Last Updated on June 5, 2020 by asoulwindow
This is the brief story of a Filipino migrant living in Dubai, Unites Arab Emirates.
I used to pass the kiosk of the famous chain SMS Restaurant and Confectionary at Al Rigga Station (They sell cakes, snacks and meals at metro stations of Dubai) every day. The affordable Mayfair Hotel in Dubai where I stayed for 3 days was close to Al Rigga, so my day used to start and end at the Al Rigga station. I visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi during Ramadan which meant, I could not consume food and water in public till evening, usually around 7 p.m. The sight of samosas stocked in the kiosk was irresistible after a long day of exploring the city, fueled by closeted consumption of food and water.
The kiosk sold tempting Indian food such as samosa, kachori, curries etc. I was addicted to their huge and delicious samosa. I would break my forced fasting with a samosa every day. I later learnt it is owned by an Indian, hence the authentic taste.
Repeated visits to the kiosk resulted in building a rapport with the kiosk attendant, Cheryl Laggui, a Filipino girl who would go out of the way to serve the customers with a sunshine smile. On the last day, I couldn’t help but strike a conversation beyond hellos.
She was busy as usual handling the shop single handedly. When I requested to talk to her, she readily agreed with her ever ready smile.
Below are the excerpts of our conversation
Me, “How many years you have been working in Dubai?”
Cheryl, “I am from Manila, capital of Philippines. In Dubai, going 8 years. Before I am working in Abu Dhabi for 3 years, then I transferred here in Dubai. Same business; food business. Too much Filipino people here. Because here you saw so many Filipino, so it feels like home. (sic)”
Me, “ Do you miss your home in Manila?”
Cheryl, “ I live here with friends. I have no family here. I am friends with people of Philippines as well as other countries. I don’t miss home much. You know there is internet so you feel connected. “ (sic)
Me, “So How long are you planning to stay in Dubai?”
Cheryl, “Maybe after I finish my contract here? I don’t know if we have to renew, it depends upon the company.”
Me, “So how often do you go to Manila?”
Cheryl, “Once in 2 years, I go home. The company gives us a free return ticket every 2 years. Besides, I am very busy here. I work 9 hours daily and I have once a week off. “
Me, “When do you plan to return to Philippines forever?”
Cheryl, “I am not married yet. I am not sure if I would want to go back to Philippines even after marriage. Because you know the salary here is good rather than Philippines. “
I could barely talk to Cheryl for 5 minutes when a customer showed up at her kiosk. She’s busy, hardworking and knows how to stay cheerful under pressure. She quickly but politely tears herself away from the conversation and takes the order. This quintessential Filipino quality makes them one of the largest migrant communities in Dubai along with Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.
Out of approximately 7,00,000 Filipinos who work in UAE, 4,50,000 live and work in Dubai alone representing 21.3 % of Dubai’s population. At 7.8 million migrants, UAE had the fifth-largest international migrant population in the world. Filipinos in Dubai work in the field of construction ,telecommunications , real estate, retail, design engineering ,hospitality, architecture, cargo shipping, energy, IT industry, marketing, medicine and even as domestic helps.
Spread the love, share this blog
Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.
Email me for collaboration: [email protected]
Be a part of my journey on social media. The travel content I create there is different from this blog.
WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE TEXT SHARED HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.
Top Travel Blogger from India
18 thoughts on “#MyGrationStory of a Filipino living in Dubai.”
Pingback: HINDU FESTIVALS – WHAT HOLY DIP IN MAHAKUMBH AND ARDHKUMBH IN PRAYAGRAJ MEANS! | A Soul Window - Top Travel Blog from India!
Pingback: SHOPPING GUIDE TO SRI LANKA- SOUVENIERS, GEMS, MEDICINES, TEA AND MORE. | A Soul Window - Top Travel Blog from India!
Pingback: OFFBEAT, ADVENTUROUS & THRILLING SAND DUNE BASHING AT MLEIHA, SHARJAH, U.A.E. PLUS 65000 BILLION YEARS OLD FOSSILS! | A Soul Window - Top Travel Blog from India!
Pingback: GAMES FOREIGNERS PLAY AT THE PUSHKAR FAIR, RAJASTHAN. INCREDIBLE INDIA! | A Soul Window - Travel Blog from India!
Pingback: PORTRAITS & STORIES OF INTERESTING PEOPLE I MET IN PUSHKAR FAIR, RAJASTHAN. INCREDIBLE INDIA! | A Soul Window - Travel Blog from India!
This story reminded me of my many Phillipino friends in UAE. They sure were a cheerful lot and very hard working too. Like us, they too had moved here for better prospects. They are also very polite people and it is just that which makes them so attractive and charming. Well captured through this tale
Interesting post. Loved reading about the life and times of the Filipino migrant. I am always fascinated to read stories about people who migrate to other countries in search of opportunities. I always associate a strange pathos with such stories.
That’s a beautiful, touching post! Interacting with locals, will definitely bright out such gems of human beings! To visit the family once in 2 years would be so difficult! Btw, I’d love to taste those samosas too!
It must be hard for some of these migrant workers to leave their countries, families and friends behind and go to a foreign country to make a better life for themselves. I have nothing but respect for anyone who does this, and it’s good to see that Cheryl is always smiling!
The story is touching. It’s like someone’s heart is poured out here. I know people like her who have to even leave their families apart and travel to far off places like Dubai in search of better income. That , for once, makes me feel the world is also a harsh place to live in.
Looks like you are fairing well in Dubai. I am sure you miss some of the aspects of where you are from but never hurts to take the plunge and go on a new adventure!! Love it.
After travelling for months in the Philippines I have to admit recognise some culture expects here. The photo with the teddy bears is great, it tells a lot. Once in 2 years going home, that is a long time.
It is always interesting to see why people choose to leave their homes and how they start new ones. Fortunately, we have the internet these days to stay connected if we miss people. It’s encouraging to know one can build a life somewhere else if they want.
Interesting post. I know there a lot of Filipinos living in Dubai along with many people from South Asia. I’ve heard a lot of heartwarming stories about some fellow Sri Lankans living there, too. Kudos to her amazing hardworking ability and always treating customers with a smile.
Very interesting post. I didn’t realise how many people migrate to the UAE, nevermind Dubai alone! was a very interesting read 🙂
Before coming to Dubai I was not knowing much about Filipinos. But after living here I really love their smiling attitude. I don’t know whether they get angry also as I always see them smiling and never tired. That is why they are most wanted here as they are very much customer friendly people. Here they are mostly occupying front desk jobs. Great write up about the life of people who are involved in our daily lives.
The story of migrants are always fascinating
Fascinating post! I didn’t know that food had to be covered in shops during Ramadan. I also had no idea that there are 7 million Filipinos working in Dubai! That must be a fairly recent development, as I don’t recall seeing that many Filipinos there in 2008.