DUBAI EXPAT STORIES. ‘I’ll open my own gym when I finally go home for good’

Dante Alvizo Gordonas, who hails from Surigao del Sur province in the Philippines, came to Dubai in 2003, leaving behind plans to be a forestry officer and moving on to grab a job as a gym personal trainer instead.

“There were no more trees in the forests back home. It wouldn’t have been a promising job,” Dante said. He was pursuing a degree in forestry but decided to drop it, pack up and fly to Dubai.

And he is very much happy with his job. “Body building is my passion, which I get to do while making a living as a personal trainer,” he said.

He gets a rush dealing with hotel guests – the gym is in a five-star hotel. “Engaging with people of different nationalities is fun,” Dante said.

He said Dubai has never ceased to amaze him. “From a vast desert to an international, state-of-the-art cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers and all, it’s a wonderful place to be,” Dante said.

“Also,” he said, “food is not that expensive compared to how it is back home where you use up a big part of your salary on meals alone and end up with no savings – a hand-to-mouth existence,” said Dante, father and breadwinner, married to a lovely wife and father of two kids.

His eldest was just a little girl when Dante left for Dubai; she is now working as a marketing staff at a multinational automotive company in Davao, Philippines. His youngest is still in college.

Working abroad for the past 18 years, Dante said he is giving it at least three or four more years before going home for good. 

“I will settle down in Philippines and open my own gym. I also plan to go farming,” he said.  

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