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Monday, March 17, 2008

Why leave the Philippines?

From the 6th to the 12th of March, there were like three Filipino Kuyas (We called them Kuya) who stayed here in our house for a while. They were part of the 37 Filipino fishermen in three fishing vessels stopped over here in Fiji.

These Filipinos were in the ship for like a year or so. They weren’t being paid since then. They were supposed to get paid after the 3 years of service. I don’t know much of the details. My mom with other Filipinos here helped them by talking to the Seafarer’s Association, Immigration, etc… March 2nd when our whole church prayed for these guys. That they would be paid accordingly and get freedom from the job. Praise God, He immediately answered our prayers. They were paid, although they got lots of deductions. And their airfares to Philippines (which would cost them around USD900) and lodging were paid off by their selfish employer. Maybe he got afraid by the Immigration. Karma. Lol.

The Kuya 3R’s (Their names start with letter R) stayed in our house because they were the ones assigned to cook for everyone. They can’t cook in the hotel. And they wouldn’t spend their money for the food. It’s a bit expensive for them. I just felt sorry for the Kuyas coz we don’t have an extra room here so they slept in the lounge.

So yah. For a few days, we had new kuyas. Lol. Sometimes, we just talked about things. One of them was a Graduate of Marine Engineering but he landed on a fishing job. And there are some others pa. Tough life in Phils, I guess. Some graduates just land in a job they weren’t supposed to be in. They deserve something better. But just to get the heck out of the Philippines to look for the so-called greener pastures, they grab every opportunity that comes along. I heard they were recruited by just a person, not an agency. They don’t have a contract. But yah again, maybe they really wanna go abroad to earn a living for their families. They don’t mind even if their lives would be at risk. Like in their case, I heard two persons died in the ship, one is Chinese. And another one, almost stabbed to death. They were harassed. They pay for their white goods like shampoos and stuffs, their employer sells them. Heck diba? It should be the employer’s responsibility na. They can’t eat fishes they caught, even the rejected ones. I think they mostly eat noodles and biscuits. They bathe in salt water. Well… It’s just cool that when they got here, fellow Filipinos are willing to lend a hand until they get what they deserve.

Anyways, while they were here at home, it was fun. I mean, not like just us alone. Dad and Kuya got work, Mom always go to Immigration and Seafarer’s Assoc for their case. Imagine, they were the ones to cook for me and April (my sis) too. Lol. And it’s fun to have company, of course. They were just so kulet and fun to be with. Every night, we watched a movie. Haha. We go to the grocery. They bought us chocolates. Lol. As in parang kuya talaga. Man, I miss them now. Well, I’m happy for them coz they are now with their families, after a year.

Lately, I’ve been hearing some preaching about this search for greener pastures thing. Why leave your country and go overseas? Money? Could be. People want the best for their family. I know that poverty prevails in the Philippines. People leave the country to work odd jobs in a foreign land. My intelligent classmates and more other people get a nursing course for a hope to get a job abroad. Graduates getting odd jobs. People have a hard time finding a job they could fit in. Unemployment rate gets high. Professionals (like doctors, engineers, etc) leaving Phils for higher salaries. Stuffs like that. I remembered writing an editorial on Brain Drain on our schoolpaper in High School. It’s probably one of the nation’s crises.

Well.. In our case, we really didn’t leave the country for money. Maybe like 10%. Dang. Why would I (we) leave Phils for a no-namer country named Fiji? Dad was one of the highest paid employees of OTIS Philippines. His job here is just a few thousand pesos higher. Well, for those who haven’t read my previous blog, it’s for our family to spend time together. Coz you know, we seldom see each other at home. My parents are busy. Oh well. It’s a long story. Haha. So yah, not really for money. Actually, we’re leaving a tougher life here. Haha. The culture and stuffs. We earn dollars, but we spend dollars too. And the goods here are mostly imported. It’s expensive. A McFlurry is $3.95, around P105. We’re in the most prestigious university in the South Pacific. We spend around $3000 per sem times 2. So I think, we don’t have savings yet. Aside from dad’s provident fund (like SSS). Lol. But well, God is still sustaining us naman. Dang. I wanted to find a job like other teenagers. But I can't work coz I'm a stranger in a foreign land. haha. And well, as if I can. lol.

So, why leave the Philippines?

Family. Friends. Your life, our lives in the Philippines. God made us Filipinos, and Filipinos are for the Philippines. Yay, ang chaka diba. Lol.

I heard from one of Kuya 3R’s saying “Uuwi na nga ng Pilipinas, malungkot pa ren.” His wife is in Dubai, he has a daughter though. And another one said “Siguro nga mas ok na kasama mo pamilya mo sa hirap at ginhawa kesa malayo ka at hindi mo sila kapiling…” (And deep diba)

Which made me think…

God gave dad a job overseas wherein he can bring the whole family. We’re blessed, man. Unlike OFWs who leave their families behind. Parents working hard to send money to their kids. Wherein these kids get vices, entertaining themselves with worldly things (i.e. alcohol, drugs, etc) that their parents doesn’t know about. Kids that don’t think about how their parents are doing overseas, they just care for the money. Parents going overseas for a brighter future for their family. Is money really important over family? They miss the growing up stage of their kids. They both long for each other’s affection. Which sometimes leads to destruction. I thought that only happens in tv series and movies, but that’s really a reality. Lmao. Though my parents are not overseas, they are really busy several years back. My dad is often out of the country for seminars or out of town for projects, my mom is busy in the business. We rarely spend time together, just those holidays. It even came to a point where we almost had our family broken twice. Haaays. Sobrang thank God for the blessing.

Now I’m asking myself, with those things in mind, do I still wanna go back like now, or I’ll just wait til 2010 and go home with the whole family? Lol. We’re blessed that our family was granted temporary residency status, we’re all here. God really gave us this chance. I just can’t get it why does it need to be overseas pa. Puede naman in Phils diba. Lol. Well, God has a plan for everything. I know that.

Being here overseas for a temporary residency, this is not just a vacation. Those are different things. Lol. I think, I don’t wanna go somewhere else after this. I’ll stay in the Philippines. Sounds patriotic huh. Lmao. That is if, our rents would allow us not to come with them for migration. And if our government’s economy will change for the better. Hehe. Lol.

Well, for those planning to go overseas, think about those points. We really don’t have to go overseas to search for that greener pastures. Yes, you earn dollars, but you also spend dollars man. Got a car and a house? Must be from a loan. Credit cards and loans are neccessities everywhere, specially in foreign countries like America and UK. Those could lead to bankruptcy. When going abroad, think about your family and friends. Think about the life you would leave and the life you would live in another country. Open your eyes for options. You can just work hard or something. Let’s help each other for the sake of our country. Pray to God about your decision. Is it His Will? Money could be important but it’s not all that matters. I’ve experienced having money, but our family was like apart. Money is just a piece of a damn paper that people put value on.

It’s not wrong to find a better life, just make sure you always put God first. The best things in life are free. And the best life we could have is if we have Jesus in our hearts! =)

I wrote this blog for one reason... HOMESICK. XD




2 comments:

mnel said...

i can somehow relate to this post. my dad is a seaman working overseas. he's luckier 'coz he has a stable high-paying job compared to most seamen who experience such abuse from their employers. =( Nakakalungkot talaga yung ganon di ba? Mahirap talaga kasi mabuhay. Gustuhin man nilang mag-stay sa Pilipinas, di rin naman nila maaatim na makitang nagugutom ang pamilya nila. Probably, we will understand it better when we get to have families ourselves. =) God Bless

Michelle said...

wow, what a long story but i enjoyed reading it. life is what we make it. whatever decisions we make in life, we have to face the consequences also for choosing this and that road. it is tough to live but we have to fight back and learn how to survive. besides, there's light after the darkness. :)