Dubai: The family of a slain Filipino businesswoman honoured her in an emotional remembrance ceremony at their home in Mirdiff on Sunday evening.
Lorna Lim Varona, 51, a prominent Filipino businesswoman in Dubai, was found dead on Friday in the trunk of her grey-green Jaguar S-Type car which was abandoned in Sharjah Industrial Area 11.
The mother, who had been reported missing since August 26, was stabbed six times and her body placed in a bag.
An altar has now been set up at the family’s residence bearing Lorna’s picture and other memoirs.
“At this time, we plan to bring mum’s body home as soon as possible and lay her to rest in the Philippines,” Maria Lourdes, her eldest daughter, told Gulf News.
“Since we can’t do that yet as the police investigation is still ongoing, we have set up an altar in our home to remember her.”
Lourdes said the family is still reeling from the news of her mum’s death.
“When we read in Gulf News on Saturday about a dead body found in a car, we immediately thought that it could be mum. But we were hoping against hope that it wasn’t her. However, we still told our dad to be ready for the worst,” Lourdes said.
“It’s very painful to learn that your mum’s dead, especially that in this case, it was murder,” she said.
Sharjah Police arrested a suspect on Friday, a Filipino who was a family friend, according to the Varonas.
Police said the suspect, who owed Varona a huge sum of money, confessed to the crime and was detained pending investigation.
“She was a very strong woman. She fought for what was right but was also very kind-hearted. Maybe it was these qualities of hers that led to her murder,” Lourdes said.
An established entrepreneur in Dubai, Varona’s passing leaves a big hole in the Filipino community and especially to the business community, said Jojie Dinsay, Philippine Commercial Attache to the UAE.
“We have been encouraging our compatriots to engage in business here and she was one of the few who did. And the fact that she’s one of the first Filipino entrepreneurs here who actually served as a good example for the community makes the news of her death equally tragic,” Dinsay said.
When Jes Galang, a Filipino entrepreneur in Dubai, met Varona in 1985, he said her reputation preceded her.
“She was known to be a very successful businesswoman in the community. She had strong management skills and was very open and generous when it came to sharing business tips with colleagues.”
In the late 80s, Varona owned and managed Capricorn Bakery, which was so popular in the community that even top Philippine diplomats frequented it. She owned and managed four other businesses prior to her death.
Nita, who worked with Lorna for six years, described her boss as a perfectionist. “She was very strict but that was only at work. She treated us as family and was very compassionate.”
The family said they will hold a quiet ceremony exclusively for family and close friends in their residence.