It's been nine (9) months since my last trip to Manila. It all seems like a blur. I have to store up enough leave so that I could stay a month or two.
I'm going home this year so that my family and I could finally celebrate the advent season together. It's been three years since our last Christmas together. I think this is nothing compared to the many OFWs that are abroad and are undocumented who haven't seen their families for decades for any occasion. I feel sad for them. I feel the longing but I know it's nothing compared to raising a child over the telephone.
Two years ago, I met a lady who left the Philippine Government service in search of a better opportunity abroad. She was well-educated but now she cleans houses. Recently, I saw her with a man. I know she's married but the guy had his arm around her. I thought, what's happening here? Like many OFWs who are undocumented, loneliness gets the best of them. They start "living in" with someone in a sort of acceptable marital infidelity. Everybody does it, why can't I? I love my spouse but I'm lonely are some of the excuses.
I cannot condemn this as being a single person, even I feel this loneliness abroad. Who am I to judge them? But it is a reality ...
As I go home this year even at extreme costs and for a limited period, I will try to make the most of it to honour all of those who can't come home to see their families and friends.
I honour those parents that are able to raise good children despite the distance. It takes a lot dedication to keep watch from so far away and what ultimate sacrifice is there for a parent to leave a child for that same child's future? Going home is sacrificed for a better tomorrow.
I just hope that it was all worth it. The social costs of migration has become so big that we are looking at an exponential number of broken families in the Philippines.