OFW-turned-restaurant owner shares “recipe of success”


Joseph Ronald P. Calara, an engineer for nine years and a restaurateur for two years, is considered one of the successful Filipinos in Abu Dhabi. In so short span of time, he has developed a concept unique to everyone. This puts him on a pedestal.

Lifts Installation

 registered Master Electrician and registered Electrical Engineer

As a registered Master Electrician and registered Electrical Engineer, he specializes in lifts installation. He was involved in the construction of The Gate District Project, one of the iconic projects in the Reem Island.

“What I do right now makes me happy. Having two fields of expertise at the same time makes me more secure of our future. I don’t just rely on one thing. The only thing I can say is that, just do whatever makes you happy without hurting someone. If there’s a chance, never let it pass. We need a lot of agility to make our dreams come true.”


Affectionately known as JayR, he was born to spouses Emmanuel and Aurora Platino Calara on November 3, 1982 in San Pedro, Laguna. He has only one older sister, Mary Katherine Calara, a Medical Transcriptionist.

He took his elementary and high school education at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in 1995 and 1999 respectively then earned his degree in Bachelor of Science in  Electrical Engineering in 2004 at the Mapua Institute of Technology. He is licensed by the Professional Regulation Commission as a Registered Master Electrician.


In 2012, she got married to Maria Eleanor G. Calara, a nurse who now pursues a degree in Medicine in Australia. “We go out to try other food and watch movies. I and my wife are God fearing persons and we really want to help as much as we can.”

“Usually, we donate to church and extend help to the projects of the World Vision. We are still thinking of how we could help more. I have a good of sense of humor especially to those people close to me.”


JayRAs a restaurateur, he manages and thinks of new ideas. One of the innovations he made has been realized with the operation of The Filipino Kitchen Restaurant or known as TFKR, which is now known as  a Home to the  only boodle fight concept restaurant in UAE. It was launched in 2012.

“Our restaurant serves Filipino dishes at its best. We have been very successful because we always stick to the uniqueness of our own special way of serving our food and of course the taste of our food.”

To make sure that everything is in good hands, JayR wakes up early at 6:30 in the morning. Then, he goes to work until 5 o’clock in the afternoon and goes back again to TFKR to check and monitor before he heads for home.

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Dreaming More

JayR said he dreams big to happen. “I don’t get easily frustrated because I stick on my decisions in life.” Going on fast with his decision makes him unique but admits though that not all his decisions he made in the past were correct.

“As of now, I can say I’m still nothing compared to other achievers here in UAE. I’m still climbing my way up there and keeping my head down to reach the top. To have a happy marriage life is so far my greatest achievement. Through my hard work and determination, we have managed to keep our relationship as close as ever before.

Her wife lives in Australia. “Since my earnings in Abu Dhabi is enough for our daily living, my wife doesn’t need to come there to work. I would say that we have been blessed with the successful operation of our restaurant. It is a dream turned into a reality for us.”

Notwithstanding his success in both his profession and business at a young age of 31, he likes to think that his feet are still on the ground. “I will never get tired of walking slowly but surely.”

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IMG_3984THE 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.


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