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18/08 Saturday 06:47PM

Filipinos in Brunei by Cécile Castilla

“Filipinos in Brunei” written by Cécile Castilla, this book is a collection of stories and experiences from twenty individuals who have share their live journey which brought them to Brunei Darussalam. From maid, engineer, waitress to manager, designer and doctor, this book shares stories of real people and their aspirations, their doubts, difficulties and their achievements. Through conversations, the writer has capture stories of unique adventures and challenges, and also common journey shared by many, it is a fascinating stories through the world of Overseas Filipinos Workers.

“My father was a Spanish immigrant that went to France in the beginning of the Sixties in order to have a better living. In Brunei, more then 25,000 Filipinos did exactly the same choice. I wanted to sit with twenty of them and to listen to their stories. I needed to understand the process that took them to the small Sultanate of Brunei. What were their aspirations and their doubts? What was the hardest part of their journey and their biggest achievement? There are more than 21,000 Filipinos live in Brunei today. It is a very varied population comprising of all social and professional groups. During the nine months that lasted this project, I learnt a lot of being an OFW. This book is a tribute to all of them.”

The Official Launching of the Book is held at the Philippines Embassy in Brunei Darussalam with both Ambassadors of Philippines and France as the Guest of Honour, on Saturday 6th of December 2014.

Extract from Filipinos in Brunei

“He is rightly so very proud with his achievements, but you sense that emotion is never far away. He doesn’t ever forget where he has come from, his humble beginnings. "I want to give something back to my community,” he tells us touchingly. “I want to inspire the children in my village to study hard at school and to achieve in life; if I can come from the same poor background and have a successful career, then they can too. I have set up a scholarship scheme with the village school.”

Dr Jose H. Santos , The Inspirational Professor

“And then I heard that Brunei Press were recruiting foreign journalists to edit and turn a weekly newspaper for expatriates working with Brunei Shell into a mainstream private daily newspaper!  It was very challenging and attractive because the remuneration was almost five times my salary at that time! I talked with my wife, I managed to get a job for her as a proof reader and off we went to Bandar.” Not surprisingly, the first impressions were strange. Tony was a real city boy and suddenly he had landed in the wild heart of Borneo, where the main office of the Borneo Bulletin was still in Kuala Belait! “I was expecting something more modern but it was only jungle!” he laughs.”
Antonio Alabastro, Pioneer at the Borneo Bulletin 

“Suddenly, money was running out. A position abroad was offered to her in 2007; it was a contract for two years in Brunei, a great opportunity but not without compromise:  she would have to leave her family behind.  When Ana Liza moved to Bandar, things were very tough. Suddenly she was completely alone in a staff house while her husband and her two children were miles away in Manila. “I need to be strong,” she kept repeating to herself. “This is for the future of my daughters. We thought it was the best choice possible. I always think of my family first.” She talked every day to her two girls on the phone and tried to minimise the distance by being mentally present. Her only opportunity to go back home was once every two years.”
Ana Liza Riel Atrazo, Brave and Bright, Outlet Manager at Jollibee

With a devoted grandmother who forced her to learn the Ave Maria in Latin, a mother dedicated to her family, three supportive siblings and a multi-tasking father involved in politics, Anyati had a good start in life. The family had a comfortable living until 1972 when war suddenly changed the whole picture. Martial law was imposed and they all had to leave, fearing for their lives. “We were in the middle of the battle ground, “reminds Anyati. “And the only way to survive was to escape!” Today, she can still hear the sound of the gunfire and remember the horrifying feeling of fear.
Anyati Bte Abdullah Orcullo, the Dynamite Fashion Designer

“But life here for Arthur is not just about work and photography. He also spends many hours surfing at Tungku beach. He also likes to go off hiking into the jungle. This is what Brunei has in abundance and he is making the most of all the opportunities that this country has to offer. There are other things that he likes about working here. A tax-free income is of course one of the other major attractions. “Here, nobody interferes with your income. For me, coming from the Philippines, this is a serious benefit,” he explains. Because of the small population here in Brunei, he always finds it amazing that he can meet and have accessibility to the people he sees on the television or in the newspapers. But most importantly, Arthur is very happy at work; he loves his job.”
Arthur John Anfone Menguito, The Constant Drummer



About the Author
Cécile Castilla is a French journalist that spent most of her career in Paris working for mainstream magazines. In 2006, she settled in Indonesia and in 2010 in Libya. She moved in Brunei in September 2011. Based in Bandar Seri Begawan, she ran DuaMinggu, a fortnight cultural newsletter for eighteen editions before dedicating herself to publishing books. She is married with two children.

About the Publisher
Anyati Bte Abdullah Orcullo is an active member of the Filipino community and the General Manager/Event Planner of Ads Allure Advertising Sdn Bhd. An entrepreneur and a fashion designer, recently she authored and published BRUNEI MALAY WEDDING, the first one of a kind ever written in Brunei Darussalam.

Information provided via Author’s Press Release.

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