AN Oxford man who spent two years living in the Philippines as a dive master is raising money for his friend to set up a shop to help him and villagers during the pandemic.

Yannick Josse, a 44-year-old car designer for Jaguar-Land Rover, lived in the Philippines for two years after taking a break from work in 2012.

While there, he worked at a scuba diving shop in Mindoro and met a resident called Rey who became his friend and taught him Tagalog – the Filipino language – as well as how to adjust to everyday life.

Due to coronavirus, the diving shop is closed leaving Rey jobless and Mr Josse wants to help his friend out by opening a grocery shop which will also a allow people to shop local.

ALSO READ: Financial appeal launched to help Léon fight Covid-19

Mr Josse said: “I feel like it’s now my turn to help him throughout the Covid-19 situation. The dive shop is now closed, as there are now no tourists and he is without a job.


“Rey and everybody in his village have extreme difficulties to buy food as they now have to walk two hours and wait in long queues.

"After a few weeks of talking together we came up with the idea for him to open a little grocery store in his village.

“They have suppliers, they have a place for the shop and we know the breakdown of what’s needed to start. It's only the initial start-up money that is missing and that’s why I decided to start this fundraising campaign.”

He has launched a Crowdfunding page in a bid to raise £1,600 to give Rey a boost in starting up his shop.


He hopes the store will provide an income for Rey and his family and stop residents from having to trek for hours to their current closest one.

ALSO READ: Leader welcomes local control of Test and Trace

Thanks to his job, Mr Josse has travelled to countries such as Sweden, Spain, Russia and Japan.

He said: “Working in Japan was absolutely exhausting so I decided to take a break and go to the Philippines for a holiday but I ended up staying there for two years.

“I discovered a beautiful country and the people there are always happy despite the fact that they are extremely poor.”

If you would like to donate to the crowdfunding page, search Yannick Josse on