The Filifina’s Dubai Dream

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Lots and lots of filipinas (pinays) are coming to Dubai everyday – on transit, visit or employment visa – each dreaming of not only seeing the beauty of this country but also to get a better opportunity in life.  Some fail, some succeed, but most just live and let live.

I have lived long enough and experienced well enough to share with you how a typical filipina live her life in Dubai.  I just hope that each will learn a lesson or draw strength from these experiences in order to cope with their own struggles.

An educated and well-mannered filipina may land a good job and be able to send money to her family.  But because of the way she normally carries herself (sexy dress, giggling, friendly),she is bound to attract guys good and bad alike.  The emotionally strong pinay may pick the good guy and have a good life.  The weak one will surely fall prey to the bad guy whose only motive is to get into her pants.  The emotional distress of relationship issues in Dubai is well-known.  Falling in love to either a filipino or foreigner is both a problem to her.  So many filipino men in Dubai are married but pretend to be single to ease their loneliness and get an easy way out of their financial problems.  Ever loving and nurturing as she is, the pinay would always give it all to her man hoping and believing that awaiting in Phils is a good life for them together.  Of course, some are fortunate enough to get a good pinoy guy who is really single, sincere and loyal.  But 4 out of 5 pinoys in Dubai fall to the first kind – the pretending ones. When a pinay falls in love to a foreigner, her life gets  no better either.  Most foreigners are just passing out time to filipina women as they have the reputation in Dubai of being “friendly” and “good” – descriptions that both extend to bed. The ones taken seriously are those who give the foreigners a hard time, who won’t enter a relationship without marriage, who would never go to a disco or hotel with a man other than her husband.  Unfortunately, only 1 out of 10 filipinas are like that.  Broken heart is a common thing in Dubai.  And most of the time a pinay’s relationship issue gives rise to her bad decisions in career and family too.  Broken relationships oftentimes mean broken careers and broken dreams.

There are some pinays who refuse to be fallen by these sad experiences.  They bounce back and pick up the pieces of their lives by remaining in Dubai.  You can expect these pinays to be more distant, more conservatively dressed and definitely more choosy of their friends.  It may not be in sync with our filipino culture but it survives them from the sad and harsh reality of Dubai life.  However, most pinays just go home and surrender to fate.

Househelpers are the greatest in number of filipinas in Dubai.  As we already know most of these pinays have fallen victims to illegal recruitment and end up miserably in this foreign land.  But even those who are lucky enough to land a good employment sometimes end up ruining their lives, not because of employment issues but of their personal way of life.  Filipinas are naturally fun loving.  They love going to discos, going out with friends and spending holidays with families and lovedones.  So when they are deprived of these natural tendencies, as most housemaids are, they run away and prefer to live an illegal life than stick it out with their employers.  This is truly a very sad thing. A cultural weakness that can’t be fully blamed.  Although it may not always be their reason for running away, it definitely adds up to their dramatic decision to do so.  Friends and family will surely be there to help them out but in the long run, it is still an individual’s struggle to live her life in Dubai.  So when time finally comes that she gets so burdened and left alone, this pinay resorts to activities which just seems normal to her as a filipina but is actually forbidden or “haram” in this country.  She sells liquors, cigarettes, drugs, or worst herself, just to get by.  She either ends up in jail or in a hospital.  Such is a sad fate borne out of a bad decision.

It is not always a dim world.  There are pinays who made it to the top by simply being themselves.  The educated, formal, talented pinay who may sometimes be an object of envy and greed of other pinays but will always rise up to her situation and prove to the world what a true pinay is made of.  She is such a pleasure to see, a joy to be with and definitely one we can always be proud of.

Dubai is a wonderful country with wonderful opportunities – only if you are strong enough and morally upright enough.

Experiences are there for us to learn not to bring us down.  So keep on.  Dream big.  Be the best you can be.

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a promise…

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What good is a blog if you’re not writing on it? i kinda feel that guilt tonight… i had this blog site for quite awhile but never been actively writing on it.  That is what’s about to change from tonight on…

a promise is made to be kept, so i will, inshallah

Proud to be a Muslim Pinay

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Converting to Islam is the hardest yet the best decision I ever made.  Being born to a family of devout catholics, I knew it won’t be easy to convince the people closest to my heart that I have found my home in the beautiful religion of Islam.  I even imagined them saying “it’s one of her rebellious stints again”.

I’ve always been a rebel, a non-conformist, a different person than what is usually expected of me.  Without intending to be deviant, I always find myself in that unpopular position where I always have to explain myself to people that matters.  But I never sold my conviction for want of being accepted.  Whether I’ve been right or wrong, I hold my ground and learn from the experience.  Living for what I believe is the soul of my existence.

It all began in Awir.  Sister Wafa was trying to teach Islam to a group of Pinays who in turn debated with her and they picked me to defend our christian belief.  I said my piece based on what I knew at that time, citing mostly the historical and political evolution of the Muslims, the war and hatred associated with their religion.  I earned the cheers and admiration of the catholic pinays.  And rebellious as I am, I formed my christian group in that Muslim-ruled establishment.  My intentions were clear – to unite the believing Christians in prayer and continue their belief in salvation from sin through Jesus (pbuh).  Crushing the Muslim’s faith in Islam was I thought the only way to liberate Arabs from their conservative way of life.  When my time has come to go out of Awir, a Muslim policewoman who became a friend and has patiently listened to my rants handed me a Quran.  She said she admired how I influenced people on my strong convictions and that she believes Allah has a special plan for me, and that I will be a Muslim one day.  I laughed but courteously accepted The Book which from that moment on was kept inside my luggage bag until after 7 months.

Then on the night of 9th September 2009, I pulled out my hidden Quran and read it page by page.  At some point, I cried while reading and I knew at that time a revelation has come to me.  I fought this awakening, too proud to admit that what I’ve always believed for 35 years of my life is not the right path.  At 2am, I remain wide awake.  Hoping to let go of what I was feeling I opened the internet hoping to chat with my friends, then voila, the Athan (call to prayer) banner ad of my computer program popped out in my screen.  My hand clicked on the link to another link to another link until I found myself in a live chat with an Imam from Saudi Arabia.  I poured in to him all personal questions  that I was too proud or too shy to ask.  At 4:00 am that same day I recited my “Shahada” and I cried and cried afterwards for reasons I can’t explain.  After awhile, I excused myself from the chat and took a shower longer than I usually do.  Only later was I informed that taking shower after shahada is really recommended for new muslims as a symbol of washing away all past sins. It came so true in my case.  I felt like a new person after the shower.  My life has never been the same after that day.  It turned completely upside down for the better.  All aspects of my life just started falling into their right places.

I am not saying here that conversion to Islam is a dramatic phase that will make all your dreams come true.  It is absolutely not.  But I am proud to say that Islam will make you understand yourself better, see the world clearer, know your Creator deeper – and that is the secret to a wonderful and fulfilled life.

Two years past that momentous night, I still can feel Allah’s wonderful embrace when I recited my Shahada.  It felt like home, like being back to my mother’s protective womb.  Islam liberated me from all my pains and fears and questions.  My friend is right, Allah has a special plan for me and that I am destined to be a Muslim.  Because this is who and why I was made for.

Inshaallah I will live as a good Muslim for the rest of my life, and that my children will see the beautiful life I have seen in Islam.

La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah!  Alahu Akbar!

Willie Revillame : The Good or The Bad?

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It’s all over the news in the Phils and is being discussed in most internet sites, the latest “Willie Revillame debacle” – the Jan Jan dance. I saw the controversial video and watched Willie’s last statement on Willieng Willie only last night and I can’t help but feel for the man. He’s projecting an image of flambouyance, arrogance and stubborness. But for one who’s gone through lots of storm myself, Willie is very visible to me. On that moment, he’s clearly a picture of a man who’s very sad, angry, and bewildered on how things went so swiftly from best to worst. Though I would have to credit him for trying his best not to appear weak and defeated.  In making the statement, Willie talks calmly and he’s clearly controlling his emotions, but one can discern between the lines his deep pain and anger for what this controversy told the people about him. For want of understanding he tried to appear in control, but evidently he no longer has a hold on his feelings, it became too much for him to hold.

Willie felt betrayed by the industry he served and by the colleagues he shared his life with in this Big Showbiz World. He felt manipulated by an ex-boss whom he had given millions of profit. He felt used by the sponsors who left him hanging on air at a time he needed them most. He felt defenseless by lack of friends who will stand up for him. He felt useless on the face of losing his show that will badly affect the staff he loves. But he cannot cry all these things out loud. The pent up feelings showed in another way.  He resorted to rhetorics to make his detractors feel guilty and bad. He sought validation for his good intention by citing good deeds and past pains.  This for me has overshadowed the fact that he did nothing wrong in that Janjan segment of the show.  Willie was able to make his TV comeback a success without bringing out “the truths” he said on that statement, and he did it good, so he should have just stick to it. He discussed more of his feelings than his predicament on the main issue.  And this is not the Willie I knew from long time.

The good Willie is one who will not let his left hand know what the right is doing for the poor. The good Willie is strong in his opinions without fear of losing his job or friends. The good Willie is fighting the issues head on without personal attack to the person who brought it afront. The good Willie is who we missed to see for quite sometime now.

But who can blame the man? He suffered one trauma after another without even a chance to recover and heal after each fall.  Not that he don’t want to, but that this Big Showbiz World never gave him the chance.

Unconventional to accept as it may, the bad Willie is created by the media and his political detractors. The bad Willie is created by the people who can’t be content seeing one man bringing joy and hope to millions of filipinos regardless of his ways being acceptable or not. The bad Willie is created by those of us who are quick to judge but slow to understand.

Every man has a good and bad side. And the harder we push the latter to come out, the easiest it would be to destroy the man. Put yourself in Willie’s shoes and maybe then you will learn to understand. I don’t like Willie in some ways too. I don’t even agree with his views, especially the political ones. But I do believe the man has a good heart. A good heart he’s trying to share in the best way he thinks possible – through Showbiz.   

I hope the two-week break of the show will give Willie the chance to dwell on the issues at hand and spare his emotions; to learn his lessons and see the beauty in himself; to trust that he has friends and supporters who may not be strong enough to publicly stand up for him but are always keeping him in their hearts; to believe that good intentions will always prevail.

I hope the good Willie will get through all these a better, stronger man.

 Inshaallah, he will find his way.

The Blog Path

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Whew, i just can’t seem to digest all that’s needed to get around this blog thing. I know it’s pretty much expected from a newbie like me, yet I can’t shake off the feeling that my technical ignorance will deter my success on this world. Pessimistic eh?… hopefully not.

Bloggers are just simply writers. People who need a medium to express their feelings, opinions, ideas and messages. Undeniably we all crave for readers, otherwise, what good is it to write online when you can just keep the traditional diary or journal. To be a successful blogger technical efficiency, if not expertise, is necessary to get to your target readers. And for that, I’d say the basic paper-pen tandem is more convenient for me. It’s a bit of a hassle getting my piece printed but a little help from contacts and use of phone is enough. In this blogging world I entered now, I need to push the right button and have the right links so I can get readers and subscribers. Am I to stop? Of course not. I’m here to face up to the challenge. In due time, I’ll get past this honeymoon stage and will be an expert blogger. If not, at least I tried, lol.

Here’s wishing me goodluck!.. 🙂

Filipina = housemaid

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We cried foul when the word “Filipina” was made synonymous to “housemaid”.  And yet, there’s no denying that it’s not too far from the truth.  A filipina, educated or not, grabs an opportunity to work abroad because there simply is no job in our country.  And efficient as she is, most employers would prefer a filipina maid over other nationalities for her cleanliness and ability to speak english.  As the demand grows, filipinas are becoming more convinced that it is the easiest if not the only option for them.  Nothing wrong with being a housemaid as it is a decent job.  Yet, we cried foul because we feel inferior and we just simply disregard the hard facts for our so-called dignity. 

As in most jobs, there are risks involved in the domestic help industry and, unfortunately, these sad stories are given more prominence in the media than the success of those who grew and moved on from being housemaids to admirable individuals.  I know for a fact that some of these housemaids who did remarkable and honest performances were given opportunities by their employers, go to school and eventually become a secretary and build her career up the ladder.  Some learned driving and would become personal assistants.  Some are lucky enough to be married to their employers after falling in love by constant companionship. 

The charm and intelligence of a filipina knows no bounds that I think if she just remain focused on her potentials instead of the dramas of her job, there will always be enough opportunities to turn her situation around.  On the other hand, a filipina’s lack of character because of her distorted culture is becoming a deterrence for her success.  Some filipinas, mostly the educated ones, accept a housemaid job only to get out of the country, but once they get to their destination and see the hardship of the job they signed up for they would run away or do stupid things instead of finding a way out of their employer’s sponsorship legally.  And when they’re on their own and no job can be found they will resort to stealing, prostitution, or drug dealing.  In the end, what she thought was a bad situation becomes her regret, and there’s no way back.

I’m not saying rhetorics here. I’ve met a lot of them, I’ve known their stories, I’ve seen how they evolved.  I’ve even seen some of them throwing away the best opportunities for the stupidest of reasons. You can help them, but there’s only as much you can do. It is still an individual’s decision and prerogative. 

Bottomline, sign up for a housemaid job if you accept the hardships that goes with it.  Be proud of who you are and what you do.  Do your job well, be honest, and pray hard for opportunities to improve your situation.  When things go wrong, seek help from the right people, exhaust the legal remedies, and don’t put yourself in a situation you’re sure to lose.