It's a new day.
I was not supposed witness to this gorgeous sunset in person. I was not supposed to be standing in the middle of this great expanse of sand. I was not supposed to be representing my country in an event participated by multinational agricultural companies. I was not supposed to be here.
And yet here I was, basking in the glory of this sight. This picture is about 3 months old, but I am still in awe as to how I was even able to take that photo in the first place.
Back in June 2017, I received an email inviting Dream Agritech to an exhibition, showcasing investment opportunities around the world in Agriculture. Of course, I was excited to participate in such an event! "It will be a great opportunity for Dream Agritech!" I thought to myself. I was so gung ho about this email I hurriedly sent it to my teammates. They all echoed the same sentiment. "Push!" "Go for it!" they said.
As I exchanged emails with the organizer, reality began to set in. It was not a free invitation. A booth at this event comes with a significant cost, excluding the airfare, accommodations and food. Dream Agritech would not be able to afford to go.
My heart sank as we went on exchanging emails, but I have been in this spot before. So I took it all in stride and just let it go.
But oh boy, God knows how to do surprises.
Fast forward to October, I received another email. This time, the subject kinda hinted something towards more positive. "Free of charge invitation to Agriscape 2017".
My heart leapt onto my throat! WHOOOOOA! We are gonna get to go? For FREEEE!!!???
Is the plane fare and visa covered? Check. Accomodations? Check. Free meals? You betcha.
One slightly huge problem though, we only had one month to prepare.
From all the printed materials to hotel reservations, plane tickets and visa for my colleague, and travel itineraries (WE HAD NONE), it was all a mad rush. My colleague and I would frequently ask each other on the days leading to the trip Tuloy ba tayo? (Are we going/pushing through?) This was both a rhetorical and legitimate question.
Even when we were at NAIA, passing through immigration and all the security checks, we still asked if we were really doing this; even as we saw this view on the plane:
Okay, at that point, it got pretty real for us. We were landing in Dubai soon.
Landing in Dubai, we were really blessed beyond belief to have had friends pick us up from the airport and take us around to see the sights. We had no itinerary and yet we were able to see some the well-known tourist attractions in Dubai. Someone up there was really looking out for us.
One of the biggest highlights of this trip was meeting our Consul General. He asked us about our business, what we were doing in UAE and where we were headed (we were headed to Abu Dhabi). He was really impressed with the idea of Dream Agritech and lauded us for taking a bold step at a young age. So impressed was he that he immediately contacted an OFW group that is currently working and investing in the Agricultural sector back home. As a result, we have met with them a couple of times here in the Philippines when they visited and we are currently working on creating a partnership to help bolster each other's goals. We will be announcing this partnership through this site once it becomes official. (hopefully soon! :D)
After meeting the Consul General, we rode a bus to make our way to Abu Dhabi, which was a good 140 kilometers away. We still couldn't believe that we were here, less along the lines of "Are we going?" but more along the lines of "Wow, this trip has all been providential. We did nothing to get here, except pray and dream big enough."
During the day of the exhibition, we were given kits to help us during our stay. Inside the kits were booklets containing all the names of the exhibitors. I nearly bawled when I saw this:
There it was and there we were. Our start-up amongst the biggest agribusiness companies in the world. We were an anchovy swimming with the whales of the industry.
Here are some photos of our booth:
We were able to network with other companies that offer the same services that we do, giving us an insight as to how we might look like, if we make it big enough. We were also able to meet interested companies, willing to invest in the Philippines.
As an added bonus, we were able to see some of Abu Dhabi as well:
To sum it up, let me go back as to how I started this piece. All of the things that followed, all of these photos, experiences, the people that we met and became friends with; shouldn't have been. We were not supposed to be there.
And yet we were; all because we dared to dream and kept the faith. You wonder why I keep pointing up in my photos:
It's the "Pawer" sign popularized by CONGTv, However, as I thought of it more, I was really pointing in the general direction of the Person responsible for this trip.
It was truly a big deal for me, a watershed moment for Dream Agritech and we couldn't have done it without God. Thank you God for allowing us to travel and see the world. Thank you for implanting in my heart a fervent desire to see this sector and the people that work for it elevated. Thank you for allowing me to exist in a time where the world is easily within reach through the internet and the advances in modern transport. Thank you for giving me the most supportive family out there. Thank you for Your love. With this trip, I was able to confirm, this is what You want me to do.
I just want to thank a few people:
Mr. Omar and the people at Multibridge Event Management for inviting us to Agriscape 2017.
Food Security Center- Abu Dhabi and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs for graciously hosting us at the event.
Sir Gerald, thank you for all your help during our stay in Dubai.
Donna and Iffat, thank you for taking the time to show us around and giving us a taste of the UAE. Please come to the Philippines soon!
To Ate Ethel, Kuya Uly, Ate Jykka and April: Thank you for accommodating us! We can't wait for you guys to get home, bawi naman kami sa inyo!
I still cannot believe that we made it there.
Sunsets signal the end of a day, but with every end there is a new beginning. A new day.
A new day is coming for Dream Agritech.