Life of the ‘Kabayan’

To seek for better opportunities. The very reason why most, if not each, Filipinos test the waters of land and sea far away from home.

To many others who are not overseas Filipino workers or OFWs, as we call them, or those who don’t have a family or friend like them or those who don’t have a better understanding, these Kabayans mean free flowing cash, latest gadgets, imported chocolates and foods, branded clothes and shoes, etc. You name it and they got it. If they don’t, well, they’re selfish, proud, no good son, daughter, sister, brother, relative or friend. 

Not everyone knows the reason or reasons why they left the country except for wanting a greener pasteur. Not everyone knows the difficulties they went through in applying from agency to agency in and out of their hometowns praying their application requirements be complete and accepted as they may have traveled far and was almost lost or was lost with nobody to accompany them. Some might be fearful of not reaching their target destination of agency buildings that are not too accessible for safe public transportation or in  which building or agency names are too tiny and old to read and decipher and finally be back home with the confort of familiar faces and places. Not everyone knows how they wished these agencies are registered and legit and will not run away with their hard earned savings money or to some, loaned money from high interest rates lenders or lending agencies or money from selling or pawned lands, farm animals, or family members or relatives.

Surely, they had a choice, all of us have, but they chose to  sail the waves in the HOPES of a better life, career, and pay.

Not everyone knows it wasn’t easy. Who would want to work on a foreign country far away from where you grew up with family and friends who loves and cares for you. Who would want to work in a culture either there is equality or not in citizenship, religion, education or gender but existing discrimination and bullying prevails. And despite these difficulties affecting them emotionally, spiritually, physically, or financially, THEY ALL CONTINUE TO DO THEIR JOBS. That’s how FILIPINOS are, SURVIVORS.

I hope some people back home would understand the sentiments of KABAYANS and not see them as a mere instrument to gain bigger income from by overcharging in daily and usual services, expecting more than the regular payment, and implementing more taxes of what was bought from hard earned money or to some from what was asked, given, or picked up from streets. They too are humans, if they earned more than you do (surely, the work was more harder than you do),  they deserve it and more because unlike the rest in the country, THEY ARE AWAY FROM HOME.

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The Science of Reading

IT PAYS TO READ. I was not always a fan of pocketbooks, newspapers, much more textbooks. But my aunt used to write in her letters, READ THESE…

In my gradeschool days, I bought a short story book but I never finished reading it. Some words are difficult for me to understand. I tried reading a dictionary hoping it would expand my vocabulary, so would my aunt say, but i can’t finish reading one page. My eyes would be heavy from looking at the words that seemed so small and reading out loud won’t help. I don’t even know the correct pronunciation of these words much more memorize its meaning and spelling so I just simply STOPPED.

Each year, she would bring home pocketbooks of all sorts from romance to science fiction and of course, the popular, Reader’s Digest magazines. It’s cheap in the States, she adds. And I remember in her letters she would always insert newspaper clippings of what she read like about health updates. I find it weird in a way instead of inserting cash for example or pictures, we would find those. I don’t read them although I was told by my mother and sister what it was all about.

I’d rather play with my treasured toys or watch my favorite t.v. channels. Why read when I can see people and places on tv with colors and sounds? Why use my imagination reading fictional books or educational books when I can do other things? Well, if it was a comic magazine or showbiz magazine, definitely I have time, stories are short and simple and with lots of pictures.

But times have changed. If only I had trained myself reading books, I would have learned how to read fast and probably have a better understanding. It could have been beneficial in my college days when we were asked to read chapters and chapters from textbooks in an hour or two. It could have been an advantage if I were to take an English Proficiency Test as it has a reading section.

Nevertheless, I have embraced the science of reading when I was working. Just to pass time, I thought. Eventually, with the first novel that I have read and finished reading willingly, Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, I fell in love with reading itself. I won’t buy books as it’s impractical for me and I won’t read the same book twice, so my friends would lend me theirs. And this was the start of my reading escapades. As long as I don’t have work, I read and read.

And so, I encourage you as well, reading won’t just bring you in another world of love, thrill or grief as it keeps your emotions checked but it will open doors and windows of wisdom and information. READ VARIETIES OF READING MATERIALS, whatever is convenient and accessible to you. READ FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES, published or researched, posted, etc.By whatever means, open yours eyes and read. There are a lot to read everywhere. Don’t be a victim of ignorance as IT ALWAYS PAY TO READ.