Commonly known as OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers, many Filipinos seek better opportunities abroad to provide better for their families. Whether married or single, statistics show that an estimate of 2.2 million Filipinos fly out of the Philippines to work abroad, as of survey findings last 2016 (Source). Tremendous sacrifices have to be done, but love trumps common hardships, like being away from your family and loved ones.
Hanz Alec O. Rapadas is a son of OFW parents. His mom has worked longer abroad than his dad.
Ever since I was a child, nagtatrabaho na si mama sa ibang bansa. My brothers and I would always end up being taken care of by our grandma and grandpa. At first, I didn’t really understand kung bakit nangingibang bansa siya. I mean, meron namang opportunities dito sa Pilipinas so why bother going to a different country to find a job diba? But as I grew up, I realized na there are better job opportunities there than here in the Philippines. Mas malaki ang sahod kaya napupunan agad ang mga pangangailangan namin.
Ever since I was a child, my mom has been working overseas already. My brothers and I would always end up being taken care of by our grandma and grandpa. At first, I didn’t really understand why they have to work abroad. I mean there are other opportunities here in the Philippines, so why bother going to a different country to find a job, right? But as I grew up, I realized that there are better job opportunities there than here in the Philippines. The salary abroad is better which makes it easier to make ends meet.)
Rapadas recently took it to his Twitter account screencapped photos of him and his mom, with the latter in tears. He explains that she is “emotional and sad” that she wasn’t able to go up on stage with Rapadas in a recent school activity because she was an OFW.
Rapadas, however, is appreciative of all the efforts and sacrifices his mother does for him where he dedicated all his rewards (and awards) to her.
My mom video called me and she started crying. I asked her why and all she responded was she was just emotional and sad because she didn't get to be with me on the stage because she's an ofw. I understand mom, I really do. I love you so much, and all of my rewards are for you ? pic.twitter.com/ROS1UV4LLZ
— غير مستقر (@uhhlec) April 12, 2018
It’s hard dealing with the long distance me and my parents have. For 6 years, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve without them. I remember crying to myself back then because wala si mama at papa tuwing Pasko (my parents aren’t around during Christmas). Our mode of communication is our phone-to video calls. My siblings and I ask them how they’re doing, bond with them over stories, and ask them when are they coming home.
Sa tuwing nakakatanggap ako ng parangal mula sa aking eskwelahan, kasama ko ang aking lola sa pag akyat sa entablado upang sabitan ng medalya o kaya ay para tumanggap ng mga sertipiko. Nito lang nagdaang Huwebes, grumaduate ako ng senior high school. Kasama kong muli ang aking lola sa entablado. Masaya naman ako at lola ko ang kasama ko kasi napamahal na ako sa kanya. Siya na halos ang nagpalaki sa akin eh.
(Rough translation: Whenever I receive awards from my school, I am always with my grandma when I go up the stage, for she puts the medals on my neck or receives the certificates. Just last Thursday, I graduated from senior high school. I was with my grandma once again on stage. I am happy that she was with me because I love her, too. She pretty much raised me.)
After the event, we went home na. I texted my mom that the graduation was done and I am an honor student. She replied that she wants to video call. I accepted it. I shared my story on Twitter.
Not a day goes by that Rapadas doesn’t think of his parents, especially his mom with whom he has a close relationship with.
Iba kasi yung feeling na nandyan sila literal sa tabi mo, ‘di ba? You feel safe and at home kapag nan diyan sila. My home will always be them. I understand naman eh, the hardships that they go through, as well as their sacrifices. Someday, I will return the favor.
(Rough translation: It’s a different feeling when they’re literally there right beside you, right? You feel safe and at home when they’re there. My home will always be them. I understand them – the hardships that they go through, as well as their sacrifices. Someday, I will return the favor.)
Rapadas shares advice for those who have parents that are OFWs as well.
Know that your parents do love you. They’re doing everything they can so that they can give us children a better life. Mahirap makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa kaya as much as possible, intindihin natin sila. (Life is difficult overseas, so as much as possible, let’s try to understand them.) Understand that they can’t be with you at all times even how badly they want to, because in the end, everything will be worth it. Make them proud because they deserve it. There’s nothing in the world that can replace a family’s love
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Disclaimer: WheninManila.com does not own any of the photos above. Credits go to Hanz Alec O. Rapadas.