Filipino Legacies in the Middle East – Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf

Chef Jade Saducas

Pastry Chef and Cake Designer World Champion


Former Pastry Chef and Resort Cake Artist at the Jumeirah Group, Chef Jade Saducas made quite an impact in the culinary world during her prolific six-year stint with the prestigious group.  Among many other accolades, Jade bagged top prize at the Cake Designer World Championships in 2017, and also won the Caterer’s Pastry Chef of the Year award in 2018 – topping many of the industry’s culinary giants and being the only female at that. This chef known for her multi-tiered masterpieces and intricate miniatures was also a featured personality in a Huawei, and an Emirates Airline campaign in the UAE.




Capt. Frank Desiderio



Captain Frank Desiderio made history when he became the first ever Filipino pilot to fly the Airbus A380, the largest passenger airplane in the world, in 2014 for UAE national carrier Emirates Airline.

He flew his first plane at the age of 16, and landed his first job in the industry as a flight instructor after graduating at the Airlink International Aviation School.  He started flying with Philippine Airlines and got assigned his first commercial flight in 1997.  He has flown for Emirates Airline for almost 10 years and moved from the emirates to join Asiana Airlines, South Korea’s second largest airline.  He is now based back home and currently flies with Cebu Pacific.



Mercedes Cabral


International indie actor Mercedes Cabral made waves in the Middle East in 2016 when she was starred in a hit TV show based in Kuwait entitle “Saq Al Bamboo” (The Bamboo Stalk).  Her portrayal of a Filipino maid who married a Kuwaiti and bore him a son has received critical acclaim from critics and audiences in the region.  A consummate artist, Mercedes, has collaborated with filmmakers not only in the Philippines but also from all over the world.  Apart from Brillante Mendoza, she has worked with talented directors such as Park Chan-wook in South Korea, British filmmaker Isaac Julien in Dubai, Malaysian filmmaker Buddy Anwardi, and Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Samir Arabdazeh. In 2015, she also starred in Rosita, a Danish film about a Filipino mail-order bride in a small fishing village in Denmark. She considers this her biggest project to date.


Michael Fillon

Creative Director


Renaissance man Michael Fillon was once one of the youngest Creative Directors in the regional ad industry.  He started his career at Leo Burnett, where he joined while still in college and quickly rose to Creative Director status – playing a key part in many of the agency’s successful campaigns for the GM, Philip Morris and P&G brands.  At BBDO, his works for the Pepsi group were used for global projects, then for JWT, he won 20 international awards, including a much-coveted Cannes Lion.

More than just being an ad agency hotshot, Michael was also part of the pioneering indie/underground rock scene in the emirates.  He was the lead singer and guitarist for the band ‘Sandwash,’ which had a local cult following and opened for various international acts.  Sandwash released their debut album in 2010 and also made appearances in local and regional media.



Tini Meyer


Artist Tini Meyer who specializes in contemporary abstracts, has exhibited and received accolades for her works on canvas and public art not only in the UAE, but also in Canada, Spain, the UK and even China.  This citizen of the world who is of German, Filipino and Spanish heritage, was originally based in Vancouver and Madrid, but has also spent several years in the UAE, where she was able to make an impact in the art scene.

In the emirates, Tini’s paintings, sculptures and installationshave been exhibited at The Green Art Show, Al Bateen Heritage Center, under the patronage of HE Sheikh Nahayan Al Nahayan; Women in Art, Biennale Exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum, under the patronage of Her Highness SheikhaJawaher Al Qasimi; Philippine National Day at the Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi under the patronage of the Embassy of the Philippines to the UAE.


Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf is Supported by: Kaya Skin Clinic,  Emirates Airline, and Unilever.

Special Thanks to Michael CincoEzra Couture , GiordanoDarcey FlowersIKON SolutionsVictors FreightMPQ Tourism, Asia Gulf Companies –La Carne & Filfood, WOL Water

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Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos Legacy Edition 2020