Some thirty-five years ago, Ronin Ronald Endozo vividly recalled how he, a simple boy back then, was full of dreams, studying in a remote public school in the Philippines, faced with perennial problems like shortage of textbooks and facilities, enduring long distances on foot for 20 minutes to get to and from school daily sweltering in the heat and pounding rain. Being patient and diligent, Endozo managed to graduate as the class Valedictorian in elementary.
Several years after, he found himself working as a director of operations for the Fraser Suites Dubai, a hotel chain under the prestigious Singapore-based Fraser Hospitality, looking after the overall operations and administration of 265 key Fraiser Suites Dubai, working with about a hundred team members.
Endozo is a dynamic hospitality professional with more than 25 years of total work experience in managing daily operations, pre-opening, and business developments in five-star hotels, serviced residences, and food and beverage industries. He’s worked with luxury brands, including IHG, Burj Al Arab, Raffles Hotel, Millennium, Hilton, and Jumeirah Group Branded Restaurant. The field has also given him the opportunity to serve as pre-opening interim general manager in Abuja, Nigeria, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with vast experiences as a food and beverage specialist in multiple projects in Dubai, Bahrain, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.
He first arrived in the Middle East in 1994 at the age of 16. Determined to make a living in Oman without knowing what life’s ahead for an inexperienced high school graduate who can barely speak English like him, he has learned the game of survival and the cultures of the country. He tried to survive his own battle and initially worked as a freelance garage helper, streetcar washer, bakery helper, souvenir kiosk attendant, cargo mover, catering assistant, and cafe dishwasher.
“My first three years in Oman was about survival with an on and off work and was undocumented overseas Filipino,” he said adding that around mid-year of 1997, he has finally started his hospitality career in Muscat Hotel Inter-Continental in Food and Beverage Department from a starting position.
From the day he joined the hotel industry, he has attended hundreds of basic and professional training in the hospitality industry, management, and leadership to improve his craft.
It was 1999 when he arrived in the UAE and that year he was fortunate to join Burj Al Arab to be part of its opening team. Since then, his hospitality journey in UAE took off despite several challenges and trying times.
As the hospitality industry offers one with broad opportunity to grow professionally, Endozo was promoted at least 20 times in his entire career being a high school diploma, from waiter to senior water; from shift leader to team leader; from supervisor to senior supervisor; from assistant manager to manager; from brand manager to assistant operation manager, among others.
While working abroad and still imbued with the same fine brand determination of getting a proper education, he took the courage to take a one-year online course in management at Cornell University and was granted a partial scholarship in one of the British universities in the UAE and received his college diploma in Business Management a year after.
“Poverty and education are the reason why I opted to work abroad. I wanted to lift my family’s burden by providing them food, new shelter; and support my siblings with their education,” he said.
Endozo said that despite all the struggles they have faced, his father never have up and continue to provide for their family. “He himself encouraged us to continue studying even to get a high school diploma and motivated us that all our struggles are temporary and shall pass if we just focus to fulfill our dreams and support each other. My father would always tell me, ‘Everything that made by people can be done by people, so don’t back down despite lack of education, try till you learn and master it,” he added.
Currently, Endozo owns the restaurant family business called n2o Food Garage in Quezon which offers South East Asian, international, and local cuisines with live entertainment and can seat 220 people at a time.
“Never give up and make the best of what you currently have, Rome was not built in a day and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Your struggles are temporary, continue thriving the best for your career, work hard for it, learn new techniques, accept challenges and challenges, keep your feet on the ground,” he added when asked about his advice to his fellow Filipinos abroad who are currently struggling to survive.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.