We travel to the UAE for today’s Sovereign Story when we meet Rhea Mae de la Cruz who is a Company Administrator in the Dubai office. Hers is another fascinating tale starting more than 7,000 kilometres away on Cebu Island in the Philippines. We were thrilled to listen to her story that included a planned short visit to Dubai – a trip that was to change her life in every way.
Rhea was born on Cebu Island 44 years ago and was raised in Cebu City that now has a population in excess of one million. The island is rich in its natural beauty and Rhea remembers the mountains, beach and vast resources on her doorstep. In short, she says, it was a wonderful place to grow up.
After finishing college, she obtained her Bachelor of Secondary Education degree, majoring in English, at Cebu State University. She graduated in 2000 and went on to become a teacher for four years. Teaching at both elementary and secondary level, she spent three years in an international school before transferring to a government school for her fourth year.
By 2005 and keen to meet her natural father who was living in the UAE at the time, she travelled to Dubai intending to remain in the country for a mere three months. Fast forward eighteen years and she is still there!
Back in Cebu her boyfriend of just a year was waiting for her to return. Instead, Rhea loved the life in Dubai and immediately saw a future for them both in her new home. He moved to be with her, they got married and Rhea started work at an advertising company where she stayed for three years.
Keen to enter the world of company formation, Rhea subsequently joined Links Commercial Brokers, a firm well known to Sovereign.
Rhea was happy at Links and learned a great deal. However, she wanted to expand her knowledge and Sovereign’s international network and wide range of services were very attractive. Rhea remembers her interview fondly and she readily accepted Sovereign’s subsequent employment offer. She joined as a company administrator working in the offshore side of the business.
Rhea is responsible for dealing with client requests both before and after an underlying company is incorporated. Rhea describes her role as providing A to Z client satisfaction. She particularly enjoys the diverse nature of her job and that she gets to work with clients from all over the world so one day is never the same as the last.
Rhea and her husband are devoted to their family and their three children are now 15, 12 and 9 years old. The family are highly musical although Rhea admits that her husband is the real “singer”. Nevertheless, they all spend a lot of time dancing and making music together. Rhea used to sing in public and remains very keen on karaoke. They have a karaoke home kit set up so they can practise any time they wish.
Swimming is another passion for Rhea and again something she loves to do with her children. They enjoy sea swimming on any one of the glorious beaches nearby. The family are also members at the pool of a hotel close to their home so it is for them a year round pursuit.
The family live in Sharjah, the neighbouring emirate to Dubai and it takes Rhea about an hour to get to the office depending on traffic. A small price to pay she says for the couple being able to raise their children in the more family oriented part of the UAE. Their home in Sharjah is close to the sea and local parks but away from the frenetic life of Dubai’s downtown.
Rhea and her husband travel back to the Philippines to see family on an annual basis but are always extremely happy to come back to the UAE. She plans to carry on living in her adopted country for the indefinite future and is delighted that all three of her children love their home. It is, she says, a very safe place to bring up children.
Clearly, Rhea is a highly driven personality determined to put her all into everything she sets out to achieve. It was a real pleasure getting to know Rhea and hear her story. We wish her and the family all the very best for their future in the UAE. You never know, one day we may get to see more of them performing so keep up the singing practice.