It was 2014 when Towfie Villanueva stepped up his A-game by embarking on an overseas life. He said that knowing that nurses in the Philippines get neglected and exploited, he has decided to widen his horizon in Dubai.
Despite being a nursing graduate, his first job in the emirate was with an international courier company. “Yes, something that was not in line with what I know and something new to what I used to do,” he said adding that he had to consider time and money at that time since extending his tourist visa way back in 2014 was not a joke considering that he only purchased it using his savings ‘so I need to be wiser and practical with my decisions.’
Villanueva said that at the end of the day, what matters most is following what you love doing. He left his first job to do what he loves the most… to be a nurse. By God’s grace, he was hired as a homecare nurse. “I super enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. This might sound cliche, but that’s the reality. That is something my family and friends can attest to,” he added.
He further added that will always choose to be a nurse over other careers not because this is what he knows, but because this is what his heart wants. “Being a nurse is a privilege. A privilege to witness other people’s celebration such as a woman giving birth to her firstborn, a privilege to be an advocate, a privilege to cheer up someone who may be at their worst and is being hopeless, a privilege to touch other people’s lives and make a difference. Nursing can be tiring but it is also very rewarding,” he said.
He said that he considers all of his working experiences precious since they are the main reason for who he is today. However, he considered his nursing career in the Philippines as the most challenging one as when he was working as a staff nurse, he was earning nothing. But it didn’t hinder him from excelling. He strived harder and sooner got promoted as one of the senior nurses and was consistently nominated as one of the best nurses. “The reason why I am saying this is not to brag, I just want to tell everyone that if you are really happy and contented with what you’re doing, you will not end up exhausted. But determined and fulfilled,” Villanueva said.
Over the course of the pandemic, he, along with his friends, has organized an initiative to support their fellow Filipinos who were displaced and whose salary has been deducted. The group was able to arrange sets of food packs and have them distributed to those who are in need. “A simple act of kindness we known that would really help your kababayans,” he further added.
Working in Dubai for more than six years now, Villanueva said that it allows him to meet and work with different types of people having different traits and characteristics since UAE is a diverse and multicultural country.
“It helped me understand and dig deeper to other nationalities’ values and beliefs. Dubai will also let you meet difficult people. ‘Coz admit it or not, those people will be part of your life and those people will not only make you a better person but also the best version of you,” he said.
Currently, Villanueva has been working on his application as a nurse to the UK.
“To all my kababayans who are facing difficulties at this very moment, just always remember that your decisions and choices today will impact what you will become moving forward. Don’t look at failures. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable because you will discover who you really are and what you can do during your weakest point,” he said when asked about his advice for his fellow Filipinos abroad.
He added that failure is a lesson that humans need to experience to keep going in life.
“If you can pick up after a crushing and devastating defeat and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. So, don’t be ashamed to be a loser. Be a fighter,” Villanueva concluded.
This story has been featured on the 11th 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.