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  >    >  June

"It is health that is real wealth. And not pieces of gold and silver."

-Ghandi

OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker/Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat

"Once you are born poor, you'll always feel poor. Otherwise, you have forgotten who you are."
I was born and raised in a small barangay in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Life then was relaxed and seemed so simple. As a girl, I was always the positive type who had dreams, and my first inspiration was my parents, whom I love so much. I was often told it is crucial to finish your education. Perhaps you can work abroad. Overseas was the goal, everybody's goal. I grew up observing several relatives of mine and neighbors enjoying quite better life conditions compare to regular Filipinos who stayed, work, and live in the Philippines. If you want to build an extravagant house, buy a car, and support your family, all you have to do is work abroad. Everybody says, "You can always do and achieve better overseas." It also means that investing your time and effort doesn't even count at all, here in our own country. It sad but I always look back to the version of me before all of this shining achievements. There will always be that part of me that stays and feels the same. The girl who had dreams and had so much passion for everything. I was 22 when I had my first international flight. I was given one time opportunity to come to Europe. After I finished my bachelor's degree and worked for some time in a design company, I told myself this is not gonna work for me. Pilipinas, I am so sorry, but I had so many high hopes since I was a little girl, but I cannot keep a job with a minimum salary working 8.00-17.00 daily. I just knew that my dad got "diabetes" and how will this go for my other young siblings and me? I cannot afford to send him for treatment. My parents both work still it is tough. I am not sure about myself being smart, or will I make it out there at all? I was dealing with so many things, it was difficult to describe. I am the only hope of my family, I cannot face them like this. I would lie and tell them I am brave if I had too.   I will never forget that day, I stood in Hongkong Airport waiting if the damn flight personnel will let me board my plane. I had the passport and the right visa. I wasn't trying to do illegal. I felt pity at myself, I felt so small. The desperate me begging for a little chance. I swear to the heavens above, I will do whatever it takes. I already sold the bed I bought. Now I am standing in line where I have to cross to the other side of the big river. I felt so scared, but I have to live. I have nothing to lose. The small Asian girl who came from the unknown small town trying to enter the big fancy continent of Europe.  It is a simple thought that many of us have to accept that you have to work far like "nomads" no fix home and address. We always wish to survive, and if there is no source of income at home, then you find it anywhere else. First, we educate ourselves and later on choose a job that could hopefully fill up our basic needs. In the Philippines, like many people, experience it. No work is easy to find. No salary is enough to pay and support your needs. You spend endless nights being threatened and worried. How can you survive for the next 6 months without enough means (money) to support yourself and family. It's like people always think about money, only a lot of money. How about passion and interest? Money can only buy "Convenience." "Convenience" is a form of achievement which comes from hard work. Having it convenient is good. If you are a man, you'd be most likely become an engineer or a seaman. When you are a woman, you'll study caregiving course or nursing travel and move to Canada or the USA. It seems like society expects one should leave the country.

Life is full of terror. Terror, Terrorist, Terrorista!

This is Ann (Ann-e) coming home after almost 10 fantastic and fiercely exhausting years of being away. This is like "Fifty Shades of Grey" just with a twist that Ann-a (Anastasia Steele) come to a realization "I'd kinda like it rough." Despite the Abu Sayaff terror threats, I decided to fly home according to plan. I just completely lost my sense of fear. What actually bothered me that time, is that how will I survive as a person for the next two-three months. I still have plans and responsibilities. I achieved most of my goals for my family. My brothers already finished their education and got jobs. My mother got a permanent teaching job at the local elementary school. I got married and recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I almost had it all and done it right as best as I possibly could. My dad passed away just like that, and now everything is a mess. Oh my, I realized I kinda missed a lot. I have been away consistently. I forgot how it feels to feel at home. I was only able to sleep 4-5 hrs daily. I am catching naps during the day, so I won't collapse. I am always tired, irritated, I hated my own schedule. I consumed 3-4 cups of black coffee already at 9.00 in the morning. I felt like everybody is putting so much pressure on me and more and more things for me to do and fix. I was burned out! Great! I was so excited about these terror threats. I booked my plane ticket and hotel one night I was still awake around 1.30 in the morning. I need another strong feeling aside from feeling so anxious. "The problem is that I couldn't grieve the exact time and the exact place." Thinking about my father, who died about four months ago, was hard. I didn't fly home when he was sick, I never held his hands and said goodbye to him. This is it! This is where and when I mean, I can't take it anymore! It was like when I was a little girl. Everybody expected me to sing and dance and put a great show. People only expect the best performance, but the audience failed to see the real person behind the curtain. The person who wants to entertain everybody but was always anxious, nervous, and alone. I should be celebrating when I know in the back of my head. I have made it through, ten years of rough and challenging years of being away. Those times I've been wild and unstoppable. I always expect that I can win anything with flying colors, every single negative/positive challenges in my life. I was patient, rigid, and so psyched to conquer it all. I am still am, but now actually feeling so tired! I don't like it when I can't do and give my best.

"If it happened that I was Snow White, without resist, take the apple with poison from the Evil Queen. Then I will sleep freely for a thousand year."