This is a pinoy free channel (for OFW), re-channel your receiver requency.




”This is a FREE Pinoy TV(OFW) all Filipino channels. Please re-channel your receiver frequency to get this channel specially from the Middle East.”

Watch PATV, the only one free channel TV for OFW around the world. Be a member also with IMPOK Service Cooperative for OFW – You can visit them in their website at http://www.impokpatv.com/ and learn more about them


Friday, December 16, 2011

Kwentong Kapuso: OFW mom shares pain of not being with her children

Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Roshane Lopez shares the pain of not being with her children -- especially her Bunso -- as they are growing up. In her story, she hopes to make non-OFW parents realize that their children are luckier than hers in the sense that they have their whole family at home for Christmas. 
Malapit na naman ang Pasko. Hindi ko mapigilan ang sarili ko na mangulila sa mga taong mahalaga sa akin na nasa 'Pinas. Hindi pa rin kumpleto ang buhay ko kahit na masasabi kong medyo naabot ko na ang karera na gusto ko.

Miss na miss ko na ang mga anak ko. Pang-apat na Christmas na ito na 'di ko sila nakakasama. Palaging isang malaking kahpon ang kapalit ko sa araw ng Pasko -- isang kahong puno ng laruan, sapatos, damit, at kung anu-ano pang bagay na nabili ko para sa dalawang anak ko. Lahat ng naiisip ko na alam ko'ng magugustuhan nila, binibili ko agad, kahit pa wala nang matirang budget para sa'kin.

Nasa isip ko palagi kasi gusto ko'ng maging masaya sila sa Pasko at 'di nila maramdaman na wala ako. Ilang pares ng damit ba ang naibigay ko kay Bunso? Dalawang relos para sa magkabilang kamay niya? Dalawang sapatos para sa dalawang paa? Tatlong sumbrero para sa isang ulo niya? Samu't saring laruan na 'di na niya alam kung ano ang uunahing laruin? Isang kahong chocolate?

Palaging sobra ang ibinibigay ko sa kaniya -- sobra sobra palagi. Ayaw ko kasing magkulang ano man ang gusto niya. Naiisip ko lang na baka sakaling mapunan nu'n ang pagkukulang ko sa kaniya sa araw ng Pasko, 'yung walang "Mommy" sa loob ng apat na taon. Kahit papaano, gusto ko'ng maramdaman niya na wala man si Mommy, maraming sobra sa inaasahan niya.

Maraming blessings ang dumating sa buhay ko ngayong taon na ito. I could say that I'm blessed kasi God gives me more reason to stay here at paglingkuran ang mga taong nagtiwala sa'kin.

Pero blessed nga ba talaga ako? Sa karera ng buhay siguro, pero sa buhay ng mga anak ko, isa lang ang ibig sabihin nu'n -- dalawang taon ulit silang mangungulila sa akin, mabubuhay nang walang nanay na gagabay sa kanila.

Ilang beses na ba akong absent sa recognition? Sa field trip sa schools? Meetings ng mga parents? Alam kong naiintindihan nila kung bakit ako nandito sa malayo, pero ang masakit na katotohanan ay kung ano man ang nawalang panahon at oras na 'di nila ako nakasama ay 'di ko na maibabalik pa. I can't bring back the times na umiiyak sila kasi inaway ng kaklase nila. 'yung mga pagkakataong nadapa si Bunso at walang ako du'n para i-kiss ito para mawala ang sakit. Mahirap, malungkot, nakakadurog ng puso na kailangan mong gawin ang isang bagay hindi dahil gusto mo kundi dahil kailangan para din sa ikabubuti nila.

Lagi akong naiinggit kapag nakikita ko ang mga larawan sa Facebook ng mga magulang na kasama sa special events ang mga anak nila. Inggitera na kung inggitera. Though naranasan ko naman ito sa panganay kong anak, mas nalulungkot ako kay Bunso na 'di man lang nakaranan na mabantayan ko sa school. Hindi man lang niya naramdaman ang presence ko 'pag may mga pagdiriwang sa eskuwela niya.

Mas masuwerte ba siya kaysa sa mga anak ninyo? Mas masuwerte nga ba siya dahil anak siya ng OFW? Hindi ko mapigilang isipin at makunsensiya na iniwan ko ang isang bata sa Pilipinas para magtrabaho dito sa malayo. Mabuti si Ate niya, may sarili nang mundo. Tatakbo lang sa mga kaibigan niya at mag "Aleluya Amen" sa church niya ay tapos na ang pangungulila niya. Pero si Bunso -- isang pitong taong gulang na batang lalaki na mag-isang lumalaban sa araw-araw na buhay nang walang nanay at tatay paggising sa umaga.

Ito ang takbo ng isa sa mga usapan namin:

AKO: Anak, nagustuhan mo ba ang mga pinadala ko sa'yo?

BUNSO: Opo, Mommy. Nagustuhan ko po lahat.

AKO: Ano ba ang pinakagusto mo sa lahat ng naibigay ko sa'yo?

BUNSO: 'yung relo po kasi may calendar siya. 'di ba sabi mo sa March ka uuwi?

AKO: Oo, anak. At ise-celebrate natin ang birthday mo kahit tapos na pagdating ko diyan.

BUNSO: Yehey! Kaya nga, Mommy, binibilang ko sa calendar kung gaano pa 'yun katagal eh.

AKO: Malapit na 'yun anak, uuwi na diyan si Mommy.

BUNSO: Babalik ka pa diyan?

AKO: Oo, anak. Kailangan ni Ate mag-aral sa college. Kailangan pa ni Mommy mag-stay dito.

BUNSO: Ah, pero matagal pa ulit bago ka babalik dito?

AKO: Anak, basta hintayin mo si Mommy kasi uuwi na ako ulit. Makakatabi mo na ako sa pagtulog.

BUNSO: Yehey!

Ang Pasko daw ay para sa mga bata, pero para sa'kin, ang Pasko ay para sa pamilya. Hindi mahalaga ang materyal na bagay na maibibigay ninyo sa inyong mga anak. The most important thing is how you love and cherish them dahil biyaya sila ng Panginoon.

Gusto kong yakapin si Bunso sa Pasko. Gustung gusto ko'ng sabihin sa kaniya'ng nandito ako para sa kaniya. Gusto kong sabihin na alam ko'ng 'di sapat ang isang balikbayan box kapalit ng pagmamahal ko bilang nanay niya.

Pero pansamantalaga, magbibilang pa ulit ako ng tatlong buwan para mayakap ulit si Bunsoy. Sabi ko sa ninang niya, 'wag na siyang regaluhan sa Pasko. Bigyan na lang niya ka'ko ng mahigpit na yakap ang anak ko para maramdaman niya kahit papaano na may nagmamahal sa kaniya this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Ishini-share ko lang ito sa inyo dahil I know everybody is busy buying things para sa Pasko. I want to remind everyone that the true essence of Christmas is to give love. Mas masuwerte pa rin ang mga anak ninyo dahil kumpleto ang pamilya nila sa Pasko. Give thanks to God for that blessing.
- RJMD/HS, GMA News

Many Saudi Companies Not Complying with Saudization Policy

Saudi Arabia, the top destination of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) started implementing Saudization or the Nitaqat system last June, a policy that aims to prioritize the hiring of Saudi citizens over foreign workers. However, after six months of implementation, labor officials in Saudi are saying that Saudization is so far a failure. 

 In fact 50% of private companies in Saudi are non-compliant with the scheme despite warnings that they would not be issued new work visas. This information appeared in an article in Emirates 24/7, a news site based in Dubai, UAE.

Saudi Arabia decided to impose the Saudization scheme in an effort to solve the country’s rising unemployment rate. The Labor Ministry of Saudi further informed that while more than six million foreigners are presently working in private companies in Saudi; over one million Saudi nationals are unemployed.
The Saudi labor minister, Adel Faqih said that Saudi has an unemployment rate of 10.5% by the end of 2010. Faqih added that expatriates comprises about 90% of the workforce of private firms in Saudi.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

PATV (Pinoy Atin 'to TV) Pang OFW na libreng Channel at walang bayad pa.


Pinoy Atin ‘to TV (PATV) is a first of its kind, 24-hour, All-Filipino channel that showcases entertainment shows, feature presentations and other relevant programming to uplift the welfare of our fellow Kabayans abroad through wholesome entertainment and effective information. PATV offer the widest range of programs designed to suit the Filipino’s tastes and preferences. This includes lifestyle shows, action and adventure flicks, comedy programs, showbiz and entertainment broadcasts, drama series and other news and information-based programs.

Pioneered and managed by Filipinos for Filipinos abroad. We maintain top quality Philippine programming at its finest using state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities to deliver world-class, region-based entertainment. This enables our well-thought concepts and programs to go on air with much clarity and brilliance. Hosted and delivered by PATV very own fresh and home-grown talents that breathes life, excitement and inspiration to all our programs.

Moreover, with the network's commitment to help and uplift our fellow Kabayans, FMI shares its privilege to all Filipinos to finally have a voice in the Middle East.  PATV is a free channel TV in Arabian Gulf in a free receiver channel.  If you don’t have this channel in your receiver, re-channel again or ask  someone who can re-channel or fix the frequency of your Reciever.   To those OFW who are not in the vicinity of   Saudi Arabian, you can see  the PATV in the internet.  Please click this link and your were be directed to the said tv program at 
http://www.pinoyatintotv.com/ or click the logo/icon above.
This channel is under Filipino Media Inc. is a premiere network company in the Middle East providing FREE-TO-AIR channel service to entertain and help improve lives of our Filipino expatriates in the region.

These and a perfect mix of quality programming, PATV serves as an oasis for every Kabayan abroad that bring every Pinoy closer to home.
If you're not getting this channel in your receiver, please re-channel it again or ask someone who knows how to check/get/change the frequency. Also to those OFW who are are not working the area of Arabian Gulf, this TV channel can be also seen in the internet, just go to their own website : http://www.pinoyatintotv.com/. This is a free TV Channel at walang bayad.

Impok Service Cooperative (Kaagapay mo sa Kinabukasan)

IMPOK is an acronym for ITAGUYOD MO ang PANANAGUTAN AT OBLIGASYON sa KINABUKASAN. This is a newly registered Cooperative in the Philippines aimed, designed, formed and to be managed by OFWs in the Middle East(and soon globally) to help them be able to have livelihood and housing assistance after their work abroad expires.IMPOK Cooperative is a brainchild and will be actively headed by Ms. Mecky Decena of PATV and House of Feng Shui.


 Having seen the problems faced by most OFW in the Middle East, she took it upon herself to start and organize a Cooperative that will be based on one common bond- that OFWs should have a good life and a bright future after their working contracts outside the Philipiines will be over. She believes in every OFW and she capitalizes on the strength of their dreams and their unity in building boss and run their own businesses. IMPOK Cooperative will be built on trust and a strong drive of the OFWs, all seeking to change their lives. With the strength of PATV, she believes that we can call the attention of the government, seek support and assistance from other organizations and with dedication and hard work & all the members will be able to build new lives with their families together back home. IMPOK Cooperative will use its power in numbers. As a collective whole, we now can all have our own houses, achieve better wealth generating vehicles, increase our savings from our salaries and ensure that we will never be broke again and penniless OFW when we get back home.

IMPOK OBJECTIVE
When they go back to the Philippines to make sure that they were able to build their house and a source  of livelihood to rely on.

1. Makatulong at makapag turo sa miyembro na makapagtabi ng pera na kanilang kinita para sa kanilang  pag uwi sa Pilipinas ay  mayroon na silang bahay at kabuhayan.

2. To encourage and teach members to learn and adapt savings program to be able to have a house they own and also achieve increased income through savings and safe investments.
Ma-enganyo, maituro at maibahagi sa mga miyembro ang mga pamamaraan kung papaano ang bawat miyembro ay magkaroon ng sariling bahay, pangkabuhayan sa oras ng pagbalik at mabigyan sila ng mga siguradong puwedeng mapaglagakan ng kanilang pinaghihirapan na pera.

3. To achieve financial independence for each individual member and the cooperative as a whole. Makamit ang "financial independence" ng bawat miyembro at ng buong kabuuang kooperatiba.

A fully registered Service Cooperative for OFWs initially for the Middle East but now for all Filipinos all over the world. It was created to help Filipino ex-pats to have their own business & homes when they return to Philippines and for their own future once the OFW kabayan will stay permanently in the Philippines.  For more details please visit the above website and you will be fully understand what I said.


Kaagapay mo sa Kinabukasan (For OFW)

(In my own opinion, no one do this things in the Philippines.  Oo marami ngang tumutulong ng mga OFW o Ex-OFW, pero hanggang saan?  Saan tayo pupulutin kung tayo ay tumanda na at hindi na makapag trabaho sa ibang bansa o kaya, dito sa Pilipinas.  Kaya sa akin lang opinion, hanggang andito pa tayo at medyo matigas pa ang  kasokasuhan natin, isipin na natin ang future natin.  Hanggang kailan tayo dito sa banyagang lugar na magtratrabaho?  Ano kimabukasan natin ang naghihintay pag tayo ay ayaw ng magtrabaho sa ibang bansa?  Do we really survive?  OO sa mga ex-OFW na maganda ang kita at position, pero how about those OFW na nagbabanat ng buto para sa pamilya na ang sweldo ay kapiranggot lang.  Do they survive?  Is someone helping them?... I don’t think so.. Learned through experienced.  So mga kabayan natin na nasa ibang bansa na nag papaalipin o nag tratrabaho.  Mag isip na kayo kung anong kinabukasan ang naghihintay sa inyo/atin sa bansang sinilangan natin pag tayo ay wala na dito sa ibang bansang pinangangamuhan natin… Salamat sa isang taong nagmamalasakit (IMPOK)).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pasko na naman! - Kwento ni Dodong

Hay!!!!... Pasko n naman…. Ilang araw na lang ay pasko na, tapos bagong taon…. Ang dali ng panahon talaga!... Parang kailan lang, pasko na naman.
Mag three years na na hindi pa ako nakauwi ng pinas pero tiniis ko na lang kay sa uuwi ako e walang dalang pera.  Kaya minabuti ko na lang na ipadala ko sa mga mahal ko para may panggastos sila sa pasko at bagong taon.  E mahirap namang uuwi na walang dalang pera.  Oo nga mayron pero magkano naman?...Alam kaya ng mga kabayan natin sa pinas na hindi lahat na nag aabroad e maswerte?  Oo matawag natin nag maski papaano, maswerte pa rin dahil nakalabas ka ng pinas at nagtratrabaho sa abroad (daw).  Pero maski papaano e medyo nakaangat ng kunti kay sa kung sa pinas ka magtratrabaho.  Yung iba naman e maswerte dahil seguro maganda ang company na napasukan nila o kaya’y may mga natapos na pinag aralan.  Paano naman yung nasa high school, elementary o hindi pa nga nakatapos ng elementary at andito sa  ibang bansa na nanilbihan para lang maitagayud ang kanya-kanyang pamilya.  Yung iba naman din, dala yung family nila kaya medyo ok na rin.  Pero alam kaya ng iba na yung ibang may family status e may naipon?   Hindi naman lahat na ganoon ang sistima.  Pero sa kanila ok na dahil magkasama naman din sila maliban sa mga medyo may edad na anak.  Dahil dito sa Saudi, may limit din ang anak na dinadala o kasama sa kanilang mga magulang as sponsor nila through their companys’ help.
Ang hirap talaga ng pinoy na nasa abroad lalo na sa mga lugar na medyo katulad dine sa Saudi Arabia.  Mahirap yung nasa malayong lugar din, malayo sa kabihasnan, mas nakakalungkot lalo na kung nasa remote area, mas lalo na…  Heto pasko na naman, napakalungkot,   Medyo may kunting salo-salo ang ibang pinoy.  Nag se-share na lang para sa pang noche buena, pagkatapos ng kainan, matutulog na naman dahil kinabukasan e may pasok, mahirap mag puyat at baka antukin sa trabaho.
Pag ganitong  buwan ng December na uuwi ka, kailangang naka book ka na ng before 6 months dahil kung  kukuha ka ng ticket or bibili, baka wala ka nang masasakyan.  Pag ganitong buwan kasi, ang daming mga pinoy na umuuwi at sa pinas nag celibrate ng pasko at bagong taon…  Ako, tiniis ko na lang dahil may mga binabayaran pa kaya tiis na lang muna ako dine.  Hindi bali na magtitiis ako basta yung family ko happy sila.    Hindi ko na lang iniisip yung mga taong nakaraan dahil kailangan talaga ang kayod ko dito.   Seguro three or four years, pwede na akong umuwi at bayad na ang pinagkakautangan ko…  Basta ang sa akin lang, may bahay na natutuluyan ang family ko na matawag kong akin maski hinuhulugan ko at eksaktong padala sa buwan-buwan ng panggastos nila.  Sa akin, ok lang maski noodles at tinapay, katalo na…  Hindi naman sa habang panahon na ganito ako, balang araw din,  makakaluwag din ako pagtapos na yung mga pinag gagastusan ko…
Mahirap ang pasko dito at nakapakalungkot dahil nawalay sa mga mahal mo, pero  ok lang.  Basta masaya at nasa mabuting kalagayan ang mga mahal ko, kaya ko pang mag tiis.  Ayaw ko na uling maranasan ang noong nangyari sa akin na tatlong taon, wala akong makitang trabaho sa pinas at napakahirap.  Ni wala kang malalapitan kung nagipit ka.  Ni kamag anak o kaibigan, hirap din sila.  Syempre, unahin nila yung sa kanila bago tutulong sa iba.  Kaya mas mabuti na rin dito at may kita maski papaano.  Basta tiis na lang at mag dasal na naway  gabayan ako sa itaas sa araw-araw.
Maligayang pasko at manibagong bagong taon sa inyo mga kabayan at kaibigan in advance.

OFW Group Rejects Taxes on SSS, Pag-IBIG Contributions

Mga OFW Kabayan, any opinion on this regards?  If you have any comment kabayan, express yourself.  Kanya-kanya nga lang.  Dahil may mga negative at positive naman ang tao about this write ups...
                                  


(From Manila Bulletin, Dec. 3, 2011)MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino migrants’ rights group has thumbed down the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) plan to impose taxes on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) contributions to the Social Security System (SSS) and to the Home Development Mutual Fund, popularly known as Pag-IBIG.

“We know that it is the BIR’s duty to raise and collect taxes but the government must be reasonable and fair (enough to) consider the present socio-economic plight of our people,” said John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante-Middle East (M-ME).

The BIR earlier this week confirmed that it issued a circular to study the imposition of taxes to SSS and PAG-IBIG members who have contributed more than the amount allowed by law, as it is considered as an “investment”, and therefore should be taxed.

The BIR stressed that the proposal is still under study.

Monterona reckoned that imposing taxes on OFWs’ voluntary contributions to SSS and PAG-IBIG would “defeat the very intent, purpose and spirit” of the government’s programs on social security and housing loans.

He added that these contributions should not be classified as “million peso investments”, but rather investments that are only large enough to secure the OFWs and their families’ needs when retirement time comes.

The Saudi-based OFW leader likewise warned that many Filipino migrant workers would stop their contributions once the BIR begins to tax their SSS and PAG-IBIG contributions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adobong Mani: an OFW’s story of survival and success (Emmanuel Rabulan)

Today I was surfing in the internet while awaiting for my clients' (coming from Dubai)calls.  I was keen to read the write ups.  I was there in Riyadh for 8 months but I never roamed much the area.  I still prepared here in Khobar.  I seen some of filipinos sellings such stuffed in Batha.  But I seen some filipinos as well selling different goods, specially along the street.  I found out as well that in Batha, you can take a taxi driven by a filipinos ( I think it's Kulurum as we called it by filipinos).  But they only do service for pinoys only.  I don't like Riyadh actually and i heard about few things.  Anyhow, this is only comments as i prepared to worked here in Al-Khobar area.

Anyhow, I read the short write ups and I'm sure, you will love to read it as well.  I took it from weng's blogspot, so probably some of you read or encountered this story in the internet.  To those who did not, well, I hope you enjoy reading it and learned something from it..  (see below).
(Sourced) From Ms.  Weng (http://cebuanawithlove.wordpress.com/)

“Adobong mani po Kabayan, 5 riyals tatlong supot po, bili na kayo”  

     Al Batha market is frequented by Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and the Filipinos  thus, you can see grocery stores offering Filipino consumables from food to beauty products made in the Philippines.  Thursday and Friday are the busiest days in Al Batha market, so expect crowds of Filipinos and other nationals during these days at the CFC side of Batha (which they call Philippine market) from restaurants, groceries, electronics, bazaars and banks.

A handful of Kababayans (male only) are selling roasted peanut in Al Batha market.  Let’s meet one of our Kababayan and his success story after defeating life’s difficulties.

       Born in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro is Emmanuel Rabulan, an OFW working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as a janitor at the Riyadh Military Hospital Bldg. 60 (Prince Sultan) since December 28, 2009.  His marriage to Nemianita was blessed with 4 beautiful children namely April Rose, 15 yrs. old, Kobe John, 11 yrs. old, Julius Christian, 8 yrs. old and Paul Eman, 3 yrs. old.
Emmanuel’s duty at the Riyadh Military hospital as a janitor  starts at 6 in the morning and wraps up at 2 in the afternoon. After his janitorial duties, he cooks roasted peanut and sells it at Batha market every afternoon from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m  on weekdays and earlier during  weekends (Thursdays and Fridays).  The delicacy is sold at 5 riyals per 3 packs.


         Before he tried his luck in the oil rich Saudi Arabia, he and his wife had a fruit stand in Fairview where they earn a minimum of 10,000.00 Pesos per day.  From this business, the couple were able to acquire a mini van to help them out with their business.  One day, an opportunity for Emmanuel  to work in Italy came.  Hoping for a better future, the couple sold their fruit store and mini van to pay the recruiter for the processing of his papers.  Little did he know that all these greener pasture promise was a scam, he was duped by an illegal recruiter.  All of the couple’s hard-earned money was gone with the wind. Emmanuel tried his luck again and this time in Qatar with a visit visa.  He worked as a part-time utility man in a restaurant for 3 months receiving 10 Qatari Riyals per hour. If he gets lucky, he works up to 15 hours at the restaurant just to earn more. He went back to the Philippines after his visit visa expired.

     
Seeing his children in a difficult situation frustrates him a lot.  He wanted to send them to school and give them a good life as any parent dreamt of for their children.  Again, a persistent Emmanuel applied for abroad thru an agency and that’s how he set foot in Saudi Arabia.  A salary of 700 Saudi Riyals per month or roughly 8,000 Pesos in Philippine money is not enough to support his family back home.  Part of his contract is a  free accommodation but he has to pay for his own food.  With this meager salary, he found a way to augment his income by selling adobong mani or roasted peanut at Al Batha market.

      At first, he kept his sideline job from his family until his brother who also worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia saw him selling peanut to his Kababayan (fellow Filipinos) in the market.  This is when his family back home knew that Emmanuel is working hard to earn extra income for his family’s future.

       Emmanuel sells 200 packs equal to 300.00 SR a day on weekdays and 500 or more packs during weekends equal to 700.00  SR a day or more.  Now,  his sideline job  is giving his family a comfortable life back home, way more than what  his janitorial job is offering him.  At the moment, Emmanuel is saving for a big surprise for his wife when he gets home next year, the proof of his sweat – bank account.

       Emmanuel is a story of  an OFWs struggle and success from being scammed by an illegal recruiter, properties lost but he picked up the pieces again, stood up, kept his faith and determination to find his way in this world full of competition just to give his family a bright future. 

      Being an OFW is not easy.  One may get lucky, one may get the other way around. The struggles of Filipinos working abroad are the homesickness, the need to feel the love and support of their families back home and the desire to always hear the voices of their loved ones. Overseas Filipino Workers are determined, strong-willed, goal oriented individuals that is why, whatever challenges that comes along our way (that includes me), we always find ways to overcome the trials of life though at times, human as we are, we sometimes feel the world crashing around us but faith in God is what make us going.

Note:  Thanks to Fatima Itum for taking pics.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How overseas Filipinos can win the battle against unbearable utang

(Sourced) 

San Francisco (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Tony Ranque worked for years in Saudi Arabia where he faced a dilemma other overseas Filipinos have probably encountered: The longer he worked abroad, the bigger his debt grew.

"Imagine the worst situation, when my credit cards, all five of them, were used up to their maximum credit limits," he told me.
Eventually, overwhelming financial burden combined with the strain of separation led to the collapse of his marriage.

Today, Tony is one of many Filipinos using their experiences to take on a pressing need: Helping other overseas Pinoys and their families become smarter with money and debt.
There's so much to explore on this subject. Readers have helped me do just that by sharing their own stories on their struggles with financial burdens - particularly with unbearable utang.

One U.S. reader tells of a Pinay whose relationships failed over disagreements over her desire to send US$700 a month to her family back home.

Another reader spoke of Filipinos who worked on cruise ships who told him how the amount they sent [to families] amounted to nothing later on." One of them turned to drinking to forget his anger and frustration, he said.

An OFW from Saudi also wrote me about how she moved to the Middle East in order to pay off her debts, but the process has taken longer than she expected. She's struggling to explain to her family ,why I'm not sending much," she said.

But she's also gearing up "toward the positive side," she added, "after having the strength to say NO to some requests."

By the "positive side," she meant that state in which she's in control of her finances. It's an important state to be in as the world slips into another time of economic uncertainty.

Dr. Macky Galvez, a pediatrician based in Manila, spoke of his own work with OFWs and their families, in a local cooperative. That experience brought home a key realization.

"OFWs should and must undergo financial literacy to protect and harness their money which is more often lost and squandered," he said.

Let's affirm a key premise here: Overseas Filipinos perform a vital role by sending money back home to help their families. But there's also a growing need for families to find better ways to manage funds coming from abroad.

And we're not talking about totally avoiding debt. In many cases, as I've noted, debt is necessary to meet a need.

But there's such a thing as smart debt and dumb debt. Worse, there is unbearable utang - debt that becomes so overwhelming that overseas Filipinos end up wearing themselves out as they find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle.

Charito Basa, an OFW advocate based in Europe, listed four general principles for overseas Filipinos and their families (which actually applies to everyone in this time of crisis)
:
Have a budget and stick it to it no matter what
"There'll be special requests from family and friends that will tempt migrants to deviate from their budget," she says. "Be firm. People will eventually understand that they are doing it for the good of everyone."
Save first, before spending (not the other way around)

Set aside a fixed amount for savings. Charito recommends at least 10 percent of one's income. She and Tony Ranque point to the tested formula for sound personal finance management: Income minus Savings equals Expenses.

"Saving a portion of your income is a must, not an option," Tony says. "If you cannot develop the habit of savings which is founded on discipline, force yourself to save by getting pension plans and other types of pre-need plans."

Have insurance (health, education, retirement, pensions)
"When done through reputable companies, insurance plans can guarantee that needs are attended professionally and that funds are available when most needed," says Charito.
Stay away from , get-rich-quick, schemes

This rule also applies to everyone.
Imagine this: Someone's offering you some investment plan with eye-popping returns. Sounds tempting. But the smart approach is to ask very tough, detailed questions. Or simply walk away. Chances are it's either a wild scheme, or even a scam.

There are many groups offering financial literacy training to overseas Filipinos and their families.
Charito cites the work of Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative which gives hands-on budgeting training. The group also conducts training sessions for overseas workers on such topics as "How to say NO," "When to say NO," and "Why the need to say NO."

For some Filipinos like Tony Ranque, getting out of the debt cycle meant making tough, even painful, decisions.

This happened when he turned 50 several years ago. Frustrated with the seemingly endless cycle of work and debt, he began setting a different course.
"I slowly paid all my debts until I was debt free." He then quit his job in Saudi Arabia, and started all over - back in the Philippines.

He invested his savings, including starting an e-learning center/Internet café in his hometown in Bohol.

Tony's story may be unique. Other Filipinos, especially those helping out families with serious needs, may have a harder time breaking out of the cycle. But his experience at least shows there's a way out for others.
Tony eventually became a regular speaker at financial literacy seminars geared to overseas Filipinos and their families. During one seminar, he told his audience about some of his former fellow workers in Saudi Arabia who, to his surprise, asked to be rehired in that country - even after they had reached retirement age.
"Sino kaya ang mas mapalad sa ngayon? Ako na nakauwi na, na ang buhay ay halos masasabing "isang kahig, isang tuka?' O iyong mga dati kong kasamahan sa Saudi na inabot na ng retirement age doon eh nagpa-rehire pa?" ("Who's luckier? I who was able to come home and now lives a simple life? Or my former colleagues in Saudi Arabia, who ended up working there until they retired, and now is asking to be re-hired?")

He makes less money now than when he was working abroad, Tony told me. But he¿s happier. ¿I believe I am now living a more fulfilling life than ever before."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Makes OFW The Philippines Hero (There’s no place like home)

(Sourced) From  Frederick Arceo

Editor’s note: The following Philippine Daily Inquirer article is one of the most shared articles on OFW sites and blogs. Written in Filipino, it has been tossed around so much that many sites don’t even know who wrote it anymore. Some have edited it and put in their own remarks. It goes by different titles like, “Iba pa rin sa Pinas,” “Ang OFW ay Tao Rin” or “Pagpupugay sa OFW,” among others. It often comes with an introduction, like the one posted on qatarliving.com that says, “Here’s something for those with spouses, siblings, children, or relatives who are OFWs and especially those who hope to work abroad one day. This may help you better understand what it means to be an OFW.”

This is a translation of the original piece, published with the permission of its author, Saudi Arabia-based Filipino, Frederick Montilla Arceo

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are not rich. We have this notion that when someone is an OFW or based abroad, he or she is loaded. Not true. An OFW might earn from P50K-P300K a month, depending on the location. Those in Saudi Arabia or the United States might earn in the high range. But to say that they’re “rich” is a fallacy (amen!).

Many Filipinos seek work abroad because their needs are great. They have so many mouths to feed. Often, 3/4 or half of their earnings go to paying school tuition fees for their children and keeping up with the family’s household expenses.

It’s hard being an OFW. You need to scrimp and save as much as you can. Yes, food can be good abroad but often you stick to paksiw or adobo or eggs in order to save money. Come the 15th or end of the month, the first thing you look up is the conversion rate of the peso to the dollar, rial, or euro.

It’s okay to make do with what little is left than let the family go hungry. Come leave time, you also have to have some money left because many relatives will be waiting at the airport or at home. You know how it is among Pinoys, word gets around that you are an OFW and it attracts a lot of kin.

If you don’t bring pasalubong (a traditional homecoming gift) they may feel slighted and say bad things about you. Well, not all. But I’m sure some OFWs here have had that experience. Abroad, OFWs are also looked at differently. Very many have experienced not getting their due or being discriminated against in workplaces. You just take it, keep going, cry it out alone, because you think how miserable your family would be if you packed up and went home.

Besides, you really can’t count on a job waiting for you back home. And prices of rice, milk, sardines, and apartment rentals are high. So you suffer on–even though you have to work with a lot of jerks (kahit maraming kupal sa trabaho), even though you are sick and have no one to take care of you, even though the food sucks and working conditions bad, even dangerous, and the job difficult. Then when you have remitted money home, everything seems okay again; you call, “hello! kumusta na kayo(how are you all doing)?”

OFWs are not unfeeling (Hindi bato ang OFW).
You are human–not money or cash machines. You get tired, lonely (yes, often); you get sick, hungry; you stop and think, too. You, too, need support, if not physically, at least emotionally or spiritually.

OFWs also grow old.
Those I have met and spoken to, many have receding hairlines or are balding. 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. There are many abroad, after 20-30 years, that still have not put away a savings stash.

No matter how hard they work, they can’t seem to save enough. It’s painful when you know that the family you support back home still can’t make ends meet, that a child is a drug addict, a daughter, pregnant; and one’s spouse is in a relationship with someone else. It recalls that popular old song “Napakasakit Kuya Eddie.”

OFWs are heroes.
That’s true. I, for one, realized this only now, that OFWs really are heroes in so many ways. Not icons or household names like Nora Aunor or Flor Contemplacion but heroes in the truest sense of the word. They could surpass even Rizal or Bonifacio: They have braved more wars and conflicts in order to give their families a better life; they have battled more political intrigues just to keep their jobs in hostile environments; they have exhibited more patience than your usual congressman or senator in the Philippines–all because of the fear of losing that precious pay check.

OFWs are survivors.
Pinoys are survivors (Matindi ang Pinoy). They are more tenacious than rats or cockroaches which are said to be able to survive cataclysms. Yet for all their sacrifices, they have yet to see solutions or results.

OFWs are unlucky–unlike politicians.
They don’t sign autographs or give interviews to media (unless they were kidnapped); they stay on the sidelines. When they leave the country, they are sad and on the verge of tears. When they come home, the lucky ones are welcomed by relatives at the airport. But if they come home without money, relatives are hard to find.

If only OFWs had a voice in Congress like politicians who are financed by the Filipino people and don’t have to work under the hot sun, or get scalded by hot oil, or shouted at by foreign employers, or eat paksiw day in and day out to save money, or live in a compound with conditions less than favorable, and be forced to live with people with strange ways if only to be able to live. Politicians are lucky, really lucky.

OFWs are steadfast.
Stronger and more steadfast than soldiers or other groups you might know. They are masters of reverse psychology, negotiations, and counter-attacks. Will the OFWs last? Most likely because we still don’t know when change and progress will come to the Philippines. Will it come? Is there a chance?

Happiness is imagining yourself in the company of your loved ones every day, watching your children grow in a healthy and loving home. Happiness is eating sitaw, bagoong, lechon, inihaw na isda, taba ng talangka. Happiness is watching a Filipino movie, whether old reruns or new ones. There’s still nothing like knowing your neighbors.

There’s still no place like the Philippines, being with other Pinoys (well, except those with crab mentalities). There’s still nothing like being able to tell stories and know that others around you understand what you are saying. There’s really nothing like the sound of “mahal kita!”, “‘day, ginahigugma tika,” “Mingaw na ko nimo ba, kalagot!” “Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba.” There’s really no place…like home.

Sige lang. Tiis lang. Saan ba’t darating din ang pag-asa. So be it. just suck it in and keep going Somehow, you hope, things will work out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hindi Lahat ng OFW ay maswerte (Cristeta Bercasio - OFW Story)

(Sourced)  From  Yolly Sotelo Fuertes

Contrary to common perception, not all overseas Filipino workers acquire financial stability after working abroad. Some come home even poorer than before.

One such OFW is Cristeta Bercasio, 45, of Lanas village in this town.  After working for several years in Hongkong, Dubai and Jordan as domestic helper, she came home and ended up as “agturtor ti pagay,” or as a gleaner of leftover rice stalks in the fields.

Worse, she was separated from her three children for six years whom she left in Sultan Kudarat where her parents and siblings migrated to in 1970s in search of a better life.

According to records of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Bercasio, already living in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and married with five children, went to Hongkong to work as a domestic helper in 1990-1992; to Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 1994-1996, and to Jordan from 2001-2003.

As the sole breadwinner, she provided for all the needs of her family. When she finished her contract in Hongkong where she earned HK$2,800 a month, she bought farm lots worth P90,000 in Sultan Kudarat.  But the insurgency problem in the province denied her access to her properties.

A year later, she left for Dubai where she earned US$150 a month which was just enough to support her family’s needs. She went back home again. In 2001, she went to Jordan but her earnings of $150 was not enough for her family so with no savings at all, she went home not to Sultan Kudarat but to her relatives here in 2003.

Her relatives were surprised but welcomed her nonetheless and gave her work as a nanny. She contacted her husband  Benito in Sultan Kudarat, telling him to come to Mangaldan. Benito and their two children Benjie, a high school graduate, and Pearl, a high school student, arrived two years later.

Bercasio longed for her other three children – Aileen, who is already married, Airec, 21 and Lorejie, 18.
But money was really scarce and she cannot provide for their fare. Bercasio’s relatives lent her P40,000 to construct a 25 square meter house in a relative’s lot – a house which could hardly accommodate the entire family.


Bercasio has even lost her job as a nanny, from which she earned P1,500 a month, after she broke her hip.Thus she and her husband ended up as “Agturtor ti pagay,” – one of those whom the Bible mentioned as “afflicted ones and alien residents” for whom landowners must leave the gleaning of their harvest.

But OWWA has come to Bercasio’s rescue. On January 12, OWWA regional officials came with a “bounty” which hopefully can turn the tide for Bercasio’s family.

Maria Luisa Reyes, Ilocos Region OWWA director, handed to her P10,000 cash, P5,000 worth of grocery items, an Equitable ATM card with P10,000 deposit, A Globe Auto load pre paid SIM, a P50,000 insurance certificate from Sunlife and a Tuloy-Educational Assistance to her youngest daughter May Pearl.
But the biggest gift that Bercasio received on that day was the presence of her two sons – Airec and Benjie – who were flown in by the OWWA from Suldan Kudarat as surprise gifts. The eldest, Aileen, who is married, was left behind.


The two boys were supposed to be presented to their parents during the program, but when they heard their father’s voice, they could not contain their emotion and went out of the vehicle where they were held and run into the arms of their parents.

“This is the most beautiful day of my life. Thank you very much,” Bercasio said between sobs. And the audience, too, cried with them.
 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Para sa Isang Tatay: Kwentong OFW

(Sourced) From Fred Pamaos

(The article, entitled “Tatay“, was written by Mr. Luis I. Galicia under the pen name Estong Kawili III. It was published in Trinity University of Asia’s Literary Magazine “Aninag” 2001 issue. Mr. Galicia was the managing editor then of the student publication. He also uploaded the article in website, now defunct, in 2006. This was erroneously attributed to someone whose name appeared at the bottom of the article when it circulated through email. Apologies to Mr. Galicia. Thank you for allowing this great article to be shared with all Filipinos, especially our OFW brothers and sisters.)

1980 ako ipinanganak. Tatlong taon bago pinatay si Ninoy Aquino at anim na taon bago ang EDSA uprising. Taon ding ito nang nagkaroon ng malaking krisis sa langis ang buong mundo. P24.00 ang palitan ng dolyar sa piso at 48 milyon na ang populasyon ng Pilipinas. Ito rin ang taong unang pumunta ng Middle East ang tatay ko para magtrabaho.

Isang karpintero ang Tatay. Isang skilled worker. Malaki ang pangangailangan ng bansang pupuntahan ni Tatay sa mga katulad niya. Sabi ng Nanay mahirap daw ang buhay noong mga panahong iyon. Inabot na raw ang bansa ng economic depression na galing sa Europa at Amerika. Kaya minabuti ng Tatay na mag-abroad. Anupa’t dalawa ang pinag-aaral niya at may bago na naman siyang bibig na pakakainin.

Parating pinapaalala sa amin ng Nanay na “nagtiis kaming magkahiwalay ng tatay ninyo para magkaroon tayo ng maginhawang buhay.” Palibhasa’y parehas galing sa hirap, kaya siguro ganoon na lamang ang pananaw nila. Uuwi kada dalawang taon, tapos aalis na ulit pagkalipas ng dalawang buwan. Ganyan ang pattern ng buhay ng tatay ko.

Pumutok ang giyera sa Middle East noong 1989. Doon ko unang narinig ang mga salitang Operation:Desert Storm at Third Anti-Christ. Nandoon din si Tatay. Isang beses lamang siya nakatawag sa loob ng tatlong taon niyang pagkaka-stranded sa bansang iyon. Mabuti naman daw ang lagay niya. May tirahan naman daw sila at husto sa lahat ng pangangailangan. Hindi naman daw sila gagalawin sa giyera sabi ng embahada ng Pilipinas dahil hindi naman daw sila kasali sa awayan ng dalawang bansa at ng pakialamerong Amerika. Iyon naman pala eh, bakit ka pa rin nandyan?! Na-imagine ko na lang tuloy ang Tatay na parang isa sa mga sibilyan na dumadaan habang nakikipagbarilan ako sa larong Operation:Wolf sa SM City. Nang mahawi ang mga usok ng giyera umuwi na ang Tatay. Wala pang isang taon ay nakita ko na naman ang aking sarili na nakasakay sa arkiladong dyip para ihatid ang Tatay sa Airport papuntang Middle East . Ikaw ba naman ang magkaroon ng pinag-aaral na nurse, isang seminarista at tatlo pa sa elementarya. Kailangang kumayod, kailangang kumita.

Kung tutuusin maraming na-miss ang Tatay sa buhay naming magkakapatid, lalo na sa akin. Wala siya nang una akong magtalumpati sa entablado. Wala din siya nang grumadweyt ako ng elementarya at hayskul. Wala siya nang una akong nakipagsuntukan sa kaklase ko nang inasar ako nito habang binibigay ko ang libreng plastic na singsing na galing sa cheese curls sa kaklase kong babae. Wala din siya para turuan akong magbasketbol tulad ng ginagawa ng mga kapitbahay ko sa kanilang anak. Wala rin siya para panoorin si Kuya na contestant sa Student Canteen at ako naman para sabitan niya ng medalya para sa mga math competition na sinalihan ko. Wala siya nang dumating ako sa punto ng aking buhay, na siya ring kinakatakutan ng lahat ng katulad kong nagbibinata- -ang magpatuli. Wala rin siya para turuan akong maglanggas.

Wala siya nang kauna-unahang lumabas ang pangalan ko sa dyaryong pang-estudyante bilang isang editor. Ipinagtabi ko siya ng mga kopya para maipagmalaki sa kanyang pagdating. Wala siya nang una akong tumikim ng alak dahil binasted ako ng dinidigahan kong babae. Wala rin siya nang sumubok akong manigarilyo at itapon ito pagkatapos ng dalawang hithit pa lang. Wala siya, wala siya parati.

Napansin ko na lamang na mas naiibuhos naming magkakapatid ang oras namin sa labas ng bahay at sa eskwelahan. Ang Ate ay kagawad ng Sangguniang Kabataan, ang Kuya naman ay matagal nang kinuha ng seminaryo, ang dalawa kong kapatid ay may mga sarili nang kina-career at ako naman ay natutuon sa aking pagsusulat.

Dumating ang isa sa pinakamasayang araw ng buhay ko, ang pagdating ng Tatay at sabihing ito na ang huli niyang uwi dahil hindi na siya babalik ulit sa abroad.

Makalipas ang ilang buwan, trinangkaso ang Tatay. Sabi ng doktor ay overfatigue lang daw at kailangan niyang magpahinga. Pagkaraan nang ilang buwan, na-diagnose na may tumubong tumor sa utak ng Tatay at malignant na ito. Minsan naitanong sa akin ng uncle kong doktor kung nauntog ba ang Tatay o nabagsakan ng mabigat na bagay sa ulo. Nahihiyang ngiti, kamot sa ulo at isang “hindi ko po alam” lang ang naisagot ko.
Kung gaano kabilis na nadiskubre ang tumor niya sa utak ay ganun din kabilis na binawi sa amin ng Diyos ang Tatay. Habang pinagmamasdan ko ang Tatay habang mapayapa itong nakahimlay noong burol niya, nahihirapang tumulo ang luha ko. Kung tutuusin, hindi ko kilala ang taong ito. Siya ang tatay ko. Kalahati ng pagkatao ko ay galing sa kanya. Pero kung tatanungin mo ako kung anong gusto niyang timpla ng kape, kung allergic ba siya sa hipon na paborito ko, kung San Miguel o Purefoods ba ang team niya sa PBA–isang malaking EWAN lang ang maisasagot ko sa iyo.

Noong bata pa ako, nasa abroad ang Tatay. Kapag nandito naman siya para magbakasyon, mas malaking oras ang nagugol niya sa pag-aasikaso ng mga papeles niya para sa susunod niyang pag-alis. Nang tumigil na siya sa pagtatrabaho, ako naman ang abala sa mga reports, periodical examinations at mga research works. Nang nasa ospital na siya, kahit makipagkuwentuhan ay mahirap nang gawin dahil halos hindi na siya maintindihang magsalita dulot ng chemotherapy.

Matagal nang patay ang Tatay. Minsan nabalitaan kong dumating na ang seaman na tatay ng boss ko, pilit ko siyang pinauuwi nang maaga. Minsan ding buong kawilihan kong pinagmamasdan ang isang kaibigan ko na nagmamadali dahil baka masaraduhan na siya ng grocery. Kailangan niyang makabili ng ingredients ng spaghetti dahil ‘yun daw ang bilin ng tatay niyang na-stroke. Minsan rin nang makainuman ko ang matalik kong kaibigan habang binubuhos niya sa akin ang sama ng loob niya sa pagbabalik ng tatay niya na malupit sa kanila nang mahabang panahon at ipinagpalit sila sa ibang babae.

Sa tingin ko lang, “Buti ka pa nga may Tatay pa.” Syempre hindi ko sinabi iyon sa kanya. Baka mamaya tanungin pa niya ako kung kanino ako kampi, kami pa ang mag-away. Minsan din sinamahan ko ang kababata ko nang dinalhan niya ng pansit ang tatay niya sa City Jail. Hindi naman sila nagtatanong kung bakit ako ganun. Wala naman silang alam kay Tatay.

Maraming pagkakataon na nanghihinayang ako dahil masyadong maaga ang paghihiwalay namin ng Tatay. Gusto kong sisihin ang Pilipinas dahil napakahirap ng buhay dito. Sa Amerika ba may tatay na nangingibang-bansa para makapagtrabaho lang? Naisip ko tuloy na sumama na lang sa mga nagpipiket na mga migrante dahil alam ko tulad ko rin sila. Kadalasan rin sinisisi ko si Saddam Hussein at ang Gulf War dahil kinuha nila ang tatlong taon sa buhay ng Tatay. Sayang ang tatlong taong iyon. Nakalaro ko man lang sana ang Tatay ng basketbol o di kaya’y naturuan niya akong mag-bike. (Beinte anyos na ko nang matuto mag-bike).

Isa sa mga klase ko sa writing ang nagpasulat sa amin ng kahit ano tungkol sa aming mga tatay, samahan pa ng larawan kung maaari. Bigla tuloy akong nalito. Hindi ko alam kung anong tungkol sa Tatay ang isusulat ko.
Ikuwento ko kaya na isang Overseas Contract Worker si Tatay. Isang bagong bayani. Nag-aambag ng malaki sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Sabihin ko kayang may larawan ng tatay kong may suot na hard hat na dilaw, construction boots at may hawak na drill at kasama niyang nakangiti ang mga kapwa niyang Pilipino with matching background na disyerto. O kaya ang larawan nilang magkakababayan habang pinagdiriwang nila ang New Year at nag-iiyakan dahil tinutugtog and Lupang Hinirang. Ang drama no?

Kuwento ko kaya na isang survivor ng Gulf War ang Tatay. Na natutulog siya at ipinaghehele ng mga Patriot at Scud Missiles. Pakita ko kaya ang mga remembrance ng Tatay na mga dull na landmines. Adventure naman ang dating nito.

Kuwento ko kaya kung paano hindi nagpabaya ang Tatay sa pagbibigay ng pangangailangan namin. Hindi kami sumasala sa pagkain, may magagandang damit, maayos na tirahan at nakakapag-aral. Siya ay naging isang good provider. Siguro isang malalim na buntong hiningang “Haaaaaay!” ang ibibigay sa akin ng mga kaklase ko.

O di kaya’y dalhin ko ang picture ni Tatay habang kini-chemotherapy siya. Ikwento ko din kaya na naging mabilis ang lahat ng mga pangyayari. Na inoperahan siya sa loob ng walong oras at binutasan ang ulo niya. Na nakalabas pa siya ng ospital. Pagkatapos ng isang linggo, agad siyang namatay. Tragic naman ang approach ko nito.

Gayahin ko kaya ang kuwento sa telebisyon na tipong galit na galit sa mundo ang anak dahil hindi ito nabigyan ng sapat na atensyon dahil inuna ng kanilang tatay ang pinansyal nilang pangangailangan. Teka, hindi naman totoo yon eh! Napaka-unfair naman ‘nun kay Tatay.

Ikuwento ko na lang kaya ang isa sa mga magagandang alaala namin kay Tatay. Apat na taon ako noon. Malinaw na malinaw pa sa alaala ko ang pangyayari. Kadarating lamang ng Tatay pagkaraan ng dalawang taon. Nagkaroon ng simpleng party sa bahay. Kainuman niya ang mga kumpare niya nang tumayo siya at binuhat ako mula sa kuna ko habang pinaglalaruan ko ang bagong matchbox na pasalubong niya sa akin. Inutusan niya ako na ikuha siya ng beer sa refrigerator. Pagkakuha ko ng beer ay kinandong niya ako at buong pagmamalaki na ibinida sa mga kumpare niya na natanggap na raw ako sa lokal na Day Care Center dahil abot na ng kanang kamay ko ang aking kaliwang tenga kahit idaan pa sa ibabaw ng ulo ko at matatas na ako magsalita at madali raw akong matuto. Matagal din akong nanatili sa pagkakandong niya. Mistula siyang bagong dating na hari na suot-suot ang kanyang korona. Ako ang kanyang korona.

Kapag naaalala ko ito, napapawi ang lahat ng panghihinayang ko sa mga taong kailangan niyang magtrabaho at mawala sa piling namin. Mga panahong kasama ng mga tatay nila ang mga anak nila. Ito na lang ang isusulat ko. Bago ang lahat, pupunasahan ko muna ang mga luha ko at ang patulo ko ng sipon. Baka mapatakan pa ang keyboard ng computer at ang hawak kong picture. Picture ng isang paslit na may hawak na bote ng beer habang kandong ng tatay na kitang-kita ang kasiyahan sa mukha.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Are OFW's Rich?

(Sourced) By Kuya Ronie
 
"Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are not rich. We have this notion that when someone is an OFW or based abroad, he or she is loaded. Not true. An OFW might earn from P50K-P300K a month, depending on the location. Those in Saudi Arabia or the United States might earn in the high range. But to say that they're 'rich' is a fallacy (amen!).There's no place like home - Living Abroad:

For some OFW's the notion maybe true but for most it's a fallacy like what the author of the article where I got the excerpt said. I have seen the plight of some unfortunate Filipinos working here in Qatar and even heard of some earning as low as QR 700.00 that is roughly Php 8,360.00. Imagine the hardships and the sacrifices it takes just to earn that meagre amount so they can send money home. I just can't imagine how they are surviving with that salary as the cost of living here is relatively higher compare to Saudi Arabia. My food allowance here ranges from QR 500 to 700 depending on what I prepare for my meal. I don't even want to know what he or she may be eating on every meal. Just the thought makes me feel bad but for the sake of their love ones back in the Philippines they are willing to take and bear everything.

On my way home for my vacation last March an older man whom I curiously asked about his age, he answered me with a naughty smile on his face saying "65 na ako pero 55 lang ang nakalagay sa passport ko." (I am 65 years old but on my passport it shows that I am only 55). My curiosity was evoked further, I asked him "paano nangyari yon kuya?" He answered in details but I won't divulge that as token of my respect for him and gratitude for trusting a stranger like me. Then I nodded but my curiosity is at its peak by now. I can't help but ask him why at his age he is still working abroad, he simply replied "pinapaaral ko pa mga apo ko eh". Twenty years Overseas and have lived more than a half century of his life yet he cannot retire. He is one example of OFW's that are working outside of the country almost half of their lives and still cannot afford to have a good life back home.

I guess only few OFW's really retire rich, with enough money to sustain and support them in living their remaining biological lives. For different and various reasons Filipinos abroad cannot even save ample amount upon their retirement to enjoy. Their investments are with their children, children's children and the rest of the clan for their education.

But I don't want to end this article on a sad note. I do have friends who are stock-filing Land Titles and have established thriving businesses in the Philippines. Sometimes it really depends on the individual. Others know how to save for their future and others just know how to spend their earnings. Now if I may ask my fellow OFW's."Are you one of the great spenders or one of the few who knows how to value money earned through sweat, blood and river of tears?

10 Ways to Fight-off Homesickness for OFWs

(Sourced) Posted by Kuya Ronie from http://www.ofwdiary.com

What is the hardest battle an OFW must fight? A sickness that cannot be cured with prescription drugs; and there are no hospitals or clinic for this condition. “Homesickness” a paralyzing mental condition wherein a person cannot sleep and loses appetite to eat, very common to people that work outside of their homeland leaving their families behind.

On this article I would try to at least make a list of suggestions that may probably work to fight off depression caused by homesickness. As an OFW myself, I’ve been through it and still going through with it, it’s a continuous battle and you need constant motivation to go on.

10 ways to fight-off homesickness for OFWs:

1. Constant communication even through SMS. OFWs nowadays are luckier than those ahead of us 10 years ago when not everyone can own a mobile phone and have to settle for letters which take at least half a month to be delivered. At least now our families are just a text (SMS) away. So for those who are just about to embark on a journey of becoming an OFW, be sure to activate the roaming function of your SIM Cards before the plane takes off.

2. Set your priorities. Always try to remember the reasons why you left your family, the comfort of your home and the relax lifestyle back in the Philippines. For most OFWs the main reason is to augment the family’s income to be able to support the increasing expenses of a family particularly the education of the children. When you feel so blue, just think of the time when your youngest child climbs the stage and finally receives his/her diploma.

3. Avoid self-pity. You are not alone, there are millions like you around the world and almost every one of them feels the same way. Maybe some of them are feeling worst. Just imagine how many individuals would want to be in your situation now. I am not discounting the fact that there are OFWs that really are in trouble but then I would like to reiterate that this article is for those that are battling homesickness not the other “problems” such as abuses and those that are being exploited, sadly the only remedies for those type of problems are in the hands of our embassies and the legal processes.

4. Try to be social; “no man is an island as they say”. Find friends, befriend your officemates, your housemates and try to look for your long lost friends, I am sure that one or maybe two are in the same country as you are, except for some countries of course.

5. Treat yourself once in a while. Go shopping and buy something for yourself (it doesn’t have to be expensive) a pair of shoes may do, a shirt maybe. I understand the fact that you’re trying to save money but to spend just a little for yourself is not that bad.

6. Do things that you love. Your hobbies may even become your sideline, yes others earn extra bucks for doing what they love like cooking for parties, making and selling “kakanin”. Just don’t force it OK? You may like what you cook but for others it may be bland, just try other stuffs.

These are some of the ways that you can do being an OFW to combat homesickness. And now finally but not the least (actually you can disregard all six for this) for those who can afford it.

7. Buy a LAP-TOP, a PC which ever you want. Actually prices of lap-tops and PC’s are getting lower and internet connections is not that expensive at all for as long as you will share and divide the monthly bill with your housemates (Way cheaper than phone calls). Back in the Philippines, internet bill is not that high either and installation is free. Internet is an “all in one entertainment and communication thing”. I for one spend my time doing the thing I love to do.. “Blogging” my mind is so pre-occupied with what articles I would write that I have no time to be emotional thus being able to avoid feeling homesick. There is facebook also to keep you in touch with friends and family, long lost elementary classmates and meeting new people. It’s like a virtual community or a meeting place that we may call “Tambayan”. The world has gotten smaller with the internet so no reason to feel miserable.

That’s about it! I know I have mentioned 10 ways in the title but the remaining three would be for you to make. There are plenty of ways but try to avoid things that may result to complications, problems and other “not so good things” that may destroy you and your family in the process.

Buhay OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers)

(Sourced) : Kwento ni Noel Ablon

Noong ako'y musmos pa lamang, naalala ko ang eksenang umuuwi ang galling sa bansa ng mga Arabo. Nakita ko si ninong na may kwintas na ginto at magarang relong Seiko 5. At talaga naman pinupugaran ng mga kamag-anak ang kanilang tahanan sa tuwing dumarating ito.


Naisip ko tuloy na napakasarap siguro ng buhay nila sa Saudi dahil nagagawa nilang bumili ng mga mamahaling bagay. Siguro nga ang sabi ko lamang sa aking isipan.

Noong ako ay nagtapos ng bokasyonal na Computer Programming, ni ga-patak na ideya ay pumasok sa isip ko na makakarating ako sa Saudi. May isa akong kaibigan noon na nagtungo sa Jeddah-Saudi upang magtrabaho, mga isang taon din siya noon sa Saudi. Nang minsang hiningi niya sa akin ang aking resume ay ibinigay ko naman kahit na ayaw ko. Kasi talagang ayokong umalis ng pinakamamahal nating bansa. Noong mga panahon na iyon ay may maayos naman akong trabaho at magandang posisyon.

Balita
Isang araw na lang ay ibinalita sa akin ng aking kaibigan na gaya ko ring nagpasa ng resume. Tanggap daw kami at lakarin na raw namin ang aming papel para tumungo na sa lugar na iyon. Talaga namang magkahalong tuwa at lungkot ang nadama ko ng mga oras na iyon. Hindi ko alam kung nananaginip ba ako o totoo ang lahat ng narinig ko.

Sentimyento ni MommyAng naaalala ko noon ay nasa opisina ako ng matanggap ko ang tawag ng aking kaibigan. Hindi ako nakakibo ng mga oras na iyon hanggang sa umuwi ako. Nang ibalita ko iyon sa aking minamahal na ina ay talaga naming sentimyento de kalbaryo ang narinig ko mula sa kanya hehe! Paano na raw ang gagawin niya sa oras na umalis ako, sino ang tutulong sa kanya sa pagkalinga sa mga kapatid ko at kung ano-ano pa. Gusto ko sanang biruin na “Ayaw niyo pala akong umalis e di sige, hindi ako aalis!”, pero alam ko nung mga oras na iyon, yun ang pinaka-seryosong usapan namin ni Mommy.

Malaking hirap din ang dinanas ni Mommy para kami pagtapusin kahit ako ay sa isang vocational school lang nag-aral. At sa tanang buhay ko ay minsan ko lang makitang tumawa o ngumiti si Mommy kaya naman nagdiriwang ang mga anghel sa tuwing maririnig ko ang halakhak niya kahit na minsan ay nagmumukha akong tanga sa ginagawa ko. Ngayon pagkakataon ko na para palitan ang hirap na iyon.

Paglisan
At tumungo na nga ako ng Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Hindi ko na matandaan ang petsa pero iyon ay sa buwan ng Nobyembre, taong 1998. Sa eroplano pa lang ay maluha-luha na ako. Ganun pala ang pakiramdam ng paalis ng bansa at mapapalayo sa aking pamilya. Pero nagbago iyon nang lingunin ko ang kaibigan kong kasama kong natanggap, bakas sa mukha niya ang excitement ng freedom kaya naman natameme ako at parang nakaramdam ng kaunting hiya. Siguro ganun din ang feeling niya at magaling lang siyang magtago ng kanyang nararamdaman, yun na lang ang sinabi ko sa aking sarili para naman di ako masyadong mapahiya sa sarili ko hehe!

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Paglapag namin sa paliparan ng King Abdulaziz International Airport-Jeddah ay katakot-takot na paghahalungkat ang ginawa ng mga arabo sa gamit ko. Feeling ko, sinusungkal ang buong pagkatao ko sa tuwing ipapasok niya ang kamay sa ilalim ng maleta ko hanggang sa iluwal niya ang mga gamit ko sa ilalim. At natapos naman ang sungkalan blues ng walang naging problema. Wala silang nakitang anumang interesado sa aking maleta maliban sa brief kong pula na pagkatingkad-tingkad ng kulay, siyempre bumili ako ng bago nakakahiya namang isampay yung mga luma kong butas-butas na brief at iwagayway sa mga magiging kapit-kwarto ko di ba? Kung bakit naman kasi kailangan pang halungkatin ng husto ang gamit eh.

Maraming pumapasok sa isipan ko nang mga oras na iyon, kung anong mga kahaharapin kong tao at kung ano-ano pang bumabagabag sa isip ko, mga pangamba sa maaaring mga suliraning kahaharapin ko.
Sinalubong kami ng dalawang kaibigan at magiging officemates naming kasama nila si Kuya Nanding. Sa ngiti pa lang ng matanda ay mawawala na ang pangamba mo sa buhay. Si Kuya Nanding ang tatay-tatayan namin sa Jeddah, isa sa mahalaga at naging malaking sangkap sa tagumpay ko upang mapaglabanan ang lungkot at pakikibaka sa banyagang lugar – dito ngayon, ako ay isa sa mga banyaga.

Sa church kami tumuloy at doon na din kami tutuloy hanggang kalian daw namin naiisin. Si Kuya Nanding ang pastor ng church na iyon kasama din niya bilang pastor si Kuya Manolo.

Naging madali naman ang pakikitungo namin sa mga boss namin dahil mababait naman sila, meron ding mga hindi kanais-nais pero mapalad daw kami dahil marami ding kaming mga mababait na kasamahan sa trabaho na mga arabo.

Homesickness, pag-aalala at mga alaala
Nang makibalita ako sa Pinas ay nalaman kong hindi masyadong nagkaka-kain ang bunso kong kapatid na noong mga panahong iyon ay magwa-walong taon pa lamang. Miss na miss daw ako. Talaga namang halos matunaw ang puso ko sa lungkot at homesickness. Siguro dahil sa kasabikan ko noong magkaroon ng kapatid na lalaki, tapos nung meron na ay umalis naman ako at tumungo dito sa Jeddah. Na-miss ko rin ang pagtatalo namin ng kapatid kong babaeng sumunod sa akin, di ko akalaing mapapaluha ako habang iniisip ko ang away blues namin.

Ang ipinag-aalala ko lang noon ay kung magalit si Mommy ay talagang matindi kung ito ay mamalo, to the point na pag may nakuhang pamalo kung paano niya ito kinuha ay ganoon niya ipapalo sa’yo – isa sa madalas na pinag-aawayan nila ng yumao kong ama. Naaalala ko nang magalit siya sa bunso kong kapatid, kumuha siya ng sinturon at kitang-kita ko nang ibalunbon niya ang sinturon sa kanyang kamao habang nakalaylay ang bakal sa dulo nito, kaya ng kanya itong inihataw ay humarang ako pagkat alam ko masasaktan ng husto ang kapatid ko – hindi alam ni Mommy yun dahil sa sobrang galit. Masakit pala talaga ang palo ng sinturon lalo kung ang nasa dulo ay bakal – yun ang unang palang tinamo ko na hindi para sa akin. Isa pang naaalala ko ay nang magalit si Mommy sa kapatid kong babae. Ilang beses na kasing binigyan ng warning itong kapatid ko na magpa-paalam ng wasto pero hindi pa rin nagtanda, ang warning noon ni Mommy ay kakalbuhin siya. Pagkasundo namin sa aking kapatid ay sinapak niya ito at dinala sa kwarto at katakot-takot na sigaw at sampal at sapak ang inabot nito. Ng maranig ko na hinahanap niya ang gunting para kalbuhin ay nagmamadali akong itinago ang mga gunting, inutusan ko pa ang mga katulong na itago ang gunting dahil baka hindi lang kalbo abutin ng kapatid ko, dahil di ko alam baka magdilim ang tingin ni Mommy at baka isaksak sa kapatid ko. So sa kabila ng lagi naming pagtatalo ng kapatid ko ay mahal ko ang mga ito. Pasensya na at nasama ito sa buhay Saudi, naisip ko lang kasi noon wala ng pipigil sa galit ni Mommy.

Misteryo ng Saudi Balik Saudi tayo. Dito ay nakarinig ako ng ibang panig ng kwento ng Saudi. Mga bagay na di ko narinig noong ako ay nasa Pinas pa lamang. Naaalala ko yung kantang “Napakasakit Kuya Eddie” at doon ay marami akong narinig na ganoon ang naging buhay, totoo pala yung kanta ang sabi ko na lang sa aking sarili. Marami dito ang namumuhay na kasama ang ibang pamilya at walang exception, mapa-babae o lalake. Kabilaan ang imoralidad. Di ko alam kung ganoon din sa Pinas o mas marami pa dito, pero dahil siguro sa iilan lamang ang mga Pinoy dito kumapara mo naman sa Pinas siyempre. Kaya naging kapansin-pansin ang imoralidad sa lugar na ito. Hindi naging maganda ang kontribusyon sa akin nito, pagkat nagkaroon ako ng takot na mag-asawa sa mga nakita ko. Galing ako sa isang broken family kaya isang trauma na sa akin iyon, pero di ko akalaing mapupunta ako sa lugar na marami akong makikitang ganoon. Naaalala ko tuloy ang itinuro sa amin sa Bible study, parang Babylonia ito ng mga kababayan natin. Pero hindi naman lahat ay ganoon, bago kayo mangamba. Since nakatira ako sa church ay marami akong nakilalang tao, mababait at matulungin naman ang mga nakasama ko.

Paskong Bakasyon
At bago ako nagbilang ako ng mga taon dito sa Saudi. Naalala ko noong una akong mag-bakasyon ay talaga namang super-excited ako, lahat na yata ng klase ng tsokolate ay binili ko. At para dagdagan pa ang excitement ko ay umuwi ako ng Pasko. Sa kabila ng mga paalala sa akin na wag akong umuwi ng Pasko ay tumuloy ako. Magastos daw ang buwan na iyon. Naging masaya ang aking bakasyon kapiling ng aking pamilya. Totoo ang sinabi nila, magastos. Halos magtatatlong linggo pa lang ako ay nauubos na ang pera ko at parang gusto ko ng bumalik ng Jeddah, hindi dahil sa ayaw ko na silang makasama kundi dahil wala na akong pera at pakiramdam ko ay balik palamunin na ako. Pero awa ng Diyos ay napagtagumpayan ko ang una kong bakasyon. Malaking leksyon sa aking buhay. Atleast ngayon kahit pasko ako umuwi ay alam ko na ang gagawin ko para umabot sa katapusan ng bakasyon na hindi nauubos ang pera.

Ang sentimyento ng mga OFW
Nagbilang pa ako ng mga taon at ang isang masasabi ko lang ay hindi naging madali ang buhay sa Saudi o maaaring mamuhay sa ibang lugar. Nakahanap na rin ako ng kasiyahan sa lugar na ito pero hindi pa rin ito mapapalitan ng ligayang nadarama ko kapag kasama ang aking pamilya. Hindi maiiwasan sa mga kababayan natin ang magtampo kapag hindi sila naaalala ng mga taong binibigyan o binigyan ng tulong sa Pinas. Bakit hindi? Pagkat ang isa sa mga inaasahang aalala sayo ay walang iba kundi ang pamilya mo. Nagpakahirap ka na humarap at makipag-sapalaran kasama ng ibang mapanglait na tao, tinanggap mo ang mga mura at alipusta ng mga nakatataas sayo na kung ituring ka ay isa kang dumi sa harap nila. Mga bagay na hinarap mo para lamang matustusan ang mga pangangailangan ng iyong pamilya.

Sana sa mga asawa o pamilya ng mga kababayan dito sa Saudi, alalahanin niyo kami at unawain. Gusto naming marinig bawat balita mapa-masama man ito o higit ang mga magagandang balita. Isang sentimyento ng isang nakilala ko dito, sa tuwing tatawag daw misis niya ay puro gastusin ang sinasabi sa kanya – talaga namang lungkot na lungkot ang nakikita ko sa taong iyon. Ito marahil ang isa sa dahilan kung bakit naghanap ng ibang ligaya ang karamihan sa mga kababayan natin dito.

Hindi lang sa Saudi, maging sa ibang bansa. Ang pakikipag-sapalaran ng bawat kababayan natin lalo sa panahon ngayon na ang ibang mga lahi ay bumamaba na ang tingin sa ating mga Filipino. Kung minsan kapwa Filipino na rin ay bumababa na ang tingin sa kanilang sarili. Pamilya lamang ang ligaya namin at siyang isang bagay na nagpapatibay sa amin.

Mabuhay ang mga OFW.