Former ‘yema’ seller now a CEO in Dubai


To achieve her current status, Roselyn R. Cecillano has to use the following formula: hard work + dreams + dedication = success. Cecillano, who used to sell yema and other food while she was studying from elementary to college, is now a successful co-founder and COO of ARC MED LLC, ARC MED Supplies Inc, and co-founder and CEP of ARC FZC.

It was 13 years ago when she arrived in UAE on a visit visa, just like the majority of Filipinos, hoping to fulfill their dreams overseas. She worked as a secretary first but ended up resigning after one and a half months and forced to change her visa in Kish Island in Iran where she saw the real struggles of Filipinos.

“Indeed, Filipinos are born fighters,” Cecillano said, adding that her first ‘exit’ to Kish made her stronger and resilient abroad.

As years went by, the Filipina fighter worked for some of the biggest companies in the country, spending more time in the sales department and earning recognition from the management for her exemplary performance.

Although she has a nice-paying job in the Philippines, Cecillano still opted to work abroad because “sometimes we need to leave, be alone, and explore to find our worth and chase new opportunities.”

“My current previous jobs were totally different. Unlike before, I had a specific job description, entitled with annual vacations. Today, all I have are overflowing tasks, no vacations, however, I could travel anytime for business trips,” she said.

Entrepreneur by birth

She always believed that she was born as an entrepreneur. At a young age, during her elementary days, she was already selling yema and pastillas to her classmates.

“I remembered, I even used to make my own designs of lace headbands, hairclips, and bracelets and sold them to my friends and classmates. At a very young age, I was earning to buy my own stuff and used my income as my school allowance. I enjoyed doing sales every day,” she recalled.

Cecillano, during high school and college years, upped her ‘business’. She sold garments and cosmetics to support her school allowances and buy her personal things.

“Every time I recalled the past, I can’t believe that I reached this stage—providing jobs to my fellow kabayans and other nationalities. Every day is a learning process, lots of challenges, critical thinking, analysis, risk management, sales and marketing, operations, and logistics, accounting, procurement, admin, HR, everything you have to know all these,” Cecillano added.

Her company’s vision is to grow continuously. The Filipina entrepreneur added that sooner or later, at the right time, she will retire but will focus on CSR that will benefit the Filipino community and other expatriates, and single moms.

“When we become OFW, our main goal here is to work, earn, and save. Never live like we are tourists here. We don’t need to be present in all mall sales. We don’t need to upgrade our gadgets every year or every two years. We have to identify our needs and wants,” her advice to her fellow kabayans abroad.

She further added that one should always set aside a budget for emergency funds so as to avoid taking up shark loans and credit cards in times of crisis.

“On employment, Filipinos should be competitive and always willing to learn. Never be satisfied and contented with your own tasks, learn your other colleague’s tasks, so when she will be on leave, you could take over and that will be your edge from other nationalities,” Cecillano added. 

This story has been featured on the fifth 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


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