How I found love in the UAE


I recently shared my love story with Telling the story of how I found love in the UAE and looking back at my single life was a wonderful reflection. It made me appreciate the love and life that I have now even more.

Below is the full interview with Online Editor Alexandria Gouveia, check out for the full story.


Your full name: Janelle Sonia Salangsang

His full name: Joel Salangsang

How long have you been together: Five years

How long have you been married: Four years

Name and age of your baby: Clare, 2 years old

How long were you single before your met your husband? 3 years

What did you love about being single? I learned a lot being single and away from home. I discovered new things about myself and what I wanted in life that I would not have known had I been in a relationship. I cherished my own time shopping or reading or bumming out for hours and hours without having to worry about anyone. I also slowly started becoming responsible with my own finances.

What did you hate about being single? Watching movies alone, getting newsfeeds about my friends being in a relationship on facebook – you do get that occasional jab in the heart about being single. I also didn’t like being set up on blind dates by friends. You always have that friend or relative who would set you up with every guy they meet literally every guy they meet.

 What were the most annoying questions you faced when single? Why are you single? You’re not ugly, are you? (on an sms with a guy I was being set up on a blind date with) Or Why are you single? You have not moved on from your ex-boyfriend, have you? (by an annoying relatives who overly cared about my relationship status).

What was it like being single in Dubai? I loved being single. I was flatmates with my cousin and best friend Reah so taking a bath everyday was optional and eating breakfast before brushing your teeth in the morning was normal. We made new friends from different parts of the world here in Dubai and it opened us up to different cultures and different perceptions about relationships and love. If you can choose the person you want to love – consider yourself lucky!

Where would you go to find Mr Right? I don’t really know where one should go to find Mr. Right. I feel like you could find Mr. Right anywhere! Someone told me never to expect finding Mr. Right while out clubbing though and that sounded like a good advise then!

 When and where did you meet your husband? I met Joel in a church community group.


 What were your first impressions? I tell Joel this every time even if he does not believe it but when I first saw him – I dreamt of him that evening and so I believe it was love at first sight! He slightly reminded me of my dad with his reserved demeanour.

 What did your do on your first date? We had dinner and watched a movie. It was Eat, pray & love starring Julia Roberts and I wasn’t sure if it was a proper date then but we just wanted to hang out.

When did you know he was Mr Right? We were both home in the Philippines for holidays and I needed to undergo an emergency surgery. He stayed at the hospital with my mum everyday and never left my side. That was when I knew he was the one!

How did he propose? A few days after I checked out of the hospital, we went to St. Clare of Assissi Church to offer thanksgiving. It rained hard that we were stuck in the church for hours. We talked about so many things about us and he asked me if we could spend our life together in that moment forever.

 When and where did you marry? We were married for the first time at the Philippine Consulate of Dubai on July 14, 2011 because we wanted to move in together. We had our proper wedding ceremony with all our family and loved ones present on January 7, 2012 at Sta. Maria Della Strada Church in Manila.

What’s the best part about being married? Going home to the person you love the most after a really bad day at work is one of the best part about being married. I can still remember days when I feel emotionally and physically tired but knowing that Joel is waiting for me when I come home makes everything feel fine. I know that I could talk to him about anything and everything and everything else will be all right.

How does married life differ from being single? Good things and the negatives.

Making swift decisions as a single person is easy but when you are married you have to ensure that decisions are made by the two of you even if it’s just about the flavour of pizza or dinner in general. My husband and I have had a few debates about spending holidays with both our families as well so decisions are always crucial and has to be made with mutual agreement.

I love being married. I love spending time with my husband and our daughter. I feel like I am always running out of time to spend it with them and make new adventures. Being single is a journey you have to take so you can fully love being married. It’s not because you were sad and alone watching romcom movies but because you were happy by being yourself that you can now freely give that huge amount of love to someone.

What’s your advice to anyone looking for love in Dubai? Love yourself. Be the kind of person you want to love. Love is a decision – when you do find that someone, you must decide everyday to choose to love that person completely and unconditionally!



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