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Aug
3
2015

Ako at ang Saudi

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OFW ako. Engineer. Sampung taon na. Dalawang taon sa Qatar, walong taon sa Saudi. Hanggang ngayon nandito pa din ako. Ilang sandstorm na ang lumipas, ilang Ramadan na ang nagdaan. Pero okay naman. Eto, nakaka-survive. Malayo sa pamilya. Pero ika nga ng Maynilad, kaunting pasensya lang, dadaloy din ang ginhawa.

Nung unang salta ko dito sa Saudi, aaminin ko, oo na-culture shock ako. Yung pakiramdam na napunta ka sa ibang dimensyon ng mundo. Ano ba naman malay ko, eh sa mapa ko lang nakikita ang Saudi noon; malay ko ba namang makakaapak ako ngayon. Sabi nila madami daw camels dito. Yun ang unang inabangan ko dito, eh kala ko ba disyerto to? Eh dinaig pa yata ang Makati sa gaganda ng mga building! Sabi nila matutusta ka daw sa Saudi, kasi nga disyerto, walang puno, waiting shed; puro kaktus at mumunting tubigan lang. Pero iba ang nakita ko. Isang bansang may asenso.

Unang salta ko sa Saudi. Maalam naman ako sa Ingles, kampante ako dun. Naka-dalawang taon na ako sa Qatar, so sisiw na lang ang Inglisan dito sa Saudi. Pero na-nosebleed ako sa lenggwahe ng Arabo, grabe mapapalaban ako. Pero dahil flexible ang dila ng mga Pinoy, naka-adapt naman. Sa pagsulat ng Arabic napapraktis na din.

Sabi nila yayaman ka daw sa Saudi. Naalala ko nung bata ako kapag ang tao may suot na makakapal na gintong alahas, ang laging dialogue “iba talaga pag nakapag-Saudi”. Grabe pala ginto dito! Gasolina? Walang problema, sagana sila dito. Yun nga lang kung anong mura ng ginto at petrolyo, yun namang mahal ng tubig. Di katulad sa Pinas, hanap ka lang ng poso, wantusawa na.

Taon-taon nagtyatyaga ako. Okay naman ako sa sahod, worth it dahil hindi kulang para may matira sa akin at may maipadala. Strikto sila dito sa Saudi, kaya ang mga luho naiiwasan. May naiwan akong asawa at anak sa Pinas, pero dahil ang mga babae dito sa Saudi ay kadalasang balot na balot, malayo ako sa temptasyon. I love you Ma!

Makikita sa balita na laging negatibo ang balita tungkol sa Saudi. Pero kung tutuusin, para sa akin, pakiramdam ko mas ligtas pa ako dito kesa dyan sa Pinas. Bihira ang krimen dito, lintik naman kasi ang parusa! Yun nga lang, meron talagang mga pang-aabuso. Lalo sa mga domestic worker. Mababa kasi ang tingin sa kanila eh. Ang hirap sa loob lalo kapag kababayan mo yung nababalitaan mong nagawan ng abuso. Yung iba naman, malakas talaga loob. Pati kagaguhan dinala dito, hindi natakot sa parusang pugot-ulo o death penalty. Kaya ikaw na nagbabasa nito, kung balak mo sa Saudi, sumunod ka lang sa batas, wag gagawa ng katarantaduhan. Kung lalabas ka, dalin mo ang iqama mo, basic lang yan pero ambigat ng parusa kapag hindi mo nagawa.

8 years and counting. Gaano pa kaya ako katagal dito? 2 more years para sarado isang dekada? O mag-stay sa lupa ng mga Arabo hanggang sa kaya?

Contributed post by JT

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Published in: Guest Blog Posts, OFW Stories
May
25
2015

Boat People: What will happen to them?

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Hot topic sa media ngayon ang tungkol sa mga ‘boat people’. Sila ay mga Rohingya people na mula sa bansang Myanmar. They’ve decided to leave their country dahil sa sigalot ng dalawang grupo – the Buddhist community at Rohingya Muslims – which had left hundreds of people dead and another hundred thousands of people homeless.

 

Nakakaawa ang kanilang kalagayan. Mabuti na lang, kahit magulo rin dito sa Pilipinas, hindi pa naman umaabot sa ganun ang sitwasyon nating mga Pinoy. I can’t think of scenarios like this na maranasan ng Pilipino.

 

And amid this issue, nag-volunteer ang ating gobyerno to provide humanitarian relief and assistance for the asylum seekers and refugees. This was after other Southeast Asian nations, like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia rejected the boat people. Let us prove daw that we Filipinos are compassionate and hospitable people.

 

Indeed we Filipinos are like that. We have proven it to whole world long ago, during World War II when then President Manuel Quezon ordered that the Jewish refugees from Europe be welcomed to the country. And when we provided a village in Palawan for the Vietnamese people to settle in when they flee from the civil war in 1970.

 

Oo nga at likas sa ating mga Pilipino ang pagiging matulungin. At ayaw nating mangyari na kapag tayo naman ang nangailangan ay wala rin tumulong sa atin. Pero ang tanong, sa bilyong tao sa Pilipinas, sa dami ng naghihirap, and with the present situation of our economy, can the Philippine government manage to adopt these Rohingya refugees and guarantee their welfare in our country?  Or it would only bring another shame to us dahil tumulong tayo only to make these people suffer too, in the end?

Nakaabang ang buong mundo, will our country extend help to these foreign refugees sa kabila ng katotohanang marami ding Pinoy ang kumakalam ang sikmura? Pero kung hindi natin sila tutulungan, sino pa ang kukupkop sa mga Rohingya?

 

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Published in: Guest Blog Posts
May
20
2015

How to Stay Happy as an OFW

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The reality of a foreign working environment and the necessity to immediately adjust to a totally new culture and language can be overwhelming. It would not be surprising if an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who always wanted to work abroad may seriously contemplate quitting after some time.

To snap out of these career busters, check out the tips below:

Love what you do. You can easily find joy in your work by recognizing the importance of your profession. Realize that your work makes the lives of others easier and better. The skills and the values you acquire while working also makes you a better person.

Count your blessings. Not everyone is qualified or is given the chance to work in a foreign land. Bear in mind that many Filipino workers back home aspire to be in your position.

Read more tips for migrant workers. 

 

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Mar
25
2015

Agree?We Filipinos Ranked 5th Among Happiest People?

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Despite the problems that every Filipinos are facing in their everyday lives, regardless of where they are, the Filipinos have made it to the list of people experiencing positive emotions on a daily basis.

 

happy filipino

 

A research made by Gallup.com last year indexed the percentage of happy people around the world, taking into consideration criteria like how often they laugh or smile, experience enjoyment, treated with respect and feel well-rested.

 

Most people who scored high in the survey was from the Latin American countries, comprising most of the top 10 spots. The Filipinos, surprisingly, made it to the 5th rank. However, the lowest positive emotions were from people living in the Middle East and North African regions.

 

Filipinos in the 5th rank? Well, this may be good news since this is a positive review and we ranked well. But, do we really feel that positive emotion? Are we really happy despite everything?

 

Everyday, in the news, we’ll hear about a government official exposed for his corrupt deed, a crime victim, fare hike, basic utility bills hike, transportation malfunction, and more.

 

Such negative news that you would watch on tv program, hear on the radio car, and read on newspaper or the web. Now I wonder, how the Filipinos made it to the 5th spot?

 

When you ask a Filipino about how well can he or she compare his or her present status, you’ll surely receive complains that its not any better or it had gotten worse than before. But still, they’ll add it can do, they can still survive.

 

Yes, we Filipinos are resilient. How many typhoons had destructed not only our homes, but our lives and yet we continue to fight and survive?  We Filipinos managed to shrug it off and smile, knowing that we can go on with our lives.

 

Because our strong faith is our asset. We always surrender everything to God, knowing that He will not neglect us. He will never forget us and will make a way to help us survive and be strong again to stand and continue our life.

 

Again, do you agree that the Filipinos were among the happiest people in the world? Yes, I do. Just like the campaign slogan, it’s more fun in the Philippines. It’s more fun for Filipinos.

 

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Feb
6
2015

Filipinos Are Up to Something

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Why are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) where they are today?

Let’s get the facts straight.

large-21

There’s a global skill shortage.

Technology and globalization have caused tremendous shifts in the worldwide labor market in the last three decades.

 

In developing economies like China, Brazil, and the Philippines, millions of non-farm jobs were created, moving people from rural areas to cities for better-paying jobs. On the other hand, advanced economies like the US and Singapore revved up growth and productivity by investing in technology and low-cost labor, while creating high-wage jobs for high-skill workers.

 

The result was a massive skill shortage in the very occupations critical to fast growth: high-skill jobs, particularly in finance and business services, retail trade and hospitality, construction and public services; domestic care to support the rise in dual-income households; and health care to support greying populations.

 

To address the shortage, advanced economies are doing three things: growing tertiary education attainment and raising the share of graduates for the specific fields facing shortages, re-training middle-career workers to upgrade skills, and welcoming more high-skill workers from other countries to immigrate.

 

With fast-growing populations and increasing access to global markets, developing economies like China, Brazil, and the Philippines became leading contributors of immigrant workers in these advanced economies.

 

Filipinos have got what it takes to cut it.

  • Among developing economies contributing to the global labor market, the Philippine workforce has the biggest percentage of tertiary school graduates.

 

  • A key solution to the global skill shortage— improving education and upgrading skills is something that the Philippines has been cleverly cracking in the last decade. Young people choose specialisations like business, IT, hospitality, retail, and healthcare with the global job market in mind. Skill upgrade through second degrees, certifications, and occupation trainings have become very common in the Philippine education and employment scene.

 

  • Because of the country’s history, the Filipino culture and skill set has the gems of both the East and the West, making them highly valuable in the global job market for their Asian strengths and high level of adaptability to the Western world.

 

  • Not at all unknown to many, Filipinos’ English proficiency is high. “The island attained a score above 7, putting them within a range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to lead business discussions and perform complex tasks.” -Forbes Magazine

 

  • With vast waters dividing the islands of the Philippine archipelago, the first move out of home and into a city often entails much psycho-emotional investment. Past that first big move though, journeying a little farther to other countries becomes a breeze.

 

  • Filipinos are such a happy bunch of people who can be happy, driven, and competent in any city, any country, any culture.

 

  • The Philippine social system can support the temporary absence of overseas workers. Community lives are so closely intertwined and the Filipino heart is so big that no child is ever parentless. With every parent who flies out of the country comes a network of foster parents (aunts, teachers, neighbors, friends) very much willing and able to care for someone else’s children like their own.

Filipinos are up to something. And yes, it’s something big.

 

The bigger worldview that Overseas Filipino Workers acquire and share with their families back home is raising a generation of Filipinos who are not at all daunted by financial, geographical, or cultural barriers to putting their skills and strengths out there and building a better life out of it.

 

As a developing economy, the Philippine Peso is naturally cheaper than the currencies of advanced economies. Thus, money earned by Overseas Filipino Workers, when sent or brought back home, doubles or triples in worth. This huge inflow of money is sending millions of Filipino children all the way to tertiary level and even post-graduate studies, and is used as capitalisation for new business enterprises— the perfect recipe to break the cycle of poverty.

 

So the next time someone asks why so many Filipinos are working abroad, the answer is simple. 1) Advanced economies have a shortage of skills and Filipinos have what it takes to fill it. 2) Filipinos are choosing to take an inconvenient big leap, rather than easy strides, to progress.

 

“The Philippines is set to leapfrog 27 places to become the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050.” -HSBC Global Research

 

Overseas Filipino Workers— call it one sacrificial generation.  Soon, Filipinos will never have to leave.
By: Ethel Sanchez

Data Sources:
The World at Work: Jobs, Pay, and Skills for 3.5 Billion People, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012
Countries with the Best Business English, Forbes Magazine, 2012
The World in 2050, HSBC Global Research, 2012

 

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