Friday, October 21, 2011
Adobong Mani: an OFW’s story of survival and success (Emmanuel Rabulan)
“Adobong mani po Kabayan, 5 riyals tatlong supot po, bili na kayo”
Al Batha market is frequented by Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and the Filipinos thus, you can see grocery stores offering Filipino consumables from food to beauty products made in the Philippines. Thursday and Friday are the busiest days in Al Batha market, so expect crowds of Filipinos and other nationals during these days at the CFC side of Batha (which they call Philippine market) from restaurants, groceries, electronics, bazaars and banks.
A handful of Kababayans (male only) are selling roasted peanut in Al Batha market. Let’s meet one of our Kababayan and his success story after defeating life’s difficulties.
Born in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro is Emmanuel Rabulan, an OFW working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as a janitor at the Riyadh Military Hospital Bldg. 60 (Prince Sultan) since December 28, 2009. His marriage to Nemianita was blessed with 4 beautiful children namely April Rose, 15 yrs. old, Kobe John, 11 yrs. old, Julius Christian, 8 yrs. old and Paul Eman, 3 yrs. old.
Emmanuel’s duty at the Riyadh Military hospital as a janitor starts at 6 in the morning and wraps up at 2 in the afternoon. After his janitorial duties, he cooks roasted peanut and sells it at Batha market every afternoon from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m on weekdays and earlier during weekends (Thursdays and Fridays). The delicacy is sold at 5 riyals per 3 packs.
Before he tried his luck in the oil rich Saudi Arabia, he and his wife had a fruit stand in Fairview where they earn a minimum of 10,000.00 Pesos per day. From this business, the couple were able to acquire a mini van to help them out with their business. One day, an opportunity for Emmanuel to work in Italy came. Hoping for a better future, the couple sold their fruit store and mini van to pay the recruiter for the processing of his papers. Little did he know that all these greener pasture promise was a scam, he was duped by an illegal recruiter. All of the couple’s hard-earned money was gone with the wind. Emmanuel tried his luck again and this time in Qatar with a visit visa. He worked as a part-time utility man in a restaurant for 3 months receiving 10 Qatari Riyals per hour. If he gets lucky, he works up to 15 hours at the restaurant just to earn more. He went back to the Philippines after his visit visa expired.
Seeing his children in a difficult situation frustrates him a lot. He wanted to send them to school and give them a good life as any parent dreamt of for their children. Again, a persistent Emmanuel applied for abroad thru an agency and that’s how he set foot in Saudi Arabia. A salary of 700 Saudi Riyals per month or roughly 8,000 Pesos in Philippine money is not enough to support his family back home. Part of his contract is a free accommodation but he has to pay for his own food. With this meager salary, he found a way to augment his income by selling adobong mani or roasted peanut at Al Batha market.
At first, he kept his sideline job from his family until his brother who also worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia saw him selling peanut to his Kababayan (fellow Filipinos) in the market. This is when his family back home knew that Emmanuel is working hard to earn extra income for his family’s future.
Emmanuel sells 200 packs equal to 300.00 SR a day on weekdays and 500 or more packs during weekends equal to 700.00 SR a day or more. Now, his sideline job is giving his family a comfortable life back home, way more than what his janitorial job is offering him. At the moment, Emmanuel is saving for a big surprise for his wife when he gets home next year, the proof of his sweat – bank account.
Emmanuel is a story of an OFWs struggle and success from being scammed by an illegal recruiter, properties lost but he picked up the pieces again, stood up, kept his faith and determination to find his way in this world full of competition just to give his family a bright future.
Being an OFW is not easy. One may get lucky, one may get the other way around. The struggles of Filipinos working abroad are the homesickness, the need to feel the love and support of their families back home and the desire to always hear the voices of their loved ones. Overseas Filipino Workers are determined, strong-willed, goal oriented individuals that is why, whatever challenges that comes along our way (that includes me), we always find ways to overcome the trials of life though at times, human as we are, we sometimes feel the world crashing around us but faith in God is what make us going.
Note: Thanks to Fatima Itum for taking pics.