THE GLOBAL FILIPINO MAGAZINE Issue 28 From surviving to thriving: OFW weathered all odds to...

From surviving to thriving: OFW weathered all odds to build dream company


While thousands of companies have closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an OFW based in UAE beat all the odds just to survive and establish a therapeutic massage center.

Presently working as an admin and logistics manager for a medical group in Dubai, John Carlo Yabut has a fair share of stories to tell. Still, the most impactful was during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UAE.

He said that establishing an entity overseas and during the pandemic was one of his biggest challenges. His vision is to help and serve his fellow Filipinos, especially those retrenched during the Covid-19. So, he and his business partner, a registered physical therapist, conducted free massage training and provided them with free food allowances and decent accommodation. While they were training, they also got a monthly salary for a part-time job.

He also recounted the time when he was told by his family members and friends he considered that putting up the business was too good to be true. The first two months after opening the spa were crucial for him as he did not know how to convince people to patronize his service, primarily the negative connotation of ‘massage service’ in Dubai.

To strengthen his team, they conduct more training and simulation technique until they finally build trust among their clients.

John Carlo, who only received 50 percent of his salary from his full-time job during those trying times, pursued his vision, strived harder, and made logical decisions to sustain their basic needs.

“Fortunately, few Filipinos believed and tried our services, and that was the start of the business growth,” he said, noting that it gradually spread through word of mouth about how relieving and relaxing their healing touch was.

“The only solution was to take double jobs all day and night and keep on believing to Almighty God and believe to be good to your people, and you will be rewarded,” he said.

After weathering the storm with his business partner and his team, the ‘Kabayan Healing Touch Spa’ is well-received by clients in the UAE and consistently received positive reviews online due to its advanced techniques and quality massage services.

Currently, the massage service center has more than 1,500 regular Filipino clients and a growing number of non-Filipino nationals patronizing and continuously recommending their services to their families and close friends.

Being an entrepreneur in Dubai gives me a lot of opportunities to inspire and meet other Filipino entrepreneurs, influencers, and other Filipino community members who taught me many things about how they became successful in their chosen fields.

Before venturing into the business world, John Carlo was a certified quality assurance engineer in the Philippines for more than five years in a manufacturing company. They were processing the assembly of mobile technology while supervising more than 200 inspectors and five team leaders, among other team members who played a pivotal role in the corporation.

When he transferred to Dubai some seven years ago, John Carlo worked as a sales coordinator, which was way far from his previous career. The situation triggered him to get outside of his comfort zone.

He believes that working abroad is a tough decision for every OFW, considering they are away from their loved ones. Yes, working overseas nurtured him into a mature person and maximized his inter and intrapersonal skills by developing and understanding different cultures and perspectives.

When asked about his long-term goals, he said he plans to open another medical massage treatment spa in the Philippines or the US, where his family currently lives and who he hasn’t seen for the longest time.

Since he considers himself a nature lover, he also wants to settle in a mountainous area in the Philippines with his family and live a simple and peaceful life.

His advice to his fellow Filipino abroad is to never give up.

“Keep praying and always put God in the middle of everything you do. Never lose hope, take a deep breath, focus and start to take action one step at a time,” he concluded.

Read the digital copy of the magazine here:

This story has been featured in the 28th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr. Raymart Patulot at +971 56 663 4184. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email to us at

Ryan Namia
Ryan Namia spends most of his days reading over drafts of new written content and determining which ones make the final cut for online and print publication. He received his Bachelor's degree in Journalism in 2015 and has been writing since 2016. Got a story to tell? Email him at Or follow his IG @rtnamia.

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