‘Desert of Gold’ features Filipino leaders in UAE

This compilation features 36 uplifting stories of OFWs whose examples have helped shaped their communities and the nation

DESERT OF GOLD. Espartero chronicles the struggles and victories of 36 OFWs in a 146-page coffee table book to be released by the Al Hilal Printing, Publishing and Distribution LLC. Photo from Ulysses V Espartero

The following press release is courtesy of Yul Espartero, the author of “Desert of Gold”

DUBAI – A quarter of the Filipino community may have failed yet the greater portion managed to emerge victorious. There are those who have persevered and realized that this desert of gold provided them opportunities to excel. They shine beyond the imperfections, the adversities and realities of our mortal life.

Take the case of Jorhie Alban-Ben Rejeb, an award-winning global communicator who worked as fast food crew to earn a college degree; Wafa R. Kasimieh, a Muslim convert who finds meaning in helping her compatriots; Vagelyn T. Federico, who hurdled the hardships of exiting to Kish 13 times and now works as Director of Human Resources at Dusit Thani Dubai; and, Mario B. Cardenas, an international photographer who craved for toys in his childhood and finds it in a Nikon camera years later.

Consider Angelo G. Timbol, who left no stone unturned to move 3 dozen members of his family to Dubai even spending for their visas, plane tickets and provided food and accommodation and gave them jobs. His father passed away when he was 22.

Their struggles and victories are highlighted in a 146-page coffee table book to be released by the Al Hilal Printing, Publishing and Distribution LLC.

Carrying the title Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, this compilation features 36 uplifting stories of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) whose shining example, inspiring dedication and excellent performance in their respective fields have helped shape their communities and the nation.

The author, Ulysses V. Espartero, stressed they are fine exemplars of how courageous Filipinos and expats in UAE should become in the face of challenges.

“They share one thing in common – a firm belief that there are no barb wires in the desert of gold in attaining the wildest dreams captured by their imaginative minds. Truly, they’re record-breakers and their true stories are worth writing. Hence, this project came to reality.”

“I would like to believe that all the persons who were featured here are all stars in their own right. They had to struggle to shrug off challenges and make a mark in society. They overcame the odds to etch good names for themselves.”

These 36 distinguished Filipinos in the book are Engr Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, Raquel C. Ignacio-Aquino, Rosie Punzalan-Aquino, Richmond D. Austria, Engr Lilian S. Bautista, Jorhie Alban-Ben Rejeb, John Jay M. Borja, Mario B. Cardenas, Irene P. Corpuz, Liezl M. Quiliza-Cruz, Anna Marie M. Dawis, William “Boyet” B. Damot, and Laarni de Leon-Eugenio.

Also on the list are Vagelyn Tumbaga- Federico, Laurence Anthony A. Garduce, Albert C. Gayo, Wafa R. Kasimieh, Wella C. Mañabo, Atty. Vanessa Joyce I. Monge, Joel N. Nedamo, Amabella S. Ong, Harold G. Orona, Geoffrey D. Panganiban, Lou Olvido-Parroco and Engr Jethroefel M. Ramboyong.

Included are Alexie T. Rieza, Gabriel John D. Rimando, Dr Dennis J. Rotairo, Roy C. San Buenaventura, Dr Kim C. Sarmiento, Marianne Y. Silloriquez, Rufino E. Sulit Jr, Sahron Roy R. Tamano, Josefino “Joey” B. Tiberio, Angelo G. Timbol, and Ronalyn B. Vargas.

In her introduction, Nemia Macabugao-Puyot, said that today, more than ever, UAE-based Pinoys are praised for being diligent, competent and energetic – qualities, according to a former Philippine leader, “worthy of becoming great goodwill ambassadors of their country.”

“I truly admire the hardworking Filipinos. You can never tell how far they have gone. Hence, we continue to explore avenues through which we will be able to recognize them. Their sacrifices are being honored with the timely release of this project for we believe that an accolade such as this is a wonderful way for the Filipino community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices, they have made.”

Meanwhile, Atallah Muhammad Habib emphasized that these unsung heroes deserve every kind of recognition, not just for their remarkable contribution to the economy, but also for setting a positive image for all Filipinos not just in the UAE, but also in other parts of the world.

“I’m honored to endorse and publish the work of Mr Ulysses V. Espartero, who made a tremendous effort traveling, meeting, and collecting materials and contents to craft this masterpiece. I am grateful for the time and endeavor he took to communicate OFWs’ experiences and achievements to inspire others.”

The book’s author expressed his profound gratitude to the publisher and his esteemed partners, His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi and His Excellency Saqer Abdullah Al Marri, for honoring Filipinos with this book.

Praises for the book

Consul General Frank R. Cimafranca said this well-conceived project will certainly inspire the most number of our kababayans here in the UAE.

“It is a fitting tribute to the Filipino men and women who have not only made a mark in their respective careers or fields of endeavor, but also contributed to the advancement and the positive image of overseas Filipino migrant workers especially in this part of the world. The book is both a testament and life story of real people, of their hopes and dreams, their accomplishments, and most important of all, their struggle and determination to achieve their goals and become what they are now.”

For Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa, the book not only showcases the excellent performance of OFWs in their respective fields but also their positive contribution to the UAE. “With this, the image of Filipinos as hardworking, dedicated and conscientious is heightened and reinforced.”

Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas, Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, commended the author and publisher for this noteworthy endeavor.

“The book aims to share the inspiring lives and stories of our parents, siblings, relatives who are overseas, their accomplishments and achievements, successes and victories as well as their hardships, their struggles, their loneliness while being away from the Motherland. I salute the author and publisher for this outstanding concept and its wonderful execution.” – Rappler.com

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