This article never saw print. Few days after I did this interview in his office, Dubai-based entrepreneur Angelo Timbol passed away. This time, I feel privileged to post his inspiring story, which to my mind, is so far the last story written of the man highly regarded by the Filipino community leaders in the United Arab Emirates as their “angel” and hero.
The man behind Jetty Trading LLC said after his stay overseas, he intends to devote full time to farming. Angelo Galang Timbol established the Capas OFW Agriculture Multipurpose Cooperative in Tarlac as a way of returning the favors and blessings he had received the past years.
“I feel we should give something back. I have served my family and the Filipino community in UAE. It’s time for me to serve our country through farming,” said Angelo who wishes to be a model to all returning OFWs.
“It is my humble wish to be simply known as a returning OFW who continue to invest in agriculture. We must encourage those who have worked abroad and those who are still overseas to set aside percentage of their earnings to something valuable.”
His Family’s Angel
At 61, has been widely acknowledged for accomplishing much. Coming from a very poor family in Angeles City, Pampanga, he worked hard to succeed in life. He was 22 when his father passed away in 1974. Young and vibrant, he took the responsibility of helping his mother raiseD his three brothers and eight sisters. He also had to work to pay for his university education – as Accounts Clerk from 1971 to 1973 with the Deang, Giron and Associates, an audit firm.
He worked his way to become a Junior Accountant from 1974 to 1975 then, as Senior Accountant and Partner from 1976 to 1980. In 1974, he was engaged in the buy and sell business of sugar. He established his firm Sugar/Molasses Trading in Pampanga, a venture which ended until 1980. He attended the Angeles University Foundation and Republican Central Colleges where he earned his degree in Business Administration major in Accounting in 1975.
Opportunities to work abroad came in the 1980s when a friend broke the news that Filipinos are being hired for Dubai, a place he had no idea then. He applied and even forgot about his application. Months after, he was told to come to Manila for he and dozens of Filipinos were scheduled to fly. Anxious about his fate abroad, he accepted the offer with reluctance but with confidence and faith that somehow his life would change into better, a dream he never took for granted since childhood.
He left for Dubai in 1981 as Project Accountant of McDermott International, a marine construction firm, and worked for 15 years until 1996. In 1992, he took over the Technical Garage, a car repair shop which was sold to him by a friend during the Gulf war.
The Birth of Jetty
In 1996, he launched Jetty Oilfield & Marine Supply after suffering a mild heart attack that required a year of sick leave. “I took a one year medical leave in 1995 as I had no other better alternative then. It was very difficult.”
I realized then that while working for a private firm in Dubai for the last 15 years has been very rewarding, it cannot complement my ardent desire to come hand in hand with the stability of my family’s future. I have always thought of my children’s education and the financial assistance I would be very happy to give to my extended family.”
From 2001 to 2003, he put up the Jetty Industrial and Safety Supply in Angeles, Pampanga and in 2002-2004, he was into sports uniform manufacturing via Polo Fashion in Dubai. In 2003, he was forced to shut down his workshop as per advice of his doctor to lie low on working too hard or else face the consequence of bypass heart operation. But he was happy in the thought that his family has now become independent.
“I heeded the idea of my physician for a business shift – from my current profession to something less stressful. I utilized my significant experience in marine construction and knowledge of the local market. I spent sleepless nights when I did extensive research prior to the execution of my long cherished dream to set up a supply chain.”
The rest is history for Jetty Trading LLC came into existence.
Fruits of Labor
Growing up in Dubai under him and his wife Myrna, his four children –Michael, Oliver, Princess and Myrangeli – now enjoy their respective careers. Angelo says he is now truly fulfilled. He plans to retire and eventually return to Philippines soon when everything is in place.
His ongoing projects in Tarlac include JettyVille Park Resorts and JettyVille Subdivisions. Poverty remains the rallying factor in his desire to improve his family’s status. Since 1983, he has been slowly acquiring properties in the Philippines and developed the vacant lots into farms.
“I planted mahogany and other fruit bearing trees like mango because I believe that while we are abroad, these trees shall continue to grow even in our absence. We also planted corn and vegetables. I utilized also portions of the land for cattle raising. I employed trusted people in the neighborhood to take care of my farm while I’m away.”
For him, by being productive in agriculture, OFWs will be able to help the government in addressing poverty and unemployment while at the same time attending to the demands for affordable agricultural products. “We not only provide opportunities to our neighbors to earn a decent living. During harvest time, we can be a source of cheap foods for our community. We can provide the market with a year-round, steady supply of chickens and meat. Thus, we should make use of our resources to attract the interest of other OFWs in farming.”
“It would take me long to realize my aspirations as a farmer. But at least, I did go back to the basics few years back. We can always wait for the right time to pick the fruits of our labor. For the time being, I shall enjoy the company of my grandchildren for eggs hunting and fishing for fresh tilapia in my backyard.”
Following the route that brought success to Angelo, it’s our time to shine.
o0o —————– o0o
THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique. While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.