A popular Filipina comedian here is giving back to the community, pushing plans to perform before overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and bring cheers by way of her tested, knock-out punchlines that have brought the house down in past gigs, including those held at one of the city’s major cultural venues.
“Gustong gusto ko nang mangyari ito. The plan is to do a free show para sa mga kababayan natin na nasa Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA),” Fatimah Dumagay, who goes on stage as “Imah,” told Rappler.
(I really want this to happen. The plan is to do a free show for our countrymen with OWWA.)
“Plano kong gawin bandang December para sa mga hindi naka-uwi. Maghahanap din kami ng mga magdo-donate ng damit at kung ano pa para pamasko sa kanila,” she added.
(I plan to do it in December for those who are unable to go home. I’ll be looking for things to donate for their Christmas gifts.)
The OWWA, which is under the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), is housed at the Philippine Consulate. It serves as an informal transit place for distressed workers – mostly household domestic workers (HSWs) awaiting repatriation.
Dumagay, who hails from Cotabato City in the southern Philippines, has been in Dubai since 2007. Among her themes is that of the lives of domestic helpers.
“I am usually mistaken for a waitress and I’d dismiss it like by saying, ‘Come on we’re not all waitresses – I’m a maid!’ That’s the punch. So, it’s like playing with the stereotype,” she said in previous interviews.
Dumagay used to work as an executive assistant to a company CFO.
But following successful regular gigs at Dubai clubs and at least two sold-out headliners at the Mall of the Emirates’ The Theatre, she has moved to being a full time artist and event organizer.
The Theatre, which could accommodate up to 500 people during pre-COVID days, has hosted high profile performances like The Nutcracker.
Dumagay is set to hold her third performance there on September 2 with at least two fellow Filipinos – Joshua Dias Sharon Sison, who has also been doing gigs in comedy circles.
“This will be my third headliner show and I’m filming it live in the hope of having it featured in a streaming service. This time, I have two other fellow Filipinos joining me as my opening acts. I am so excited to share the stage with them. This is a full English show,” Dumagay said.
“I don’t think I will ever get rid po nung kaba. So, the only way to go is to embrace it and use it as a tool to be better,” she said, when asked if she still gets the jitters performing live on stage.
Dumagay said she gets her inspirations mostly from her daily experience – the funny and sad ones. “Funny encounters are a gold material on its own. Yung sad naman, it’s a little bit challenging. Yun ang madalas kong i-kwento; it’s easier to recognize or accept my misfortunes when it is talked about on a comedy platform,” she said.
Asked how much she’s enjoying solo stage acts, Dumagay said: “It’s weird that I feel more comfortable on stage talking to a big crowd. I experience anxiety attack when I’m in a smaller crowd, or talking to a few people whom I don’t know.”
Dumagay was with the Dubai Comedy Festival 2020 and 2021 as was part of the local line-up and Africa Global Comedy fest in 2018. – Rappler.com