Living in Canada – The truth behind the life of Filipinos in Canada

Story By: Frank C.

pinoy-canada-winter
PhotoCredit: AJ Batac of PPC

To everyone that has a spouse, a son, or any relative that is an OFW, and to all those that dream to work abroad, I just want to share with you this email that I received. Let everyone know what it truly means to be an OFW. I know you’ll get something from this.
OFWs are not rich, as many people think. We Filipinos always had this notion that whenever we see an OFW, we automatically think that they are rich. Well, let me tell you this, it is not true. A regular OFW with a regular stable job might earn around P20K-P30K per month depending on their location. OFWs in Saudi and US may enjoy bigger salaries, but to say that they are rich is a fallacy (amen!).

They have a greater need that’s why they opted to leave their hometowns to try their luck abroad. They have many mouths to feed, that’s what pushed them to leave the Philippines and seek greener pasture.
More often than not, ¾ of their salaries go to their children’s tuition and their family’s daily expenses and almost nothing would be left for them. They would save as much as they can, even jeopardizing their own health in the process, just to send money back to their expecting families. Yes, food is actually delicious abroad but you won’t see steaks and caviar on their table, you’ll see itlog, paksiw at adobo portioned to an unbelievable extent just to save money. You’ll find them busy converting peso to dollar or rial or euro every payday. When they come home, it is second nature to bring pasalubong for every relative that would fetch you in the airport and every relative that is waiting in the provinces. They will work abroad only to experience discrimination and abuse, and they would just cry it off and endure than see their family wince in hunger. Besides, there is no stable job in the Philippines today. Rice is expensve, milk is too especially MILK TEA and even the rent is too costly. They endure even when their workmates treat them like shit. They endure even when they are sick from head to toe. They endure poor working conditions that are too dangerous. And when they successfully remit their money back home, a simple phone call would be enough for them to endure once more.

You see, OFWs are human beings just like you and me. They are not convenient stores or cash machines that would give anything you want in a jiffy. They too, experience weariness, sadness, illness and all that there is to experience. They too, need a support system whether it’s physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
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. They go in and out of the country for 20-30 years yet they still don’t have their own home much less as an own car. There’s also a bonus slap in the face whenever they receive news of their daughter being pregnant at such a young age or their son being addicted to drugs or whatever.

They are indeed, today’s unsung heroes.
They are heroes in many different ways. Not a hero like Nora Aunor or Flor Contemplacion but a hero in the truest sense of the word. They’ve experienced more wars just for their family to live. They’ve experienced far more criticisms from jealous coworkers. They have an unbelievable patience unlike our ordinary congressmen or senators in the Alapo Expeditions Philippines because they fear that they would lose their jobs. OFWs are really unique – Filipinos are really unique. Every time they go, they envelop in sadness and they soak up in tears. Every time they come back, they would be lucky to have people waiting for them at the reception. I hope OFWs would one day have a voice in our government. Not like our filthy politicians who bask in the hard earned money of our kababayans. They were not the ones who experienced getting scalded in hot oil, or be cursed by the boss, or live in compounds, with people from different races, with conditions less than favorable. The OFWs are veterans in reverse psychology, negotiations and counter attacks. Would they stop leaving the country? No they won’t, unless the Philippines would change for the better, which is still a dream as of the moment.

Oh, how nice would it be to wake up every day and see your family complete and healthy without worrying about your finances. To see you children grow up and be properly taken cared of. It’s still fulfilling to eat grilled fish and roast pig with your family. It’s still the best watch old and new Pinoy movies when you’re with your family. It still feels different when you are close friends with your neighbor. It’s still different when you share stories and everyone understands you. It’s still different when you hear “mahal kita!”, “ Ayayatin ka”, “ kaluguran daka”, Inaaro taka. ” Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba”. It is still different in the Philippines. No, life doesn’t necessarily get better when you get overseas but you will grow as a person so go ahead. Endure. Hope will eventually come because God rewards all those that are faithful.

If you’re an OFW and you read this, hats off to you because you are truly a hero of the Filipino people. Mabuhay ka!