OFW Interview with Marielle, Real Estate Accounting Assistant & Maintenance Coordinator

Living in Dubai can be quite a challenge, especially when it comes to money. With so many tourist attractions, restaurants, and shopping destinations — many people usually end up spending more than they originally planned! For today’s featured OFW, however, her personal motto is “needs first before wants and leisure.” She has learned how to save money and manage it wisely, for herself as well as for her family in the Philippines.

The following OFW interview features Marielle Fernandez Payad, who is better known as “Yheng” or “Mari” among her friends and colleagues. She has been living in the UAE for 8 years now, and has been working for the same company all this time! Marielle is an Accounting Assistant and Maintenance Coordinator for a Real Estate company. Prior to this, she was an Area Marketing Officer for a famous Amusement Center in the Philippines. Cool!

Like most OFWs, Marielle went through a period of adjustment, especially during her first few weeks in the UAE. Fortunately, due to her friendly nature, she was able to mingle and make friends easily, including people from other nationalities. She also likes the diversity of the UAE, and the fact that people respect one another, despite their cultural differences.

Notably, within just one month of arriving in the UAE, Marielle was able to get a job in the UAE — a job that she hopes to be her first and last, in fact. To her fellow kabayans, she shares some tips for job-hunting and encourages everyone not to give up, despite all the hardships. Let’s get to know more about Marielle and her interesting OFW story!

real estate accounting assistant
Meet Marielle, a Filipina living and working in Dubai.

OFW Feature: Marielle, Real Estate Accounting Assistant & Maintenance Coordinator

Name: Marielle Fernandez Payad
Nickname: “Mari” or “Yheng”
Age: 39 years old
Current Profession: Accounting Assistant and Maintenance Coordinator in a Real Estate Office
Course: Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Computer Management
Years in the UAE: 8 years

1. Tell us about yourself.

Hello! I am Marielle Fernandez Payad. My friends in the Philippines call me “Yheng,” while here in the UAE since my full name is quite hard to pronounce, some call me “Mari,” specifically in the workplace. I graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Computer Management.

I am 39 years old. I have been working as Accounting Assistant & Maintenance Coordinator in Real Estate Office for 8 years now. This is the same company I have worked with since I came to the UAE. Hopefully, it will be the first and the last, since I prefer stability over salary.

real estate accounting assistant
Discovering Dubai

2. Why did you come to Dubai?

I came to Dubai due to personal reasons. Actually, I had a stable job in the Philippines as Area Marketing Officer in a famous Amusement Center, but I still decided to come to the UAE. I have been for 8 years and counting!

3. What were your previous jobs?

My latest previous job was in the Philippines, where I was an Area Marketing Officer for 7 years. Before that, I used to work as an Instructor in a College Technical School.

real estate accounting assistant
Simply having fun!

4. How do you find your current job? Are you happy/satisfied with it?

Having been in the same company in the UAE for the past 8 years, I am grateful for my job, especially when the pandemic hit all of us hard. Thank God my company did not cut any salary from us! And I can say that even though my salary is not that big, my company is stable.

It made me learn so many things from the professional side. To think I am a Commerce Graduate but landed a job in the Accounting Department. I am thankful to God for everything that I have, and one of them is my job!

5. Are you able to save in Dubai? Or do you have any investments you wish to share?

During the first few years, honestly no. But I realized that we are not young and strong forever, that’s why I decided to get a Condo unit in Manila, which I have been paying now for 4 years.

I also have Life Insurance in the Philippines, which I am paying quarterly, and also some savings for the rainy days. I am the type of person who will think twice about spending money on something. “Needs first before wants and leisure” is one of my mottos in life. But I am the type of person who also loves to have fun and parties, but I can say that I know how to balance both.

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Visiting breathtaking sights!

6. Is it difficult to live in Dubai? What are your struggles? What’s life like outside work?

I can say that I am one of those lucky ones who never had too much struggle in Dubai. Exactly one month of coming here, I got my current job and I had some relatives here to back me up. One of the struggles during my first few months of stay was getting lost around the area when I was going for interviews. I used to be so confused going in the Metro stations and buses and at times I had to walk for almost 1 hour during summertime!

At work, the difficulty especially during the first few weeks is adjusting to different people with different cultures and traditions, but now I can say that I am definitely better than the person I was yesterday.

Life outside work is okay because I am the type of person who can easily adjust to my environment. I can easily mingle with different types of people regardless of their nationality or religion. I was able to make friends from other nationalities, as well.

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Marveling at amazing sights

For me it was not that difficult because I can say that I am a very adaptable individual and I don’t want too much stress in life. That’s why I tried my best to live a comfortable life here in the UAE, like having my own place, because seriously I try to avoid stress as much as I can!

7. What do you like about Dubai?

I like the fact that there is respect and priority for Ladies, such as in public transportation and the like. Here, all residents are respected, regardless of their religion, gender, or nationality. There is diversity in UAE. And the UAE is encouraging tolerance, which means accepting and respecting one another despite our differences.

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Traveling around during her free time

8. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?

The crowd in the Metro! Sometimes you have to stand beside the next person almost face to face. I don’t like the traffic rush, especially during rush hours. The cold weather as well because I am not fond of cold weather. I prefer summer over winter!

9. What are your plans for your career/family/future?

In God’s perfect time I will be staying in the Philippines for good. But for now, as long as I feel that my company still needs me, I will be staying so I still have time to prepare for my future plans. All I am doing is not just for me, but for my family and their future, as well.

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Havin’ some fun in the sun!

10. You have any tips for kabayans when working/finding work/living in Dubai?

I have seen some kabayans who are struggling in Dubai looking for work. My advice for them is to have lots of patience because everyone has their own success story. You may not have it today, but someday you will. Find a job that you will be happy doing everyday, not just doing it for the sake of having it done. Have the passion to love your work! If you are not happy, leave and find something else.

Rather than keep on complaining, be thankful. Because no one’s life is perfect. It is up to us how we will make our life easier and stress-free. Life is short; don’t worry about petty and nonsense things; rather, focus on the good things in life. The more you will be grateful and less complaining, the more you will be blessed. Let us be a blessing to others and God will bless us more!

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Exploring the Dubai Miracle Garden


*Photos provided by Marielle Fernandez Payad

Are you an expat in Dubai? Do you want to be featured in the website? Send us an email telling us you want to be featured at admin@dubaiOFW.com and we will send you the set of questions! Let’s help other Pinoys who want to come to Dubai understand what life in the UAE is like through your story.