Imagine going home for the first time after so many years working abroad, it’s an exciting moment every Filipino worker abroad looks forward to.
Whether you’re a nurse, domestic worker, aircraft mechanic or any other job abroad — returning to your home where bittersweet memories were built and the source of motivation is firmly based. Perhaps that moment when the whole family were preparing a little sendoff party with family and neighbors. While laughter was in the air, you prepped up for that long period of homesickness in a place that offers a new cultural, perhaps personal perspective.
You devote long hours at work, staring at the calendar and closely monitoring the big day of your return in between long distance calls, packing balikbayan boxes and trips to the remittance outlet.
As you look carefully at your air ticket, making sure you got your name right, you anxiously prepare your pasalubongs, carefully choosing which toys, pair of shoes or pack of chocolates you’d gift every member of the family. As you bid your folks at work goodbye, and prepare for your departure, you imagine things will turn out once you arrive — welcome party, going to church together with the family, picking your child from school, and hanging out with childhood friends and longtime neighbors.
Then, the final call for boarding sounds.
Little did you know that while you are thrilled to be back home, your family is also staging their own surprise welcome for you.
But other OFWs are also very creative. Instead of expecting their families driving to the airport in a mini caravan, they’d prefer to sneak into the night or, as you’ll see in the video below, crouch inside a large water container.
After almost five years spending time apart, an OFW who was based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia was unfortunate to lose his job along with thousands of other migrant workers in the country. Thankfully, with the help from the government, the breadwinner was sent home for free to reunite with his family in Bacolod City.
This is how every OFW should be treated as they go home — treated as heroes to both the country and their families — whether they bring plenty of pasalubongs or simply returning in one piece after overcoming obstacles during their time overseas.