Filipino couple tied together in hardship kept together by love

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Arish and Melon Perez always believed that most hardships lead to the greatest moments of one’s life. Facing tough problems a few years back, husband and wife are now back on their feet and living their dreams, managing The Melrish Studio, which is very popular in the Middle East for producing photos and videos that tell stories with a heart. 

Before living their dreams, the couple had to endure so many pains first and deal with various mistakes in life.

Where suffering started 

It was 2009 when the Arish and Melon decided to put up their own business while working full time. Melon was working in the office, while Arish was an IT engineer. They had taken a bank loan with an amount of AED 500,000 or almost seven million in Philippine peso today to put up a restaurant inside a mall. Thinking about its future revenue in the future and daydreaming of branching out, their ‘trusted friend’ stole the half-million dirhams and both of them were left with nothing but a huge shark loan. 

“I couldn’t believe that that person would dupe us. She was our friend. I know her family and where they live before. We were very close,” Melon recalled. 

With half a million debt in the bank, they never thought of giving up. The thought of unpaid tuition of their kids was lurking in their heads, the pressure of getting the exact amount to pay their house rent was just so unnerving, most especially the AED 13,000 monthly installment to the bank kept them awake all night. 

Although both of them were working on a full-time basis, their combined salaries were not enough to sustain everything. 

The birth of a new beginning 

Left paralyzed, both of them had to make ends meet. Evading the punishments for unpaid loans, they had to work during weekends as photographers and videographers mostly at weddings. Then they infiltrated the corporate world. They had to sacrifice time for their kids while working outside on weekends. 

“We’ve missed many things in their lives. During weekdays, they are at school. On weekends, we were working outside. We slept at 3 a.m because of our work,” Arish said. 

The Melrish Studio was born in 2009. Since then, the studio is always at the top of specializing in telling stories from corporate events to brand stories using compelling stills and videos. 

Employing the right people is the secret to success, according to the couple. It took them five years to pay all their debts in the bank. 

The married couple believed that the presence of God renewed their energy when they felt tired and giving up. 

“It was always Him that guided us, we made it because of Him,” Melon said. 

When asked about their advice to those people who are facing difficulties right now, Arish said not to give up and if possible, always create a back-up plan in case the main plan won’t go through. 

“And always keep doing what you’re good at,” Melon added. 

The Filipino couple has produced the films Aurora in 2016 and Girl Next Door in 2017 which both received the coveted Best Director award in the Emirates Film Festival. 

Melrish was also recognized by a Filipino newspaper as Filmmaker of the Year in 2018 and was included in the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf Region by a Filipino magazine in Dubai.

The Melrish Studio, which has just celebrated its first decade recently, has now 14 full-time staff.

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