‘Shawarma Boy’ to becoming one of the most followed content creators in the Middle East

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Abdulhamid Omar Bandon has worked almost every possible job in Dubai. He jumped from a normal restaurant staff, customer service industry to corporate corporate. 

Bandon, 38, now works in a travel industry for operations department–checking all the visa status of their clients, answering inquiries with regards to ticketing, visa and tours, among others. 

“My current job’s ultimate goal is to keep our clients satisfied and loyal for future purposes. I enjoy making a small difference in someone’s life through my work. I also appreciate the satisfaction of having such a big impact on someone I have never actually met,” Bandon said. 

But before getting into this, he had to work as a shawarma maker first (his friends fondly call him ‘shawarma boy’) which was his first job abroad. He considered ‘shawarma boy’ as a ‘quite hard time but life must go on.’ It was this moment when he experienced working 12 hours per daily without even a day-off and was just being paid AED 500 per month.

“I also experienced working without getting paid and fooled by my employer,” he added. 

The tough experience of a ‘shawarma boy’ made him more equipped with challenges. He later then became a server then a barista in a hotel apartment until he finally found a popular casual dining restaurant in the emirate. Initially, he worked as a host but due to his dedication and passion for work, he was promoted to as a server, then bartender, and then was finally assigned to be the training coordinator. Shortly after the promotion, he was promoted once again as one of the brand international team leaders. Through hard work, he has received some prestigious awards such as Employee of the Month, Trainer of the Month, Trainer of the Year and Employee of the Year. 

While working for the chain, he explored social media platforms and found a way to be influential through posting contents related to overseas Filipino workers, such as information from the Philippine Embassy and Consulate in UAE. Through his channels, he supported every Filipino community event and uploaded them on his social media accounts. His Facebook page MPD-Mga Pinoy Sa Dubai has nearly 300,000 followers as of this writing. He also created a Facebook group called Kabayan Jobs in Dubai 2020 wherein job hunters may find a job vacancy. 

“I just love doing video contents and sharing information that may help my fellow kabayans not just here in Dubai but also in some parts of the world,” Bandon said, adding that he ‘vlogs with a purpose.’

He recalled that one of the reasons why he opted to work abroad because of a scenario he had faced while he was applying for a job in a restaurant in the Philippines. 

“I was discriminated in one of the fast-food chains in the Philippines because of my Muslim name. Leaving my family behind and physically detaching myself from them wasn’t easy, but since I see this place has a lot to offer, I choose to leave,” he added. 

Bandon also remembered that during his college days, he had to study in the daytime and work during the night time. 

“The feeling of being exhausted both affected my mind and physique. Sometimes, I only slept for four hours but I didn’t surrender. I took it as a challenge and an inspiration at the same time. I am very positive in any of my struggles in life. When I have a problem, I accept it and find a solution,” he added. 

After working abroad, the Global Filipino plans to go back to the Philippines to put up a business and be with his family, however, he has no plans quitting his advocacy on Facebook to make OFWs informed on new policies that affect them and help them seek jobs. 

“Your overseas work experience is just a beginning whether you intend to stay here or work for however long. Know that it’s already an accomplishment,” his advice to his kabayans. 

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