Monday, October 25, 2010

Diary of an Overseas Filipino Wife

I am inviting everyone to read my new blog and follow our adventures as we go through life in another country....

End of the road...a journey to a new life...

This blog was written almost 6 months ago but which I was never able to publish at once. The reason behind this is because I had to do a lot of leg work in relation to family documents that I needed to process. Without further adieu... I hope you like my last blog under my callcenter diary....

It was in the year 2003 when thoughts of applying for a call center job seem to be the only option for me. I needed a job urgently as 3 months prior, I gave birth to my second child. Money was short and my husband and I have a daughter who needed to go to school. The very first call center I went to was VXi along Ayala Avenue, Makati City. I breezed through the exams and the first couple of interviews. I even passed the typing test but the final interview did not fit my "good instincts." When the interviewer asked me what I would do if my baby got sick and I needed to go home; I knew that the company was very stringent with their attendance. Though I am not a perenially absent employee, I know that I will always put my family first in case of an emergency, even at the expense of my job. Well, I did not land the job as most of you know, if you read my very first blog entry. I then applied on-line and received a call the next day, if am not mistaken, from PLDT. I stayed in the said company for almost 3 years before I decided applying at the World's local bank. I spent 4 years in this last call center job. And I must say that 7 years in the call center industry has prepared me for what lies ahead.

Over a year ago my husband left for Saudi Arabia...it was a joint decision for him to look for an overseas job. This was brought about by the fact that he is the eldest among 6 children. With no parents to take care of the younger siblings, he is left with that responsibility. Other than that we have 3 children with growing needs and a mortgage to pay. I was luckier because my siblings have jobs of their own and have parents who have enough means to live comfortably. The goal for us was to find work abroad and be able to help the younger ones and save enough for our children's bright future.

Hence, almost 6 months ago, when my husband went back to the Philippines for a month long vacation, we made plans. And one of them was for us to start preparing our documents so that we may follow and live with him abroad. I was left with the responsibility of fixing our documents locally, which is noteworthy to mention, brought so much heartaches and which left us with too much debt on our hands. I was asked to pay for certified true copies of our original documents, which by the way was around 50 to 65 pesos per page. Now I am left with 3 certified true copies wherein only 1 was actually needed entirely. Not only did I need to pay unnecessarily, I had to travel from Cavite to North Avenue in Quezon City several times a week. Again it was unnecessary travel, waste of time, energy and money had the people in the government agency adviced me the first time of the correct documents I needed to bring. Imagine I had to go back and forth 6 times before I got the correct information and finally have my children's documents processed! I felt terribly disgusted and angry but my husband, although far from me, kept me focused and constantly fed me good thoughts. Although it was not the darkest period in my life, it was one with so much anxiety. First, because I tendered my resignation already and therefore our financial means has decreased. Second, because I pulled out my kids after their 1st quarterly exams as we were expected to leave right after. And third, our savings was dwindling fast and there were my husband’s siblings to feed. All throughout, we never wavered, we fought the war between good and evil, if I may so say, and we won. Six months later, we are now here, left with so much debt, but happy that we are together as one family. We know that we will be facing a lot of adjustments. We left, in the Philippines, my children’s nanny who has been with us for almost 5 years. We left her with my sister who has a baby I know my children, most especially my youngest, will miss her. Gone are the days, when we just need to call our dear nanny for errands. But I know it won’t be too hard, I am armed with lessons from my own mother. It is a good thing that I know how to cook... and have been trained with domestic work.

I am going to begin a new blog once I have settled in Saudi Arabia and hope that you will begin reading our journey through our new life...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Wedding Anniversary!!!

 The first time I met you, I must admit that I had constant reservations on whether our relationship would work out. Why? Because from the start you were so strict (like my Mom) while I valued my independence you always wanted to know where I was going, with whom I was with -- things that I would rather keep at bay while we were not yet married. You never failed to amaze me with your deep understanding of the world around, you never faltered on your beliefs. You knew what you wanted to happen in your life. Early on the relationship you affirmed of a lifetime together while I did not want to hope and get hurt again. But you were true to your word after 2 years we finally got married. We planned everything together ... I saw the excitement in your eyes and felt how much you were looking forward for that to happen. I remember one night coming back from work … you were so excited and knelt in front of me. You then presented me with a ring and again proposed and told me how much you wanted to marry me. Timidly you said that it was not an expensive ring … daddy just to let you know … that did not matter to me… I saw beyond that ring … something more precious, something that can never be bought anywhere. And it was your love … you keep asking me if I have had any regrets over the years for not marrying a rich man. Wealth is nothing without the kind of love you have surrounded me and our children with. You are a fantastic self-made man I know there is no one else like you who could make me laugh as hard, smile for no reason, and with whom I can be myself. I love you my husband, my soul mate, the father of my children, my best friend and counselor, my critic and the love of my life. Thank you!  Happy Happy Anniversary to us!

I chanced upon this poem written by Teri Sprinkel

When We First Met
When we first met,
in my heart I could feel
the warmth of your smile,
and I knew that we would
share something special
that many people
only dream of......

Though time has passed
since the day we first met,
I can sincerely tell you
that I love you more through time,
We've seen both good and bad times,
and I feel they have
strenghtened our relationship,
making it one we can always count on.
I thank you for always being there
to embrace me when life
becomes difficult,
for warming my spirit
and returning my strength.

I thank you for filling
my life, my heart,
and my dreams with unending love.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Done voting

At last I am done voting! My parents, youngest sister and I, woke up early as we wanted to be one of the first ones to arrive at the voting polls. But when we arrived there we were met by a throng of angry people as the long queue were all mixed up. It was clear that everything was so disorganised to see people complaining already so early in the morning. By 9:30 am a lot of people had gone home disgusted about how things have all turned up. We were even given numbers which proved to be useless as we finally reached our precinct. We had to endure more than 3 hours to wait for our turn. All in all it was a disaster but the most important thing is that were able to cast our votes. Now all we need to do is wait for the outcome...  

A call for change

Tomorrow, 10th of May 2010, is voting time in the Philippines. This will also be the first time that we will be using the smartmatic machine which is supposed to make voting and the counting of ballots much easier. As a Filipino citizen, as a voter, and as a mother I am as anxious as the candidates because I would like to be able to vote and say that I made the right choice. I would like to be so sure that any choice I make now would not haunt me back in the future. I would like to make sure that the people I will be voting for are after the best interest of the Filipino people. Someone who would be able to make at least that much awaited single step towards change. Someone whom we, Filipinos, can be proud of. A president who would not be easily swayed by the bad elements that would surely surround him. And a president who will not put this country to shame.

For my countrymen, this is the moment that we have waited for. We want change and this is one avenue that we can take to elicit change in our country. So please....please vote wisely and responsibly!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Musings of an OFW

I received this message through my email and this is something I would like to share to everybody. The article is written in my own vernacular I will try my best to translate it into English but will have to publish the said version on a later date. So to all my fellow Filipinos (wives, husbands, children, parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties of our OFWs who work their asses off abroad) and to our beloved OFWs this is for you... I don't know who the author is but whoever wrote this (it could be Nicole...from where the article came), I hope you don't mind me sharing it  to everyone. 


Sa may asawa, kapatid, anak, kaibigan, at kamag-anak na OFW. At lalo na sa mga gustong mangibang-bansa. Nais ko rin ibahagi sa inyo, ang natanggap kong email na ito. Maaaring makatulong ito upang lalong maintindihan ng bawa't isa ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang OFW. Tiyak na may mapupulot tayong aral dito.

Hindi mayaman ang OFW - We have this notion na 'pag OFW o nasa abroad ay mayaman na. Hindi totoo yun. A regular OFW might earn from P20K-P300K per month depende sa lokasyon. Yung mga taga-Saudi or US siguro ay mas malaki ang sweldo, but to say that they're rich is a fallacy (amen!). Malaki ang pangangailagan kaya karamihan ay nag-a-abroad. Maraming bunganga ang kailangang pakainin kaya umaalis ang mga pipol sa Philippines. Madalas, 3/4 o kalahati ng sweldo ay napupunta sa tuition ng anak at gastusin ng pamilya. Mahirap maging OFW - Kailangan magtipid hangga't kaya. Oo, masarap ang pagkain sa abroad pero madalas na paksiw o adobo at itlog lang tinitira para makaipon. Pagdating ng kinsenas o katapusan, ang unang tinitingnan eh ang conversion ng peso sa dollar o rial o euro. Mas okay na magtiis sa konti kaysa gutumin ang pamilya. Kapag umuuwi, kailangan may baon kahit konti kasi maraming kamag-anak ang sumusundo sa airport o naghihintay sa probinsya. Alam mo naman 'pag Pinoy, yung tsismis na OFW ka eh surely attracts a lot of kin. Kapag hindi mo nabigyan ng pasalubong eh magtatampo na yun at sisiraan ka na. Well, hindi naman lahat pero I'm sure sa mga OFW dito eh may mga pangyayaring ganun. Magtatrabaho ka sa bansang iba ang tingin sa mga Pinoy. Malamang marami ang naka-experience ng gulang o discrimination to their various workplaces. Sige lang, tiis lang, iniiyak na lang kasi kawawa naman pamilya 'pag umuwi. Besides, wala ka naman talagang maasahang trabaho sa Philippines ngayon. Mahal ang bigas, ang gatas, ang sardinas, ang upa sa apartment. Tiis lang kahit maraming kupal sa trabaho, kahit may sakit at walang nag-aalaga, kahit hindi masarap ang tsibog, kahit pangit ang working conditions, kahit delikado, kahit mahirap. Kapag nakapadala ka na, okay na, tawag lang, "hello! kumusta na kayo?". 

Hindi bato ang OFW - Tao rin ang OFW, hindi money o cash machine. Napapagod rin, nalulungkot (madalas), nagkakasakit, nag-iisip at nagugutom. Kailangan din ang suporta, kundi man physically, emotionally o spiritually man lang. Tumatanda rin ang OFW - Sa mga nakausap at nakita ko, marami ang panot at kalbo na. Most of them have signs and symptoms of hypertension, coronary artery disease and arthritis. Yet, they continue to work thinking about the family they left behind. Marami ang nasa abroad, 20-30 years na, pero wala pa ring ipon. Kahit anong pakahirap, sablay pa rin. Masakit pa kung olats rin ang sinusuportahang pamilya - ang anak adik o nabuntis; ang asawa may kabit. Naalala ko tuloy ang sikat na kanta dati, "NAPAKASAKIT KUYA EDDIE!" Bayani ang OFW - Totoo yun! Ngayon ko lang na na-realize na bayani ang OFW sa maraming bagay. Hindi bayani na tulad ni Nora Aunor o Flor Contemplacion. Bayani in the truest sense of the word. Hindi katulad ni Rizal o Bonifacio. Mas higit pa dun, mas maraming giyera at gulo ang pinapasok ng OFW para lang mabuhay. Mas maraming pulitika ang kailangang suungin para lang tumagal sa trabaho lalo na't kupal ang mga kasama sa trabaho. Mas mahaba ang pasensya kaysa sa mga ordinaryong kongresista o senador sa Philippines dahil sa takot na mawalan ng sweldo. Matindi ang OFW - Matindi ang pinoy. Matindi pa sa daga, o cockroaches which survived the cataclysmic evolution. Maraming sakripisyo pero walang makitang tangible solutions or consequences. Malas ng OFW, swerte ng pulitiko - Hindi umuupo ang OFW para magbigay ng autograph o interbyuhin ng media (unless nakidnap!). Madalas nasa sidelines lang ang OFW. Kapag umaalis, malungkot and on the verge of tears. Kapag dumadating, swerte 'pag may sundo( madalas meron). Kapag naubos na ang ipon, wala ng kamag-anak. Sana sikat ang OFW para may boses sa Kamara. Ang swerte ng mga politico nakaupo sila at ginagastusan ng pera ng Filipino. Hindi nga sila naiinitan o napapaso ng langis, o napagagalitan ng amo, o kumakain ng paksiw para makatipid, o nakatira sa compound with conditions less than favorable, o nakikisama sa ibang lahi para mabuhay. Ang swerte, sobrang swerte nila. Matatag ang OFW - Matatag ang OFW, mas matatag pa sa sundalo o kung ano pang grupo na alam nyo. Magaling sa reverse psychology, negotiations at counter-attacks. Tatagal ba ang OFW? Tatagal pa kasi hindi pa natin alam kailan magbabago ang Philippines , kailan nga kaya? o may tsansa pa ba?

Masarap isipin na kasama mo ang pamilya mo araw-araw. Nakikita mo mga anak mong lumalaki at naaalagaan ng maayos. Masarap kumain ng sitaw, ng bagoong, lechon, inihaw na isda, taba ng talangka. Masarap manood ng pelikulang Pinoy, luma man o bago. Iba pa rin ang pakiramdam kung kilala mo ang kapitbahay mo. Iba pa rin sa Philippines , iba pa rin kapag Pinoy ang kasama mo (except 'pag kupal at utak-talangka), iba pa rin 'pag nagkukwento ka at naiintindihan ng iba ang sinasabi mo. Iba pa rin ang tunog ng "mahal kita!", "day, ginahigugma tika." "Mingaw na ko nimo ba, kalagot!", " Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba". Iba pa rin talaga. Sige lang, tiis lang, saan ba't darating din ang pag-asa. Kung OFW ka at binabasa mo ito, mabuhay ka dahil ikaw ang tunay na BAYANI ng lahing PILIPINO!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010