Columbia Valley provides better life for Filipino immigrant

Emelisa Ombing has had several different careers in the Columbia Valley since arriving in 2008.

Since Emelisa Ombing immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2008

Since Emelisa Ombing immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2008

Emelisa Ombing made the Columbia Valley home when she immigrated from the Philippines in 2008.

She left a career in global logistics distribution, handling shipments for an import and export business in Southeast Asia, to start working as a foreign worker for Sunchaser Villas in Fairmont.

“I came for a better life,” said Ms. Ombing. “And I (knew) that Canada has better education for both of my kids and greener pastures because you’re living day-by-day in the Philippines. It’s really hard to get ahead there.”

Ms. Ombing spent four years working as a housekeeper at Sunchaser Villas.

“My stepping stone was to (become) a temporary foreign worker,” she explained, noting how the experience changed her family’s life. “There were jobs for housekeepers at Riverside Villa Management (which manages Sunchaser Villas). They needed 14, I think, and I was one of the lucky applicants.”

Ms. Ombing credits a friend, who already worked there, for referring her to the program.

“We were luckily chosen by the management at Riverside,” she said with a smile. “That’s how we started. I was a housekeeper from 2008 until 2012.”

Ms. Ombing resigned from her post as a housekeeper in the spring of 2012 and went back to school to complete the seven-month Health Care Assistant certificate program at the College of the Rockies.

But the demands of the hospitality industry pulled Ms. Ombing back into the cleaning business.

Ms. Ombing opened up JBenedict Cleaning Services to offer help to commercial, private, vacation and rental property owners. Later, she began working as the managing partner for Radium Chalet and last year became a co-owner of Invermere Dry Cleaners.

“I’m doing everything now,” she said with a chuckle, noting there are up to 50 clients at JBenedict Cleaning Services.

“What I’m doing is I call somebody (to help me). If it’s really busy and if they can’t, I do it myself… it’s really busy with housekeeping and laundry. It’s really a good deal.”

Ms. Ombing is eager to work hard and raise her children in the Columbia Valley. She’s also setting up another business known as A&B Mabuhay Capital with a partner in Calgary to help with small cash loans, ranging from $1,000 to roughly $10,000.

“I want it to work out and be great,” she said with a smile. “I really like it here in the valley because (we’re) living a simple life. It’s a great place to work and do business, so I didn’t have to give up my career.”