November 14, 2008 turned out to be an auspicious day for the generals (or residents of General Santos City) currently working at the United Arab Emirates because for the first time in history, 45 of them gathered together in a Grand Eyeball in Dubai, where most of them are based.
United Arab Emirates Map (Click for larger view)
According to their hardworking Group Organizer Dennis Dospueblos, formerly of the GenSan City Mayor’s Office who now works as I.T. Officer there, they were only expecting about 30 attendees but were overjoyed when 45 arrived at the venue at Al Mamzar Beach Resort that Friday, a holiday in the Arab states.
AccordIng to Dennis in his email to Bariles, “Ang mga tuna namalik sa dagat. 45 ang nag attend. KA KURAT!!!”
They all came, some in pairs, others in groups, from Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Sharjah, all excited to meet their fellow generals for the first time, all wanting to share stories and swap news from their beloved home.
Most only knew each other from their email addresses, being members of a mailing list at yahoogroups called “GenSanGenerals”.
Shortly, the merrymaking started. A few parlor games were played, and a number of songs were sang courtesy of Dennis who is a folk singer on the side.
UAE Eyeball Organizer Dennis Dospueblos, folksinger extraordinaire
They were simple activities but nonetheless were pure bonding moments for these lonely, homesick expats.
Past mid-day, when these modern-day heroes were all settled down after a festive salu-salo, a meeting where some important issues were discussed was conducted.
First, they all agreed that as a follow up, a Christmas Party should be scheduled asap. They set the date on December 4th at the Le Meriendien Hotel, also in Dubai. This time, they are targeting more GenSan expats to join and have arranged to contact those from farther away states like Al-Ayn.
And in a sadder but hopeful note, they also decided to gather a list of their fellow generals who had to make an exit out of the UAE after their visas have expired and are now stranded in Kish Island and Oman, in order to extend help to them any which way they can to tide them over.
“Life is not a paradise here,” Dennis further wrote in his email, “especially for our kababayans who come here are tourists and end up as illegal overstaying aliens.”
However, with the economic crunch in the country growing worse by the day, expect more and more people from the SOCCSKSARGEN area flying to the UAE for what they deem as “greener pastures”.
This time, howeve, they will be luckier than their precedessors because there will be a group, the GenSan Generals, who will be there to assist them, offer them advices and make life far away from their home at the Tuna Capital more tolerable.
Now if that aint something which would make a General proud, I wouldn’t know what else would do.
To the UAE-based GenSan Generals, “CONGRATULATIONS for this worthy endeavor. MABUHAY KAYONG MGA BAGONG BAYANI!!! MABUHAY ANG MGA GENERALS NG UAE!”
The GenSan Generals may be reached through Coordinator Fernando Muto for Sharjah & Ajman Area and Coordinator Rommel Guillermo for the Abu Dhabi Area. For the rest of you at the UAE, you may contact Dennis Dospueblos. Email them at gensangenerals (at) yahoogroups (dot) com. Or leave a note here at the CONTACT BARILES page so that we could endorse your message to them. Or if you want to join their YahooGroup, please follow this link – http://www.leonardorealestate.com/gensan.html .
Photos are courtesy of Dennis Dospueblos and Jose Gayda.