Mariecar Padilla is the CEO of RP Events Management in Dubai.


Filipina turns balloon art to big Dubai business

What began as a hobby is now a full-time career for long-time UAE resident Mariecar Padilla, whose passion for balloon art pushed her to open her own events company in Dubai.

“I don’t feel tired doing it and I love blending colors. Ever since I was just a kid, I loved colours,” Padilla, CEO of RP Events Management, told

Padilla, CEO of RP Events Management

Before becoming an eventologist, Padilla was a physiotherapist in the UAE. It was a job that she held for a decade since moving to the country in 2008. “I travelled from emirate to emirate to treat patients,” she recalled, “It was great to be in the medical profession, but I hardly had time for myself and my family.”

It was a short course in balloon decoration that she took as a stress reliever that re-ignited her creative fire and ballooned into a “life-changing decision”. Wanting more, she also took classes in flower arrangement, cake decoration, photography and videography, before learning the art of stage design, and lights and sound management. With a new skillset, she decided to take her career to a new direction.

“My 15 years of stay in the UAE became more memorable because of this life-changing decision,” Padilla said. In 2019, she opened a small balloon shop at a mall, before expanding to events management the next year. Eventology was the perfect platform for her talent in design and event curation, she said.

“I started RP Events Management two years ago. We are now in our second year in the industry. I started small. Like balloon decoration. Now I can see my company is getting bigger. Everything we have is like a one-stop shop,” Padilla said.

RP Events Management is now one of the go-to event organizers for corporate and private parties in Dubai and the northern emirates. Their latest project was decorating a Gatsby party at the Queen Elizabeth 2 ship docked in Dubai last December. “The party was for 47 nationalities and 250 guests. We set up the decorations and the most impressive set of lights and sound systems,” Padilla said.

Padilla said the secret is in their unique decorating style. “We are simple but elegant. When we decorate for events like weddings, birthday parties or baby showers, our decoration is not common,” she said, “We are improving and all I can say is we are one of the best.”

Padilla, CEO of RP Events Management

Her most memorable event was organizing the wedding of a Lebanese-Jordanian couple. Padilla and her team were able to transform an ordinary yard into a 5-star wedding setting for them. “They told me they were very happy that I organized their wedding. Until now, they are still in touch with me,” she said.

Starting from scratch

The native of General Santos City in the Philippines wants to tell entrepreneur hopefuls to “start small”.

“I started from scratch. When I came here in the UAE in 2008, things were unclear for me. My initial plan was to come here, get a [residence] visa, work and go to another country,” Padilla said. Life, however, had other plans. Work in the medical field kept her busy but it was her pursuit for her real passion that kept her going.

Padilla, CEO of RP Events Management
Mariecar Padilla, then and now.

“Don’t stop believing in yourself. Continue to do what you love. Make your passion your business. To quit is not an option,” she advises.

Leave room to help others, too, says Padilla, an awarded Filipino community leader in the UAE. Her 11-bedroom villa in Umm Al Quwain is always open to Filipinos in distress. “Because I believe that what goes around, comes around,” she explains.

Despite her busy schedule, Padilla also prioritises “mom duties”. She wakes up early to send her 7-year-old son to school, before going to work in her home office. She has two other older children and wants to be as available for them as much as she can. Her daughter sometimes sings at her events while her son helps install the lights system under the supervision of her husband also supports her by helping with the technical and logistic parts of event management.

In a way, her business has let her regain the time she lost with her family, who are also generous with their free time singing for a community choir in Umm Al Quwain. “Let your passion become your business and your business will work for you,” Padilla said. ICA/Expat Media

This story also appears in the Expat Media Special Edition magazine.

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