Among the largest and most significant expatriate communities in Dubai is the Filipino community. Approximately 700,000 Filipinos live and work in the UAE, with most of them residing in Dubai, according to the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai.
In Dubai, the Filipino community is diverse and includes skilled professionals, domestic workers, and laborers in a variety of industries, including construction, healthcare, hospitality, and retail. It is evident in the many Filipino-owned businesses and establishments in the city that the community is well known for its strong family ties and culture.
In addition to promoting Philippine culture and traditions, the Filipino community in Dubai organizes events and festivals that showcase Filipino food, music, dance, and other cultural practices. The community is an important part of Dubai’s multicultural fabric, contributing to the city’s vibrant and cosmopolitan character.
Why are there many Filipinos in Dubai?
There are many Filipinos in Dubai due to a variety of factors, such as the availability of employment opportunities and the higher wages compared to the Philippines. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates has a high demand for workers in industries such as construction, hospitality, healthcare, and domestic work, which also attract many Filipinos.
Dubai districts with a high concentration of Filipinos
Satwa is known as “Little Manila” due to the high concentration of Filipino-owned businesses and establishments, including restaurants, supermarkets, and beauty salons. The Filipino expatriate community in Dubai frequently visits Satwa to buy Filipino products and eat Filipino food.
Additionally, Satwa hosts an annual street festival called “Pinoy Fiesta,” which celebrates Filipino culture and traditions through music, dance, and food, and is a major event for the Filipino community in Dubai.
Satwa is known for its concentration of Filipino-owned businesses and establishments, offering a taste of home for the Filipino community in Dubai. Some of the most popular Filipino-owned businesses and establishments in Satwa include:
- Restaurants – Satwa is home to a variety of Filipino restaurants serving traditional dishes such as adobo, sinigang, and lechon. Examples include Barrio Fiesta, Max’s Restaurant, and Jollibee.
- Supermarkets – There are several Filipino supermarkets in Satwa offering a wide range of Filipino products such as snacks, canned goods, and condiments. Examples include Philippine Supermarket, Lamesa Supermarket, and West Zone Supermarket.
- Beauty salons – Satwa also has several Filipino-owned beauty salons offering hair and beauty services to the Filipino community. Examples include Beauty Avenue Ladies Salon and Jun Encarnacion Salon.
- Remittance centers – Many Filipinos in Dubai use remittance centers to send money back home to their families. Satwa has several remittance centers such as MoneyGram, Al Ansari Exchange, Lulu Exchange, and UAE Exchange.
- Community centers – Satwa also has several community centers that offer services and support to the Filipino community, including the Bayanihan Center.
Deira, one of the oldest and most historic areas of Dubai, is also home to a significant number of Filipino-owned businesses and establishments.
- Restaurants – Deira has several Filipino restaurants offering authentic Filipino cuisine, including popular dishes such as adobo, sinigang, and kare-kare. Examples of these restaurants are Barrio Fiesta, Kabayan Restaurant, and Manila Grill Restaurant.
- Money exchange and remittance centers – Many Filipinos in Dubai use money exchange and remittance centers to send money back home to their families or to exchange currencies. In Deira, you can find several Filipino-owned money exchange and remittance centers such as Al Ghurair Exchange, BDO Remit, and Cebuana Lhuillier.
- Travel and tour agencies – Filipinos in Dubai often use travel and tours agencies to book their trips back home or to other destinations. Deira has several Filipino-owned travel and tours agencies such as Skyline Travel and Tours, New Star Travel and Tours, and Gulf Pearl Tourism.
- Supermarkets – Filipinos in Dubai also enjoy shopping at Filipino supermarkets for products from back home that are not easily available in regular supermarkets. Deira has several Filipino supermarkets such as Philippine Supermarket and Manila Supermarket.
- Beauty salons – Filipino women in Dubai also visit Filipino-owned beauty salons to get their hair and beauty services done. Some of the popular Filipino-owned beauty salons in Deira are Filipina Ladies Salon and Beauty Avenue Ladies Salon.
Al Ghurair Centre is a popular shopping mall located in the Deira area of Dubai. The mall is known for its wide range of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. It is also popular among Filipinos in Dubai, who often visit the mall for its Filipino-owned businesses and establishments, as well as for the variety of products and services catering to the Filipino community.
One of the reasons Al Ghurair Centre is popular among Filipinos is that it houses several Filipino-owned businesses, including remittance centers, travel agencies, and Filipino supermarkets. These businesses provide convenient services to Filipinos in Dubai, such as sending money back home, booking travel, and buying Filipino products.
In addition, Al Ghurair Centre is also known for hosting Filipino events and festivals, particularly during special occasions like Christmas and New Year’s. These events showcase Filipino culture and traditions, including music, dance, and food, and draw large crowds of Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.
The Filipino population in Al Qusais is one of the largest and most significant Filipino communities in Dubai. According to the Dubai Statistics Center, as of 2021, the total population of Al Qusais was estimated to be around 55,000, and approximately 17% of the population was Filipino. This makes Filipinos one of the largest expat communities in the area.
The majority of the Filipino population in Al Qusais is composed of working-age individuals and families. Many of them are employed in various industries, including hospitality, retail, healthcare, and education. The community is also diverse in terms of socioeconomic status, with some members belonging to the middle and upper classes, while others work in low-paying jobs and face financial challenges.
In terms of culture and language, the Filipino community in Al Qusais reflects the diverse cultures and traditions of the Philippines. Many Filipinos in the area maintain their cultural identity and language by attending Filipino events, festivals, and community gatherings.
Al Qusais is also an important area for Filipinos because it is home to several schools and institutions offering Filipino curricula, such as the United International Private School and the Far Eastern Private School. Filipino families residing in Dubai prefer to enroll their children in these schools to maintain their cultural identity and to ensure their children receive a quality education in accordance with the Philippine educational system.
- United International Private School – This school offers the K-12 Basic Education Program of the Philippines, which includes kindergarten, primary, junior high, and senior high school levels. The school follows the curriculum set by the Philippine Department of Education and provides a wide range of academic and co-curricular programs to students.
- Far Eastern Private School – This school offers the K-12 program of the Philippine Department of Education, providing education in the Filipino language and English language subjects. The school also offers extracurricular activities and programs, including sports, music, and arts.
- New Filipino Private School – This school follows the curriculum set by the Philippine Department of Education, offering education in the Filipino language and English language subjects. The school also provides a range of co-curricular activities and programs to students, including sports, music, and drama.
- New World Private School – This school offers the K-12 program of the Philippine Department of Education, providing education in the Filipino language and English language subjects. The school also provides extracurricular activities and programs, including sports, music, and arts.
Further, Al Qusais has a high concentration of Filipino residents, which makes it a hub for Filipino-owned businesses and establishments, including restaurants, supermarkets, and beauty salons. The Philippine Consulate in Dubai is located in the Al Qusais residential area of Dubai. The address is Villa No. 234-851, Beirut Street, Al Qusais 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
There is no doubt that Jumeirah is an important area to Filipinos in Dubai, as it is a popular destination for leisure and recreation among Filipino expatriates. Known for its upscale shopping destinations and luxurious beachfront properties, Jumeirah offers a wide range of entertainment and dining options for families and individuals alike. Jumeirah is a popular destination for Filipino expats in Dubai to enjoy beach activities, shopping, and dining out with friends and family.
Jumeirah also hosts an annual Filipino food festival called “Pinoy Fiesta sa Dubai” which celebrates Filipino cuisine and culture and is a major event for the Filipino community in Dubai.
Filipinos in Dubai consider Bur Dubai to be one of the most significant areas of the city since it is one of the oldest parts and holds significant historical and cultural significance. Bur Dubai is renowned for its traditional souks (markets), such as the Textile Souk and the Spice Souk, which offer visitors a unique shopping experience.
There are a number of Filipino expatriates living in Dubai who visit Bur Dubai to purchase traditional Arabic textiles, spices, and other souvenirs. In addition, Bur Dubai is home to several Filipino restaurants, retail shops, and community centers that cater to the Filipino community.
It’s worth noting that Filipinos are a highly mobile community and can be found in many other areas throughout Dubai, and not just in these specific neighborhoods.
Areas with Filipino organizations and community centers
Karama is a bustling neighborhood in Dubai that is home to a significant number of Filipino expatriates. The area boasts several Filipino organizations and community centers that serve as a hub for the Filipino community in Dubai. These centers offer a range of services and programs that cater to the needs of Filipinos, including social and cultural events, legal and employment advice, and assistance in times of crisis. Here are some examples of Filipino organizations and community centers in Karama:
- Bayanihan Centre – This community center is run by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai and is located in Karama. It provides a range of services to the Filipino community, including legal and employment advice, emergency assistance, and passport and visa processing. The center also organizes cultural and social events, such as Independence Day celebrations and Christmas parties.
- Filipino Institute – This organization provides training and certification programs to Filipinos in various fields, including hospitality, healthcare, and business. The institute offers courses that are recognized both in the Philippines and in Dubai, helping Filipinos to improve their employment prospects and career advancement.
- Pinoy Tourism – This organization promotes tourism to the Philippines and provides assistance to Filipinos who want to visit their home country. The organization also organizes cultural events, such as dance and music performances, and provides information on Filipino culture and traditions.
- Philippine Business Council – This organization represents Filipino-owned businesses in Dubai and provides networking opportunities and support to its members. The council also organizes events and activities that promote business development and collaboration among Filipinos.
These organizations and community centers play an essential role in the lives of Filipinos in Karama, providing a sense of community and support for those who are far away from home. They help Filipinos to maintain their cultural identity and traditions while also offering opportunities for growth and development in their adopted country.
Bur Dubai is a historical district in Dubai that holds significant cultural and historical value for Filipinos. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and was once the center of commerce and trade in the region.
For Filipinos, Bur Dubai has a special place in their hearts as it is home to many historical sites and cultural landmarks that represent their roots and identity. One of the most notable landmarks is the Al Bastakiya Quarter, a restored traditional village that reflects the architecture and lifestyle of the old Dubai. The quarter is known for its wind towers, narrow alleys, and courtyards, which are reminiscent of the traditional houses in the Philippines.
Another significant landmark is the Dubai Museum, located in the historic Al Fahidi Fort, which was built in the 18th century. The museum showcases the history and culture of Dubai and provides insights into the way of life in the region before the discovery of oil. For Filipinos, the museum holds cultural significance as it displays the role of pearl diving, fishing, and other maritime activities that are an important part of Filipino culture.
Bur Dubai is also home to several Filipino establishments, including restaurants, grocery stores, and cultural centers. These establishments provide a taste of Filipino cuisine and culture to both Filipinos and non-Filipinos in the area. They serve as a reminder of home and offer a sense of community and belonging for Filipinos who are living and working in Dubai.
Overall, Bur Dubai holds significant cultural and historical value for Filipinos, reflecting their roots and identity and offering a glimpse into the history and culture of the city. It is a testament to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region and the contribution of Filipinos to the city’s growth and development.
In conclusion, Filipinos are a significant part of the expatriate community in Dubai, with a population of over 500,000. They have established their presence in different areas of the city, with Satwa, Deira, Al Qusais, Jumeirah, and Bur Dubai being some of the most popular areas for Filipinos to live and work. These areas boast several Filipino-owned businesses, community centers, and cultural landmarks that reflect the unique identity and cultural heritage of Filipinos in Dubai.