Abu Dhabi: A Dubai-based 52-year-old Filipina housewife, who won the Dh10 million prize in the latest Big Ticket Raffle in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night said she would clear her debts and build a house in Manila with her winnings.
Marelie David first thought it was a prank when organisers called to inform her of her windfall.
She said her family had been buying a ticket every month for two years — but that this was the first time she had ever won a prize in such raffles, despite regularly taking part.
The Dh500 ticket was a syndicate arrangement bought by 10 members of the same family for Dh50 each.
Now, each one of them has won Dh1 million.
Speaking to Gulf News on Wednesday, David said: “At first I didn’t believe it and thought that somebody was teasing me. Truly it is a blessing from God winning such a big amount at this stage of my life. And now we can better plan our family’s future and invest in my 11-year-old son’s education.”
The Dubai resident of 22 years added: “The first thing I will do is clear my debts, construct a house back home in the Philippines and invest in the education of my only son, and do some charity for underprivileged people as well."
Didn't expect to his jackpot
“I had been praying to win something like Dh300,000 or Dh500,000 but didn’t expect to hit the jackpot. Really it is big blessing from God,” added David, whose husband is an office administrator in Dubai.
“Providing good education to my son is key, so that we can secure his future and provide him a good shelter and life ahead,” she said.
“I am very grateful to the UAE government for such blessing and the UAE has become a home away from home,” she added.
David’s winning ticket No. 172193, was pulled out in the monthly raffle held at Abu Dhabi Airport’s arrival hall on Tuesday.
Dh10 million is equivalent to Ph142 million pesos ($2.7 million) at the current exchange rate.
Marelie will pick the winning number during the next Big Ticket draw in October at the airport.
Last month, Indian national Vilas Rikkala, who hails from the city of Hyderabad, won the top prize of Dh15 million. He also picked Marelie David’s winning number on Tuesday night.
The Big Ticket draw is the largest and longest-running monthly raffle for cash prizes and dream luxury cars in Abu Dhabi.
These tickets can be purchased online or at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Ain Duty Free and City Terminal Abu Dhabi.
A live draw is held at the arrivals entrance of the airport every month.
Tickets remain at their usual price of just Dh500. If you buy two tickets, one ticket is given for free under a buy-one-get-one free scheme.