A lot of Filipinos often wonder what fortune lies overseas for them. Especially when they see OFW families around them enjoying things that regular people wouldn’t be able to afford, the idea of working abroad becomes even more tempting.
What people do not realize however, is the fact that although the money is better than they usually earn here in the Philippines, this money is also the result of backbreaking work and huge amounts of sacrifice.
One of the biggest sacrifices of course, would be missing familiar faces and places day in and day out.
Filipinos in Australia feel this homesickness far too often. There are so many differences between Australia and the Philippines that OFWs here find ore things to miss about home every day. They find solace by spending more time in the company of other Filipinos, or by keeping their communication with the folks back home constant.
These are the things that Filipinos in Australia miss the most.
Nothing beats the smell of a Filipino kitchen. Especially in the more crowded areas around the country, you can easily find out what the neighbors are eating for lunch just by sniffing the air. And yes, the smell often causes any tummy to grumble, unless it’s the smell of burnt sinaing you’re sniffing.
From adobo to paella, sinigang to dinuguan, it is such a huge wonder why Filipinos have not made their presence known in the international food scene a whole lot earlier. There’s something different about the way Filipinos cook their food.
It could be the homegrown ingredients, or the labor of love that goes into every dish. Regardless of what the difference is that makes it special, you can bet your life savings that one of the first things an OFW looks for when they come home is a home-cooked meal.
It doesn’t matter what the party is for. It could be a holiday celebration, or it could be a neighbor’s birthday. There’s just something about Pinoy parties that makes every OFW miss home.
Expect a videoke machine giving out scores not just to the best singers, but to the loudest ones. And as long as nobody sings My Way, the song that launched a thousand videoke fights, then you’re all good to go.
In every Filipino party, everyone’s a friend. Everybody relaxes. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting next to your former boss, or your girlfriend’s father. The moment anybody raises their bottle, you all become part of a special kind of friendship that you may or may not remember the next day.
People in the Philippines are passionate, there’s no doubt about that. When people here are happy, they are literally bouncing with overwhelming joy. When people get mad, you can see that fiery glow in their eyes that could cause anyone to shiver. Yes, people in the Philippines are extremely emotional, but this also makes them not only sympathetic, but empathetic towards the people around them.
This is one of the woes that OFWs often speak of. When they find themselves in a foreign land, they find themselves surrounded by people who are not as open to friendly smiles and prying questions. In other countries, small talk includes “How’s the weather?” or “This is great coffee!”.
In the Philippines, small talk means, “Why are you so fat?”, “I heard your husband has a mistress!” or “Why aren’t you married yet?” And although the Filipino’s version of small talk irritates everybody while they’re still living here, it is sometimes better than the indifference that other cultures have gotten used to.
There’s a unique brand to how Filipinos treat family, which makes OFWs miss them all the more. Abroad, the elderly are sent to nursing homes and kids move out the moment they’re of legal age.
In the Philippines, you feel a strong sense of closeness as the entire family (yes, family includes cousins, titas, and titos) often lives in a single compound, sometimes in the same home. Kids live with their parents even as they have their own kids too. And while it might not exactly be the perfect setting that promotes responsibility (or silence and privacy for that matter), it does give one a sense of belongingness that one often misses when far away from home.
These are just a few of the things that OFWs miss the most about home. It all shows the huge sacrifice that these overseas workers would have to endure in hopes of giving their families better life and a better future.
So the next time you wonder what’s in store for you abroad, think about these things and ask yourself, “Am I ready to give these up?”
Special thanks to PINOY PHOTOGRAPHER for the main image.