My story as a Blogger

From a serial blogger to a perspective storyteller and thought leader in the digital influence media.

Ion Gonzaga is a no-nonsense authority blogger and storyteller in Dubai. One of the pioneer bloggers in the UAE, Boy Dubai instantly became a household name because of its catchy name attributing to its connection to Filipino slang prefix, “boy“ – which means a master of something.

He started in 2011 with a simple desire to share his personal experiences about living in Dubai - what to eat, where to go, and what's happening. Little did he know that his stories quickly became very relevant to many OFWs.

10 times to Kish, Qesh, Oman 

He came to Dubai in 2006 and had a horrendous experience of being locked in a room by his very first employer. He also did 10 exasperating visa runs to Kish, Qeshm Island and Oman before eventually finding better employment. There were a couple of nights where he was forced to sleep on a bug-infested carpet in a cheap hotel, because there were no more rooms available, just to avoid staying outside in the scorching summer heat while waiting for his visa.

He had terrifying harassment encounters with vulgar and groping cab drivers. He experienced horror one night when he was chased by a group of men in a small street in Jumeirah with a metal tube trying to hit him.

He experienced delayed salaries up to 3 months. He went to Ministry of Labor twice and won off-court settlement with his non-paying employers.

He experienced being scammed, and being jobless for long period of time.

These are just some of the Side-B stories, that people don't see in my blog posts.

Sampaguita Vendor's Dream

Ion, who has a very humbling childhood experiences of selling used bottles, old newspapers and cartons for pennies, being a Sampaguita flower vendor on the sidewalks of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, fish ball and ice candy vendor in San Pedro, a delivery boy of bread and native delicacies in Mindoro, grew up with a desire to work in the media so he could share his life story to inspire people. He is a frustrated broadcaster.

He did not study mass communications. The lack of opportunity lead to him creating his own opportunity through the blog. He didn’t have a formal training in writing yet he pursue doing what he love to do. The people he met along the way, fellow bloggers and mentors, the books and blogs he read and videos and podcasts he listened to were instrumental in developing his blogging skills.

His early experiences of living away from his family is what encouraged Ion to create Boy Dubai. He was left in Mindoro on his last year in grade school. He was also not staying with his family on his last year in high school.

Opening of Doors

Eventually, the blog opened a lot of doors. He was invited to become a monthly contributor of Illustrado - one of the emerging lifestyle magazine in the UAE. Because of the blog, he was commissioned to write commercial scripts for TAG 91.1, the first Filipino FM station in Dubai.

One of his biggest breaks was when he represented Dubai in the World Bloggers Day Celebration. He has been a resource speaker for many blog and social media related talks, one of them is Geekfest Conference where he delivered a talk about the power and influence of blogging. He was also once a representative of the UAE for Blog Action Day.

His activities lead him to meeting top personalities and inspiring celebrities he look up to – whom he never imagined he’d be able to talk to one day. Some of the notable ones were Kobe Bryant, Don Moen, Nick Vujicic, and recently our very own Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.


Today, he does a weekly vlog called, “Walk-in with Boy Dubai” where he shares an inspiring conversation with a guest about a topic so close to the Filipino expat’s heart. He aims to give encouragement to people by highlighting stories that are typically untapped, yet has the elements to empower his viewers.

He still blogs about life, surviving Dubai, struggles and successes in the workplace, challenges of being away from home and some bits on health, fitness, events and principles and wisdom to live by.


The UK-based restaurant Ping Pong Dim Sum first took him as an ambassador in 2011. He's also chosen as ambassador for Samsung Galaxy Tab, LG 3D mobile and Huawei P8.

He is named into the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf for 3 consecutive years - 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In 2017, Boy Dubai has been recognized inside the Top 100 Dubai Blogs, and Top 50 Dubai Lifestyle Blogs. This year, it is listed within the Top 10 Dubai Lifestyle Blog category.

Boy Dubai got nominated in du Social Media Awards 2013 and Ahlan Awards 2015.

His Principle of Influence

Ion believes that “our influence must make sense.”

He cannot and will never brag about his number of followers, but he believes that no matter how much followers you have, as long as your content creates impact to even one life, that makes a huge difference already. You’ll never know how much that ‘one life’ can reach and eventually pass the lessons gained.

For Ion, accountability to his readers and followers is very important. There must be a significant reason why people follow people, so it is just right to consistently provide substantial content aligned to what the followers are expecting.


Ion, is a husband to Raqz Gonzaga, and a father to Aya (6) and Savin (newborn).

He works as a Digital Transformation Consultant (UX) in a global digital agency. Previously, he worked as a Senior Software Engineer in Emirates Airline for 4 years.

He is also a social entrepreneur. Their e-commerce business, Eternitee provides customers the opportunity to inspire and encourage people by wearing stylish shirts with wisdom-filled messages printed on it.

Above everything, Ion believes that this platform is his avenue to keep sharing stories about the goodness and kindness and the loving grace of God in his life.


Do you think we can work together? Please send me an email to WhatsApp 0503104958

Thank you.

Post a Comment


  1. Hi Ion my name is johnny. My wife and i are actively serving the family ministry. and i would like to invite you to our annual couple s retreat in baguio country club sept30-oct1. Its a wkend of fun, learning and discovery. You will be mtg other couples too. Some speakers include francis kong. Also open to couples not married. Let me know if you have questions or need more info. Just tx or call me at 3665690 or 09178494294. Thanks. God bless