Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Previously, I wrote an entry on what are the TOP 10 WORSE TRUTHS OFW/Expat might experience. As an OFW myself, I had a share of the “challenging” and life-altering moments overseas. Truth is, living a life outside your comfort zone could be described as messy yet fun, outrageous and rewarding. On my quest to the unknown, I realize that enjoying life could be articulated the yin yang, as there will always be some negative and positive points to face.

Believing so, now, I’m turning the table to share to everyone what are the POSITIVE and BENEFICIAL returns on working overseas. Although the title itself maybe be an eye candy especially for aspiring OFWs/Expats or those Filipinos thinking our country is hopeless, bear in mind, our path does not work on luck alone, but perseverance and hardwork are essential in concocting healthy and flourishing life abroad. Plus, may this entry ignite a fire of inspiration especially to those OFW/Expats who are at a lost and feeling hopeless on their battles. 

INDEPENDENCE. For a single guy or girl at a very young age, independence is a heavenly gift of working overseas. Time and space conspire to your wants and plans. Whether you want to party all night, shop til you drop, get drunk in days, eat wherever you want, meet strangers in odd places, or try bizarre activities, rest assured you can do that without getting buzzing sermons from your parents. Then again, consider safety and security as you venture into the wilderness. Think of the people who care and love you. Plus, consider being frugal (at least). You are not to stay forever abroad and so you must save. In addition, you can’t be sure you’ll land a job when you get back in the Philippines. Bottom line be wise in enjoying your freedom.

In my case, as I always mention in my previous entries, Independence compelled me to know more myself and my capabilities. I tell you, it’s a rewarding and liberating journey.

EXPOSURE. Being exposed in a foreign country is like dropping yourself in a handful of assorted candies in one big jar. Relatively, once you step into a different jungle, you get to be exposed with a wide spectrum of influences which you may opt to absorb or not. 

In my case, taking this overseas plight has opened a lot of doors and windows where my talents and skills are recongnised. Being the talented (naks!) and gregraious that I am, I have opted to raise my identity as a Filipino, showcase my uniqueness, and widen my horizon which paved way to a wealth of possibilities. Good thing, I have carved my character even in the impossible ground of the Bruneian’s conservative and traditional culture as a writer and host at some events. Additionally, viewed in a generic way, working overseas and getting praises could be a platform to crash negativities on our country and soon pacify misjudgment and hearsays!

CONNECTIONS. While everyone engage with social networking sites as part of creating virtual realities in the “real” world, nurturing face-to-face communication or interaction which may lead to affiliations or connections in a foreign setting is what overseas ventures do best. As an OFW/Expat, you meet and tie strong relations with different races. Whether it is on business or some household/friendly affiliations, rest assured they can be your strong pillars which you can rely on whenever the need arise or for some emergencies. Who knows, these people might give you one step higher on your career or a step ahead in materializing your future dreams.

CAREER GROWTH. Competition is always part of the corporate ball game. In a rat race, sluggish and weak individuals are always toppled down by the driven and sometimes, monsters, especially in climbing the corporate ladder. Sadly, dirty politics in the work system cripple those talented individuals in advancing to positions and benefits they deserve.

In my case, I had a share of the ghoulish office politics in the past. Thankfully, my current job (overseas) does not possess such ill, or if there is, at least it's tolerable. But I must admit, although there’s the cinch presence of racial favoritism, at least in a foreign country, your skills are recognized. Bosses do not look at something on giving promotions. They don't see what  brand of clothes you wear, how sexy you are, how huge your kiss ass skills are, or who do you know. Positively, it’s sheer talent and capabilities to deliver the job which prevails.

CULTURAL VERSATILITY. When I was young, history and travel books introduced to me the countries outside my beloved Philippines. I tell you, it was marvelous to be at places created by pure imagination. But not until I worked overseas, I realized there’s more to see and experience beyond what books could articulate.

Ventures abroad could lead to the widening of perceptions or outlook in life. You may get to imbibe new cultures, languages, traditions, religious practices, political system, economic variations and even the socio-geographical histories of places. I must say, all of these enrich your individuality. It widens your treasure throve of ideas and experiences. And what’s best, it does not only grant you knowledge, but wisdom too!

GOALS. Even if you earn 50 to 60 thousand pesos a month in Philippines, that hard-earned money could be blown away in days. How? Compute all the taxes, the salary deductions, the credit card bills to pay, the electricity and water bills, plus the rental fee for apartments, plus the lavish expenses on lifestyle whims. All those make your savings deplete so fast and you end up with none. And so, your future goals of building your dream home or starting a business could be stocked in the dark or in your dreams forever. 

For an OFW/Expat, because of the temporary nature of the job, your mentality should be set to achieve your goals in a timeline. A disciplined outlook and ways on spending money is high and strictly followed. Nevertheless, after years of sacrifice and struggles to reach your goal, you’ll realize you’re at phase with your plans.

SAVINGS. Most Filipinos lament on not having savings in their bank accounts. Reality check, aside from the bills, the skyrocketing basic commodity prices and the taxes to pay, it’s the lifestyle that pulls “us” down. Nevertheless, not getting enough savings or earning to support the family are some reasons why most Filipinos decide to work abroad. 

In my case, it’s a different story, a long story. Going back, hence, it is a blessing for every Filipino to be given the chance to work abroad. As an OFW/ Expat, you do not only get to earn more to support your family behind, you also get to save money for your future plans such as buying a house, getting your own car, or starting a business which may keep you to stay in the Philippines for good.

COMFORTABLE LIFE. People look for not only for a better life, but more importantly, for the best. For some OFW/Expats, that best could be defined or based in experiencing the most-coveted comfortable life overseas. 

Here alone in Brunei, there’s security, order and a system – the perfect images of a progressive country. Although it may look superficial, this reality is what most people vouch for to venture into a life of tranquility and growth. How I wish our country would someday provide the “comforts” other countries have for their citizens.

APPRECIATION. Filipinos are known for their adept adaptability even in the strangest foreign territories. We are like sponges. We learn and embrace whatever surrounds us. Soon, we paddle with new perspectives and identities. Relatively, on our quest to the good life outside our comfort zone, as an OFW/Expat, we ponder on how wonderful, colorful and riveting our life back in the Philippines. This is a positive note because endeavors overseas remind us of our simple life and magnet us to be down-to-earth despite the achievements and successes. As supported by the saying, “ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di makakarating sa paroroonan!,” the appreciation of our life as a Filipino is ingrained powerfully.

LOUD AND PROUD MENTALITY. Undeniably, the Filipino race is gifted with talent and passion. The hundreds of success stories of Filipinos making a name across the globe we hear are a living legacies of such competence and ingenuity. 

For an OFW/Expat, going abroad somewhat doubles the standards of identity and mentality. You don’t only wear your skin proud, but you fire an unbeatable drive to be at your best in whatever you do. And you may not know it, outstanding performances overseas add to the filtering of decaying representations and judgment on our country. Because, as a Filipino, you represent your country, very well!

Mabuhay tayong lahat!

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