Our modern day heroes, the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW, struggles with homesickness most especially during the Christmas season. They miss their family so much during the holiday. They also miss paskong pinoy the way it’s celebrated back home. But they have to continue sacrificing so that their families may have a brighter future.
Christmas is very important in the Philippines and to the Filipinos. This is the time when family bondings, friends gatherings as well as clan reunions come one after the other. This is the season to be joyous, a season to feast, a season to follow traditions and make wonderful memories with love ones.
But what if you are an OFW?
Overseas Filipino Workers deeply feel na nasa malayo talaga sila lalong lalo na sa kapanahunan ng Pasko. Wala sila sa piling ng pamilya, wala sila sa mga salo-salo, wala sila sa kasiyahan. Ngunit, kakayanin nila. At kaya nila dahil lahat ng sakripisyo ay para sa mga mahal sa buhay na nasa Pilipinas.
Can you imagine the life of an OFW on Christmas day? Knowing that their family are all gathered together back home, wrapped in joy and cheer, but hindi sila kasama? Worst, some OFWs may have to go to work like it’s a normal day or come home to a silent, empty room. It’s a tough life, it’s a tough situation.
Malungkot ang Pasko for many OFWs. But they are all fighters!
The presence of phone and video calls helps them to get through the holiday. The ‘thanks’ and well-wishes they get from family back home alleviates a bit the pain of longing to be with them, of missing out on experiences.
The smiles on the faces of their sons, daughters, husband, wife, father, mother, as their Christmas balikbayan box gets open and the prayed-for-aguinaldos are unbox. Oh how much they wish they could have seen the bright eyes and wide smiles of family members when they see the gifts they’ve sent. Oh how much they want to hug their children so tight this Christmas…
“….hindi ako makakauwi ngayong Pasko… “
According to the Philippine Statistics Office, the Philippines total number of OFWs is estimated at 2.3 Million. This figure is based on the 2018 Survey on Overseas Filipinos. By now 2020, this number has surely increased.
But only a handful of these hard-working OFWs will be lucky enough to get home to their family in time to celebrate the Christmas holiday. At eto ay hindi dahil ayaw umuwi ng mga OFWs natin, most of the time it’s the situation preventing them to visit home.
Airfare tickets to go back and forth is very expensive during December as promo fares are usually not available during the holiday. There are also companies and employers who do not allow them to take longer vacation even if they deserve it or even if they still have enough vacation leaves to cover their absences. If they insist on going home even for a short period, they may not have a job to go back to.
We also have many OFWs kababayan na hindi naman kalakihan ang kita sa abroad, kaya sayang ang susuweldohin kung uuwi sila. Ipapadala nalang sa pamilya pang-dagdag budget ang pera na gagastusin sana sa pag-uwi.
There are also some Filipinos who first went abroad to work legally but ended up overstaying, so now they can’t go home not even for Christmas, at least not yet, until si “bunso grumaduate”, “until makaipon ng sapat pang negosyo pag uwi”, “until mabayran ang utang ng pamilya”. The reasons of becoming and staying tnt are varied. Can we blame them? Maybe we can, but only after we have a walked a mile in their shoes and still find them deserving of a sad Christmas.
Saluobin ng mga Nagsasakripisyong OFWs
Kababayang OFW, kung hindi ka man makakauwi ngayong paparating na Pasko. Dalangin namin na naway sa susunod na Christmas, matupad na ang pangarap mong makasama ang buong pamilya sa espesyal na panahon na to.
These OFWs speak from their heart, of their wishes for Christmas, of their longing for their family, of their willingness to sacrifice, of their love ones who inspires them to keep on fighting. To all our OFWs, we salute you all.
Christmas creates miracles, keep the hope alive in your hearts. One day soon, you and your family will be together.
Before you go to sleep, let’s storm the heaven, let’s pray for our OFWs, that they may find strength to go on and that the warmth of family love envelop them though they are far away this holiday season.
Saludo kami sa lahat ng OFWs! Mabuhay po kayo!