Filipinos value their families very much. They want to spend their holidays, vacations and celebrations with their families. Filipinos want to be with their families during their birthday, graduation day, first-pay day, and especially during Christmas Day. A Filipino away from his or her family on Christmas Day (at the very least) has, very surely, an incomplete and gloomy Christmas. Filipinos just want to be with their families in everything they do. This is what the Overseas Filipino Workers miss the most in the Philippines: their families. A Filipino family is a source of support, strength and inspiration for OFW’s to continue working abroad. The Filipino family is the reason why OFW’s leave the country. And just like the OFW’s, Filipino families also miss their family members who are abroad so much.
“My father only left for one-and-a-half years but my mother missed him so much it was as if he left for a time much longer than he really did. You can really see that she was the one who missed him the most, but of course, we also missed him a lot. We’re a bit sad right now because he is going to leave again in one month’s time; but it’s okay because we know that he’s leaving for our own good,” said a senior high school student from Cavite (a province located in the south of Manila). A daughter of an OFW, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “It’s sad but I should be used to it because I know it’s for our family.” Family members miss their wife, husband, children or parents a lot because they are thousands of miles away from each other. The only communication they have is through the phone or through the Internet. However, not all families have those kinds of communication which will allow them to hear or even see their loved ones. Unprivileged families settle with written mail or snail mail and have to wait for long weeks and even months to know what their loved ones are going through.
Most children of OFW’s grow up without one of their parents. Some of them only see their parents when they are already in high school or late grade school. Because of this, parents don’t know their children and their children are awkward around them. The relationship between the parents and the children does not develop due to the absence of the parents. But most of the children are already used to it. They say that it’s okay because they know that it’s for them. A 16-year-old high school student said, “It’s sad because we miss our father. Especially when we see other families who are complete and our father is abroad. But we really look up to him because you can really see the reason why he is there.” Some children are sad because they didn’t grow up with their parents, but some are proud because they know that their parents are doing everything to give them better lives.
Being away from one’s family is hard for Filipinos. Nevertheless, they sacrifice this just to give their families better lives. Their families, on the other hand, are very thankful and grateful for their sacrifice. OFWs provide good lives for their families. Filipino families provide OFWs a reason to continue and not give up.