Adobong Mani: an OFW’s story of survival and success (Emmanuel Rabulan)

This blog caught the attention of an OFW’s event organizer in the Philippines. The blogger and the person in the story are awardees for the following categories – Emmanuel Rabulan(OBRA)  and Weng (Outstanding Filipino Blogger). Indeed, big surprises come in small packages. To the Almighty Father be the glory.

“Adobong mani po Kabayan, 5 riyals tatlong supot po, bili na kayo”

     Al Batha market is frequented by Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and the Filipinos  thus, you can see grocery stores offering Filipino consumables from food to beauty products made in the Philippines.  Thursday and Friday are the busiest days in Al Batha market, so expect crowds of Filipinos and other nationals during these days at the CFC side of Batha (which they call Philippine market) from restaurants, groceries,electronics, bazaars and banks.

A handful of Kababayans (male only) is selling roasted peanut in Al Batha market.  Let’s meet one of our Kababayan and his success story after defeating life’s difficulties.

       Born in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro is Emmanuel Rabulan, an OFW working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as a janitor at the Riyadh Military Hospital Bldg. 60 (Prince Sultan) since December 28, 2009.  His marriage to Nemianita was blessed with 4 beautiful children namely April Rose, 15 yrs. old, Kobe John, 11 yrs. old, Julius Christian, 8 yrs. old and Paul Eman, 3 yrs. old.

Emmanuel’s duty at the Riyadh Military hospital as a janitor  starts at 6 in the morning and wraps up at 2 in the afternoon. After his janitorial duties, he cooks roasted peanut and sells it at Batha market every afternoon from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m  on weekdays and earlier during  weekends (Thursdays and Fridays).  The delicacy is sold at 5 riyals per 3 packs.

         Before he tried his luck in the oil-rich Saudi Arabia, he and his wife had a fruit stand in Fairview where they earn a maximum of 10,000.00 Pesos a day (depends on the season).  From this business, the couple was able to acquire a mini van to help them out with their business.  One day, an opportunity for Emmanuel  to work in Italy came.  Hoping for a better future, the couple sold their fruit store and mini van to pay the recruiter for the processing of his papers.  Little did he know that all these greener pasture promises was a scam, he was duped by an illegal recruiter.  All of the couple’s hard-earned money was gone with the wind. Emmanuel tried his luck again and this time in Qatar with a visit visa.  He worked as a part-time utility man in a restaurant for 3 months receiving 10 Qatari Riyals per hour. If he gets lucky, he works up to 15 hours at the restaurant just to earn more. He went back to the Philippines after his visit visa expired.

Seeing his children in a difficult situation frustrates him a lot.  He wanted to send them to school and give them a good life as any parent would dream of for their children.  Again, a persistent Emmanuel applied for abroad thru an agency and that’s how he set foot in Saudi Arabia.  A salary of 700 Saudi Riyals per month or roughly 8,000 Pesos in Philippine money is not enough to support his family back home.  Part of his contract is a  free accommodation but he has to pay for his own food.  With this meager salary, he found a way to augment his income by selling adobong mani or roasted peanut at Al Batha market.

At first, he kept his sideline job from his family until his brother who also worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia saw him selling peanuts to his Kababayan (fellow Filipinos) in the market.  This is when his family back home knew that Emmanuel is working hard to earn extra income for his family’s future.

Emmanuel sells 200 packs equal to 300.00 SR a day on weekdays and 500 or more packs during weekends equal to 700.00  SR a day or more.  Now,  his sideline job  is giving his family a comfortable life back home, way more than what  his janitorial job is offering him.  At the moment, Emmanuel is saving for a big surprise for his wife when he gets home next year, the proof of his sweat – bank account.

Emmanuel is a story of  an OFWs struggle and success from being scammed by an illegal recruiter, properties lost but he picked up the pieces again, stood up, kept his faith and determination to find his way in this world full of competition just to give his family a bright future.

Being an OFW is not easy.  One may get lucky, one may get the other way around. The struggles of Filipinos working abroad are the homesickness, the need to feel the love and support of their families back home and the desire to always hear the voices of their loved ones. Overseas Filipino Workers are determined, strong-willed, goal-oriented individuals that is why, whatever challenges that comes along our way (that includes me), we always find ways to overcome the trials of life though at times, human as we are, we sometimes feel the world crashing around us but faith in God is what make us going.

Note:  Thanks to Fatima Itum for taking pics.


10 comments on “Adobong Mani: an OFW’s story of survival and success (Emmanuel Rabulan)

  1. It’s a sad but very inspiring story. It broke my heart but makes me proud of my kababayan. This only shows that Pinoy’s can surpass whatever trial comes along their way. Its their love of family that makes them fight to survive. Kids of OFW’s should read this article para naman they would know how they parents abroad strives hard for their living and in return sana ayusin nila ang kanilang pag aaral para di masayang ang pinaghirapan ng mga magulang.. Our prayers for Emmanuel – for better health and more strength to battle everyday day’s trial….if he continuously work hard and shares his unending love and passion towards his goals in life – there is no way to fail. Success will be in his hands…

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Maria Fe,

      Thank you so much for dropping by. Sana nga din maging inspirasyon ito ng mga anak ng OFW’s lalo na din sa sarili kong anak. Na d talaga madali para sa magulang ang mawalay sa mga anak at ang hirap at pagod para lang gumanda ang buhay nila. Sana ma appreciate nila ang sakripisyo ng mga magulang nila.

  2. Good day!
    This is Lyza from Exlink Events, i was moved with Mr. Emmanuel Rabulan story just wanted to know if he is currently here in the Philippines? if so, can anybody help me find his contact for me to be able to recognize his work. You can reach me at 392-2554 or 09082855623 or email me at

  3. Way to go ate! You aptly described the life and lows of workers here in Riyadh. It can only come form a talented writer with first hand experience. Thank you for this.

  4. very inspiring. . .the important thing in life is not about how many times you fail but how how many times you get up every fail. Good job gat

  5. Reblogged this on cebuanawithlove and commented:

    This blog caught the attention of a OFWs event organizers in the Philippines. The blogger and the person in the story are nominees for the following categories – Emmanuel Rabulan(OBRA) and Weng (Outstanding Filipino Blogger). Indeed, big surprises come in small packages. To the Almighty Father be the glory.

    • Hi Al,

      Oo nga astig talaga si kabayan. Ty for dropping by. Mabuhay po tayong mga OFW na nagsasakripisyo magtrabaho sa ibang bansa para mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang ating mga mahal sa buhay sa Pilipinas.

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