Ryan Barbadillo Antonio is in charge of the web merchandizing at Souq.Com in Dubai. He has been with the company for one year and 6 months now. He’s also a photographer and volunteer instructor of OHSEC Pinoy Group.
In 2005, he began his journey as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). His first work in Dubai was into the food and beverage industry. He has been overseas for 11 years now.
“I come from a humble family. Becoming a better person is the turning point in my life that pushed me to work abroad knowing well that I can provide a good life for my family. This is what made me endure all the hardships of being an OFW. Living thousand miles away from home is the hardest part, most especially when there comes a time that you have problems and you feel so alone.”
“The good thing, however, is we get to meet friends along the way. With my long stay here in Dubai, my friends became my extended family. It’s good to know that you have someone you can depend and talk to. Lots of birthdays and holidays spent with my family has been missed, but I need to persevere and keep in mind that they are depending on me.”
Ryan was born in1980 in Castillejos, Zambales. While he comes from a broken family, he finds joy in looking back at how their mother single handedly raised them to be good citizens. “I salute my mom for sending five of us to school.”
His mother, Generosa Antonio is now on her retirement in San Diego, California. His siblings are Joel, Devorah, Zipporah and Jonadab.
“My family is a great influencing factor for me to strive hard. I know that when I get old, we will have something to look back and face the future with confidence.”
Life as OFW
“One great lesson I learned as an OFW is that it is very hard to be away from our loved ones and our native land. But I know that this is the best way I can be of help to my family.”
As a volunteer instructor of photography classes offered by OHSEC Pinoy Group, Ryan said he is inspired by the enthusiasm of his students to excel. “Napakasarap ng pakiramdam ang nakakatulong tayo sa iba.”
He admits that he’s not that popular but he has no plan of telling the world what he does for his compatriots. “Ang pagtulong sa kapwa ay di naman dapat sinasabi yan. There should never be an end to our desire of helping our fellow beings.”
Shooting for the stars
Ryan took seriously photography for more than two years now. While he’s new to this career, he plans to do more and achieve not only for himself but also for people around him.
He has simple dreams in life. “Kahit minsan di naman ako naghangad ng sobra alam ko lahat ng bibibigay ng Panginoon sa akin ay may patutunguhan para maipamahagi ko sa iba ang kaalaman na binigay nya sa akin para gamitin sa mabuting pamamaraan at magamit sa pagtulong sa iba.”
He firmly believes that photography and web merchandising are useful platforms for him to someday establish his own brand of business in the Philippines. He considers as one of his great achievements in life the help he continue to extend to his family and to the Filipinos in Dubai. At the age of 34, he’s still single and finds meaningful ways to be of great service to those in need.
“What I have gone all through these years can speak clearly of what I have achieved. But there are still many wishes I wish to accomplish. I still have to prove that I can do more for my family and for my children in the future.”
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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.