Regina Castillo has found home in Morocco 

MANILA – Regina Castillo is so far enjoying a happy, love-filled life in Morocco with her family, sharing her time to help fellow Filipinos in the African country.

Originally from Antipolo City, Regina now calls Morocco her home, where she lives with her Moroccan husband and four children.

Regina moved to Morocco in 2008 after she and her husband got married, whom she met in Dubai.

She was among the many who found adjusting to a foreign country hard, since she doesn't know how to speak French and Arabic -- languages spoken in Morocco.

Even going to a grocery to buy essentials was a difficult task.

"Unang-unang problema rito 'yong language, hindi naman lahat dito nag-i-English so kung gustong magtrabaho halimbawa sa mga sales paano ka makikipag-usap sa kanila. Talagang pumunta ako rito nang totally walang (alam na) Arabic (The first problem that you will encounter here would be the language barrier. Not everyone speaks English here so it would be difficult to work if you don't know how to converse with them. When I came here I don't know any Arabic)," she told the Philippine News Agency.

On top of this, she had to prepare for how her husband's family would receive her when she first came to the country.

She faced these "challenges" head-on and now her relationship with her in-laws is more than what she wished for. For Filipinos in a similar situation, Regina's advice is to understand and most of all respect Morocco's culture.

"Ngayon, mas close pa ako sa biyenan ko, dati ganoon mahirap mag-adjust sa family (Now, I'm much closer to my mother-in-law, in the past it was hard to adjust)."

"Living here is ok kailangan mo lang talagang i-adapt ang culture nila. Parang tayo rin ang mga Moroccans, hospitable, 'pag inimbitahan ka nila papakainin ka nila nang papakainin, may pabaon pa sila (Living here is okay, you just need to adapt to their culture. Moroccans are like Filipinos, they are hospitable that when they invite you to their homes, they would provide for you)," she said.

During her free time, Regina said she also takes on acting jobs when local and international moviemakers in Morocco need an Asian as part of the cast or support roles, with the talent fee reaching around MAD3,000 or PHP16,000 per day.

"Ok ang buhay ko rito kasi hindi na ako nagwo-work pero nag-i-extra rin sa mga movies dito. Mayroon talagang place dito na sikat for movies, pati The Mummy doon shinoot. Ten years na rin 'yong experience ko sa kanila, so nag-i-extra ako pag kailangan ng Asian or Filipino (My life here is okay because I'm not working anymore but I do part-time jobs as movie extra when they need an Asian or Filipino)," she said.

Making an impact

Apart from finding love thousands of miles away from the Philippines, Regina also found another purpose in life in Morocco -- helping fellow Filipinos who are in distress.

Regina currently serves as a Filipino community leader in Casablanca, which is at least 96 kilometers away from her home in El Jadida. And even if community work would come knocking unexpectedly, Regina doesn't seem to mind as long as she can extend whatever help she can.

In one instance, she and her family were dining out when she saw a fellow Filipina and found that she was driven out of her employer's residence without her belongings, passport, or even a single penny on hand.

"Nakita ko siya sa KFC kumakain kaming family wala siyang matuluyan kaya ko siya inuwi sa bahay binigyan ko ng damit, kahit damit wala siyang nabitbit (I saw her when we were dining out in KFC, she had no place to go that's why I offered my home and gave her clothes)," she said.

"After a month pinuntahan namin 'yung amo niya. Ngayon pauwi na rin siya sa Pilipinas, nakuha 'yung passport at nakuha ko rin 'yong gamit (After a month we talked to her employer. Now, she's scheduled to go home to the Philippines, she was able to get her passport and her belongings)," she said. (PNA)