“Pag hindi ako umalis, gutom ang aabutin ng pamilya ko (If I don't work abroad, my family will starve),” mutters a father of three. While at the airport, he clutches his passport close to his chest, as if trying to keep his heart from bursting in sadness. The thought of the long separation from his family is too much to bear, but what choice does he have? The overseas employment papers he has neatly filed in a manila envelope could very well hold the promise to a better life for his family. For him and countless other Filipinos, there seems no other way but to leave home.
Nearly 9 million Filipinos live in over 190 foreign countries as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The statistics are easy to swallow; the grief these breadwinners experience in being separated from loved ones is not. For a family-oriented culture, being transplanted in a foreign land means living adrift, far from one’s anchors. The OFW also contends with cultural differences, an unfamiliar work environment, a new place of residence, and a sparse network of friends—each enough of a challenge on its own.
In the new book Hope Away From Home published by OMF Literature, author Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano delves into the theme of living as a stranger in a foreign land. With the Old Testament book of Ruth as backdrop, Feliciano gleans relevant insights from the stories of Naomi and Ruth, two widows in the Bible faced with challenges quite similar to those of present-day OFWs. Feliciano reflects on how their experiences as migrants shaped their identities, revealed their resilience, and displayed God’s faithfulness.
“More and more people are becoming aware of the immense ‘social costs’ that come with the OFW phenomenon,” says Feliciano. “The only contribution I can make as a Christian writer is to present the timeless truth of Scripture to the present reality that we face today, so that we may root ourselves in what is true and eternal. This is the essence of Hope Away from Home.”
Far from being overly introspective, Feliciano’s latest title combines contemplation with practical, workaday concerns. She discusses issues that every OFW can relate to: sending money to family back home, marital fidelity, loyalty to employment contracts, even illegal recruitment. Feliciano also devotes substantial sections to pointers on money management, racial discrimination, and adjustment to a foreign workplace.
The reader who plans on working abroad will appreciate the section entitled “POEA Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions.” Here, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration gives practical solutions to common queries. Among many, questions include: ‘I want to work abroad. Where can I find job vacancies?’; ‘I am applying for a foreign job through a recruitment agency. What should I do to make sure I will not be cheated?’ and ‘Can I sue my foreign employer for breach of contract and claim for unpaid wages?’
Firsthand accounts of migrants “who have been there” also weave their way through the book. The lonely OFW will find solace in the community of voices that shares of parting from loved ones, problems with foreign employers, and helplessness in handling wayward children back home.
Ang Anak ay isang pelikula noong 2000 na handog ng Star Cinema para sa mga OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) sa iba't ibang dako ng mundo. Sa natatanging pelikula na ito na sumikat sa takilya at kumita ng mahigit 110 milyon piso ay pinagbibidahan ninaVilma Santos at Claudine Baretto. Noong 2000, ang pelikulang ito ang pinakatanyag na pelikula sa kasaysayan ng pelikula sa industriyang Pilipino dahil sa laki ng binatak nito sa takilya.
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