Text and images by contributors
Edited by Anton Miguel De Vera
It is without a doubt that the Filipino community has brought great contributions to the vital success of the United Arab Emirates in the fields of sciences, services, technology and engineering. "In fact, practically everywhere" says UAE Minister, His Excellency, Sheikh Nahyan during the Philippines Independece Day celebrations in 2022 at Dubai.
With more than 650,000 Filipinos living in the U.A.E., they continue to show their pride of being Filipino through a variety of media such as art, music, literature, education, public service, and more. This articles acts as a continuation of showcasing the advocacy and talents of young Filipinos as role models from different parts of the world.
Here are some young, creative, and talented Filipino voices based in the United Arab Emirates:
Moving from one country to another can be a daunting experience, especially for a 10-year-old child. However, for one young woman, her move from the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) proved to be a life-changing experience that helped shape her into the person she is today.
Growing up in the Philippines, Elizah was always fascinated by the world of fashion. She loved watching fashion shows and would often design her own clothes in her spare time. When her family moved to the UAE in 2010, Elizah was initially overwhelmed by the new environment. However, she soon adapted to life in the UAE and began to explore her love of fashion even further.
At the age of 18, Elizah enrolled in a one-year Fashion Design program at a university in London, Istituto Marangoni. The experience gave her a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the world of fashion and gave her the opportunity to represent Filipino culture to her foreign classmates. It also helped her promote sustainable fashion and even volunteered with organizations to help spread awareness. However, as much as she loved the subject, the pandemic made her desire a more practical approach to her career and she wanted to explore other passions as well.
After completing her Fashion Design program, Elizah decided to take a gap year and explored her many interests - from making and selling her own artworks to video production to event hostessing for Forbes, Louvre, among other clients. She worked multiple part-time jobs, including brand promotion and commercial acting to save for future endeavors. She also used some of her earnings to travel solo and see the world, experiencing new cultures and broadening her horizons, learning how to be independent and navigating life at her own pace.
After careful thought and consideration, Elizah decided to pursue a degree in Computer Science at another UK-based University, BathSpa University. Studying the subject has been a very challenging but rewarding experience for her. She had to work hard to adapt to a new academic environment, but she has found the subject matter to be quite fascinating. Elizah is particularly interested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and she hopes to pursue a career in these fields after graduation.
In her spare time she likes crocheting, taking care of her pet dog and plants, gaming, and playing the piano.
Born in Cebu City, Philippines, Raphael Creer grew up in a family of artists and has always been encouraged to be curious and creative.
He is a singer, songwriter, producer, photographer, and videographer. He is now based in the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi.
He grew up exploring different genres of music such as pop, funk, R&B, bossa nova, and alternate rock. He started a YouTube channel where he occasionally posts cover of a wide variety of songs, old and new, adding his own flavor and spice. Eventually, with his ever-growing passion for music, he released his first single titled "Instax", a Pop and Funk-inspired song by Bruno Mars and Boy Pablo. His stream numbers amass 100,000 plus views on all platforms and socials combined.
He is also an award-winning photographer and videographer, with his works winning 1st place and Overall champion in prestigious competitions such as Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA), Kabayan Photography Photo Competition, Legacy of Sheikh Zayed Competition, and the Qasr Al Hosn Heritage Photography competition.
Raphael was recently featured on Dubai One TV. At present, he's doing gigs around the UAE as a local artist, working with the record label The Barcoe Studio and is planning to release an EP and a music video towards the end of 2023. We're excited to share more about it soon!
Mohammed Farhan (Moe) aka Embers is a Filipino DJ & Producer residing in the UAE. Drawing tremendous inspiration from accomplished and master artists, namely Illenium, Mazare, Nurko and many others.
Embers has established himself as a creative and versatile artist overtime, combining emotional depth and transparency with bold expression and experimentation. He’s also developing an explorative concept, known as the “Different Embers” concept - experimenting with various styles and genres. His experiences outside of the Philippines are growing, and gradually becoming one of many underground producers .
Mohammed has performed at different venues including "The Barcoe Studio" and house parties. He dreamt of performing in big events such as Ultra Music Festival (UMF), and Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC).
During his journey, he met a lot of artists and was invited to collaborate on his music projects in his upcoming album "The Fragment". Look out for it.
Each of these young Filipinos took their passion and brought into fruition as they journey across their life living abroad. All of them continue to bring their talents to the next level that could only amplify the talents and contributions of the Filipino diaspora in the UAE and around the globe. I (Anton) am especially honoured and grateful to be remembered by these amazing people of my childhood and to be able to share their humble stories in achieving their dreams. Roots & Wings would like to thank Elizah, Raphael, and Mohammed for allowing us to feature them enthusiastically, completing another part to our Kabataan series.
We hope to see many more young Filipinos dedicate their work in appreciating Filipino culture and communities in different parts of the world.