Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Store Assignment #OFW33

It was in the...

Year 1988 of September 1: When I assigned at Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai.

Roger and I went together to the main office in Sharjah for my new assignment. It’s ten o’clock in the morning that we rode a taxi cab going to Deira terminal. A scheduled vehicle, the same as in Al Ain, where we settled for 30 minutes travel from terminal to Dubai-Sharjah road.

We entered the main office, sat down in the lounge and looked for the Personnel Department’s room. I knocked the door, open the door knob and went inside.

“Sir, can I talk to Mr. Gamal Abdulrahman, the area manager of Dubai territory?” I asked the information desk.

“How are you Mr. Fernando, how’s Al Ain?"

“Fine sir.”

“He’s there at the end of this room. Okay go,” pointing his right hand. We went to his table and greeted him.

“Hello sir good morning!”

“Oh, it’s you Mr.’s your travel from Al Ain?” Even it’s bad, I lied and said, “Fine sir!” We seated in front of him and I introduced Roger Ferrer.

“Sir, this is Mr. Roger Ferrer, the one that I told you in the phone last week.”

“I see...Filipino?”

“Yes sir.”

“I thought...American...ha-ha-ha-ha..Okay, fill-up this form first, then, be ready for the personal interview,” he said to Roger.

Roger finished the usual way of applying for a job; been interviewed, approved, and to submit his original documents. The company wanted Roger to get a letter of transfer to his present employer, passport and other papers to finalize his new employment. He went back to Al Ain to process his transfer where he talked to Arnold privately and said goodbye.

As for me, I had the new assignment at Al Fahidi Street branch, Bur Dubai, the other side of the Dubai Creek in Deira where Ronnie Ramirez worked. I stayed in Ronnie’s room but worked in Al Fahidi branch while tending Arnold Castillano for his recovery.

After a month’s time, Ronnie Ramirez was transferred to Al Riqqa branch which he left his room to me. I helped Joel find a temporary job in Al Fahidi area that he began to work in a catering business of the Hotel Ambassador in which he stayed in the staff accommodation.

The Al Fahidi branch staff got a new apartment in a building next to the store where I transferred my personal belongings. Nevertheless, I was accustomed to the new flat and all the branch personnel. During my day off, I visited Mike Luna in his residence near the Bank Street, the first visit for him.

“Hello Pareng Mike, how are you and why you’re not visiting me, huh?” I slightly slapped his face and hugged him.

“I missed you...see, I’m here in Dubai now?” Mike said to me with a smile on his face.

“Yes...alive and kicking….and why you’re not visiting me?”

“You know quite busy for my job and lots of work to do everyday Pare..”

“How’s Ayah Isabel...the children...and your wife, Lina?”

“They’re fine...your eldest daughter Anne, grade 2, and Kent, grade 1, they’re schooling inside the subdivision which Lina helped them.”

“I’m happy to know that my friend!!”

“You know Pare, there’s a lot of beautiful ladies here in Dubai.”

“Owwww, there you are...Lina’s waiting for you my friend...”

“My duty’s from 5 pm to 12 pm, that’s why, very hard to roam around the city. But, I’m asking my manager to change my shift, so that I have time in the evening, you know..”

“Pare, next Thursday, my day off, try to be with me...we’ll going out...”

“Sure, I’ll try! You want to eat?”

“Yes, what you have there?”

“Kabsah with green salad and canned coca cola, your favorite friend.”

“Okay, but remember, next Thursday our night out, I’ll call you Wednesday afternoon, in your job?”

“Yes, just ask my name Mickey...not Mike.”

“Owwww, why did you changed your name…...are you a celebrity?”

“Yes my friend...I’m here in Dubai...and I’m a celebrity now!”

“Let’s eat now.”

I left Mike’s residence, went to St. Mary’s Church to attend Sunday’s Mass and visited Ronnie in the store at Al Riqqa Street. He offered free snack for me, but I preferred to drink brewed coffee and double cheeseburger. I ate hastily while observing him which I stayed for almost an hour.

I walked along Al Riqqa Street which I intended to visit Vivian Montoya’s flat. I telephoned her first if she’s inside the room.

“Hello, can I talk to Vivian?”

“Sorry, she’s working right now, who’s this please?”

“Marco, please tell her I called up and I’m here now in Dubai.”

“Okay Marco, I’ll tell her.”

“Thank you, bye.”

I walked along the Al Riqqa Street going to Al Guhrair Mall, I crossed the road towards the Public Plaza, then to Al Maktoum Street. I spotted the Aquarius International Manpower Agency office. I entered and asked about Ryan Mallari. The front office staff answered me that he’s not around. I thanked her, went outside and continue walking going to the Deira side near the creek. I waited for my turn to ride in a wooden-motored dhow going to Bur Dubai side. I went home feeling alone towards my room and switch-on my betamax player to watch the movie “Dr. Shivago.” After watching the old movie, I took a warm bath, washed my clothes, ate fresh fruits and listen to my favorite music collections.

I called up Vivian Montoya for a possible night out with her. She responded positively, suggested Riviera Hotel near the creek as our meeting place. I dressed up instantly, rode a taxi cab and went inside the hotel.

I looked around for signage of the Filipino bar in the second floor, that I went instantly upstairs. A Filipina server greeted me and finds a table for me.

“Hi, good evening, please find a table for two near the stage.”

“Okay sir, come, over there.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m waiting for someone, but for now just give me a mug of Heineken draught beer. By the way, what’s the occasion tonight?”

“Sir, its Filipino night, there’s a lot of Bayanihan show here tonight. You know sir, after an hour, more Filipinos are coming....that’s why you’ve free appetizers, you like it then?”

“I see, what’s your name please?”

“Maribel Tan sir from Ilocos, the hot and spicy people like me!”

“Nice to meet you Maribel.”

After half an hour of waiting, Vivian showed up on my table.

“Hi Marco, nice to see you again….how’s Al Ain?”


“How are you when I’m away….and where are you working?”

“I’m working in a hotel’s catering service, so every time there were celebrations, weddings, parties or meetings, we’re hired by the manager temporarily and we got our salary at once. It’s better that way, for my security, but I’m alert always with the authorities. Like this place, they’re everywhere but aware of it.”

“Alright…good, you have more knowledge about your situation. I went to your house in Libertad Street and I talked to your father. He said regards to you….and your children too.”

“Nice, I’m happy to hear that they’re all fine. Thank you Marco.”

“Okay, what’s your drink, I’ll call Maribel.” Maribel got Vivian’s order and served.

“You want something to eat….they’re serving Filipino foods tonight?”

“Yes, bulalo and beef afritada…and you?”

“Me? – no, I have to drink first.”

I ordered another mug of draught beer, and drank half way. The show on stage was full of colorful lights dancing to the tune of the music. The artistes wore Filipiniana costumes dancing like the Bayanihan Troupe of the Philippines. Truly Filipino!

After the show, some guests were dancing in the dance floor where I spotted Danielle Gustilo and Ryan Mallari. I controlled my anger that Vivian noticed it and asked. “What’s the matter Marco?”

“Those people….they’re bad…looks at them!”

“Ryan and the woman wearing apple green dress?”


“Ryan’s our friend, isn’t it?”

“Yes….before, but now, I have to do what I can do…”

“Glenda’s around here too?”

“No, he’s only using her…..I think.”

I saw Ryan went to the comfort room that I stood instantly, followed him while Vivian’s behind me. When he’s inside the comfort room, I entered, punched him continuously that he hit me back. We fought each other hand-to-hand when suddenly the two CID’s wearing casual clothing halted us. We were brought to the patrol car and detained in Murraqabat Police Station. We’re inside the prison cell with other four detainees without saying a word to each other.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Returning Back to Dubai City #OFW32

It was in the...

Year 1988 of August 30: When I transferred from Al Ain to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Coming back to Dubai gave me another dimension of my life as a continuous experienced within my heart. A rapture of stillness whose motives divide the level of my conscious being to go on the life I have had in the past. Moreover, those feelings that kept on bugging inside my soul, released a beaming lights, a multicolored lights in pursuing my own destiny.

The taxi terminal in Al Ain was quite crowded compared when I arrived last January of 1988 and the weather was gloomy and windy. We purchased two tickets, seated in the terminal bench and waited for our turn to embark. A Filipino traveler with backpack approached us to ask for the scheduled time of travel.

“Kabayan, four o’clock is the scheduled time,” I answered smiling.

“Kabayan, my name is Arnold Castillano of Negros, an Ilonggo,” he said.

“Ohhh, an Ilonggo...we’re on the same name is Marco Fernando from Negros too, and this is Roger Ferrer of Olongapo...going to Dubai too?”

“Yes, Marco, but I’m a TNT, transferring, you know...”

“But, it’s very dangerous to travel, there’s a check point along the road Arnold...” I said.

“No problem, I have iqama, but no passport...if there’s checking of documents, kindly absorb me as your companion, please Marco, Roger...please?” Arnold pleaded.

I looked at Roger who nodded positively.

“Okay then, but be sure to be ready always and alert.”

The passenger vehicle was an eight-person capacity automobile including at the front seat and the driver. We waited for other passengers to fill the remaining seats until five in the afternoon. I observed that besides from the three of us, all of them were talking including the driver, with other language. We were not talking to each other because of the fact, that Arnold was a TNT. We were only observing them talking on their own language.

We traveled almost two hours when the vehicle tire at the back detached suddenly that we crashed into the roadside. The driver checked the car condition and said that he will repair the damage for twenty minutes. It's almost 15 minutes past 6:00 in the afternoon and darkness kept on creeping on the surface of the desert.

I told Roger and Arnold to get their important belongings and put in a backpack. Each of us had its own backpack for traveling purposes. I used my penlight to observe the surroundings, spotted a restaurant nearby but when we came nearer, it was abandoned.

I spotted the driver and two of the passengers were repairing the tire, but I cannot see the other four passengers. The darkness of the night and the quiet environment made me feel agitated that I told Roger to come with me in the desert for a sudden bowel movement and also told Arnold to watch our belongings.

We walked through the desert within ten meters, when we heard continuous shouts of Arnold asking for help and calling our names. We hurriedly come back to the place where we left Arnold; and even in the dark, we saw two of the passengers were raping him and the other two were holding pieces of wood, that I grabbed Roger to dropped down in the sand and keep quiet.

“Roger, we have to help him now...” I whispered to Roger, and instantly move to run but he clamped my body down to the sand. We heard Arnold cried out loud unto the darkness of the night. We remained in that position for almost twenty minutes when we heard them fighting to each other, and we saw the vehicle left the highway.

We observed the surroundings for almost ten minutes while we heard Arnold crying and cursing.

“Roger, we have to come nearer to the abandoned restaurant to find out what happened.” I demanded. “Okay, come..”

We slowly approached the abandoned restaurant; we found Arnold lying in a concrete floor crying. I used my penlight to check his condition; he hugged my arms tightly and started crying miserably.

“Goddddddd, they’re animals!!” Arnold shouted with rage that he threw his backpack at the wall.

Roger and I seated beside Arnold and started to cry for him. We were like children crying for our lost mother.

“I’m so sorry Arnold….I’m sorry…,” while holding his hands. Roger too, wanted to hold him when he accidentally touched the sticky fluid on Arnold’s hand.

“Marc, give me the penlight…”

“Here, why?” I asked.

“Marco, look….there’s blood from his pants!”

I inspected it and it’s positive.

“Arnold….Arnold…you have to be brave to face this or else...treatment’s needed for you…”

“Marc, we have to move fast going to Dubai, he’s a TNT and very dangerous for his condition….”

“Okay, Roger, help me dress him….but first find out my belongings if they left behind. I have my pants inside the suitcase, go!”

After a minute, Roger was back with my suitcase and sports bag. We took off his pants and cleaned his bottom with my T-shirt through the penlight between my teeth, threw the bloodied shirt and change to a new one. We tried to put on the pants and helped him stand. We went outside to the roadside and waited for vehicle to pass by. I observed the place again; it was a remote area in the desert but along the highway. I thought that we had a chance to get a ride up to Dubai. We waited for almost half an hour when a vehicle appeared from our view. Roger held Arnold on his arms while I positioned and gave a sign to the approaching vehicle.

“Sir, we’re heading to Dubai for emergency purpose…..can you accommodate us please? I said to the Indian guy on the wheel.

“Yes of course.”

“Wait sir, I’ll help my companion at the back.”

After a minute, I went back to the front seat near the driver. He speeded up the highway and thanking the Almighty for saving us. While traveling along the Dubai-Al Ain highway, I began to talk to the driver to alleviate our situation.

“Sir, my name is Fernando, how are you today?” I asked.

“I’m fine, got my family from Al Ain to Dubai yesterday, and I settled something from our Al Ain branch.”

“Good to know about that…”

“By the way, my name is Saraffudin Kumar from Bombay.”

“Nice to know you Mr. Saraffudin.”

“Great to know you too.What’s the illness of your companion?”

“Hmmmm….intestinal problem….we have to treat him with our company doctor in Satwa.”

“Okay, we’ll drop you in Satwa Roundabout ‘cause I’ll be heading in Al Fahidi Street.”

“Okay Mr. Kumar, fine….thanks for your kindness sir.”

We’re nearing the Sheikh Sayed Road, turned left going to Satwa Roundabout, and we dropped in front of Dubai Plaza Hotel. I thanked Mr. Kumar with handshake and he gave a business card which I put inside my pocket. I helped Roger with my suitcase and helped Arnold walked towards the company accommodation.

I knocked the door of Ronnie’s room which he opened instantly.

“Ronnie, kindly lie him in bed comfortably, prepared some hot water and face towel….Roger, cook some hot food, asks Ronnie about it….I’ll buy medicine in the pharmacy…” I ordered to them.

I hurriedly left the room heading to the nearby pharmacy where my Filipina friend worked. “Susan, how are you?” I greeted her smiling.

“Fine Marco, how about you handsome?”

“Not quite okay, but I think you can help me”

“What is it?”

“I need medicine for abnormal bleeding….for my friend, you know.”

“Weehhh, we have Hemostan capsule….that’s okay for bleeding and can be taken after meals.”

“Give me ten capsules of hemostan, betadine, gauze pad, cotton, adult pamper, bandage, plaster, alcohol….how much?”

“Why on a hurry… handsome Marco?”

“Emergency….sorry…” I paid the amount, thanked Susan and hurriedly went back at Ronnie’s room. “What happened guys?” I asked them.

“We took off his shirt, pants and brief…..and gave him hot noodle soup Marco.” Roger answered.

“How’s his condition?”

“We need to check his wound so that we can apply some medicine.” Ronnie answered.

I went beside the bed and asked Arnold.

“Arnold, are you alright now to answer me?”

“Yeesss….Marco…” Arnold answered in a low voice.

“Arnold, please listen very carefully….we have to give you medicine and clean your wound….don’t be afraid….we’re trying to heal your wound…can we do that privately for you?”

“Yes Marco..only you, not anybody else...”

“Okay take this medicine first.”

I left him in the room and talked to Roger and Ronnie.

“Ronnie, please don’t say any word about this matter to anybody here in the flat and the store…..Roger, please help Ronnie around the room and wait for my signal to go inside the room…. Arnold wanted to be alone and only me who can clean his wounds….Understood?”

I went inside the room alone to clean Arnold’s behind.

“Okay, Arnold lay in bed face down and spread your legs slowly.” I ordered him. “How’s your body condition, fine?” Arnold nodded positively.

I checked his body from head to toe and back to his behind. The wound was quite huge and continuously bleeding but I knew it’ll heal for some time through careful dressing. I cleaned the wound with alcohol that made him squirmed painfully.

“Arnold, don’t move...I’m cleaning....”

I thoroughly cleaned the wound, put some betadine solution, gauze pad and assembled the adult pamper for support.

“Okay, Arnold, take a rest, I’m only here outside, if you need something, call me. Don’t be afraid I am here for you always. You know why, because you’re a TNT, the police will catch you anytime if you’ll be treated in the clinic or hospital. Say anything to me, if you feel differently, okay friend?”

We talked outside the room for Arnold’s situation.

“Roger, Ronnie, this is between the three of us….I’ll get your opinion about this case.” I started the conversation.

“Marco, as for me, it’s better to have him here until he’s okay for his condition.” Ronnie added. “I’ll help for his medicine and food.”

“Good Ronnie…and for Roger, I’ll present you to the main office in Sharjah, the day after tomorrow…..also at the same time I’ll get my new assignment.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Those Were The Days My Friend #OFW31

“Well, since you asked for it, then I’ll tell you my childhood years in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, is that fine with you Roger?”

“Yes friend, go on...I’m listening...”

I looked at him with honesty and found the hidden personality of a young man willing to hear the life of another individual with gusto. Roger Ferrer was very eager to learn from other people through interacting, or knowing different facets of other people’s wisdom. I started to tell him part of my life that molded me, of being me.

“Roger, you know I’m the fourth child in a family of ten, where my father worked as a route driver in a soft drink company. His meager income cannot sustain us all; school, food clothing and some other necessities, but he tried his best to meet both ends. That was, when I’m in grade five, year 1966, that started our family to undergone the poorest of the poor. My father, for the second time approached my grandfather in Barrio Tabu, Ilog where I was born, for a parcel of land to be cultivated by him and source of his income. He wanted very badly that even his own brothers were against for this agreement. But, my grandparents were willing to help my father one way or the other. So, my father developed the land and produced revenues intended for his family. He bought some hectares of land near the place up to the secluded area in the mountainous town of Candoni, Negros Occidental. In Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, when I graduated from elementary school, I enrolled in a Christian private school together with my sisters and brothers, but after a year, we were transferred to public high school."

It was in the...

Year 1972 – 1975: When I started attending college education in West Negros College, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
I was enrolled in West Negros College taking up Bachelor of Arts, as what my eldest sister told me, without knowing that continuing this course was very hard for me. I was just enrolled but my mind cannot comprehend why I took up this course, and where my schooling was heading. The youthful thinking deep inside of me cannot give the real meaning of my existence; just learning of different subject matters without giving any sense on my welfare.

It was in the...

Year 1972 of September: When Martial Law was imposed by President Ferdinand Marcos.

The imposition of Martial Law gave much hard time for me as a student. Even my classmates and instructors were agitated by the nationwide system. Some other subjects were deleted from the curriculum without much explanation. Even my father’s business was affected by strict implementation of taxes levied by Sugar Industry. Negros Occidental was being hit by total devastation of goods imported from other countries. I continued my college studies while my father source of income was affected by nationwide membership of New People’s Army (NPA) in mountainous places like Candoni, Tapi and Tabu. It lowered the sugarcane production that planting rice and vegetables were the only option for land development.

It was in the...

Year 1975 of October: When I transferred my studies in San Agustin College, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

I began my new course; all Chemistry subjects, suggested by my father to pacify his plan of wanting me to work in a Sugar Industry. I hated chemistry subjects because of its vastness and vagueness on my system. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I went on with my course as a way of continuing my course. But, I wanted to finish my course badly for the purpose of aiding my life after schooling. My father’s business was faltering that he cannot sustain my schooling, and this was the time that I met Ayah Isabel, my wife. And life goes on between us, chasing my dreams until this day. Roger, you absorbed every detail huh?”

“Yes Marco, thank you so much, you’re almost six years in college?”

“Yes and was young at that know...have your coffee my friend, you’re not amazed with my story huh..."

“Very exciting, you struggled through your dreams in life.”

“And you, what’s your story?”

“Well, my life in the Philippines was like a see-saw in a crystal ball, unpredicted and vague. I was born an Amerisian in a place called Olongapo, and I’m the product of the love that’s not the making of my father and mother but the destiny of relationship between two human beings with nothing to offer for the love of their offspring, but for the love of themselves. Really I underwent such humility to accept my identity, for me to go on with my own life. The uniqueness of my physical image magnetized other people to know me personally and my curiosity to know them in return. When I graduated from high school, I went to Manila to search for my future which I considered to be my refuge in finding my inner self without knowing that I contributed damage to the persons I’ve known. With my good looks, I managed to conquer my motives one way or the other. In some aspects of my true personality, I wanted a quiet life to prolong my values that I need for my growth. You know Marco, modesty aside, majority of my friends wanted an attachment to their own terms and whims. Because of my work, I really have to spend time with my clients for money. That’s why I accepted this job to heal my wounded heart deep inside of me. My mother told me that my father was a Latino; a Mexican-American soldier who reside in California. Right now, I’m still single and I wanted to save money for my planned business in the Philippines. Don’t take seriously with my complaint maybe I’m just releasing my sentiments because I don’t have many friends here in Al Ain. You know Marc; I’m planning to transfer in Dubai, if I can find a good employer or if you can help me."

“I’ll see what I can do to help you for your transfer and for the meantime you can help me guide here in Al Ain. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your true self; I admire you for that matter.”

“Thank you Marc, my friend?”

“Thanks Roger, we’re friends now?”

“Yes, all the way! For a start, I’ll accompany you around Al Ain University, is that okay for you?”

“Yes, come now...”

Roger toured me to the beautiful places within Al Ain area, visited his workplace, bought some snacks in the supermarket and seated in the bench of a park near the Al Ain University. The scenery was amazing, like a garden in heaven; multicolored flowers in different varieties, fruit-bearing trees all over the place and rock formations everywhere. We savored the afternoon delights of our friendship while exchanging jokes and other topics of interest.

From my view, not far from where we seated; a lone man was sitting at the bench reading a pocketbook. I am sure that it’s him, I thought silently.

“What’s the matter friend, any problem?” Roger asked me.

“I think I knew that man, the one sitting over there,” pointing to the man reading a book in the bench.

“If you want, we’ll pass in front of him to see?” Roger suggested.

“Okay let’s go.”

As we walked slowly near him, my heart’s kept on telling me that it’s him. Sure, it’s him, I instantly grabbed and punched him in the face that knocked him on the ground.

“So, it’s you fool!!!” I shouted with rage that Roger held me tightly.

“Marco, friend...please...I’ll explain...” Joel pleaded.

“What on earth do you think you’re doing? You connived with Danielle Gustilo to ruin me and my family?”

“It’s not like that Marc...”

“Then what!!”

“Marco I think you have to calm down and we’ll talk it over in my room. It’s very dangerous here in public to fight.” Roger said. “And for you...what’s your name kabayan?”

“Joel Arevalo kabayan.”

“Joel can you come with us to my room to talk this matter?”

“Okay friend.”

We hailed a taxi cab going to the main street in Roger’s room. We seated face to face on the floor while Roger’s making coffee for us. Our silence between us made me realized that Joel was bleeding.

“Ohhh, you’re bleeding Joel!” Roger exclaimed. “Marco, pressed the hand towel to his face, I’ll get some medicine...”

Roger went outside of the room and after three minutes, he’s back with medicine, gauze pad and plaster. Instantly, Roger cleaned and dressed the wound, while I sipped my coffee.

“I think you two must talk peacefully while this matter was between the three of us, because... if the police know about this incident, it’ll be reported to your employers,” Roger warned us.

“Marco, first of all I’m so sorry for the things I’ve done for you and your family. Really, it bothered me for a long time since you left us in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. I asked Edward Ramirez of his decision, that I followed...accepting the money from Governor Gustilo which helped me where I am right now, and to my parents. But, I endorsed Ryan Mallari to Danielle for that job...I knew I can’t do it for you Marco...please my friend…”

“Okay then, but please don’t say anything about this matter to Ryan Mallari?” He extended his hands to me that I hugged him, responded positively and smiled at me.

“You know Marc, Roger, I’m planning to transfer in Dubai for my next employment.” Joel said.

“Why how long you’ve been here in Al Ain?” I asked.

“I’ve been in Riyadh, KSA for three years, then, here in Al Ain. My contract will expire this coming July of 1988. If ever, I could apply in advance for the job before going home, the better.”

“Roger, Joel we’re friends now, well, we have differences but we can respect each other while we are here working abroad, okay?”

We formed our friendship with love and care for each other for the coming days of our stay in Al Ain. Those differences that we discovered with one another, welded us to create a bond until Joel Arevalo left us for his contract expiration. He promised us to be back in Dubai soon.

I contacted Ronnie Ramirez for some information about the happenings in Dubai and the main office. Ronnie was transferred to Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai area, and Ruel Mondragon was promoted as the new Store Manager. I was glad for their commitment and development on our company. At least, they’re moving upward with their personal career in the industry. “Ronnie, my new friend Roger Ferrer wants to work there in Dubai. Our company I heard has a vacancy?”

“Yes Sir Marco, there’s a vacancy.”

“Okay, I’ll call our Area Manager for my possible transfer to Dubai.”

“Michael Luna came over here and asked about you? He’s been in Dubai for three months now”

“Yeahh, great! Do you know his accommodation?”

“Yes sir he gave it to me the address in a piece of paper.”

“Okay then, say regards to all of you there!”

“Okay sir, bye.”

I talked to our Area Manager about my comeback to Dubai and possible employment for Roger Ferrer. Our hopes increased when I received a call the next day from the main office for this matter. I was glad for this news that I instantly went to Roger Ferrer to talk it over.

“Roger, for a week’s time I’m going to Dubai...for a transfer of job assignment, you’re going with me?”

“Yes I would like to, but you’ll help me Marc?”

“Yes of course!”

‘Okay, I’ll ask my employer for local vacation leave and I’ll go with you.”

“Okay Roger, hoping for positive result for you.”

I submitted my request to OFW International about my transfer to Dubai. The president, Mr. Fidel Rosales promised me that they’re planning another office in Dubai and the possibility of hiring.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

Read More

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Return to United Arab Emirates #OFW30

It was in the...

Year 1987 of December 27 - which my two-month vacation ended and I returned back to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

All members of the family accompanied me to the airport for my departure. I had a mixed feeling when I stepped my right foot in the pavement of the departure area. I hugged them all tightly to fill my heart with love even though I wanted to stay for more, and this departure means leaving them again.

“Ayah, love, take good care of the three kids...and my love for you...don't worry for our lost son, I promised...trusts me with this and remember, you’re the only one inside of me...even though more challenges coming our ways...bye love, take good care of my love for you,” I whispered these words to her. My heart was broken when I entered into the lounge section of the airport where I sat down waiting for my scheduled flight. Those multitude forces that I felt were starting to crumbled like the ruins of the Roman Empire; the unexplainable feelings that even the ocean cannot fathom its depth for no reasons at all. Those times I had spent away from my family was like a lost soul wanting for greater love to endure sacrifices. The shroud that covered my strength to go on turned into a million fears which diffused in different directions. But, this is me, this is my OFW.

Even inside the plane I cannot straightened my thoughts of delivering something significant, it boiled down to my feeling of remoteness. All the images in my imagination were clustered into different forms and colors; a never-ending search of my identity as a human being, a father and a provider.

After nine long hours, I viewed Dubai from above as the jewels of the Gulf rearing to capture my soul again. It changed my life’s perspectives and really amazing to think these changes with such unknown answers deep inside of me. I started to recall people in Dubai in which I had spent my time with them.

I hired a taxi cab going to Satwa area where I stayed before my vacation leave. I slept inside the room of Ronnie where he carefully prepared for me. I took my overnight rest and when I woke up the next morning, he was having his breakfast in the table.

“Good morning sir Marco, how’s your vacation?” Ronnie asked me.

“Fine and good Ronnie...your father told me everything about not worry about what happened to us before, now I understand your situation and your father's too.”

“Have your breakfast sir, I cooked these for you.”

“Thank you Ronnie. How’s your store operation....and the management people?”

“There were some problems but minor only, I can manage sir.”

“Great of you...after our breakfast I’ll report to the main office in Sharjah for my new Al Ain.”

“Yes sir, that’s what I heard. How’s my brother Larry sir?”

“Yes, he graduated this year...planning to help your father for a new business…”

“Thank you sir for your kindness….”

“Your father told me to watch over behave, okay?”

“Yes sir I’ll do that.”

After our breakfast, I went straight to our main office to report which, as what I expected, I was assigned to Al Ain branch. I accepted my assignment, said goodbye to Ronnie and his staff. I telephoned Vivian Montoya and Ryan Mallari to say hello and told them that I was transferred to Al Ain.

It was in the...

Year 1988 of January 7 – When I transferred to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates as my new job assignment.

I traveled for almost five hours by taxi cab going to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Al Ain was small in area and population compared to Dubai; a quiet and remote area within the emirates but rich with beautiful scenery and places. And, locals said, the place where Head of State was born.

When I arrived, I went upstairs in my room at the second floor where I cleaned, arranged and decorated my new habitat. I visited the store, greeted the staff and posted a notice in the bulletin board for a store meeting the next day. I was able to talk to one of the staff about the store condition and management. Also, I observed that I was the first Filipino to work in Al Ain branch. The more I wanted to know about the business and people of Al Ain, the more I missed the Dubai environment.

I accepted my fate totally to enable me to function properly with my job, and the people to be with that I forced myself to intermingled with the best of my abilities. I need them and they needed me.

For the first two weeks of my stay in Al Ain, I was able to know more OFW’s with the same dreams as mine. I joined the OFW International: a group of OFW’s working in Al Ain whose mission was to help OFW’s with their problems and teaching them on how to get along with their employers.

I handled troubled Filipinos especially housemaids during my first week in the organization. I used my experiences, skills, knowledge and determination in doing what I called “helping hands.” Without much fuzzed on my part I excelled with my new found social responsibilities within the scope of my new environment. But, deep inside of me, I wanted more than what I can do to them in my own way. They were people with the same dreams as mine, but different in some aspects of their status in life. Moreover, life for them means helping their family financially, much more for themselves, than the results of working in the foreign land without weapons to depend upon. I resumed my job in the store but my heart kept on coming back to the OFW International Office to mingle with Filipino people; and to extend my help to those who need aid in some way or the other.

One day, I had a scheduled interview with a guy named Roger Ferrer – a worker in a Pakistani restaurant who had been in Al Ain for almost five years. “So, you are here for almost five years but your employer doesn’t want you to have a vacation leave? Am I right Roger?”

“Yes sir.”

I smiled and said, “Just call me Marco, okay?” He looked at me, smiled and said, “Okay Marco.”

“Kindly tell me your story from recruitment until today, so that I could give my assessment for your case.”

“Okay Marco...I’ve been hired by the recruitment agency in Ermita, Manila with the agreement that I’ll received US$300 as my monthly salary, free accommodation and food. That agency didn’t give a copy of that agreement to me. I paid for my placement fee for 14,000 pesos exclusive of processing my documents; but when I arrived here in Al Ain, my monthly salary changed to US$200 per month. You know, I am honest with my dealing to the agency but look what happened to me! I wanted to report to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, but I don’t know how...”

“I’ve got your points Roger, and I’ll review this today, okay?”

“Okay Marco, can I invite you to my room...I want to chat with you, personally? Your day-off today isn’t it?”

“How do you know Roger?”

“I have eyes and ears all over Al Ain….ha-ha-ha-ha….”

“Joke, joke, joke...okay, let’s go..I ask the president for permission to go with you. Wait there…” I left Roger and I entered the office of our president, Mr. Fidel Rosales.

“Sir, asking your permission to come with my client and besides it’s my day off today?”

“Okay, Marco, go on and take care.”

“Thank you sir.”

We went to his accommodation room along the Main Road, a room filled with sealed boxes, a bed, TV, music component and a small table. We sat on the carpeted floor and he offered biscuits and instant coffee.

“Marco, how do you find my small room, not well huh?”

“Well, in my case, it’s small, but since you’re alone, this is great; unlike some workers of other nationalities, really lived in a battered room full of workers. Is that the case with your co-workers in the restaurant where you’ve been working?”

“Yes Marco, and to think, that they are receiving US$100 as their monthly salary…”

“Yes, as what I’ve learned from the OFW Intl. office.”

“I’m just curious about you. You know I find you very intelligent and kind. But I’ve heard that you came from Dubai, is that true?”

“Yes, Roger, I’ve been there for two years, hooked up in some bad habits and transferred here in Al Ain.”

“Marco, drink your coffee, it’s getting cold.”

“Okay Roger, thanks.”

“Personally, I’d like to open up to you where I came from, in my own way of telling somebody I trusted, but for the sake of my curiosity about you Marco, could you tell me your life or childhood days, or whatever...please...”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meeting with Danielle Gustilo #OFW29

The next morning, it’s almost eight when I woke up. Mike’s sleeping in the sofa like a log. I woke him up.

“Mike, let’s get up now...I have a meeting with Danielle.”

“Hmmmm, I thought...”

“Mike, I have to meet her! Get up!!”

“Okay, why?.....I’m tired...”

“Hey...wake up..Mike!”

I left Mike in the hotel’s room, walk slowly to the coffee shop and ordered two shots of espresso coffee. I drank and ordered again for another two shots. I saw Walter approaching me, smiling and greeted me.

“Good morning sir! How’s your night sir?”

“Really the best! Where did you get her?”

“Sir, she’s a college student, you know...but she’s good and a scholar.”

“ you know her residence?”

“Yes sir, if you want her just call me.”

“Okay’s another gift for you, five hundred pesos. Walter, you know, I’m waiting for another lady here in the coffee shop. Can you help me?”

“What I'm going to do sir?”

“Put a table and chair at the back of the coffee shop...I’ll sit there...and watch her. If she comes, tell me here. Do you know her? Here’s the picture...”

“Okay sir.”

I positioned at the back of the coffee shop, drank another two shots of espresso coffee and waited. After ten minutes, I saw Walter hurriedly approaching me and giving a sign that she’s coming. My tired body got energized with espresso coffee and broiled with anger deep inside. I saw her seated down and ordered. I approached her at the table and suddenly sat in front of her. She stood up at once without noticing me. She’s totally surprised with my presence.

“Please have a seat Danielle. I want to talk to you. Do you recognize me? Do you recognize my scar in the forehead?” She kept her silence while looking at me straight to the eye.

“How can I forget you Marco Fernando?”

“And, how can I forget you Danielle Gustilo, the woman who made my life miserable?”

“That’s the price of loving someone aside from me Marco Fernando.”

“And who do you think you are?..... You’re paying people to destruct my life?” I abruptly held her hand tightly that made her squirmed with pain, “Where’s my son, you bitch!!!”

“I’m not in the position to answer your concern Marco. Release my hand you bastard!!”

“I’ll break you into pieces...for the last time Miss Danielle Gustilo, where’s my son!!”

“Okay, Marco...tomorrow afternoon...we’ll have to meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Vito Cruz, Room 300, exactly 2:00 pm. You can meet me alone; I’ll give your son to you personally. Deal?”

“Okay...” And I released her hand, looked at her straight in the eye and she cried silently.

“Why are you crying? Isn't enough that you made me a fool, taking my son without my knowledge?” I asked her.

“My son was kidnapped yesterday Marco, I’m sorry, wait for me tomorrow....I have to go Marco.” She stood instantly and left while I looked at her until she disappeared in the front door.

Mike appeared at my back suddenly, “Wow, friend, you really have the guts to hurt her?”

“Sit down Mike...I'm serious. You heard everything I said to her? I thought you’re tired of playing...”

“Weeehhh, and you?”

“Wonderful...but we have to check out with this hotel to be safe from questioning.”

We packed our things together with Edward belongings, checked out and went straight to the Sheraton Hotel at Vito Cruz Street near the Harrison Plaza. Mike and I checked in at the hotel front desk, telling the staff for Room 301 for both of us. The staff checked the availability of the room which gave us a positive note for tomorrow’s meeting. We ordered our lunch and drinks delivered to our room. After lunch I called up Edward Ramirez in Bantayan Island.

“Hello Edward, good afternoon my friend. How’s everything over there, the boy?”

“You know what Marco, his name is the same as you, Marco Fernando Jr.”

“What? Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure...that’s what he said to me.”

“Ask some other information about him and his mother, for sure. Edward, we’re here at the Sheraton Hotel, Vito Cruz.”

“Why are you there...together with Mike?”

“Yes, we’ll meet Danielle tomorrow afternoon here, in this hotel.”

“Okay, please be careful friend.”

“Okay Edward, bye.”

I told Mike about our meeting at Room 300 of this hotel tomorrow, which I gave him some instructions when worst comes to worst. We did slept for the whole afternoon and evening, and when we woke up, it’s six in the morning the next day. We jogged along Roxas Boulevard near the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was such a great feeling to release the unwanted toxins on our bodies and kept fit all the time.

Mike Luna as I observed, really enjoyed my company and the way his life was shaping even though there were dangers along with it. He’s a man willing to perform everything because of money, or anything with value. I admired him of his courage to change his “color,” anytime, anyplace wherever he may be.

“Marco, remember your meeting with Danielle, this afternoon...2 pm…”

“Yes Mike, are you ready my friend?”

“Yes, Pare, at your service anytime.”

After jogging, we came back to our hotel room, in which we rested for a while. Mike dressed with his formal suit, went to the hotel lobby to observe. And, I dressed with casual attire for easy movement of my body and energy.

After lunch, we waited for more than hour when Mike went inside our room.

“Marco, I saw Danielle with a dozen of men following her going to Room 300.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes my friend!”

“That bitch!!”

“What to do now?”

“Okay, we’ll stay here inside...I won’t meet her! We’ll go home to Bacoor, Cavite after they left the hotel.”

We stayed for a week inside my house for possible news about the disappearance of the boy in Greenhills, but nothing such news in the dailies and television. We extended our silence without going outside the house; we slept, ate and had a wonderful time with our loved ones. While Christmas was the theme of the moment, celebration with them gave much happiness to every father like us. My two-month vacation leave was nearing on 28th of December 1987, that I talked to Mike Luna to process his papers.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), a branch of Philippine government that had a database of all Filipino citizens with legal case or not and were recording Filipinos with criminal and civil cases; and other cases under their jurisdiction. Filing for passport and other government entities required this NBI clearance for the purpose of good standing as Filipino citizen. It’s situated along Taft Avenue corner United Nations Avenue that we parked the car in front of the building near the avenue.

Crowd of people were queuing the multitude of lines to get the clearance; more fixers were roaming around for getting paid transactions just for easy and quick release of the clearances. I had to hired one for us to do the job, that after ten minutes, Mike got hold of his NBI clearance without hardship.

We traveled from United Nations Avenue going to Libertad Street near the US Embassy for Mike’s passport. Again, the same volume of people were queuing the lines for this purpose. We prepared Mike’s requirements and he queued alone. I went to Vivian Montoya’s house for the gifts and money and returned back. I waited for him inside the car which at that time, I saw Danielle with two men following her behind, entered the Department of Foreign Affairs main office. With my carelessness, I followed them inside without thinking the consequences. Danielle’s bodyguards saw me that they instantly followed outside the building. I ran directly to the car and started up going to Baclaran and I turned the intersection heading to Magallanes. I drove along the Pasong Tamo and turned left heading to where I came from, the Libertad Street. I parked the car in front of Vivian Montoya’s house and walked towards the DFA building.

I looked for Mike Luna inside the building and he’s still on the line. I approached the counter to transact on how to rush the released of passport. I paid an amount, that after twenty minutes, Mike’s passport was released. We came back to Vivian’s house where I met her father.

“Marco, thanks for your kindness in delivering the money and toys coming from Vivian. How’s my daughter in Dubai?”

“Sir, she’s fine...she told me to extend her love to all of you here. Also, thank you for accommodating my car.”

We went home in Bacoor, took some rest and enjoyed our evening with the kids. It’s nothing I can do for the moment to look for my lost son. I had to go on with my own life for the sake of what I was dreaming and the values within me as a family man.

I spent my Christmas season with my family, told Mike Luna to wait for his visa and call me if he’s heading to Dubai. I called Edward too, to take good care of the boy, and to check my family in Bacoor, Cavite when I returned to Dubai.

“Marco, take good care of Ronnie...kindly tell him that I loved him so much. Call me regularly friend...and if you change your mind...just come back here in the Philippines...and we’ll build our business together...”

“Okay Edward, I will.”

I processed my papers from POEA, scheduled my plane ticket and other documents that I left Ayah Isabel for our children; an insurance policy and educational fund. I had to be sure with their future, for whatever reasons therein underlying why I was doing a more pronounced conditions for them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

Read More

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