MANILA, Philippines – An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Dubai became an instant millionaire when he won the jackpot prize in the Emirates Draw on January 13.
|Russell Tuason won AED 15,000,000, or P224 million as the first millionaire of Emirates Draw in 2023 | Photo Courtesy: Emirates Draw via Khaleej Times|
Russel Reyes Tuason, a store manager, is the first millionaire of Emirates Draw 2023, as he brought home the grand prize of a whopping AED 15,000,000, or P224 million. It was his first try at betting, and he bought the winning lotto ticket for only 15 dirhams.
He recalled betting on Friday the 13th, a supposedly unlucky day, and using a combination of his, his sons’, and other family members’ birthdays.
“Nag-try lang ako ng luck. Sabi ko pa nga ‘Friday the 13th, kailangan mag-ingat tayo.’ Naglagay ako ng six-digit number,” he said.
‘Yung 29 is birthday ko. ‘Yung 6 number is sa buwan, June. 34, ‘yung edad ko. ‘Yung 17, birthday ng anak ko. ‘Yung 25 birthday ng ate ko and ‘yung 22 is birthday ng nanay ko. Related talaga sa akin siya,” he added.
His winning combination was 6-29-34-17-25-22.
Russell recalled his disbelief when he got the call that he had won the lottery.
He said, “Around 12:47, may tumatawag. ‘Congratulations! You are the first winner of 15 million dirhams in Emirates Draw this 2023.’ Akala ko nagbibiro lang. Ang sabi nung kausap ko, ‘Na-check mo na ba ‘yung email?'”
He immediately called his family to share the incredible news, and they were astounded as well.
Russell shared how much the money meant for them because he grew up in poverty. He recalled growing up without enough money to eat three times a day.
“Bata ka, nakikita mo ‘yung parents mo na nagsa-struggle. Wala kaming malapitan. Wala kang mahiraman ng pera. Kumakain ka lang once a day. Sobrang hirap,” he said.
He took on different odd jobs and became his family’s breadwinner. He soon followed his brother to Dubai to try his luck. But working abroad is not easy as well.
Russell recalled, “Wala kang pera. Naglalakad ka under the sun, sobrang init. Kailangan mong magpunta sa multiple interviews. Bakit ako hindi ako nakapasa sa interview? Ano pa ‘yung kulang sa akin?”
When he finally landed a job, Russell started from the bottom, working in housekeeping to stewarding, until he got promoted.
Now that he has become a millionaire, he still plans to continue working. He believes that he still has to work hard to make sure his money won’t go to waste.
“Hindi naman na nanalo tayo is hihinto na ang lahat. Kung hindi mo pagtatrabahuan ‘yang napanalunan mo, mawawala ‘yan, one click kasi pera ‘yan, mabilis maubos ‘yan,” he said.
Among his plans with his money are to purchase insurance and an educational plan for his child, start a business for his family, and build their dream house.
— Sally, The Summit Express