It’s What I Do: Haven Hamilton A. Villapando and Jeffrey S. Valero

It’s What I Do

Haven Hamilton A. Villapando
Art Teacher-Future Center for Special Needs
Abu Dhabi, UAE

My Job
Working as a teacher is always a challenging experience, no matter how young or old your learners are. Being an art teacher at the Future Centre for Special Needs for 3 years now (FCSN-Abu Dhabi) is very pleasant and rewarding career as it lets you help your learners express their feeling through art. I am also the in-house artist of the school during special events like Gala dinner, exhibits and others. I work with students between 3 and 20 years of age from various nationalities, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Fifty percent of the students come from UAE and the other half comes from about twenty nationalities.

My Work Day
I usually arrive anytime between 7:20 and 7:30 am at the school campus. After having a cup of coffee, I always go straight to my workshop to prepare the room for the art activities of the day. After an hour of preparing the materials, it’s time for me to facilitate our morning assembly with the students at the gym. That includes roll call, singing of UAE National hymn, warm-up exercise and dancing with action songs and nursery rhymes.

There are days in a week where I go to different classrooms to conduct the art class especially for the learners with walking disabilities, but for those who are more able, they usually come to my workshop with their teachers. I also cater individual painting session for the selected students at the centre for more advance lessons. I am an advocate of recycling/up cycling since high school back in the Philippines – that is why if there is an opportunity, I incorporate recycling in most of my art lessons. I also promote environmental awareness thru my Facebook Page, “Hearty Art Project” and Art exhibits.

With my 8 years of professional experience in both mainstream school and special needs centre in the UAE, I can say that I am truly grateful. I have been faced with a lot of unique frustrations but at the end of it, the rewards of teaching make it all worthwhile. It is my goal in life to have a tangible difference in the lives of others. As a teacher, I can see the fruits of my efforts everyday.

Career Advice
To my beloved and equally-talented kababayans, our Creator above has blessed us with a lot of gifts and skills. It is our duty to share these blessing to others. Filipinos are naturally talented. Let us always be a channel of love, hope and inspiration of our fellow kababayans and the world as a whole. Tayo ay mga Pilipino, angat at naiiba kahit kahit kanino!

Jeffrey S. Valero
Manager, Facilities Management – Al Mazaya Real Estate FZC
Asst. Secretary – Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers, UAE Chapter
Club President – PSME UAE & Associates Toastmasters Club


My Job
Being active not only in my workplace as well as in our community gives me an opportunity to take various responsible roles. I work as a Facilities Manager at Al Mazaya Real Estate which is one of the most promising companies in the real estate industry in the MENA Region. Being a Facilities Manager, I am the overall in charge of the maintenance of the facilities and assets of the Mazaya Portfolio in UAE. I am also responsible for creating and improving policies and procedures within the FM Department for the smooth flow of all operations. Being the Manager also requires the patience and leadership skills to lead a team of FM Executive, Coordinator, Technicians, and various FM Contractors.

Apart from my regular day job, I have also been given a responsibility as an Officer (Asst. Secretary) of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers – UAE Chapter. Our main objective is to uplift the profession of our fellow Mechanical Engineers in Dubai and Northern Emirates by conducting professional enhancement activities and organizing general membership meetings. We also aim to uplift the communication skills of our mechanical engineers, which pushed the birth of PSME UAE and Associates Toastmasters Club. As President of this club, I collaborate with the Executive Committee in ensuring that all of our organization’s objectives are met in a solid and satisfying way.

My Work Day
I start my work day by checking emails and taking action where needed. Then proper communication with staff follows to secure that all operations are running smoothly. I consider myself as a hands-on manager. I try not to be complacent, as I believe that a leader should guide and develop his people into becoming leaders themselves. Communication is very important in my job and being a Toastmaster helps me immensely in establishing connections with all the people I work with.

I usually end my day spending productive and fruitful time with my wife and two kids. I consider a gift and a stress reliever after a long day at work.

Career Advice
There is a big reason behind why we ended up working here in the UAE. You may call it fate, or you can call it destiny. But good fortune is not enough. We need to harness our skills and work harder. But most importantly, we have to be thankful for all blessings that God give us. I believe that when we share our blessings, we will receive more blessings in return.