A blessed day to you and to all my fellow migrants in Taiwan. Your April 15, 2007 issue was the very first copy of Taiwan News that I had ever read. I was inspired by it. I would like to share my pains and struggles with your readers. I am certain that many of them could relate to my personal experiences.
I had never imagined myself working overseas. When I was younger, I had dreamt of becoming a teacher or journalist. I was not able to finish my studies though.
This handicap - the absence of a college degree - did not deter me from pursuing a productive career. I was quite blessed since I bagged a good job. I worked hard and was very focused. I had faith in myself. My efforts paid off. The company noticed my performance and I eventually got promoted. I was at the peak of my career.
After working in the said company for four years, I quit my job to put up my own business. I was confident I would be able to make it. I was ready to be my own boss.
Since I had inadequate capital, I applied for a bank loan. To secure a line of credit, I used my parents' house and lot as collateral. The loan that I got however was still insufficient. Hence, I secured another loan from a financing institution.
A year after starting my own venture, things were looking pretty bleak. My business was not doing well. I was having problems paying back my loans. I started issuing post-dated checks to my suppliers. The cash flow was really bad.
Two years later, my business went under. In addition to losing my company, I also had to deal with several unpaid debts. Many of the checks that I issued bounced. I spent so many sleepless and tear-filled nights during that period. To make matters worse, my husband and I were constantly bickering. I was not only financially ruined, I was also an emotional wreck. I had brought so much shame upon my family. I only had myself to blame.
Depressed, I withdrew from society. I did not want to speak with anyone. I avoided people. At the time, I only wanted to disappear. I was feeling so low that I asked God, "Why do I have to go through all this?"
My faith however kept me together. I refused to lose hope because I knew it was the only thing that I had left.
Following a few months of pain and agony, I realized that my failed business did not necessarily mean that I was a failure. Yes, I had made some terrible mistakes. Those mistakes however had made me a better and stronger person.
In July 2006, I was deployed to Taiwan. To me, Taiwan symbolizes a fresh start. It also represents a new chapter in my life. I know that this path would also likely be riddled with trials and failures. I would however not let those difficulties deter me from climbing the ladder of success.
It has been nine months since I have started working in Taiwan. During that period, I have come to realize that overseas employment really comes at a steep price.
I have already started paying back my loans. I know it would take me years before I could settle them all but I am optimistic. My husband is currently working in Dubai. We may be thousands of miles away from each other but the Internet and our cell phones have kept us connected.
Thank you Kabayan for giving me the chance to share my story with our fellow workers. I hope that I would be able to touch the hearts of others through this letter. God bless and more power!
A mother's prayer
I have decided to work overseas to fulfill my loved ones' dreams. My son was only four months old when I left our homeland in search of greener pastures abroad. I was convinced I was doing the right thing.
I was wrong.
To this day, I regret my decision. Leaving my son - my family - has been one huge mistake. Migration has ruptured my relationship with my husband. When a marriage crumbles, the children are the first ones to suffer.
To those who have "abandoned" their families, please always remember your kids. Pray that you would never hear them say, "I had a miserable childhood" or "I never enjoyed my youth." Pray that your children would never grow to hate you.
Mistakes however are lessons to be learned. The Lord is a compassionate God. He is a God of second chances. Right now, I am doing my best raising my kid away from home. I communicate with him constantly. I always tell my son that I am here for him at all times and that he is never alone.
DEAR LIBRA GIRL,
One of our letter-senders, Flordeliza, is offering you and other migrant moms this wonderful poem. Kakaiyak naman.
Greatest mother on earth
Kabayan has been a part of my life for two years now. You have helped ease my boredom. Through this newspaper, I have also met so many friends.
Through Kabayan, I would like to share this poem with your readers. I am dedicating it to all mothers.
To the greatest mothers on earth, this poem is for you. I know you are feeling so much pain right now because you are away from your kids. Sa aking pagpunta dito, isa lamang ang aking natutunan: Hindi kayang bayaran o pantayan ng salapi ang ligayang ating nararamdaman sa piling ng mga mahal natin sa buhay. To moms like me, no pain is greater than the pain of being separated from our children. We have no choice. We have to make this sacrifice for the sake of our kids. We all want them to have a brighter future.
By Flordeliza Gamboa
Hindi pa man isinisilang, iniingatan
Sa sinapupuna'y dala ng siyam na buwan
Di inalintana, hirap at sakit na
Tanging inaasam, mahal na anak ay
Sa pagmulat ng mata, mula ng iluwal
Larawan mo ina ang aming namalayan
Kapiling tuwina, sa ami'y gumagabay
Kahit sariling buhay ay handang ialay.
Sa bawat paghikbi, anak na nasa duyan
Ina ay naroon upang bunso'y daluhan
Kahit pa pagal o mata'y luhaan
Ngiti sa kanyang labi'y laging nakasilay.
Bunso'y pinaghehele, sa
Iiwihin sa awiting puno ng pagmamahal
Anak na nagmamaktol di pababayaan
Dudulutan ng saya't ligayang walang
Lumaki't nagkaisip, ina pa rin ang
Sa mga sulirani'y siya ang takbuhan
Mga pangangailangan lahat ibinibigay
Supling na iniirog, di pagdadamutan.
Kahit alipustahin o ituring na basahan
Lahat titiisin para sa iyong kinabukasan
Masadlak man buong buhay sa
Mahalaga'y madala ang anak sa
Sa bawat pagkakamali ng bunsong
Pang-unawa sa tuwina'y iyong nilalaan
Gaano man kabigat nagawang kasalanan
Kapatawaran ay laging nakakamtan.
Sakripisyo ni ina ay walang kapantay
Mga pagtitiis walang kabayaran
Puso niya'y walang kasing dalisay
Wagas na pag-ibig, ina lang ang
Ina katumbas mo'y kayamanang
Natatanging biyaya mula sa Maykapal
Anghel na pinababa upang
Magsilbing ilaw sa landasing daraanan.
Kadakilaan mo ina aking ipagsisigawan
Pakamamahalin ka't ikararangal
Ika'y idadambana, pangalawa sa Poong
Ginintuang puso'y pakaiingatan
Buong buhay na pasasalamatan.
Book club update
I am forwarding some of the letters of our Kabayan Book Club donors and recipients.
We already sent some reading materials to Genelyn of Tainan City and Jennifer of Sanchong City. Guida, one of our wonderful and regular book donors, even rang me to say that she does not want to receive any reading materials since she does not have time to read them. She has a busy work schedule. I would like to thank Guida and our fellow overseas Filipino workers for their kindess.
ED AND MAY
DEAR KABAYAN ED AND MAY,
You are doing such a wonderful job. Thank you both! Here are the letters that Kabayan Ed has forwarded us:
DEAR TITO ED,
Christian greetings to you! I hope that you are in good health through the guidance of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I just received a copy of Kabayan last week and I read your letter to Guida of Taipei. I am hoping that you could send me some reading materials. I am working in Tainan City. I am not getting any days off and I work 16 hours a day. I am also not allowed to go out, to talk to our neighbors, to have friends, and to use a cell phone. My only companion here is a radio that I bought with my own money. If I need to buy something, my employer will get it for me.
I hope you can send me some books. I have enclosed my Chinese address and NT$100 for stamps. Thanks! More power and God bless.
DEAR DR. AND MRS. LEANO,
Kumusta po? I'm very sorry for not returning the magazines at once as I had promised. My work has been keeping me busy.
Thank you for forwarding my letter to Kabayan. I was waiting for my Taiwan News when I learned that my letter had been published. My friends in our area were so happy. They enjoyed reading it. My friend, Liza dela Cruz, even texted me, saying "I read your name in Kabayan."
Tito Ed, I am sending you some booklets given to me by Mr. Stanley Liu, a psychologist and medical student from Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
I would like to thank my friends namely Esther Garsuta, Lisa Cablayda, and Arlene for making copies of those booklets at a convenience store in our area. I hope our fellow OFWs will find these useful.
I would also like to extend my greetings to friends who are supporting the book club namely Gladys, Paz, Susan, Oliver and Beth.
Thank you po and God bless.
DEAR KUYA ED,
More blessings, strength and perseverance po sa inyo. Marami pong salamat. Marami po kayong matutulungan na katulad ko na walang day off. (You are helping a lot of migrants who are not getting any days off.) Sana makatulong po itong babasahin na pinadala ko. I have already read those and I want to share them with my fellow workers. God bless you and your family.
MARY ANN CONDE
DEAR TITO ED,
A pleasant day to you. Sumulat po ako sa inyo para humingi ng reading materials na maari kong mabasa. Tulad po ng mga maraming workers dito sa Taiwan, hindi ako binibigyan ng amo ko ng day off at bawal din ang cell phone. Malungkot po ang ganitong buhay. Kaya lang kailangang magtiis dahil mas mahirap ang buhay sa Pinas. (I am also not getting any days off.) Thanks po in advance.
Kabayan Ed and his wife are reviving our book club! If you want to donate or receive books and mags (don't forget to enclose the appropriate amount of stamps), just write Kabayan Ed at:
Dr. Eduardo M. Leano
Department of Aquaculture
National Taiwan Ocean University
2 Pei-Ning Road, Keelung 202, Taiwan
Get some free souvenirs from Radio Taiwan International's "Listener's Corner!" To get your free gift, just tell us what you think about our radio program. Send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kabayan's Listener's Corner, a Filipino program produced by Radio Taiwan International, is aired every Thursday night from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at AM747 and AM927. The program is replayed every Saturday. Send your requests, comments, and suggestions to:
c/o Radio Taiwan International
P.O. Box 24-38 Taipei, Taiwan
Calling all Filipino students in Taiwan! You are all invited to join our student network. This is open to high school, language course, graduate, and post-graduate students. For inquiries, contact Mon Lopez at (M) 0926-067-304 or email@example.com.
Send your letters to:
Kabayan c/o Taiwan News
No. 88, 7F, Xinyi Rd., Sec. 2,
Taipei City 106
Letters should include your full name, address, and telephone number. Names may be withheld upon request. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.