Dubai: Dina Tenerife Celo, a Filipina housemaid in Abu Dhabi, wanted to buy a piece of land in her hometown in Camarines Sur, in the Philippines' Bicol region.
She got more than she wished for.
Her employer Melissa McPike gave her money to buy the land and promised to fund the construction of her dream home.
The employer even told her that she would be her first visitor once construction is completed.
Celo, 45, received Dh23,000 (around Php315,000) from her generous employer in October to buy a lot.
Her employers had moved Dh12,000 to her account; the amount is earmarked for building materials, according to Celo.
Speaking exclusively to Gulf News on Saturday, Celo said she's excited about building a house of her own.
"I'm grateful to my employers' family. I'm thankful and happy about the idea of having a space of my own, at least — after years of working overseas," she told Gulf News.
"I just hope the rainy season (in Bicol) would not be so bad, so the house construction would proceed as soon as I land in Iriga (city, near her hometown)," she said, adding she will fly back to the Philippines on January 18 hoping to commence the foundation work.
Celo worked in Saudi Arabia in 1994, but found no luck there and went back to the Philippines and applied for another job in UAE.
Luckily, in 1998, the nanny was hired through the help of a local agency and start to work for McPike in Khalifa City as a household helper.
Celo, a single mother, was married to a Filipino man but their marriage didn't work out and they separated in early 2017.
The social media became abuzz with her story.
Both Vice Ganda and Willie Revillame, popular TV hosts in Manila, had posted her story on their social media accounts.
"Tignan niyo po mga Kapuso at talagang kayo ay bibilib sa storyang ito. Ano po ang masasabi ninyo dito mga Kapuso?" (Look at this folks. This is an awesome story. What can you say about it?")
“Mangiyak-ngiyak ako sa sobrang tuwa…" Celo was quoted as saying in Tagalog. ‘Di ko yun inaasahan. Randomly, inabot nalang ni Ma’am Missa 'yung pera sa akin. Sabi n’ya alam daw nilang wala akong naipon man lang dahil tumutulong din ako sa pamilya ko.” (I almost cried out of joy. I never expected that. Randomly, Ma'am Missa handed over the money to me. She told me, they they know I was never able to save athing because I was also helping my family."
Celo said she declared the property under the name of her 21-year-old, Ryan, and even shared a photo of the absolute deed of sale.
Celo's main job was take care of her employer’s two sons, Saif and Saeed.
Her contract with the family eventually expired and she then worked as a waitress and a cashier, but still kept in close touch with her previous employer.
Her employers surprised her recently with the money to purchase the lot — which she bought in Tigaon, Camarines Sur Celo hails from Sagñay, Camarines Sur.
Saeed, whom Celo took care of from the age age of six (Saif was then only four), recently graduated from college and is set to fly to the US, but will first fly to the Philippines with Celo next week to help start her house construction.