Every Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) will attest that working in a foreign country is one of the most difficult tasks anyone can undertake. You’ll need to fundraise for your placement fee, adjust to the change in temperature, adapt to a new culture, deal with discrimination (in some countries), and work harder than you’ve ever worked. Additionally, you must confront and overcome the homesickness that anyone would experience when separated from the people closest to their hearts by a thousand miles.
While each OFW’s experience is unique, there are certain things we all desire and wish for. The following are some of the things that OFWs frequently miss living in the Philippines:
Seeing your Family and Friends
The first thing that every OFW misses is the sense of security that comes with being surrounded by family and friends. Each time they make a deposit or send a balikbayan box, they reflect on the sleepless nights, missed meals, and birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions they have missed.
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Simple and Convenient Sari-sari Stores
Sari-sari shops, or small convenience stores, are one of the few things for which the Filipinos are famous. If you are an OFW who used to live in remote areas or provinces and frequently ran out of supplies such as noodles, shampoo, or canned meals, you are probably heading to your neighbor’s sari-sari store to purchase those items. Whereas, overseas or internationally, you must queue inside large or medium-sized grocery stores or shopping malls to purchase those few items. You’re probably missing out on chit-chatting with your neighbors at the sari-sari store to learn about the latest neighborhood gossip!
Associating with your Adored Pets
Many people are unaware of the extent to which OFWs miss Bantay, Muning, and their other furry companions. When they return home to their sleeping roommates in their crowded apartment, the majority of OFWs reflect on their loyal and loving companions awaiting their return to the Philippines
Taste of Filipino Food
OFWs miss adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, and the rest of the food they grew up with! While they are capable of cooking some of these, certain ingredients may be difficult to obtain or unreasonably expensive in some areas. Of course, it will always taste better when Nanay or Lola prepares it with love and shares it with the rest of the family.
Additionally, rice may become scarce, particularly in countries where rice consumption is not well-known or widespread. We’re fortunate that there are some Asian markets where these Philippine staples are readily available.
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The Gulp of Local Liquors
The Philippines is renowned for its revelry and gatherings, where beers and indigenous liquors never go missing! Adults enjoy drinking during times of celebration, parties, and even heartbreak. If you are an OFW, you will at some point recall a friend who invited you to drink.
While it may appear that locally exported alcoholic beverages from the Philippines are available in a few Asian markets throughout the world, nothing beats the gulp when you’re out with your family or friends.
Sleeping in Their Own Beds
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: nothing compares to sleeping in your own bed. While the pillows and blankets may be worn and faded, you will always sleep better in the same spot where you have always curled up.
The Tiniest Details around the House
While you may have been unaware of these things previously, you will begin to miss the familiar and comforting aspects of your home. You’ll recall the “Do Not Block The Driveway” or “Ice for Sale” signs on your front gate, the Santo Niño in the living area with an everlasting garland around its neck, the tabo and balde in your bathroom, and the other details you’ve always taken for granted.
The Loud and Colorful Festivals
In a country where there is never a place without a fiesta, the Philippines will undoubtedly remind you of those vibrant parades and boisterous street dances. Working abroad enables you to recall how enjoyable a festival appears in comparison to other countries.
The Tropical Climate
Being stationed and employed in a far-flung country outside the Philippines exposes you to new temperatures, especially if you are an OFW working in the western hemisphere, where cold temperatures prevail throughout the year. Additionally, you will miss the Philippines’ warm and humid climate.
Apart from the sunny days in the Philippines, the fact that you are traveling alone means that you will miss out on your family’s warm hugs and kisses.
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Taking Jeepney rides
Jeepneys have long been a popular mode of transport in the Philippines, and the majority of the population has either learned to ride one or has had the opportunity to do so during their lifetime. Commuting in the country became more affordable with the introduction of these vibrant jeepneys. If you are an OFW, you must be unaware of how to commute publicly in the country using these jeepneys.
Budget-Friendly Beauty Essentials
If you work outside the country, you may experience a different level of stress, which you can alleviate with a good self-pampering routine. As a result, you may be missing out on the country’s cheap and affordable manicure, pedicure, massage, haircut, and other grooming services. For an overseas worker, you may not be able to afford those grooming services due to the prices being relatively higher than in the Philippines, but give yourself something to look forward to after a long day of work, and don’t forget to convert the price to Philippine pesos!
The Sights and Sounds of the Historic District
This may seem absurd to those who have never spent more than a month away from home, but you will begin to miss the familiar sights and sounds of your neighborhood! After spending time in a foreign country, you may find yourself nostalgic for the early risers sweeping in front of their houses and the children playing in the street.
Coming Home to the Philippines during Holidays
As an overseas Filipino worker, coming home may not be possible due to pandemic. But with some countries that are permitted to enter the Philippines following the strict safety precaution should be one thing to consider once coming home to your loved ones.
Although situation may not permit others but keeping yourself healthy at a distance to your loved ones will be greater than risking yourself to travel back to the Philippines under these trying times.
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