Thursday, October 30, 2008

September 9, 2007

Pinoys in Middle East ‘observe’ Ramadan
09/09/2007 11:59 PM

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Filipinos in the Middle East find the Ramadan, Holy month for Muslims, an opportunity for self-renewal and a time to nurture mutual respect and understanding among communities regardless of religious beliefs.

Filipino expatriates in Muslim countries also observe Ramadan in various ways and prepare themselves for Ramadan festivities.

Robert Constantino, Philippine National Bank business manager for the Western Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said "as a Christian I see Ramadan as a wonderful experience. I admire how Muslims devote their time in renewing their faith. The atmosphere in Ramadan is festive and, of course, my time of work is flexible because transactions are done at night."

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Welfare Officer Romy Pablo who just arrive in the Middle East last May is excited for the Ramadan. As a first timer, he wants to see how Muslims do fasting. He was told that during Ramadan, food is abundant and there are many activities. “There will be more people going out and I expect heavy traffic at night," Pablo said.

Jonnil Albano, who works for El Maghraby in Jeddah, said he loves the month of Ramadan because of the festive atmosphere that pervades in the month-long celebration. “Ramadan is a time for shortened work hours (seven hours instead of nine), bonuses and enough time to do personal things," Albano said.

Alma Manaloto, a dependent of an OFW, said she does not see any difference in her life during Ramadan because she just stays home. “What I know is Ramadan is a time for love, patience and sharing," she said, adding that she likes Ramadan because it affords people to have more time for family due to shortened time of work. Ramadan, which begins on September 13, is the ninth month in the Muslim Calendar, which is believed to be the time Prophet Muhammad first received the Koran from heaven.

During Ramadan, Muslims show dedication to their faith through fasting and praying. They abstain from any food, drink and sexual activities from dawn until sunset. - Bong Concha, GMANews.TV

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