By: Ellaine Kryss Hubilla
Being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) is a big sacrifice. Many Filipinos choose to work in a foreign country in hopes of improving their lives, despite the loneliness of being away from friends and family. This is one of the reasons why OFWs are recognized as modern-day heroes.
Just like Rodolfo Ricablanca, an OFW in Dubai who is from Negros Occidental. Aside from being a modern-day hero because he is an OFW, he may also be considered a frontliner during this COVID-19 crisis because he is also a farmer at heart.
Rodolfo posted photos of his plants in Dubai in a Facebook group called Backyard Gardening. With the caption “Share ko lang backyard farm ko dito sa Dubai! Thanks sa pag approve admin! Salamat sa pag welcome hope na gustohan nyo kapulotan ng idea mga tanim ko.” (I just want to share my backyard farm here in Dubai. To the admin, thank you for accepting my request. Thank you for welcoming me [in this group]. I hope you learned ideas from my plants.)
Ricablanca also shared in an interview that he started farming at a young age “since high school ako, pagtatanim na po ng gulay inaatupag ko para makakuha ng pambaon sa school.” (Since [I was in] high school, I took time in planting vegetables so that I can have money for school.)
When he was given a chance to work abroad as a security guard, he brought with him his passion for planting. He utilized some areas around the warehouse where he works and planted vegetables in it. Luckily, he was supported by the management of the company. He shared that whenever he harvests vegetables, he would give some of the produce to his boss and co-workers. He added that even though they are from different cultures and traditions, these people are genuinely happy whenever it is harvest time. Ricablanca also expressed that it has been more than three years since he started planting in Dubai.
It is already summer in Dubai, that is why most of Rodolfo’s plants have been harvested already, but the papaya and sunflower are currently thriving. Some of Rodolfo’s plants are string beans, bitter gourd, snow cabbage, bottle gourd, malabar spinach, eggplant, and many more.