OFW releases book on Filipino achievers in Dubai


DUBAI – A migrant worker based in Dubai recently released a book about 36 Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. 

At the formal book launch held at the Asiana Hotel. the author, Ulysses V. Espartero said the book carries the title Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold. It features 36 uplifting stories of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) whose shining example, inspiring dedication and excellent performance in their respective fields have helped shaped their communities and the nation.

Espartero stressed they are fine exemplars of how courageous Filipinos and expats in UAE should become on the verge of challenges. “They share one thing in common – a firm belief that there’s no barb wires in the desert of gold in attaining the wildest dreams captured by their imaginative minds. Truly, they’re record-breakers and their true stories are worth writing. Hence, this project came to reality. I would like to believe that all the persons who were featured here are all stars in their own right. They had to struggle to shrug off challenges and make a mark on society. They overcame the odds to etch good name for themselves.”

Espartero added that a quarter of the Filipino community may have failed yet the greater portion managed to emerge victorious. There are those who have persevered and realized that this desert of gold provided them opportunities to excel. They shine beyond the imperfections, the adversities and realities of our mortal life.


Take the cases of Jorhie Alban- Ben Rejeb, an award-winning global communicator who worked as fast food crew to earn a college degree; Wafa R. Kasimieh, a Muslim convert who finds meaning in helping her compatriots; Vagelyn T. Federico, who hurdled the hardships of exiting to Kish 13 times and now works as Director of Human Resources at Dusit Thani Dubai; and, Mario B. Cardenas, an international photographer who craved for toys in his childhood and find it in a Nikon camera years later.


Vagelyn Tumbaga-Federico, HR Director of Dusit Than Dubai, shares her inspiring story during the book launch

Their struggles and victories are highlighted in a 146-page coffee table book  released by the Al Hilal Printing, Publishing and Distribution LLC. These 36 distinguished Filipinos in the book are Engr. Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, Raquel C. Ignacio-Aquino, Rosie Punzalan-Aquino, Richmond D. Austria, Engr. Lilian S. Bautista, Jorhie Alban-Ben Rejeb, John Jay M. Borja, Mario B. Cardenas, Irene P. Corpuz, Liezl M. Quiliza-Cruz, Anna Marie M. Dawis, William “Boyet” B. Damot and Laarni de Leon-Eugenio.

Also on the list are Vagelyn Tumbaga- Federico, Laurence Anthony A. Garduce, Albert C. Gayo, Wafa R. Kasimieh, Wella C. Mañabo, Atty. Vanessa Joyce I. Monge, Joel N. Nedamo, Amabella S. Ong, Harold G. Orona, Geoffrey D. Panganiban, Lou Olvido-Parroco and Engr. Jethroefel M. Ramboyong. Included are Alexie T. Rieza, Gabriel John D. Rimando, Dr. Dennis J. Rotairo, Roy C. San Buenaventura, Dr. Kim C. Sarmiento, Marianne Y. Silloriquez, Rufino E. Sulit, Jr., Sahron Roy R. Tamano, Josefino “Joey” B. Tiberio, Angelo G. Timbol and Ronalyn B. Vargas.


Engr. Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi (left), CEO of Geosciene Testing Laboratory, beams with pride as she holds her copy of the book with Consul Giovanni Palec (right).

In her introduction, Nemia Macabugao-Puyot, said that today, more than ever, UAE-based Pinoys are praised for being diligent, competent and energetic – qualities, according to a former Philippine leader, “worthy of becoming great goodwill ambassadors of their country.” “I truly admire the hardworking Filipinos. You can never tell how far they have gone. Hence, we continue to explore avenues through which we will be able to recognize them. Their sacrifices are being honored with the timely release of this project for we believe that an accolade such as this is a wonderful way for the Filipino community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices, they have made.”

Meanwhile, Atallah Muhammad Habib emphasized that these unsung heroes deserve every kind of recognition, not just for their remarkable contribution to the economy, but also for setting a positive image for all Filipinos not just in the UAE, but also in other parts of the world. “I’m honored to endorse and publish the work of Mr. Ulysses V. Espartero, who made a tremendous effort traveling, meeting, and collecting materials and contents to craft this masterpiece. I am grateful for the time and endeavor he took to communicate OFWs’ experiences and achievements to inspire others.”

The book author expressed his profound gratitude to the publisher and his esteemed partners, His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi and His Excellency Saqer Abdullah Al Marri, for honoring Filipinos with this book.

Read More: ‘Desert of Gold’ features Filipino leaders in UAE in Rappler

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