Glenda Ceniza Antolihao is one of the 120 female guards at Spark Security Services, which employs almost 3,500 staff in the UAE.
The Filipina, 39, guards the reception area and keeps an eye on the CCTV system at the entrance of Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and supports her younger brother and his family back home in the Philippines.
Here, she talks about a typical work day.
That's when I wake up and after light grooming, I leave for my workplace. I never have breakfast at home. I pack my pre-cooked lunch of rice, viand [fish, chicken or vegetables] and juice.
I have been working at Yas Marina Circuit for a year now but I have also worked at malls and hospitals in the past three years and 11 months I have been working here.
Back home, I got a bachelors in elementary education but the pay was not very good. We are poor and even though my parents did not want me to leave home as I am their only daughter among seven children, I left for Taiwan where I worked as an electronics technician for six years. At night after work, I got a bachelors in computer science.
When I arrive [at work], my night shift colleague hands over duty responsibilities. I am the only lady guard at the reception.
At this time there are hardly any visitors and I have my breakfast with coffee, a banana and bread.
I am happy here as all my visitors greet me with a smile.
Visitors start pouring in and I am busy issuing passes. There are people from so many ethnic backgrounds and I know a little of Arabic and Mandarin. I'm fluent in English, Tagalog and Cebuano, the language spoken in Cebu [in the Philippines].
I have my lunch and my colleague relieves me for half an hour.
Sometimes it is boring if there are not many visitors but I know how to fight the boredom - I start patrolling. In the malls, you meet all sort of visitors and you learn how to deal with them. Once, at Marina Mall where I was posted, a lady's abaya got caught in the escalator. I rushed in and stopped the escalator. But she was shouting at me. [In these situations] you have to lower your voice to make visitors feel secure.
Sometimes male security guards raise their voices but we women are soft but firm. Otherwise, we are doing the same things as the male guards.
After I get back home, I cook and wash clothes and try not to think of problems at home. But I also like to watch English movies as long as they are not violent.
I have my dinner of oats and milk, and by 10pm, I am fast asleep.