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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - 'It was a big surprise that I won; my family will be more financially-secure now."
Christmas came early for Filipino expat Melody Curitana, who won $1 million in the latest draw of Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire on Thursday.
It was also an advance birthday gift for the Dubai resident who will be celebrating her 34th birthday on December 27.
Curitana, who bought ticket number 1875 in Series 319 of the draw, became the 12th Filipino expat to win in the lottery since its inception in 1999.
Vikrant Biswakarma, an Indian national, will also be pleasantly surprised when he learns that he likewise became a dollar millionaire after his ticket number 4411 was picked in Series 318 draw.
Biswakarma could not be reached at the time of filing this report.
The two draws were conducted to mark the 36th anniversary of Dubai Duty Free (DDF).
Talking to Al Khaleej Today, the Filipina millionaire said the huge windfall (equivalent to Dh3.67m) had still not sunk in. She was still busy at work, taking calls and attending to her clients at the insurance company where she has been working for the past four years.
She also revealed that it was only her first time participating in a major lottery.
"I saw an ad on social media about the DDF draw and I thought of giving it a try. I bought a ticket online and chose a random number which I thought had never won before," Curitana shared.
"But deep inside I was really praying hard. I always wanted to become a full-time mother to my two-year-old boy and I'm now pregnant with my second child. I also support my parents and siblings back home - that's why it was really a big pleasant surprise that I won and I can say that we will now be more financially-secure."
"Thank you so much Dubai Duty Free - this is a prayer answered and a big help for my family here in Dubai and in the Philippines. Thank you also for this early Christmas and birthday gift to me," she added.
After receiving the money, Curitana said she will send money to her parents in Bicol, Philippines and buy a farm land for the family.
She and her husband, who also works in insurance, have no plans of going back home for good, yet.
"We want to raise our kids here in Dubai and we are planning to invest a huge amount of the money for our children's future," Curitana added.
Meanwhile, three luxury vehicles were also given during the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise draw.
William Duncan, a 60 year old British national Dubai resident, won a Mercedes Benz S560 (Diamond White); while Raif Synowzik, a 50 year old Dubai-based German national, will be driving away in a Range Rover HSE 360PS (Fuji White). Indian national Mohammed Momin won an Aprilla Tuono RR (Grigio) motorbike.
The draws were conducted by Colm McLoughlin, DDF executive vice chairman and other senior officials.
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