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Homesick Si Batman!


Friendly Companionship While Abroad

Homesick while working abroad.

Oh! Tukso, layuan mo ako!

It is a popular song for many of us, Filipinos. Ang sarap ng himno at ang mga liriko ay sadyang akma sa tema ng bawal na pag-ibig. Paboritong kanta ni Lolo Juanito noong siya ay macho gwapito pa.

Justifications after justifications, we all hear from people who are engaged in this kind of relationship. For them, it’s perfectly fine till they get caught and their life is ruined by the situation they themselves, created.

Yes, being away and lonely is another hurdle and a big challenge for us OFWs. An individual whose self-control mechanism is low and weak will easily be tempted and get trapped in the midst of loneliness or homesickness. A lot of OFWs wittingly and willingly test their loneliness by finding a “friendly companion”.

“For companionship lang ‘dre…”, ang madalas na maririnig sa kanila.

While it is natural to experience loneliness when we are away from our family, it is no excuse either to commit this act, which eventually, could ruin our family. For others, homesickness pushes them to seek these kinds of friendly companionships. They want somebody who they can talk to or share time during their separation from their respected families.

Ang bilis ng panahon at talaga nga naman… Ang friendly companionship ay lalo pang lumalim. Sabi sa isang kantang Ingles, “Love is in the air! Love is in the air everywhere I look around!”

An inevitable scenario is brewing… The couple has fallen intimately and find themselves so engrossed with their feelings. For some Juans and Juanas, if they are both single (unmarried) and have no family responsibility back home, this is a big opportune time for them, but for those having their respective families, there’s no explanation needed. A catastrophe is in the offing.

“Masarap ang bawal”, madalas nating marinig.

“Enjoy the moment while it last”, sabi naman ng isang kaberks.

With the situation above, an unfortunate scenario heads their way while they continue this forbidden game. Additional burden begins to pile up should they decide to live-in together and the woman gets pregnant. The worse thing is when the woman is also married and has family obligations back home. Paktay kang bata ka! “Ano ang gagawin ko Juan?!!”, tanong ni mucho gwapitong Juan sa kanyang sitwasyon.

Sabi naman ng iba,“Dito lang ito Juan, sa Pinas wala naman ito. Back to normal na pagdating sa Pinas. Kanya-kanya na doon. Mahirap lang kasi talaga ang mag-isa eh!”

So, enjoy-enjoy lang hanggat hindi nabibisto.

Where Do I Go Now?

Journeying The Lonely Road of Homesickness

Finding the way in seems easy, exciting and enjoyable but finding the way out is the hardest thing to do. The difficult part is when you really could not get out of the mess you are in. Even, if you were able to manage and get out of the situation, the damage has been done. Most of the time, the family is already broken. Bits and pieces you try to collect and recover but fail every time you put it together, the way it used to be.

Earning back the happy family you once have, is always a failure. You find it so hard and difficult to achieve this. Perhaps, you feel, it’s payback time. The machismo mentality that played eccentrically boosting your manhood could not save you either.

Finding the way out and fixing the mess, your deepest hope to redeem yourself and your family.

Oh yes! We experience homesickness when we go abroad. The nostalgia is sometimes so deep and indescribable. Lest, like I said, let not this be a reason for us to do these other things on the side while we are away from our families. We may see cloud nine and the seventh heaven in livening up our fleshly needs, but that is temporary. When reality sinks in, there is no escaping the blades of the falling knives on your way back to your real world. The family is heading nowhere and broken apart.

Sabi naman ng iba, “Nasa nagdadala lang iyan Juan. Kung magaling ka, walang mangyayari. Enjoy mo lang.”

Well for me, it is all the machismo culture we have. The answer can be seen everywhere. With the many situations I have seen with this mucho gwapito culture thing, there is no need to test if the boiling water is hot or not. When your hopes and dreams are shattered, when your children’s feelings have gone to hatred and revenge, everything is irreconcilable, say then, “Nasa nagdadala lang iyan Juan.”

Happy Moments: If I Could Turn Back Time

Happy Moments: If I Could Turn Back Time

The good Daddy they saw in you is no more but a fallacy. They trust you no more. Trust is always a question mark. Will you wait for this thing to happen?

Your family comes first, they are your priority.

They are your every reason why you sacrificed working abroad.

They are your reason too, why you should succeed.

Happy reading and God bless!

Bakasyong Mayaman, Buhay Mahirap


My Pasalubong

My Pasalubong – Balikbayan Boxes

Karaniwan na sa ating mga OFWs na kapag uuwi ng Pilipinas, ang pasalubong ay laging naririyan. Siguradong super saya ang hatid nito sa bawat miyembro ng pamilya. Kaya naman, hindi ito nakakaligtain sa tuwing sasapit ang taunang bakasyon.  With this event in mind, shopping galore to the max na naman si Juan hanggang mapuno ang kaniyang mga balikbayan boxes. Pabango ni ate, sapatos ni tsong, sinturon ni lolo, tsokolate at kendi ng mga bata, kape ni lola, relo ni bayaw, kwintas ni biyenan, johnny walker sa barkada, at kung anu-ano pa.

And with the advent of plastic money we now have (credit cards), sadya naman talagang napakadaling gumasto. Sige lang. Sky is the limit ang sabi ni Juan. Buhay mayaman kung kumilos, buhay mayaman kung gumastos, parang wala ng bukas kung ikaskas ang plastic na pera. Enjoy the moment habang may pambayad. Kapag wala na at ubos na ang bala, eh di wala na, katwiran ni Juan. Kayod na lang ulit. Ganito lagi si Juan at ang nakararaming OFWs.

Pagsapit ng araw ng bakasyon… Pilipinas kong mahal… Here I come!

Paglapag na paglapag pa lang ng eroplano sa runway, ibayong sigla na ang iyong nadarama at bago pa man makalabas ng airport si Juan, daan pa rin siya sa Duty Free sa loob ng airport. Syempre pa, bago umuwi ng bahay, mawawala ba sa eksena si Jollibee o si MangDonalds pag sinabi ni bunso na gutom na siya. Pagkauwi naman nang bahay, sasalubong sa iyo ang mga kamag-anakang sabik na muli kang masilayan. Mapamalayo man ay nagiging malapit din.

Masaya ang lahat pati na ang kapitbahay. Sambit ng isa, “Kumusta na? Ang gwapo mo ah… tumaba ka… pumuti ka… Big time ka na… Iba talaga ‘pag nasa abroad. Oh, kalian ang balik mo  niyan sa abroad?”  To which you will respond, “After one-month po, balik ulit abroad.”Kadarating mo lang, pinapaalis ka na agad. :(

OFW - Feeding Baby

Pare, panggatas lang…

The above are very common kapag ikaw ay nasa bakasyon. With all these and that, brace yourself habang ikaw ay busy sa kaka-chika dito, chika doon sa mga kamag-anakan o kapitbahay.  After awhile, one will quip and crack that old joke, “Juan, baka naman may extra ka pang dollars diyan… Souvenir lang.” sabay ngiti sa iyo. Ang iba naman ay tahimik lang ngunit pagkalipas ng ilang mga araw atsaka bubulong sa iyo ng, “Pareng Juan, pwede mo ba akong pahiramin isang libo? Gipit kasi ngayon, panggatas lang ng inaanak mo, si Jun-Jun din wala pa nga ding pang-enrol, pasukan na. Ang hirap naman kasi ng buhay dito sa Pinas, ang mamahal na ng bilihin…”, pasakalye ni kumpare o kumare.

Syempre, dahil mabait at malambot ang puso ni Juan, at okay pa rin naman ang laman ng bulsa, bunot dito, abot doon. Paggising mo isang umaga, sermon ni misis ang iyong almusal. Hehehe! Joke lang. Come to think of it, it’s true. Kahit pa-iisang daang piso o ilang libong piso lang din ang naabot mo sa kanila, one would come to think and realize, malaki-laki din pala ang nagagastos mo sa ganitong pagtulong and you will be surprised malapit nang maubos ang isang taon mong pinag-ipunan sa iilang araw o lingo ng iyong pamamalagi sa Pinas.

I would like to make it clear that, I have nothing against helping others especially relatives, but wonder why every time you are vacationing, karaniwan ang mga tagpong ito sa ating mga OFWs.

An old mate would welcome you, “Pare! Shot muna” (offering you a shot of beer or whisky). “Salamat Pare, ‘musta na?” sabay mong wika. Kwentuhan dito kwentuhan doon. At bagoka pa man makaalis, bunot Jess Lapid! Kipkip mo na sa iyong palad ang isang Ninoy o ang isang Ubeng papel, sabay abot kay kumpare. “Pre pandagdag sa happy happy”, ang iyong huling sambit tsaka wiwika ng, “Pare, mauna na ako at may lakad pa kami ni misis mamaya.”

OFW - Lasshhing

Shot muna ‘pre…

If you can and able to avoid this situation. Iwas kana lang, if not, ikaw din ang mapapasubo. Again, I don’t want to sound like, ayaw mong makasalamuha ulit ang iyong mga kaibigan sa umpukang ganito but then again, since, galing ka ng abroad and the thought of you na marami kang pera, in this kind of gathering, ikaw lagi ang taya. Kaya kalimitan, hindi malayong mapasubo si Juan.  Kaya naman, kapag napasubo na, kasama na rin si Juan sa maghapon o magdamagang inuman. Funny as it may seem, but before you knew it, madaling araw na pala at lassshing ka na at sila’y hindi pa. :(

A couple of weeks since Juan arrives, “Family outing naman tayo Dad”, hirit ng mga bata.

Dad, pasyal tayo sa Boracay. Maganda daw dun”, sabay yakap at halik ng dalaginding ni Juan. Makaka-hindi ba naman si Juan sa kanyang mga anak? “O siya sige na, punta tayo ng Bora”, bigay hilig na sagot naman ni Juan sa kanyang mga anak.

“Dad, masarap daw ang pagkain doon sa Abekus Kusina. Bagong bukas na restaurant iyon. Diyan lang sa bayan ‘yon. Punta tayo doon ha? Nga pala Dad, Birthday daw ni Tito Pidring, punta daw tayo sabi ni Tita Maring.”

“Honey, sirain na ‘yung owner type jeep natin, palitan na kaya natin? May bagong Honda City ngayon. Angganda! One Hundred Thousand lang daw ‘yung downpayment. Automatic na siya, may 3-years insurance at registration pang libre ‘yon”, ang malambig at eksayted na himig naman ng maybahay ni Juan.

“Sige lang… Hangga’t may pera, Sky is the limit”, ang malimit namang na sambit ni Juan.

As much as I don’t want to sound like striking out the happiness of many OFWJuans during their vacation, it is very likely that the above observations are commonly experienced by the many OFWs. One way or the other, we have had a taste of these experiences. Am sure, there are a lot more of these experiences coming from every single Juan.

To continue the story and as the day passes by, you will find out, medyo tagilid na ang bulsa at paubos na ang bala. So, this time, ikaw ang naman ang wala. To some OFWJuans, para maitawid ang bakasyon, uutang na lang muna. Ikot dito ikot doon, tanong dito tanong doon kung sino ang pwedeng mautangan. Bayaran na lang pagbalik ulit sa abroad. Sa mga may credit cards, this is no problem. Plastic money is always there to the rescue. CASH is KING and CREDIT is the ANSWER.  Right away, money comes in and once again, ready to be spent.

This is the worst case scenario where a lot of us OFWs are doing every time we are vacationing.

Our justification.

Ayos lang iyan Juan. Minsan lang naman ito sa isang taon. Ang ligayang dulot nito sa iyo at ng iyong pamilya ay walang kaparis at walang kabarayan. Kaya okay lang kahit laging upos ang kaban ng iyong bulsa sa tuwing ikaw ay nasa bakasyon. Sabi mo pa, “Kikitain ko naman ulit iyon. Sasahod naman ulit ako sa susunod na buwan. Walang problema.” 

Tantaran! You’re one month vacation fly so fast and it is about to end.  “Haay! Balik na naman sa disyerto si Juan! Isang taon ulit sa mainit na kalupaan ng Gitnang Silangan. Ang hirap talagang maging OFW.”,  you sigh.

For the nth time na pabalik-balik ka sa abroad, nothing has changed. Ang masama nito, patuloy tayo sa ganitong sitwasyon. It goes on and on, year after year. Bahala na si Batman, ang malimit nating sambit. Isang klase ng buhay mayroon tayong mga OFWs, buhay mayaman, buhay mahirap. Masarap na mahirap.

Ang sarap nga naman talaga ng buhay mayaman,di po ba? But if, at the end of each and every single year, we’re always down to square one, maybe it’s better for us to halt for awhile habang may pagkakataon tayong ayusin ang dapat ayusin.

Ask yourself, “Am I to continue this way?”  It seems like, whilst enjoying the moment of our “kasaganaan”, we fail to consider and see what is for us during the rainy days especially during our retirement age. Happy people we all are Filipinos, we always enjoy all the moments we have till it last. Our search for a secured future is nowhere in the horizon if we are to continue this way. Our salary is no guarantee either, no matter how big it is when we are always amiss of its true value.

In the end, we are forced to rush things when reality kicks in.

Our vulnerabilities expose us to the inevitable situation should we not take into consideration our own financial ineptitude, correct things out and make the necessary adjustments. Anyway, it’s your own money it’s your own future.

Buhay mayaman o buhay mahirap? Ano ang gusto mo?

 Your life. Your choice.

Thanks for reading. :)

My Salary Is Not Enough


OFW- Baby-Piggy Bank

Earning and Spending Habit Headache

“MY SALARY IS NOT ENOUGH. I only have small salary. I have too many expenses. I have many obligations.  A lot of people are depending on me. Life is too hard. I’m only a poor guy. I come from a poor family.”

The above are few of the many complaints an individual employee has in mind and OFWs are no exemption from these never-ending life’s complaints. Same like our kabayans back home who earn “little” to “enough” money to augment all their needs and expenses back home. They too, feel the pain and console themselves up with their measly salary.

Walang duda, di hamak na mas malaki ang kita natin kaysa kanila, yet, we still complain.  I’m already working abroad and earning good but my salary is still not enough.

OFW - Money-Toilet Paper

Money In The Toilet

I discovered that being honest to oneself is an important factor in determining what causes this problem. Acknowledging that money is one facet in our lives that needs attention and if not taken cared of, it will just go wasted and drained out in the toilet. Instead of taking charge and analyzing what is going wrong and keeping us on the thread of maxed-out credit cards, baon sa utang, baon sa loan, walang ipon, walang investments, said sa gastos, tabla-tabla lang, we just continue this way of earning and spending our hard earned monies.  After many years of working abroad, we realize matanda na tayo.

With our social norms and culture, the subject of money is really not easy to bring it on the table. Safer not to discuss it either with your friends or family because of rejection or they are not interested after all. To add more, ayaw mo din namang masabihan ka na, mukha ka ng pera. So, you keep it to yourself and avoided the subject too.

Come to think of it, you know there is something wrong in this kind of notion. If in the office, it is very fine discussing money matters and finding out ways to improve and to better company’s growth, why not with your own finances and for your own personal growth?

Generally, we think money is all nothing but common sense. For the most of us, it is just earn it spend it principle. To others, it is earn it, spend it and save. To some, it is earn it, spend it and save and then invest. There is a need to know more how our money can work for us and not us working for money all the time.

Try to recall your yesteryears working in the Philippines. You were able to manage a small salary back then. Tightening your belt is okay and you were used to it. It is hard too but somehow, you were able to manage despite the meager salary. But now, after having tasted the luxury of working abroad and the power of green money, you feel discontented and seemed the salary is still not enough for your needs and expenses.

You wonder why and could not find answers. So, you complain.

Ang sabi ng iba, “Hindi naman sa nagko-complain. Mahirap lang talaga ang buhay. Tumaas ang lahat ng gastusin pero sahod ko hindi pa rin. Ang dami na kasing gastusin sa bahay. Maliit lang kasi ang sinasahod ko. Kailangan pa ni bunso ng computer, Si ate nagyayang mag-outing sa Boracay, May bagong iPad ngayon, Ang sarap ng pagkain sa Hyatt, next time sa Fridays naman, May bilin si Kuya 43 daw ang size ng sapatos niya, sabi, NIKE daw maganda. Naku! Enrollment na naman, papasok na sa high school ang prinsesa ko, Si Junior graduation sa Abril, Sa susunod na pasukan may college na. Ano kayang magandang pasalubong sa kanila? Angganda ng 2012 model ng Toyota Fortuner ngayon, maglo-loan ako nito pag-uwi ko.”

OFW - Needs and Wants

Needs vs. Wants. Balancing the Equation.

We may seem nothing wrong with the above. Perhaps, we might need to perform a self-check mechanism to help us distinguish our WANTS from our NEEDS. Before you feel discontented, burned out and embrace the idea that your earnings are not enough, assess yourself first especially when you first hit the green dollar.

You’ll find out that no matter how loaded you are with those self-justifications, there is no doubt, you are still earning big compared to what you were having before in the Philippines. Despite this reality, you continue to compensate your impulses and convince yourself that it is just fine. Your spending habit is louder than your discipline to control your unwarranted buying spree.

You got higher salaries but your spending sky rocketed as well. At first, it feels great and overwhelming because you got more money to use to buy this and to buy that. After a long while, you noticed, you are starting to be broke again despite the new income. Unfortunately, the cycle keeps going month after month.

Many are simply saying, “Okay lang iyan. May sahod pa naman sa susunod na buwan.”

So, this cycle continue until such time, naka-ten years ka na pala abroad. Some 15 years na. Marami rin ang umabot na ng 20 years or even 30 years of working abroad. Yet, most of them, pag tinanong mo, they will just shrug their shoulders off and say, Wala eh… Kailangan pang bumalik at magtrabaho ulit abroad. Mahirap ang buhay sa Pinas.”

 We work like a dog and live like a king. One day, the king is no more a king but an exhausted old man and forced to retire. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. Gustuhin man nating magtrabaho pa, hindi na kaya ng pagal na katawan. We are not prepared when that time happens.

It is a given fact. Just look around and see our fellow kabayans. Tumanda na tayo pero nasa malayo pa rin. Lumaki ang mga anak natin na di nasisilayan ang kanilang pag-usbong sa mundong ibabaw. Ngayon, nangangapa tayo sa isa’t isa. Again, we justify the situation and simply say, “Okay lang iyon. Kaya nga ako lumayo at nagpakahirap magtrabaho abroad kasi para sa kanila talaga ito… Para sa kinabukasan nila. May-awa ang Diyos, makakaraos din.”

There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a noble dream that every family man must have. However, on our way through this OFW journey, we somehow have forgotten that our main goal is a secured future for our family. Our exorbitant spending and buying spree kept that goal on the side.

THINK AGAIN. Having a small salary might not be the problem after all. It might be our perspective with regards to money. The way we think, use and handle the money we earn are pivotal consideration. Our lack of understanding on the matter is what makes us trapped in the hole we are in today, month after month, year after year.

Also, earning big is not only the solution to our financial problems.

Have you said these lines to yourself as well? “Kung mai-increase-an lang sana ako. Solve na! Okay na! Kung sasahod lang ako ng ganito kalaki. Ayos na!”

Now that you earn big, it is still the same scenario.

It’s a plus factor if you are earning big but there is no guarantee of success.

Live a simple life. However, keep your family & social life balanced.

Work hard, earn high and earn even more. Keep your expenses low. Be prudent and live a frugal life. In due time, you will say no more, “My salary is not enough.”

Thanks for reading and Gob bless. :)

Like Father Like Son


Like Father Like Son: OFWs

Ang Tatay Kong OFW

Many OFWs say that our government is incapable of giving or providing decent compensation to its workforce. Having this in mind, our generation has continued the cycle of migration and working abroad as gateway from poverty to better their living conditions.  The lure of having a high paycheck is hard to ignore especially if you are the breadwinner in the family, you have children to get to school, wanting to give your family a better life or you  just want to earn big so you can save more and eventually have a business or investments of your own someday. It is for these reasons why more and more Filipinos even newly graduates prefer working abroad instead of staying and working in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, OFW’s noble cause in uplifting their families from dire poverty is still unattainable as the years go by in spite of the opportunity it presents. Earning big seem to be not only the solution. Many have become, “tabla-tabla lang”  others even losers.

Some say, “Ayos na. May engineer na ako!” referring to his newly graduate son who took an engineering degree.

We should all be jubilant and proud for this kind of achievement, not just for the son who finished his degree in engineering but for the OFW father who sacrificed and exhausted most of his youthful years working abroad so his son could finish college. However, after having done all these, the OFW father will soon retire having less if not nothing for his personal retirement. The son who graduates continues the cycle his father left in the OFW jungle zone and that is to work abroad too. A new breed of “Bagong Bayani” we call OFW emerges.

This time, mga anak na ang lumalabas ng bansa upang magtrabaho para kahit papaano ay masuportahan at makatulong sa mga magulang na nagpakasakit sa lupang malayo upang maitawid ang kanilang pag-aaral. Kapagka malaki ang pamilya, suporta sa mga kapatid na nag-aaral pa ang priyoridad. Pagtulong sa mga magulang ay di kailanman maaaring kalimutan.

The son who now works as an OFW will soon realize as the years pass by, “Ala na pala sa kalendaryo ang edad ko. Ang bilis talaga ng panahon.”  Given this kind of situation, a lot of yuppies end up “solteros” and “solteras” abroad. Attending to the immediate needs of the family is the first priority. Time fly so fast, you have forgotten you have personal things to attend too. Once you get the chance to set your own personal life’s priorities, like getting married, having your own family or just setting aside from your family home, you’ll find yourself in bewilderment. Maybe, this is a stage in life where a deeper transformation manifest and bring you to the next level… Having your own family. And when you do, a personal discernment will unravel asking yourself, “Am I repeating the same cycle my father did?”

Work hard. Send the kids to school. Buy a house. Buy a car. While you busy yourself working away from your family to be a responsible father or parent, you find yourself in the same situation just like the days your father did before. You’re missing the first birthday of your kid, you’re missing the days your kids grow and play, you’re missing their  first communion, you’re missing the day they graduate (in elementary, high school or even college) and a lot more. You let your partner or your wife take charge and be responsible to be the mother and father of your kids while you are away.  It is hard but we just accept it and let the way it is (I hope for now). Time will fly fast. Soon you’ll be home as you always say.

It’s a kind of cycle that repeats itself. You may ask yourself, “How can I get out of this cycle? ” It is also of high value and good to ask, “Am I ready for the future passing the same torch to my children and be another OFW?”

We better ask ourselves. We may just be circling around.

While we aspire to better our lives and secure a brighter future for our family, we must be focused with our goals. So we could make the improvement we really need in our lives, to better not just our lifetime but our family’s next generation. Let not the voices of the world dictate us. The good life which most of us desire is a life that should be warmed by passion and touched with great determination to succeed that even the impossible will be possible.

I will borrow a quote that says, “Many have tried but few succeeded”  as a reminder to all.

Hence, let not the world fail us instead inspire us to succeed.

Happy reading and God bless! :)

WANTED: OFWs


We all experienced job hunting.

Not too long ago, every Sunday morning at around 7:00am, I used to borrow a bicycle from our neighbor.  Ride this bicycle for a kilometer or two to buy the Sunday edition of a national daily not because I want to be informed about the latest news in the country but to look and browse its classified section. My job hunting quest starts there.

OFW Hiring - Gateway to Greener Pasture
OFW Hiring – Gateway to Greener Pasture

During those days, their classified section is really instrumental for my job hunting looking for various recruitment agencies and companies in Metro Manila and abroad. Though many years have already passed, the days were still so vivid to me. After encircling, highlighting and cutting the portions of ads where I think my qualifications suit the agencies/companies requirements, I will go to a nearby computer shop and start updating my resume, then prepare multiple copies of the updated resume and sets of photocopies of my work certifications.

Monday come, the tranquility of the early morning hours will greet you with the seldom passage of tricycles already on the street. I will take a ride from one of these tricycles to get me in the main street corner or “kanto”  where the “paradahan” (waiting/loading area) of jeepneys is located, so I can get another ride down to the bus terminal.

The atmosphere is pretty much still in a silence mode. While waiting for a bus, you will see people with different walks of life. The bus/street vendors are already out on the street offering you snacks, candies, tabloids, quail eggs, boiled peanuts, buko juice etc. The streetsweepers are also out there doing their work. Some “carinderia” stalls are also open serving the early morning passengers waiting for their rides. In one area of the street you see some private vehicles (vans) lined up and a barker shouts, “Mento! Mento!” or “Malate! Malate!”

If you’re in a hurry and would not want to catch up the traffic congestion along NLEX and in Bonifacio Avenue, you’ll end up taking your trip with these private vehicles (vans) but if you can bear waiting for about 15-30 minutes and sometimes an hour or so for the provincial buses to arrived, better to wait instead. For economical and safety reasons, I prefer travelling in a bus.

Finally, the next bus arrives and inside it, you could picture the exhausted faces of many passengers. Many are taking advantage of the two hour ride and have a short sleep. Some are busy preparing their things for work. Some secure their documents for job application or interview, like me. Hehehe!  During those times, riding a provincial bus from San Fernando-Olongapo Junction to its terminal in Doroteo Jose will take you to around two hours of travel time. If you’re unfortunate and there is a  heavy traffic on your way, expect your ride to be longer.

Once the bus reached the terminal in Manila, I familiarize myself on the streets around. Ride the LRT, ride a jeepney again or a pedicab and whenever I get lost on my way to the office of the agency I am heading to, the magic of “Mr. Magtanong”  is right there and there to guide me.

Thanks to all the Good Samaritans whom are selflessly taking time to give the right directions while I am at lost in the streets of Manila during my days of job hunting. These are the street vendors, passengers/driver in a jeepney ride, a passerby or just a bystander in the area.

Once I reach the office of the agency  I was looking for, I feel some kind of accomplishment. You know the kind of feeling… Alas! I finally found you. Hehehe!  But that will be shortlived when you get to experience a not-so-good environment in a recruitment agency.

Though there are agencies which accomodate their applicants well there are also agencies which you will find “brutal” or rude towards their applicants. You will experience this from time to time while you’re in a job hunting mode especially if you’re a newbie. You will encounter balikbayan’s or ex-OFWs also applying and boasts their former company or how much they earn before.

The number of people lined up waiting is very noticeable. With your surprise, you quip to yourself, “Pambihira! Ang dami pala naming gustong umalis ng bansa.”. Curious what to do next or whom to ask for, you will ask one of the applicants too, “Pare, saan magsa-submit ng resume? Kanino magbibigay ng resume? May pi-fill-up-an ba? May placement ba?

Consider yourself lucky if the people in the agency are accommodating, polite and will respond with all your queries in a nicely and friendly manner. To some, which at some point in time I had an experience too, you will hear a not so good damning words from these agency’s personnel. Making you feel that we badly needed the work and if not with them, we are nothing. Our application will be lost or denied. Most of the time, they pinpoint to us the naivete or the ignorance of our queries. “Pasensiya na sir, first time ko po kasing mag-apply sa abroad”, sabi ng isang mama.

It is so frustrating and irritating to see such kind of situation but all you can do is to humble and submit yourself to utmost understanding, so you can make a step forward towards your goal, and that is to land a job abroad for you to earn a bigger salary. You cannot lose your control. You tell yourself, “Para sa kinabukasan ng pamilya ko ito. Nag-aaral na si Junior. Konting tiis lang.” Patience should be your friend at all times. Don’t ever lose it.

Most of the time, the applicant’s scholastic record or professional background will give him the leverage on how he will be treated by the agency’s personnel. They seem to be more lenient and polite when the applicant is more experienced (local or abroad) or a licensed professional while for the least of professions we have (menial jobs) specifically in the labour construction workforce (like masons, helpers, carpenters, welders, plumbers and the likes), the treatment is limited and oftentimes they belittle our fellows.

No offense meant to all our Kabayans who have these kind of works. We should all be proud to whatever kind of work we have. These recruitment agencies must exercise due respect to all their applicants no matter what the applicant’s qualifications are. Be it just a high school graduate who will work as a waiter, mason or a laborer or a college graduate with Ph.D. who will work as an Engineer or a Manager.

Oftentimes, the above observation is experienced by most of our Kabayans whom are willing to take not on the grudge and be separated from their families just to earn a decent salary abroad. While the government could not provide quality and decent salary for its workforce, its people are continuously looking and finding out ways to secure their family’s future. With no concrete plan on the side of our government on how we could augment our financial needs, we OFWs turn a blind eye and sign a Contract-To-Work-Abroad and leave our families behind.

Hard to deny the fact that we OFWs have accepted the inevitable scenario and succumb our fate will be away from our family in exchange for that greener pasture. Hopefully one day we all say… “Pilipinas kong mahal, I will never leave you again!”

Happy reading and God bless!

ABAKADA-OFW


ABAKADA-OFW is a compilation of thoughts and reflections of OFW’s life in their quest for the “Greener Pasture”. The author’s father is a former OFW and he himself is also an OFW, a product of the second generation of OFWs in the family. The author in his capacity as an OFW would like to find ways, share topics and ideas and/or information to its readers (especially the OFWs) on how we could better ourselves in spite of the sacrifices we endure in a foreign land.

Moreso, the site will share topics and ideas regarding financial literacy. The aim is to take advantage of our earning potential as an OFW and make this a conscious effort for us to stay focused.

Points to ponder:

  • Our real intentions why we decided to work abroad.
  • Balancing our homesickness versus the dollars we earn.
  • Be more productive and a channel of blessings to others (especially the needy).
  • Setting our sights for the future (personal and family concerns)
  • Achieve True Financial Freedom in the moment we decide to leave the OFW bandwagon.

“Hanggang kailan tayo magiging OFW?”  shall be a guide post question to enlighten us and have the emotional reason/s why we should definitely plan and finally escape the employment world (in the OFW arena).

Our country needs us. More than anything else, you and I, are amiss of our family’s lost opportunities when we should have shared it with them.

Forever is a long way journey with no end. Travelling without a road map is like travelling with no destination. Knowing our personal goals and ambitions while journeying the avenue of life away from our family and country should be a MUST!

Take charge of your life.

You are the BOSS!

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