Filipino Excellence by Art 'Popoy' Los Banos Being part of the CFC Community overseas or in...

Being part of the CFC Community overseas or in the Philippines


In my previous columns about reintegrating back into Philippine society, most of those I interviewed said it took them some time to adjust to the daily life in the homeland. But with my three friends or ‘brothers’ in this column they did not encounter any issue in one area – being members of the CFC Catholic Community.

They were all welcomed by the local CFC Community where they live when they went home for good. For Arnel Batusin whose last work in the UAE was Inspection Engineer of ENOC Processing Company (Oil Refinery), it was a homecoming as a CFC leader in Batangas in 2018. We call him Tito Arnel during his 20-year stay here.

“Mimie and I became members of CFC in December 1990 in Batangas City. When we were in Dubai our last service was being one of the members of the CFC-UAE National Council and also as Country Coordinators of CFC-Iraq. When we went back home we were initially assigned as Family is a Gift Coordinators when it was launched in the Archdiocese of Lipa on May 18, 2019. Then in January 2020, we were given our second assignment as Cluster Leaders of six chapters covering the areas of Tanauan, Sto. Tomas, Talisay and Malvar,” Tito Arnel shared.

Both Tito Arnel and Tita Mimie are already senior citizens and are SSS pensioner. They also have a source of income from rentals of their condominium in Manila and apartments in Batangas City. They have two children, the eldest is in Canada with her family while their son is working in Dubai.  

“It was always a dream for us to go home to the Philippines and start a business so in 2018 while still young and able, we decided to give up our OFW life and try the life in the Philippines after 20 years in UAE and five years in Egypt,” said Jojo Sarmiento who is currently the CFC-Pampanga West 2 Cluster Leader (Lubao Pampanga). Jojo and wife Lany joined CFC in Dubai in June 2001 and later became Music Ministry Head and YFC Coordinator. When his company Adidas transferred him to Egypt as Senior Manager Supply Chain in 2013, Jojo became the Country Head of CFC-Egypt.

They have a travel agency in Pampanga and Lany is currently working as admin with the LausGroup of Companies, one of the largest and fastest-growing multi-brand automotive network in the Philippines. They have three children who are with them.

Jojo shares about his entrepreneurial journey back home: “We started business in November 2018 buying a Multi Service Business Franchise that provides services such as Bills Payments, Remittance, Courier Service, Insurance and E Loading, however in the beginning it was not doing well or making enough money to even pay our bills until I got interested in the travel business in early 2019 and started to do research and did a self-study on how to manage a travel agency.”

In January and February 2020, the couple had their biggest sale but then in March all their bookings until the 3rd quarter were cancelled.  “It was very tough as if you were robbed of your opportunities to be a successful businessman.  In order to survive the crisis, we started to venture into small businesses like selling frozen goods, mangoes, and online bank services and continued our travel business,” he added.

In March 2022, they started to receive inquiries for local travel packages and started to create promos and packages and announced them on social media. From there on their travel business started to grow sales month by month not only to local destinations but also to other countries.

The Dizon family, comprising of husband and wife Anthony and Yoti, and daughters Isa, Dani and Maryan, is the best example of the saying ‘the family that prays together stays together’ or to be exact ‘the family that sings together stays together’. They are all serving as CFC Music Ministry at the Mary Mother of God Parish in Imus Cavite. Anthony and Yoti are also the CFC Church Integration Coordinators in their parish.

Anthony narrates: “My wife and I completed the Christian Life Program in June 2006 at St. Francis Church in Jebel Ali. We were the SFC Couple Coordinators and then Chapter Music Ministry leaders prior to going back to the Philippines.” Yoti and the three girls went ahead of Anthony in going home for good in February 2017. Anthony followed in October 2018. His last company was Citizen Watches Gulf Co. where he worked for 10 years as IT/Network Administrator. Back home he is working as Technical Support Analyst with Cambridge University Press & Assessment. Yoti is employed too with St. Paul University Manila.

“Being members and leaders of CFC is an integral part of our lives as a Catholic family.  CFC became our 2nd home when we were in Dubai, a channel of our regular spiritual nourishment and provided us a way to connect and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the community. Through CFC, our children grew up in a Christ-centered environment which helped in building the foundation of their faith in Christ,” Anthony added.

When I asked Tito Arnel why is being part of CFC while overseas or in the Philippines important and beneficial, this is his answer: “CFC Community is important to us especially to our family as it has given us the guidance and right direction on how to live a true Christian life, how to serve others being missionaries and be blessed with more as we share also the blessings to others. CFC had saved our married life.”

Be part of any Catholic or religious group wherever you are or while you are here in the UAE/Middle East. It helps a lot to have someone, a brother or sister, to talk to and to pray with and worship together. After all, prayers are always answered: Yes. Wait. No (there is something better).

Art 'Popoy' Los Banos
Art ‘Popoy’ Los Banos is a 21-year Dubai resident with his wife, broadcast journalist Rachel Salinel. He is in charge of Corporate Communications of the fully integrated energy logistics service provider Tristar Group, where he is the only Filipino in the senior management team. He was the former 2008 Philippine Independence Day (PID) organizing committee chairman in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Art ‘Popoy’ and Rachel were named as one of the Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf for four years by Illustrado Magazine. In December 2019, he received the Philippine Pride Awards in Public Relations from the Philippine Business Council-Abu Dhabi chapter for his ‘exemplary leadership and tireless efforts to continuously support, boost and campaign for excellence to uplift the Filipino image.’ Recently in June this year, Art ‘Popoy’ was named as one of the Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn.

Latest news

Filipino teen shines at int’l Quran contest with flawless performance

A young Filipino college student has made his country proud by competing in the 26th Dubai International...

The few women who wanted to change the world of the Filipinos in the UAE

I invited a few women to our Tristar International Women’s Day (IWD) panel discussion last March 8...

Pinay nursing grad finds success in food industry in Dubai

For many nursing graduates from the Philippines seeking employment abroad, Dubai is a popular destination. However, Nikki...

Up to AED100,000 fine for unlicensed campaign donation on Ramadan in UAE

As the holy month of Ramadan kicked off, officials have reminded residents to obtain licenses before running...
- Advertisement -

Kabayan Healing Touch Spa offers unbeatable Ramadan deal on couple massages

Dubai-based Kabayan Healing Touch Spa has announced an exclusive Ramadan offer for couples looking to unwind during...

Splash Run DXB 2023: Dubai’s first-ever water-themed fun run set to make a splash at Expo City Dubai

Splash Run DXB 2023, the first-ever water-themed fun run in the UAE, is set to take place...

Must read

Parts of UAE to experience drop in temperature

According to the National Commission on Meteorology,...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you