One aspect of my job that I truly enjoy is meeting Pinoy workers in the various countries I visit. While some “expats” try hard to disassociate themselves from OFWs (ooops!), I on the other hand, always look forward to mingling with them. Such is partly work, of course. But most importantly, I seek them because I easily bond with them. With them I feel at ease; through them I get to vicariously live other challenging lives.
Theirs is one large cache of life stories and I must have heard just about a handful. Usually, every OFW lives his own heart-tugging plot, from the teary drama type to the spirit-lifting success stories. All those I want to hear and hopefully one day, those materials I’d be able to write about in a befitting medium.(Basketball: the Pinoys' most common pastime) (Daegu Industrial Park)
In my recently-concluded visit to
Immediately thereafter, I was brought to their tambayan for the reglementary bottle-downing ceremony (he he. Inuman lang po yun). Needless to say, I had fun. And at the end of the day, I was a few stories richer.(tropang Ilocano)
Every rendezvous with overseas Pinoys leaves me with a commitment to spreading the word: that the life of our OFWs is not as easy and as glamorous as perceived. While many envy the fact that they work abroad and earned bigger bucks than their home-based counterparts, it is easily forgotten that the life they live is far from ideal; that while they maintain a happy and prosperous countenance, truth is, a battered soul lurks beneath each one of them.
I have always expressed hope that the families they left back home would realize that every centavo they send is a product of long hours of toil and even abuse. Similarly, I hope it is realized by the government that they still need help and support (their common dream is that jobs are made available in the Philippines so that could stay home), as it seems content with simply patting their egos by calling them modern-day heroes. (rice cakes being sold in downtown Daegu)