kingdom after successful treatment abroad. The Project was conceived by the ALJCI president  and presented to the Jeddah Municipality Mayor.

The landmark project started on Oct. 16, 2012. The pole was reported to be manufactured in Tunisia while the steel was imported from countries including Germany, Italy, South Korea and Holland.

Local newspapers reported that ALJCI bore the cost of the project, since the organization’s formation is involved in promoting Arab arts and culture in the Middle East and around the world. ALJCI also works against the unemployment epidemic and has successfully promoted positive social change.

The World’s Tallest Flagpole standing proud as the Saudi flag was raised at the King Abdullah Square in Jeddah during the 84th Saudi National Day on September 23, 2014. (Photo Credit | Arab News by Faiq Farooq)
A giant Saudi flag hoisted onto the world’s tallest flagpole that entered the Guinness Book of Records during celebrations to mark the 84th Saudi Arabian National Day (Photo Credit | STR/AFP through ).

Enjoy watching some of the video clips of last night’s national milestone. :-)

In the 80s and 90s, Jeddah held numerous world records, most of which no longer hold their respective records anymore. Currently, Jeddah has two – The King Fahad’s Fountain, the tallest fountain in the world and the Jeddah Flagpole.

As what is written in the Guinness World Records Page,

Records change on a daily basis and are not immediately published online. So while the euphoria is still high, let’s all revel and delight in the title before another country wage another “flagpole war” and snatch that Guinness World Record title. :-)

On the other hand, let’s all hope to see Jeddah break more Guinness World Records in the future.

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Celebrating 10 years of my life’s journey in the desert…


It’s hard for me to believe, but today marks my 10th year in Saudi Arabia and my 10th year working at the National Aquaculture Group (formerly the National Prawn Company). In some ways, it seems like only yesterday when my wife (upon her insistence) dropped me at NAIA Terminal 1 with mixed feelings of excitement and jitter in my heart. All I knew was that I was travelling to work for just one contract of 2 years in the world’s largest fully integrated desert aquaculture project. I wasn’t conscious about my position or work status as I was charmed with the thought of working in one of the best aquaculture company. Armed with almost 20 years of experience in shrimp culture and operation and my academic background in Fisheries Business management from the premier university of the country, I knew I would have what it takes to be a star aquaculturist. But during my recruitment interview with the GM (now the CEO of the Company), he already made it known that he was going to hire me not for a technical position but for another role. I was uneasy because I signed a contract that designated me as Coordinator for Grow Out Logistics and Coordination, a new field for me.

Ten years ago today, I flew in to Saudi Arabia as a newbie with a freshly-learned supply chain and logistics management theories in my head and jitters in my heart; I was nervous about how to deliver my KPIs and terrified about whether I could add value to my work! That mixed feeling prevailed even more when I learned that my designation was Manager and not a Coordinator. It wasn’t long before the jitters left, my nerves subsided and I was delivering my KPIs. Within 2 years, I was promoted as Head of Department, a position which I still hold until today but in three different departments with different fields of expertise.  It hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but after 10 years of working with remarkable people and enjoying the immense satisfaction of contributing to the Company and helping employees explore and discover a more meaningful life in the desert, I feel truly blessed.

My 10 years at the desert coast by the Red Sea wouldn’t have been possible without the help of divinely ordained people in my life. I want to say thank you to my wife and my children for encouraging and cheering me on, to my friends, and everyone who helped me reach this milestone. Thank you to my incredible bosses, colleagues and my staff in the industry for their wisdom and support. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey; you have inspired me with your courage, dazzled me with your brilliance and honored me with your trust.

Most importantly, all praise and glory to the Almighty God.

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Thoughts, insights, musings, anecdotes, experiences and reflections of a Filipino expatriate and his family at the desert coast by the Red Sea…

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