When things go south, prayers and timings are the things that florist Zilfa L. Dinglasa holds on to. Throughout her life and work career, several challenges have come along the way that she fought alone. However, according to her, a true Filipino fighter never quits after the stumble and fall.
Dinglasa has been working in UAE for the last year and nine months, and prior to starting an OFW life in the region, she spent a year in Oman as a florist. Like many Filipinos overseas, it is her dream to provide her family a greener pasture, and as a solo parent, to give her only child a better future.
“Bilang isang florista, isa itong napaka-challenging na trabaho. Dito ma-express kung ano at sino ka. At dito mo makikita ang tunay na ugali mo dahil dito dapat umaapaw ang pasensya mo,” she said.
Dinglasa may be working in a glamorous industry, however, her past was filled with ups and downs.
Since she was young, she was already independent, and when she turned high school, she started helping her mother deliver vegetables to the local market every day until she vomited blood due to exhaustion.
During her college days, to help sustain her expenses, she sold products from Avon. When she was in her third year, she thought of working on a part-time basis as her expenses were getting bigger. She started knocking on her neighbors’ doors to offer beauty products on sale. Thinking that working in Metro Manila would offer her a more decent profit, she grabbed the opportunity as a salesperson. Naive and shocked upon arrival, she was briefed that her real work was as a housemaid with a P500 salary per month.
“Parang binagsakan ako ng mundo. Hindi ako tumagal doon, lumayas na ako at hindi ko alam ano mangyayari sa akin,” she said adding that she met a group that helped her find a new work in a catering service.
After working there for quite some time, her employer died from cancer and she was forced to work from one company to another just to survive. She recalled being jobless for two months so she accepted laundry works so she could send money to her family in the province. “Nagpapadala pa din ako sa amin kahit minsan tinapay at kape na lang kinakain ko maghapon,” she said.
“Laging dasal ang kaagapay ko,” Dinglasa said noting that she had also tried to work in Japan. However, despite her willingness to work abroad at that time, it didn’t materialize as her father died a few weeks before her departure and she chose to be with him.
“Pinili ko na lang umuwi kahit wala na akong ipon nun. Pero kailangang harapin at tanggapin ang mga pangyayari,” she added.
Just like a flower that blooms, she started a new career by working as a liaison officer for a real estate agency and sooner applied as a receptionist for a semicon company in Laguna. “Doon ko nakita ang akala ko ‘forever’ ko pero hindi pala. Pero that’s life, pero sabi ko nga walang forever, nag-palit ng agency ang company at isa-isa kami hindi na na-renew,” she added.
As a person full of hopes, she thought about working abroad again using her experience as a florist and events coordinator. She sought agencies online, got interviewed, and was told to wait for another two months while her papers were being prepared for a job opportunity in Oman.
“Dumating ako sa Oman noong July 2017. Nung una, okay pa. Kaso ginawa nila stay-in pala ako. No day-off. Magka-off naman, once every two months lang,” she added adding that she went to work around 7am and went back to her accommodation around 1am and left with a little food to eat.
The moment she transferred to UAE, she thought that the place is definitely the very place where dreamers fulfill their dreams.
“Para sa mga nagababalak pa lang mag abroad, huwag basta-basta sumugod kung hindi matibay at malakas ang loob mo. Huwag mag-abroad kung hindi mo pinag-pray ang bawat hakbang mo. Para sa mga nandito sa abroad, huwag basta tatakas kung nahihirapan sa trabaho, huwag gumawa ng hakbang na lalong ikagagalit ng employer. Sumunod sa agos, makiramdam, at humingi ng advice sa nakakaalam, tulad ng POLO-OWWA upang hindi tayo mapahamak,” she further added.
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.