In a story praised by many as inspirational, a 33-year-old Filipino who initially went to Taiwan to be a factory worker and came across sand art by chance, is now living out his dreams through sand painting.

Born in 1986 in Lucena City of Quezon Province, in 2010 Mario Subeldia set off to the island country because back his father had suffered a stroke and he wanted to help the family finances by working overseas, the Taiwan Apple Daily News reported.

The job he took on as a shift worker in a high-tech company in Hsin­chu was mundane and exhausting, and every day Subeldia went out early with his fellow migrant colleagues, returning to the workers’ dormitory late.

According to the United Daily News, one day Subeldia visited Nan-liao beach in Hsin­chu. Looking out at sea, he missed his parents so much that he tried to outline their faces in the sand.

Not only did the act channel his homesickness, but Subeldia, who had learned painting since childhood and had constructed various creations during university, found that it re-kindled his love of the arts.

In order to master sand painting, he learned the discipline by spending three years watching YouTube videos. Now, he is the first migrant worker to be licensed as a street artist in Hsin­chu and Taipei City.

Using sand as his medium, in only a few minutes Subeldia can produce portraits that amaze his customers with their accuracy.

Sand painting has completely changed Subeldia’s life, making him more than a foreign migrant worker in Taiwan.