Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Mom and I had a hearty talk about the people who leave the country to work abroad. The subject was brought up after she disclosed that a cousin is seriously mulling the idea of moving to the United States to teach in a university there. That cousin is my favorite aunt's son. Being the only child, there is a chance that his mom will follow and stay with him for good.

"But is it a good place for retirement?" I asked.

"Sigurado ko, mababagot lang siya doon." We both agreed.

Mom too had a pending petition granting her permanent residence in a city next to the Big Apple. It was another aunt who sponsored her passage but as time revealed, she became less and less excited to travel outside the country at the expense of leaving us behind.

"Imagine mo na lang, magsta-stay ako sa bahay ni Aunt Lyta mo sa New Jersey eh anong gagawin ko dun?" she quipped. "Isa pa, wala naman katulong, wala naman mag-aasikaso sa akin at sa huli, tiyak mamimiss ko lang kayo dun.

Her assurance left a faint smile on my face.

Truth is, we all had our dreams of going abroad. When I was a kid, the thought of being petitioned by an aunt used to be a source of comfort when other kids pushed me around. To learn that my cousin and his mom - the favorite aunt - would go on a month-long vacation to stay with our relatives in California kept my hopes up. That was until I have outgrown the dream and acknowledged the reality that my place is here in the country.

Sometimes, I still joke around the idea of applying for a media-related job say in Dubai or Hong Kong.

"Pero ipagpapalit mo ba ako para sa mas malaking suweldo kung nakakaya naman nating mabuhay ng maayos dito?" My mom would always ask.

Save for a passport that I never bothered to acquire, I could easily slip out of the country to find work in Singapore. I have friends there who could offer me free lodging until I get hired by a multinational company. I have never doubted my talents nor my ability to survive in extreme conditions elsewhere. What's the use of knowing other cultures when I couldn't find practical applications for it?

I guess it all boils down to the deep reasons behind my lack of interest in joining the bandwagon of OFWs around the world. First is the recognition that my family comes first and they count on me for assistance. Should unforeseen events happen at home, they expect my presence would turn the tide against the perils threatening our way of life. Second is the value of accomplishment based not on financial gains but on how long you walked with people around you. We are hippies at heart: ideal, counter-cultural, hungry for understanding the essence of existence and appreciative of things we receive no matter how small they are. We sometimes get into trouble with delayed bill payments or some surprise expenses coming out of nowhere, but so far we are being provided. We may dream of the big life too. Like when my mom would feel envious of the opulent few who prides living in big houses featured on Urban Zone or when I would feel a tinge of hopelessness knowing that my entire cash reserves depend on the almost-basic salary I get from work.

But life is still a party and we couldn't ask for more.

In the end, the choice is always a tricky one: Enjoy now with your loved ones, or get rich only to realize your loved ones have already left - or at least, have become estranged by your presence. Freewill guides our decisions and the one we pick usually reveals our urgency in life.

They say the country is suffering from a massive brain drain. Nurses, IT Professionals, Pilots and even Weathermen have left the country for greener pastures elsewhere. Though they may have the right to do so, one must remember, not everyone could leave. Like in a ship close to capsizing or a small kingdom being overwhelmed by invaders, or a company downsizing after its major account pulled out, for others to flee, someone must stay behind.

Whether for love of the family, sacrifice for the country or merely because the home is my comfort zone, the diaspora of entire generations will not be my becoming.


soltero said...

kung ok ka na dyan at maginhawa naman ang buhay, di na kailangang umalis pa.

base sa personal na nagyari saken, marami talaga akong na miss sa buhay, yung paglaki ng mga pamangkin kong nasa Pinas pa,pag naiisip ko yun, nandun yung regrets ko, kaya dinadaan ko na lang sa mga padala, pero iba pa rin pag nandun ka everytime may special occasions man o wla. shits ang seryoso ko yata hehe :P

Nimrod said...

wow! siguro work ka lang muna for a few months (kung may ganung option). test the waters.

kung hindi keri, balik Pinas :)

@Soltero - nalungkot naman ako dun.

OY said...

good for you mugen.
as a product of public school education it was instilled in me that i have to serve my country. And I was doing well (in my chosen field,at the risk of sounding mayabang) however unforseen circumstances resulted in me joining the filipino diaspora.

Anonymous said...

this is one of the best entries you have bro!

there's no place like home, babalik at babalikan mo pa rin kung saan ka lumaki. pero iwan ang nanay ko sa pinas na alam kung malulungkot at mag-iisa sya, no way! kahit na mag-ulam pa kami ng asin.

pero sa totoo lang, tumagal ako sa dubai dahil na rin kay nanay. para mapaaral ko ang mga anak nya. pero kung ako ang papipiliin, kuntento na ako sa saging at mangga kaysa sa ubas at mansanas na kulang sa lasa...

davidrockens said...

the grass is greener kung saan mo dinidiligan..

kaya green ang grass sa kabilang bakod, kasi sila mismo ang nagdilig dun.

Anonymous said...

Sis! ang serious ng post na ito? kakaiyak hehehe pero tumatawa pa din hehehe malungkot ang buhay OFW at yung mag magagandang places sa picture lang yun naka smile in reality? malungkot... to be frank isa lang ang iniisip ko para sumaya ang PAYDAY lol!!


john stanley said...

it's always a matter of choice, mugen. and realizing, along the way, what truly is more important to you.

~Carrie~ said...

Pero ipagpapalit mo ba ako para sa mas malaking suweldo kung nakakaya naman nating mabuhay ng maayos dito?" My mom would always ask. This moved me.

Dabo: the grass is greener kung saan mo dinidiligan Iba na talaga ang tingin ko sa salitang dilig, napakilig ako sa salitang yan pagkabasa ko. LOL Pero may punto ka jan, tol.

(Tol?!? Di pala bagay sa akin ang magtawag ng tol. LOL)

Whether for love of the family, sacrifice for the country or merely because the home is my comfort zone, the diaspora of entire generations will not be my becoming. Awwwww...

Napa-google ako sa diaspora. Toink!

JP said...

tsk! this made me think again of my 50/50 choice to leave the country after school.

afterall my professor said our degree is primarily for the love of the country.

tagos sa puso tong post mo kuya! :)

red the mod said...

I too am troubled with my family's situation. Now that things aren't looking up at work, I am seriously considering a change of scene. I wish I had more options. Or better ones.

maginoongbulakenyo said...

sabi nga nila, masarap lang daw pakinggan pagsinabing nasa ibang bansa ka nakatira, pero ang totoo wala paring tatalo sa bayang sinilangan mo.

Désolé Boy said...

iba pa rin talaga ang attachment ng pamilyang Pilipino. naks! kapamilya..haha

Vince of Discreet Manila said...

I love Manila too much to leave it for any extended amount of time. (Heck, I'm blogging about its scene!) I could've stayed in Japan for a year and earned a bit more for savings but it was my conscious decision to stay here in the Philippines.

Guyrony said...

People have taken exodus in other countries for greener pastures hence better life but at the end of the day you just need to ask yourself, are you even happy being away from your loved ones?

People have varying reasons for leaving the country and serving other nationalities.

They have their choices, we have ours.

Knoxxy said...

Im sure whatever you decide it will work out. Maganda iniisip mo. Gives you the possibility. =)