Volume 3 Issue 6 Former food runner now head barista and freelance model...

Former food runner now head barista and freelance model in Dubai


Hailing from Marilao in Bulacan, Jacob Mariano came to Dubai as a tourist in 2014. Eventually, when he noticed that the city offers a plethora of opportunities, he decided to stay and look for a suitable job wherein he could grow professionally and personally. However, these opportunities are not for everyone, especially for him, who was new in Dubai. 

Pressured, he panicked because not a single company called him even after sending hundreds of CVs.

“I persevered to apply wherever I could–be it walk-in or online. I didn’t want to go home empty-handed. I didn’t want to be laughed at. I wanted to prove something, especially since I was not able to finish studying,” he said, adding that he was once belittled. 

Three weeks after searching for a job, he accepted what was offered on the table: food runner with a lower salary than he was anticipating. He did not have a choice at that time because his tourist visa was about to end. 

After a couple of months, Jacob told himself that he was more than just a restaurant runner. He wanted to improve his position, he wanted that promotion. 

“So I worked harder. I learned the menu and drinks. I exerted more effort in my work,” he recalled. 

From a humble food runner, he rose through the ranks of F&B. He became a junior server, and senior server until he was accepted as a junior barista for a bar. After finishing his employment contract, he continued to excel in his work until he was hired as a full-time barista with a much higher salary compared to his first employment. 

With consistent hard work and determination, he was then promoted to a senior barista. Because of his dedication to work, he is now working as the head barista for Nightjar Coffee Roaster, a leading coffee shop in Dubai. 

“I enjoy working here because I only work five times a week which is very uncommon in the F&B industry. Mostly, employers from the business would give employees one day per week and long hours of work timings,” he said. 

Jacob said he gets to express himself more because they don’t have dress codes. His fashion sense has developed because of this. 

“I like to dress, that’s why I like this environment more,” he added. 

His OOTD or Outfit of the Day posts on Instagram and Facebook have caught the attention of some advertisers that showed interest in making him one of their models. 

Jacob’s latest project was with a leading sports brand in the UAE. He was featured on various billboard signs across Dubai which made him even prouder as a Filipino. 

The freelance model looks back at those times when people didn’t believe in him. 

“I was not hurt emotionally. It actually inspired me to fight in life. I want to show them that they are wrong to belittle me,” he added. 

Jacob is also grateful to one of his cousins who never left him during those trying times. 

Currently, the 33-year-old head barista plans to stay longer in Dubai to harness his skills as an F&B worker further. When he retires as an OFW, he wants to have his coffee shop in the Philippines and share his knowledge with his fellow Filipinos who want to be a barista. 

His advice to OFWs is to persevere in life. 

“There will be hard days, but they won’t last,” he added. 

Read the digital copy of the magazine here:

This story has been featured in Volume 3 Issue 6 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 eic@theglobalfilipinomagazine.com.

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 eic@theglobalfilipinomagazine.com. Or follow his IG @rtnamia.

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