Dubai is one of the cities that come to mind whenever we dream of places that can give us the "perfect" life. Say the word Dubai and we automatically think of comfort and luxury.
But is that really the case? We talked to Dubai-based video producer Jonell Coral and content writer-social media manager Alexynne Villena and they shed light on what life really is like in the City of Gold.
Of course, the first and probably biggest problem you'll face is homesickness—since it's not a physical problem, it's a battle that you consistently have to overcome.
While Jonell is lucky to be living with his family, Alexynne had a bit more trouble adjusting.
"I only had to rely on myself and [when I got sick] I even kept it from my family when I was hospitalized because I don’t want to worry them. I’ve always been independent but here, I learned it the hard way," she said.
They both flew to Dubai to try something brave and break routine, but the potential earnings were also a factor for them. And while the money is good, it doesn't automatically mean they have it easy.
Jonell details that he spends around PHP33,000 every month on housing and food expenses alone—he and his family rent a house after living in a partition room for a year.
"Super hirap, nakakaiyak [tumira sa partition]," he said. "Nag-ipon talaga ako para makakuha ng sarili namin. Medyo mahal lang nga pero mas okay."
Alexynne added that it's important to maintain savings for a future rainy day. 60% of her salary goes into her living expenses and occasional weekend fun, while 40% go into her bank account.
"I save for emergencies, holiday budgets, and future investments," she said. "When there’s an emergency back home or special occasions... I send support to my family."
They also gave their advice for those planning to work in Dubai.
"Research, ask around. How easy or hard it is to get a job in your field, the average salary offers, how to find housing, and what’s your monthly budget" said Alexynne. "Manage your expectations and come prepared — mentally, emotionally, financially. UAE is an amazing country with great opportunities for us who want to succeed in our careers and life in general."
Of course, it's not all work for the two of them. Both Jonell and Alexynne are happily in relationships as they continue to succeed in their respective fields.
"I'm dating a non-Filipino now here in Dubai and I'm at my happiest," Alexynne said.
But when it comes down to it, would they choose love or money?
Alexynne chose love. "Money can come and go, but true love comes only once in a lifetime."
Meanwhile, Jonell wants to be able to have both. "Feeling ko mas namo-motivate akong mag-ipon ng maraming money kasi iniisip ko 'yung future ko with the person I love."
Ikaw, ano'ng pipiliin mo?
Watch Angelica Panganiban and Coco Martin make their choice in "Love or Money," streaming this March 12 on the following platforms: KTX.ph, iWantTFC, TFC On Demand, Cignal PPV, and Sky PPV.
WATCH: Coco Martin surprises Angelica Panganiban with Gucci tableware
'Yakap o Yaman?' Watch Coco Martin and Angelica Panganiban in 'Love or Money' trailer
TIMELINE: Angelica Panganiban's relationship with her new man