For him, a vision without action is just a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare. Saudi Arabia-based Venecio Vocalos Legaspi needed to pursue and fulfill bigger dreams as his family with 11 siblings face many challenges daily.
Growing up with only limited means, the Waray had managed to graduate valedictorian in elementary; salutatorian in high school, and finally obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, major in Accounting from the University of Eastern Philippines in 1988.
Legaspi has now been working and living in Saudi Arabia for 27 years now and currently working as the Vice President, Head of Compensation and Benefits at the Bank of AlJazira. The provincial boy has made it to the top in the international area as the only Filipino who rose from the ranks and holds an executive post in Saudi Arabia’s local banking industry.
Earning the respect of the growing members of the Filipino community in the country, he was elected to various leadership roles and had served various organizations that benefited his fellow kabayans.
Get to know more Legaspi through our exclusive interview with him:
You are very known in Saudi Arabia as a public servant and volunteer, who is Venecio Vocalos Legaspi?
I am a provincial boy who, by the grace of God, made it to the top in the international arena as the only Filipino who, to my knowledge, rose from the ranks and held an executive post in the banking industry in Saudi Arabia. Arriving in Saudi in March 1993, I started to work as an accountant at Bank AlJazira, until I was entrusted with the position of Vice President and Head of Compensation and Benefits, nine years later, up to the present.
The best highlight of one’s career, I believe, is when the educational institution where you came from bestows upon you its highest honors. Being recognized too by your own government for having professionally excelled at the international level, and for your zeal and dedication in lending a hand for your fellowmen overseas, is a patriot’s reward, and a real measure of being a genuine nationalist Filipino.
What is the reason why you opted to work abroad?
Upon graduating from university, I moved to Manila and had worked for more than four years. I was bursting then with enthusiasm to succeed, only to find out that professional life in Manila then was not as challenging as I expected it to be. At that time, I felt fate has something else much better for me. And I just need to search for it.
Being a resilient dreamer with determined zeal to succeed in life, I got the cue from my uncle who was an immigrant in Canada. From there, destiny brought me to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I ended up being employed initially as an accountant in my present job.
I now stand as a testament to success and a living proof that poverty is not an excuse to reach our goals in life.
What are your out-of-work activities that benefit other people?
I have been elected to various leadership roles and served various Filipino organizations in Saudi Arabia. I assisted the Consulate in guiding Filipinos needing urgent consular assistance and to serve as a focal person in the area in times of calamity or civil strife in 2018.
Asa Director-General of the OFW Council of Leaders, I was approached by the leadership of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah and we jointly launched a community-driven Food Bank Drive program which was able to deliver about 7,000 food packs to food-distressed OFWs in the city of Jeddah for a period of two months.
I have also been designated to represent in western Saudi Arabia in these ongoing series of virtual for where I had articulated the sentiments and concerns of OFWs on the Covid-19 crisis and other relevant issues to the migrant worker’s sectors.
Why did you choose Saudi Arabia?
Having stayed for over 27 years now in Jeddah is a matter of impelled not by personal desire, but by my personal keenness to reciprocate the professional trust and confidence bestowed upon me by the institution where I have been serving all these years.
I came to Saudi Arabia with a single thought of securing a better future for my family. Little did I know that this journey will lead me to a higher purpose and wider patriotic opportunity to be of service to my fellow overseas workers in western Saudi Arabia.
What is your plan after your OFW journey?
The thought of finally going home and being able to spend more time with my family is thrilling and priceless. I also look forward to finally becoming a hands-on entrepreneur in running the family business – Vista De Las Navas Resort – which I had established from my earnings overseas.
Many Filipinos are now in limbo due to Covid-19, what is your advice to them?
Being away from your family should never distract you from pursuing the main objective of why you opted to work overseas – to have a better opportunity to earn a living for the family and to prepare and secure a brighter future for the. Anything that distracts you or keeps you astray from your goals for the family, should be instantly clipped.
Whatever changes that come your way overseas, always keep your head above the waters. Be financially literate, forward-looking, maintain an optimistic viewpoint, and continue learning to upgrade your skills or profession, always check your health and emotions, be humble, and be smart in interacting with people.
This story has been featured on the third issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.