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Filipinos in Retail – Philippine Consulate Dublin

Filipinos Working Hard During COVID-19|


Filipina florist-entrepreneurs Terry Varinder, Girlie Olaya and Annie Valenzuela Galpo brought smiles to Moms on Mother’s Day on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Terry owns Maynooth Florists in Kildare, Girlie owns Star Gazer in Longford, and Annie owns Water Lily Florist in Mullingar. They prepared more than 250 bouquets and presents to be delivered/collected for the special day. Business must go on for these three hardworking ladies as their beautiful creations bring the much needed love to homes in Ireland during the lockdown.


Neil Alolino is one of many retailers who are putting themselves at increased risk during the COVID crisis. He has been working as a Supervisor/Cashier at a petrol station in Ireland since 2006.

Neil Alolino

Business must go on, but like many, Neil, who is from Davao Del Norte, fears losing his job and contracting the virus. He is in charge of counting the money earned every day as well as stocking shelves with food, drinks and other basic goods.

“It is very risky at my workplace. Although we implement the required two meter distance and other safety guidelines, you will never know if that is enough protection because we are open seven days a week and so many people still come to our station.”

Petrol stations, chemists, supermarkets, and other establishments that provide basic necessities remain open in Ireland during the Coronavirus crisis. We owe our utmost respect and gratitude to all workers who are doing their best and keeping a brave face while working long hours in the coming weeks. Without people like Neil who stock shelves and provide fuel for transportation, Ireland will suffer.

Thank you Neil and all other retailers for your undying courage, hard work and commitment. Please keep safe and be strong.

Supermarket Deputy Manager

Terri Espaldon, from Bicol (Sorsogon), arrived in Ireland on February 2009. She has been working in Aldi since October of the same year and is now the Deputy Manager of the supermarket in Kinnegad.

This is what Terri thinks about shopping etiquette since the school closures was announced: “People started panic-buying despite the assurance from all retailers that the supply chain will continuously operate as normal. It put a lot of pressure and stress on everyone. Please do not panic.”

She wants to remind grocery shoppers to observe physical distancing when shopping, to follow the rules of the supermarket for the benefit of everyone, and to use contactless payment when you can and always wash your hands.

“We apply the limits of items that a customer can buy so that everyone can have access to basic goods, and I am glad people respect that request. All of us from the supply chain work really hard to accommodate the extra traffic of consumers. The Corona Virus has caused a lot of anxiety and stress. Keep safe at all times. We are all in this together.”

A former teacher in the Philippines, Terri is also a student at Maynooth University doing a year course in Higher Diploma in Adult Education.

Thank you to Terri Espaldon and all staff in supermarkets who continue to work in order to provide basic, essential goods to the country. Stay safe!

Sales/Customer Service Assistant

Rowena Allorde is from Mandaluyong City, Philippines. She arrived in Ireland in year 2003. She works at Dunnes Store in Dungarvan in Co. Waterford as a Sales/Customer Service Assistant at the Grocery Department.

“People used to hoard food when they heard about the lockdown but not as much anymore because Dunnes is open everyday. We manage the number of people coming in as well as the flow of customers in the tills to maintain the required social distance.”

Her thoughts on COVID-19: “I think we are living in a vulnerable time where we all must work together to protect those who are the most vulnerable to it. COVID-19’s effect on the world is quite daunting but it will all be okay if we work together and sacrifice some of our social life.”

She adds, “Stay at home. We all should follow what the advice of health organisations. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surface. Don’t shake hands. And as much as possible, practice social distancing for all people to decrease the spread of the virus.”

On shopping ettiquete in supermarkets, “My only request is to follow the safety guidelines in the shop and please show respect and be nice to all retail workers because our job is not easy as well.”

A big thank you to Rowena and to all retail workers in the supermarkets and essential establishments who continue to work to provide everyone’s basic needs in Ireland. Keep safe!


If you know of any Filipino in Ireland who are working beyond the call of duty to support the Irish community, please let us know. Thank you.

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