An overseas Filipino worker in Dubai has been named ‘Isaw King’ for one reason: he sells them like hotcakes!
Bryan Valencia Pantaleon sets up the Inihaw King restaurant in Al Rigga Night Market. The kiosk specializes in grilled isaw or chicken intestines. He sells not less than 2,000 sticks a night.
“Katulad ng marami sa atin, sinawaan na rin akong mangamuhan,” the 37-year-old, who holds a degree qualifying him to be an industrial electrician, told GMA News Online.
“Pag namamasukan ka kasi, kahit anong sipag mo, hanggang doon lang din ang kikitain mo. Company ang yumayaman,” he said.
Bryan, who hails from Bataan, arrived in Dubai in 2012 on an employment contract and worked as a general maintenance technician. His work included installing electrical lines, air conditioning, carpentry, and plumbing across Dubai.
He then started freelancing while running a commissary kitchen.
“But as you get older, you’d realize you need to be practical and try other fields. This way, you will learn that comfort and peace are more important,” he said.
Bryan lives with his wife and five-year-old son in Dubai.
His restaurant is among the popular food stalls in the Night Market. It offers everything from grilled chicken head to chicken feet and everything in between like neck, heart, liver, and gizzard, among others, with isaw as the best seller.
“Sa isaw pa lang po, ‘di bumababa ang benta ng 2,000 sticks every day, puwera pa po ‘yung ibang parts,” he added.
“Nilakasan ko lang loob ko sa tulong na din ng mga kaibigan kong nasa food industry. Naging successful naman, laging sold out every day,” he said.
Early life of an ‘Isaw King’
In a separate interview with The Global Filipino Magazine, he said that he had many dreams and he could not achieve them if he stayed in the Philippines.
He initially worked in Hong Kong and got relocated to various countries in Africa.
“Financially failed lahat yun. Experience at knowledge lang lahat ang na-gain ko, which is okay in the end. Kasi kung hindi ko natutunan lahat ng mga yun, siguro wala ako sa kinalalagyan ko ngayon,” he said.
In Hong Kong, he worked as an electrician and for a logistics company, carrying heavy balikbayan boxes from their clients’ houses to their warehouses.
In Africa, Bryan was based in the western part of Ghana, but his then company assigned him to different parts of the region. He started by working as an electrician, then was promoted to general maintenance technician until he became the warranty department working supervisor.
Duped by fellow ‘Kabayan’
One of the major struggles he faced during his stay abroad is getting duped by his own countrymen who was his business partner for a technical service start-up.
He did not spend a vacation in the Philippines for eight years because he was struggling with his business.
“Naloko ako ng naging partner ko, kabayan din. Na-zero talaga ako noon, nagka-utang utang, walang maibayad sa house rent, may time na walang pang-kain. Pati parents ko sa Pinas hindi ko na kinakausap sa sobreng stress ko,” he said, adding that he also lost his self-confidence during those darkest times of his life.
He is thankful for his wife who always got his back.
Bryan advised his fellow Filipinos abroad who are also facing difficulties in life to continue fighting.
“Laban lang. Tiwala sa Diyos at sa sarili. Huwag manglalamang sa kapwa. Be smart, think twice before making any decision. Mamili mabuti ng partner na hindi ka iiwan through thick and thin, lalo na dito sa Dubai na maraming nabuong pamilya at madami ding nasira,” he said.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.