Posted July 24th, 2023
Bond with Kababayans in the UAE through Sports, Food and Art Groups
For Kababayans (fellow Filipinos) living in the UAE, finding their place in the Filipino communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is necessary to feeling at home and building a life in their new country.
Often named as some of the most cheerful people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Filipinos are a happy, hardworking bunch who make up about 6% of the total population of the UAE and roughly 21.3% of people in Dubai.
Filipinos contribute to a wide range of industries here, and not just domestic and house care positions. A study by communication consultancy EON Group revealed that 64% of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the UAE work in these five industries — 17% in engineering and construction, 16% in tourism and hospitality, 13% in customer service, 10% in healthcare and medical fields, and 8% in marketing and advertising.
Known for their serious work ethic, Filipinos expats also love to indulge in good food and good times (and they’re always in the mood for food and karaoke!) with friends, coworkers, and family.
Integrating into a new community and making friends can be intimidating in any place, but we’re here to help.
We’ve put together a list of Filipino clubs, groups, sports leagues, bars, restaurants, and other places and events where Pinoys can connect with like-minded Kababayans and can begin to build their own Filipino communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
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The Filipino Social Club 2022 Annual General Meeting.
The Filipino Social Club (FilSoc) is a non-profit, non-political, and non-religious community of Filipino OFWs in Dubai. With FilSoc, Pinoys can forge strong connections through community aid programs and events like the Expo 2020, music performances, art exhibitions, competitions, fashion shows, and engaging meetups.
Image credit: InterNations
Meet other Filipinos living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi through InterNations, a site that connects you to your fellow expatriates in 420 cities worldwide. Join groups based on common interests ranging from food, fitness, parenting, business, music, and many others.
Filipinos at a recent meet.
Image credit: Sandbox SwapMeet
Calling all Dubai-based Pinoy Magic the Gathering players, Pokemon enthusiasts, gamers, and cosplayers—Sandbox SwapMeet is right up your alley.
Organized by and for Filipino pop culture fans in the UAE, it is the biggest pop culture community meetup in Dubai.
Stay tuned for future exciting Sandbox SwapMeets and connect with fellow pop culture enthusiasts on Facebook.
Filipino Mums in Dubai - UAE is a thriving, private Facebook community for Pinay moms living in the UAE. It is a space where they can connect, share, chat, support each other through life’s challenges, rejoice with each other over life’s wins, and encourage each others’ endeavors.
Connect with other Filipina moms living in the UAE on Facebook and build your very own support community.
Filipina comedian Imah Dumagay performing at the Theatre at MOE, Dubai.
Image credit: Comedy KiX
Do you love comedy and miss the Pinoy sense of humor? Join the comedy club Comedy KiX and meet fellow comedy-loving kababayans living in the UAE. Join their regular open mic nights and catch hilarious performances by Pinoy comedians like the talented Imah Dumagay (plus, you can sign up to learn stand-up comedy with Imah here).
Boost your knowledge and become a part of an online business community through the Filipino Institute, a Dubai-based online learning platform for Filipinos all over the world. Try one of their free courses (like this one on digital marketing) or further your education with an international certification or a professional diploma. You can also sign up for their Filipino Business Club, an online marketing support community for emerging Filipino business owners and Filipino workers.
Become a member of the Filipino Institute here.
Sports Clubs and Fitness Events
Passionate about bowling, basketball, or Filipino martial arts? Meet up with fellow Pinoys in Dubai and Abu Dhabi who share your love for your sport and get involved in exciting events and competitions.
If bowling is your thing, this club could be right up your alley (pun intended!). Channel your inner Pinoy World Bowling Hall of Famer Paeng Nepomuceno and score some strikes (or simply have fun!) with the Dubai Filipino Bowling Club.
Bring your A-game and connect with fellow bowling-loving Kababayans here.
When it comes to sports, Filipinos are serious about basketball. Pinoy ballers in the UAE can unite with fellow players through the active Facebook community Filipino Basketball Community - Abu Dhabi UAE. This Filipino sports league joins regular sports events and basketball tournaments and can help you make solid friendship connections in the region.
Join them on Facebook.
Pinoy parents, check this out! The Filipino Basketball School at the Basketball Hub Dubai, the only dedicated basketball facility in the UAE, offers basketball lessons by experienced coaches to Filipino kids ages 6 to 9 and 10 to 14. It’s also a great way for your kids to stay active and make friends at the same time!
Sign your kids up for some basketball classes here.
Image credit: Al Areen Martial Arts
Brought your Arnis sticks and don’t know where to practice? Check out Al Areen Martial Arts, a martial arts and training gym in Dubai that offers serious training in several disciplines, including Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), a complete self-defense system with weapons-handling training used by law enforcement groups all around the world.
To learn FMA and connect with fellow martial arts enthusiasts, check out Al Areen Martial Arts.
Dragon boat racing at ConGen’s Club.
Image credit: ConGen’s Cup
Organized by the offices of the Philippine Consulate General of Dubai, the ConGen’s Cup is a sports event for different Filipino organizations and groups in the UAE. Past cups have included competitions in sports such as billiards, bowling, chess, mountain biking, basketball, and dragon boat racing.
Keep active and compete in your favorite sports with fellow Pinoys at the ConGen’s Cup. Stay tuned here for future sports events!
The love for food (and of sharing food with family and friends!) is a national affair, and Pinoys are crazy about their country’s unique cuisine.
Craving for sinigang, Bicol express, kare-kare, or other delicious Pinoy delicacies? Fill your bellies at some of the best Filipino restaurants in the UAE, and maybe even make friends with your fellow suki (regular) diners!
Satisfy those intense Pinoy food cravings at the highly-rated Hot Palayok Restaurant & Grill Dubai. The Filipino and Pan-Asian restaurant is famous for its hearty dishes and authentic Asian flavors. Kain tayo (let’s eat)!
Hot Palayok Restaurant & Grill Dubai | Wasl Hub, corner of 39th and 6C Street, Al Karama, Dubai | Monday to Sunday, 11AM - 11PM |
+971 4 221 9797 and +971 54 321 7755 (WhatsApp)
Filipinas about to dig in at Dampa Seafood Grill Dubai.
For a nostalgic taste of home, a meal at the Dampa Seafood Grill in Dubai is a must! The experience is truly in Dampa-style — you choose from a selection of fresh seafood, and they cook it for you, your way (think baked, fried, steamed, roasted, poached, or grilled). And then it’s kamayan (a traditional Filipino method of eating with one’s hands) time!
Dampa Seafood Grill | Ground Floor, Centurion Star Hotel, Deira, Dubai |
Monday to Sunday, 11:30AM - 11:30PM | +971 4 299 0884
Image credit: Bodega Streetfood
Kababayans, you’ve got to try Bodega Streetfood, a popular Pinoy gastronomic destination in Dubai. Known for bold Filipino and Asian flavors, this Filipino food joint creates incredibly delicious street food dishes, like their Sizzling Sinigang (a tamarind-based sour soup with pork and veggies, pictured above). There’s always time for a meal with family or friends at Bodega Streetfood!
Check here for more information and to book a table.
Bodega Streetfood | Shop 10, Centurion Star Tower, Port Saeed 126309, Dubai |
Monday to Sunday, 12:30PM - 11:30PM | +971 4 299 0884
For more delicious Pinoy eats like Pancake House’s classic Smoked Golden Tinapa (smoked fish) pictured above, check out these lists of the best Filipino restaurants in Abu Dhabi — Tripadvisor and Abu Dhabi OFW — and Dubai — Tripadvisor and Dubai OFW.
When it comes to partying, Pinoys definitely know how to have a good time. Check out some of the best Filipino bars in the UAE for OPM (Original Pilipino Music), karaoke, comedy, dancing, inuman (drinks), and pulutan (snacks)! Go with friends, go with colleagues, or even go alone and meet fellow Pinoys who are out on the town!
Image credit: Bodega Garage
One of the best Filipino bars in Dubai, Bodega Garage at the Holiday Inn Al Barsha always delivers when it comes to good times and amazing parties. With a talented live Filipino band, a selection of favorite Pinoy drinks and snacks, karaoke nights, ladies’ nights, and Kabayan nights with huge discounts for Pinoys, Bodega Garage is the place for your next gimmick (hang out) with the barkada (group of friends).
Bodega Garage | Holiday Inn Dubai - Al Barsha, Dubai | Monday to Sunday, 7PM - 3AM | +971 50 355 0987 |
Image credit: Makati Bar
A karaoke and comedy bar rolled into one, Makati Bar (named after Metro Manila’s swanky central business district) at Asiana Hotel Dubai is perfect for party time and bonding with your friends. Sing your heart out in one of the bar’s private karaoke rooms, catch a stand-up comedy show, or watch a live musical performance. It’s all happening at Makati Bar!
Makati Bar | Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira, Dubai | Monday to Sunday, 7PM - 3AM | +971 4 238 7777
Pinoys who are really serious about karaoke will love Lucky Voice Dubai, which has a huge selection of Tagalog songs to choose from when it’s your turn to rock the mic. With private karaoke booths and a large party hall, Lucky Voice Dubai is a great place for your next kantahan (singing) session.
Reserve your private room here.
Lucky Voice Dubai | Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira, Dubai | Monday to Sunday, 7PM - 3AM | +971 4 238 7777
Boracay Club Dubai.
To discover more cool Pinoy bars like Boracay Club Dubai (pictured above), check out these lists of the best Filipino bars and nightclubs in Dubai — Dubai On and Dubai OFW. It’s time to party, PInoy-style!
As a bonus, we’ve included extra information on schools, events, Facebook groups, and websites to help you join and build your own Filipino communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Activities and Events
The New Filipino Private School on Kabayan Cultural Day.
Check out these Filipino schools in the UAE for your kids:
The Burj Khalifa lit up with the Philippine flag on Philippine Independence Day.
Connect with other Filipinos on these UAE Facebook groups:
Filipinos in the UAE.
These websites are extremely helpful for OFWs living in Abu Dhabi and Dubai: