From Davao to UAE’s food blogging stardom

From Davao to UAE’s 
food blogging stardom
Photo from Michael Jomer Banua

Building a name for oneself in their own country is no small feat, but doing so in a foreign land presents an even greater challenge. Yet, this obstacle didn't deter Dabawenyo Michael Jomer Banua from becoming one of the rising content creators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Born to parents Eduardo Paolo Banua Jr. and Miriam Bravo, Michael is the eldest of six siblings. Despite his parents' separation, he grew emotionally and financially independent, determined to navigate life's hurdles.

He pursued his elementary education at Talomo Central Elementary School and high school at Monkayo National High School. Later, he earned his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at the Philippine Normal University in Manila.

Before venturing into content creation, Michael worked as a client service manager in a technical company. Even during his employment, he shared his passion for photography, capturing captivating landscapes and scenery. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, limiting his ability to travel and take pictures, he discovered a hidden talent for food photography within his existing gallery.

He began posting images of the delectable dishes he tasted. To his surprise, these posts garnered significant engagement and reactions from netizens. Alongside photos, he also ventured into live cooking, catching the attention of brands that sent him products for review.

“Some brands started to notice and offer to send products to review and all. And the rest is history! Now I have reviewed almost 500 restaurants here in UAE and collaborated with various local and international brands,” Michaell said. 

His expertise led him to become a brand ambassador for Dubai's flagship water brand, Mai Dubai, as well as major supermarkets like Carrefour, Nesto, and Lulu. His face graced billboards across the UAE, and his voice was featured in advertisements for renowned brands like McDonald’s, Jollibee, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut. 

His achievements were recognized with awards, including being named one of the Top 100 influencers in the Gulf Region by MeiTalk in 2022, Most Loved Food Blogger in the UAE by FLITE Magazine in 2023, and a Finalist for Best Food Blogger in the Middle East at the Filmfare Awards.

He participated in several seminars such as the World Streamers Conference 2022 in Dubai organized by MeiTalk where he was a keynote speaker on content creation and reels. He also shared his expertise in mobile video editing at the SocMed 101 Influencers Conference 2022 held at Novotel Dubai World Trade Center. In this event, he discussed basic social media management and content creation as part of the business.

However, Michael's path to success was no easy journey. Before earning his reputation as a beloved food blogger in the UAE, he personally reached out to restaurants and brands, all while holding down a job. He recounted the days of walking to and from restaurants to save money because taxi rides were too costly.

Michael candidly admitted facing racial discrimination during his ascent in the industry. Yet, this did not stop him from proudly representing the Filipino community on the international stage, producing quality and insightful content.

“In a way na change nako ang perception sa ubang nationalities about us here — na dili lang ta maids, waiters, etc., that we are talented and creative (In a way I’ve changed the perception of other nationalities about us here — that we are not just maids, waiters, etc., that we are talented and creative),” Michael said.

He envisions establishing a company or agency centered around social media and influencer marketing. 

He advised aspiring individuals to always give their best, ensuring they seize every opportunity. If things don't go as planned, he encourages them to keep moving forward and try again, emphasizing that dedication and passion will pave the way for success.RGP


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.