The Philippines is undeniably one of the best places in the world to unwind and explore. However, as with any other destination, there are both highs and lows — and returning citizens are no exception.
Here are some of the ill experiences overseas Filipino workers have reported through the years. Of course, it is needless to say that these do not happen all the time. If they do happen to you or someone you know, the things listed below are good to know.
Corrupt airport workers.
Whether you’re a foreigner or Filipino, there might still be few customs officers who can’t help but take advantage once you get to their section. They will generally ask arriving passengers to pay high fees for certain products brought in, like appliances and gadgets. They might also tend to confiscate food and other items that are supposed to be prohibited when, in fact, they only take these for their own use. But as President Rodrigo Duterte said, once you encounter abuse, slap the offending airport worker and you have the President’s backing.
Overcharging taxi drivers
Several cities around the Philippines have taxi drivers that do not turn their meters on when you step in. They instead ask you to pay an exorbitant fixed rate. If this happens, never negotiate and instead insist on having the meter turned on. Otherwise, walk away and look for another cab.
Long queue at NAIA arrival hall
Long lines are a constant problem in the Philippines regardless of where you are (hopefully the new e-gates will help ease the problem). As soon as you arrive at the arrival hall, you should expect to stay for another 30 to 60 minutes at least because of inefficient personnel and outdated checkout systems.
Luggage lost or delayed
Many OFWs also experienced having their luggage lost or placed at a different flight to a different destination. Some are fortunate to get their luggage back while others have to settle for cheap reimbursement. Such things happen even if security guards manning the exit doors occasionally check luggage tags to catch baggage thieves.
Nagging neighbors asking for pasalubongs
Whenever OFWs come home, they don’t only need to worry about their immediate and extended family. There are also so many neighbors who will be asking for gifts and money. Solicitation forms for graduation. Money to claim a pawned jewelry. Money to buy an ailing relative’s medicine. It looks like the vacationing OFW has suddenly become a walking loan officer.
Family members expecting you to give more money
Many Filipino families also think of OFWs as endless sources of financial resource so they ask for cash aside from the gifts you already brought. This is because many believe vacation in the Philippines is a luxury and not a necessity, so they believe you must have enough money in your wallet to afford travel.
Everyone asking for money
OFWs, regardless of the duration of their stay, have to deal with additional expenses since they will be targeted by family members who would like to ask for money to apply for a job in a different place, start a small business or purchase new appliances. NAIA personnel asking for tips. Taxi driver asking for tips. A barker insisting on carrying your bags asking for money. Did we mention family and neighbors also asking for the same?
Children do not recognize parents anymore
Some overseas Filipino workers have to stay abroad for a year or longer, so they find it very sad and disappointing how their children barely know or respect them when they return. If you’re working overseas, it’s best to have constant communication with the people at home: parents, siblings, cousins and of course, immediate family members. With the technology available, all this is very much possible.
Confirmed gossip that spouse already have another family
The long distance relationship between spouses usually put a strain on marriage. Some couples file for legal separation while others just discover that their husband or wife has been having an extramarital affair and has a second family. Painful isn’t it? But these sad tales of infidelity and broken families extend beyond ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’; after all, MMK is supposed to be based on real-life stories.
Going back to work abroad empty-handed and debt-ridden
Filipinos are naturally generous so they usually spend more than what they saved for when coming home to visit. They usually charge the additional expenses using their credit card or borrowing from their company or coworkers abroad. In the end, they have to work longer and harder to pay back debts, which means that they’re going to need to stay in foreign land longer than before.
There is no doubt that working abroad and away from your loved ones is tough. Manage your relationships (and your finances) well and you will never have to experience these horrors throughout your OFW life.