“If you keep chasing on your dreams, one day you’ll catch them.” This has been said many times by successful people and this has been the mantra of UAE-based professional flair bartender turned to founder and CEO Alberto Flores Opena.
Opena, with 21 years of combined work experience abroad, owns OUNCE, a leading event management solutions, facilities management, and consultancy specializing in food and beverage in the UAE.
Established in 2013, the company continues to work closely with well-known companies in the host country, including MMI, Spinney’s Abu Dhabi, Dubai World Trade Centre, Coca-Cola, among others.
Prior to establishing his business, while working for other companies, he received numerous notable recognitions in his field of expertise in the region.
Opena, who is also a mixologist and beverage consultant, has initially worked in Kuwait and was employed by a famous American casual-dining restaurant.
“At that time, I was inclined to bartend and was just dreaming of becoming a professional bartender. As God’s plans coincide with mine, I was given a chance to represent Kuwait branch in the GCC bartending competition in Dubai in which I gained my first champion award” he said.
Not later achieving the award, his fate took him back to Dubai. “The first impression I had about Dubai being is that it is more open to different cultures and it serves as a gate to more opportunities in line with my dream to become a professional bartender and mixologist, as compared to Kuwait with zero tolerance to alcoholic beverages. Indeed, first impressions last, and Dubai did not fail me,” he added.
One of the latest achievements and innovations in his businesses the creation of Tagai Cocktails. The Filipino-owned bar gained its familiarity because of the name ‘tagay’ which means to pour an alcoholic drink. The cocktails made by them are currently circulating in various bars in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“The most enjoyable thing about my business is that I am able to creatively express my passion and craft to my clients and the more does it get exciting and rewarding when their response is positive,” he said.
Opena said that there is great satisfaction in his line of business because, through his hard work and creative ideas, he is able to generate a sustainable income which does not only enable him to provide for his family but also elevates his personal and family status.
“Furthermore, being able to open opportunities for employment is an extra fulfillment,” he said.
Becoming independent at an early age
Since Opena was a little kid, he already found means to have extra income. He sold cold water and ice candy on a basketball court and cleaned jeepneys during summer vacations.
The life situation back home has urged him to become independent at an early age. While he was finishing his college degree, he already started working, and while being a working student, life for him was very challenging as he had to juggle academics and work.
“Having a huge amount of discipline and hard work as well as moral support from my parents and grandmother whom I really look up to has enabled me to come out as a strong, and knowledgeable individual from this experience,” he further added.
Opena had his first formal job at a famous fast-food chain in the Philippines. This was where he was given an opportunity to work abroad as the restaurant opened its branches in the Middle East. He was one of the brave ones who came prepared to face the real world outside his home country. “I did not allow this opportunity to slip from my hands because I have greater dreams for my family and the bright future that I wanted to build for myself and for the family of my own,” he added.
This story has been featured on the seventh issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.