Manigong Bagong Taon po sa inyong lahat! May you have a joyous, peaceful and prosperous 2008!
As I have announced last Sunday, this issue will be Kabayan's last hurrah. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong pagmamahal, pagmamalasakit at pagtangkilik. Hinding-hindi ko po kayo malilimutan. Thank you Father Joy, Liza of Kaohsiung, Nitz Frondarina, Yssa of Tochan City, Edcel Benosa, Nilda, Gizel of KaSaPi (and the entire KaSaPi family), Aileen Noriega, Wu Jing-ru of TIWA, Lorna Kung, Ryan Acenas, Eva Salazar-Liu, Mrs. Isabel Golamco, Pastor Paul Ko, Nely Shih of TIC, Ambassador Antonio Basilio, Father Bruno,Father Eamon, Sister Doris, Glo of the OFW Family Club, Dr. Rosario Dureza-Lim, Kabayan Ed and May, and Paula of RTI for texting and e-mailing me last week. Pinaiyak nyo na naman ako! I was so overwhelmed.
This New Year, let us spread our wings and chase our dreams. Mabuhay po kayo!
OFW Family Club
Your section has brought joy to countless individuals, especially those in despair and in dire need of encouragement. I was one of them.
The letters of our fellow migrants have touched my heart. Their inspiring stories have also made me realize that if they were able to do it, I could do it too. (Rebecca's life story had been featured in Kabayan earlier this year. Her father went blind, her brother-in-law lost one of his legs, her mother had a kidney ailment, and one of her brothers had a cleft palate. Her parents were fisherfolks. Most of her wages went to her loved ones' hospital bills. Her NT$500 monthly allowance went to her phone cards and jen ju nai cha or tapioca and milk tea budget, she said. - Marie)
I took the fly-now-pay-later plan before getting deployed to Taiwan. My fees were deducted from my monthly wages. I did not mind the arrangement. I believed that Taiwan was my stepping stone to a better life.
When I finally reached Taiwan, I was surprised to learn that I was required to serve three employers. I was required to spend 10 days in each employer's residence each month, and look after a 92-year-old gentleman and my employers' children. Ahkong sometimes hit me. He also made me sleep outside the apartment a few times. In such cases, I had no choice but to sleep on a chair. I prayed that God would give me the courage to continue.
It dawned on me that I was not alone. In Kabayan, I discovered that there were other distressed migrants like me. I soldiered on and completed my first three-year employment contract.
I applied for a Taiwan job again. This time, I am more fortunate. My employers are very kind and understanding.
Life however is still full of trials. My father passed on last year, and one of my brothers was injured in an incident. Someone smashed his face with a rock, breaking his nose. I was completely broke at the time. I was too embarrassed to ask my employer for a cash advance loan. I did not want to ruin our smooth and cordial relationship. My husband gave me nothing. Instead of feeling sorry for my family, he was furious that my wages went to my family. I found my husband's accusations hurtful. I did my best to take care of him and our daughter. My wages bought them a small home, a tricycle and some basic appliances.
I had no one to turn to.
In my desperation, I turned to the Overseas Filipino Workers' Family Club. I phoned our former president, Ellen Panaligan. To my surprise, Ms. Panaligan wired money to my family. The money went to my brother's medication. With the help of the OFW Family Club, my brother's injuries got treated.
To the officers and members of the OFW Family Club in Taiwan and to the group's founder, Ambassador Roy Seneres, thank you so much! I will forever be grateful to you.
I would also like to thank Samahang Makata International's officers and members. Your poems have lifted our spirits.
Thank you Father Joy and Kabayan Marie. Thank you to all those individuals who have served as God's instruments. I would like to thank my employers for their generosity and compassion. They have even given me a raise and gifted me with pieces of jewelry. My bosses even gave me an expensive watch!
In God's perfect time, everything will find its rightful place. Do not lose hope, my fellow migrants. Cling to God, and He will bless your life.
Finding a soulmate
I have recently returned to our beloved country, the Philippines. I still however get to read Kabayan by logging on to www.taiwannews.com.tw. Today's technology has really made the world a smaller place.
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to you Kabayan for Pinoy Text Club. Through PTC, I have made a lot of friends including Nilda, Jane, Nitz, Liza, my pamangkin Ren, and most especially, Nel.
PTC has been a blessing to OFWs in Taiwan, particularly to those who are not getting any time off. Through PTC, we get to build circles of friendship all over Taiwan.
Let me share with you one of my heartwarming PTC stories.
I have to admit that I sent a text message to PTC out of curiosity. I wanted to know if it really worked. To my great surprise, a lot of people started sending me text messages just a few days following my message's publication. Some even rang me. Out of those numerous texters, only a precious few kept in touch with me.
My most precious textmate is a gentleman named Nel. We have been texting each other for three months now. We have yet to meet but despite that, we have become fast friends. I have to admit that I have fallen for him, and this is something that has rarely happened to me. I am not gullible. One failed marriage could do that to you. My ex-husband and I parted ways 10 years ago. You get a bit jaded after that.
A romantic relationship with Nel however is out of the question. He is married and I am engaged to another man. For the first time in my life, I have found myself in an impossible situation. And so, Nelson and I have remained friends. We are both realistic, and we know where our priorities lie.
To this day, we still e-mail or send text-messages to each other. I am glad that I sent that text message to PTC. I have met so many special people through that section.
Nelson, thank you for the friendship. Please remain faithful to your wife. Always remember that being a father to your kids is the best thing that has ever happened to you.
To my fellow Pinoys in Taiwan, especially to our PTC friends: Be true to yourself and your textmates. If you do, you would find your PTC gems. I did.
A sweet thank-you
I discovered Kabayan last March. I bought the last copy of the Taiwan News at a convenience store near my boss' residence and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the "Kabayan" section. This is a wonderful idea. I know producing a section like Kabayan is no easy feat. I am proud to say though that this is the heart of the Taiwan News.
I hope Kabayan will go international and serve and inform migrants all over the world. You have made this happen in Taiwan, and I am pretty sure that you would be able to replicate your success in other parts of the world.
I am leaving Taiwan soon. I cannot leave however without saying "thank you" to the people behind Kabayan.
Kabayan Marie, you have made me laugh and cry by sharing the stories of my fellow Pinoys in your column. This section has made me a stronger and a more compassionate individual. I would like to thank our fellow migrants who have inspired us and lifted our spirits by sharing their experiences with us.
Father Joy, thank you for spreading the Word of God. Your column has enlightened me countless of times. You have made me a better Christian.
I am not a subscriber to the Kabayan Book Club but I would like to thank Kabayan Ed and his wife, May, for taking on this demanding task. This loving couple has made several migrants - especially home-based workers who are not getting any time off - happy by providing them with reading materials. Maraming, maraming salamat po. Sana po ay hindi kayo magsawa. Alam ko pong hindi birong trabaho iyan. (Thank you so much for reviving KBC. I hope you would not get tired of helping our fellow itinerants. I know that this is a time-consuming and exhausting undertaking.)
Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Rosario Dureza-Lim for teaching me how to pray the holy rosary. I know that I have made my late grandma proud with your help, Dr. Rosario. Now, I pray the rosary with all my heart.
I came from a religious family. In fact, I even studied at a Catholic school. I have to admit though that I used to pray the holy rosary without understanding or appreciating it. I had to memorize the mysteries and prayers since the rosary was a part of our school exams. I also used to associate prayer with punishment. When I was in grade school, mother ordered us to be home by 6 p.m. and to pray the rosary. We were also required to kneel for two hours. We were not allowed to slouch or stoop.
Dr. Rosario opened my eyes to the fact that the holy rosary is a beautiful and powerful prayer.
Thank you guys for being a part of my life. I do not know you personally but that is not important. What is important is the love and support that you are giving to each and everyone of us. I love you.
I will still be reading Kabayan online. Good luck to all of you. May God be with you always.
I am pretty sure that your words have put a big smile on the faces of Father Joy, Kabayan Ed and May, and Dr. Rosario Dureza-Lim. You just made my day! Your letter makes all the difference in the world Kat. Thank you for your kind and inspiring words.
Hello Formosa, a 60-minute show that is especially produced for Filipino workers in Taiwan, can now be heard every Thursday and Sunday. The show begins with a 20-minute news program, followed by a language program called "Chinese to go." This will be followed by a short news feature, and of course, Kabayan's 30-minute show, "Listener's Corner!"
Listener's Corner is aired in northern Taiwan every Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 88.5 FM on the Voice of Fujen University.
In central and southern Taiwan, our program is aired every Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 747 AM and from 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on 1422 AM.
Listeners who will be giving us their feedback about "Listener's Corner" will get the chance to win a gift coupon and other souvenirs from Radio Taiwan International.
To win some of our fantastic giveaways, tell us what you think about our program. Just e-mail Paula Chao at email@example.com or write her at:
Radio Taiwan International
P.O. Box, 123-199
Kabayan Book Club
Tuloy pa rin ang book club! Kabayan Ed and May will keep the Kabayan Book Club alive! This wonderful couple promises to keep on sending books, magazines and other reading materials to our fellow OFWs, particularly household workers who are not getting any days off. Thank you Ed and May. You are our kababayans' super angels!
If you want to receive books and magazines (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
No. 2, Pei-Ning Road,
Keelung City 202
A kind reminder to our book club recipients: Please promptly return those English novels to Kabayan Ed. Kabayan Ed has forwarded us these letters from club recipients and donors.
Here are my book donations to KBC. Sana makatulong sa mga kababayan natin, lalo na yung mga walang day off. Sa mga kababayan nating recipients, paki-ingatan lang po ang mga babasahin para mapakinabangan ng marami. Ipagmalasakit po natin kagaya ng mga mahahalagang bagay sa atin. Kung may punit o nalalagas ang pahina nito, paki-ayos na lang. Salamat po Sir and Ma'am sa effort ninyo para makatulong sa ating mga mahal na kababayan. May God bless your whole family at sana malusog kayong parati. (Maraming salamat Nitz sa iyong mga donasyon at sa mga payo mo sa ating mga recipients. - Ed and May)
DEAR DR. ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Merry Christmas po sa inyo! Thanks a lot po dito sa mga ipinahiram nyo sa akin. I enjoyed reading them. Pwede po ba akong makahiram ulit? Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Taiwan Review and pocketbooks po ulit if available, or Pilipino Reporter, Liwayway or any English magazines will do. (Huwag lang po entertainment, di ko po kasi kilala ang mga nandoon at hindi ko po hilig.) Pasensya na po at ang dami ko yatang request. Maraming salamat po ulit sa inyong pang-unawa. Sana po huwag kayong magsasawa. Best regards po and God bless! (Napadalhan ka na namin ng ilan sa mga hiniling mo. - Ed and May)
DEAR KABAYAN ED AND MAY,
Again, thank you so much for those books you sent us. May the good Father bless you always for helping us ease our boredom. I would like to apologize for not returning the books immediately. One of my friends returned the pocketbooks late. Could you please lend me some English novels or Reader's Digest, and some Tagalog pocketbooks for my friends? I want to share my blessings with you but I can't at the moment dahil medyo gipit pa po ako. Nagbabayad pa kasi ng utang. I hope I could contribute someday. (No problem. We are only soliciting voluntary contributions for our KBC fund. No one is obliged to make contributions. KBC has been blessed with so many kind-hearted donors that we now have loads of books. We have mailed you an English novel, Reader's Digest, and Tagalog novels. - Ed and May)
JEMMA AND FRIENDS
DEAR DR. ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Thank you very much for lending me this novel. I hope you could send me two more novels. God bless you for your love and concern for our kababayans. I would suggest that you purchase books written by Dean Koontz or Leigh Nichols. They have superb novels. More power Kabayan! (We have mailed you two English novels, one by Dean Koontz. - Ed and May)
DEAR DR. ED AND MA'AM MAY,
A blessed day to you! Thank you very much for lending me your English novels. We cried buckets of tears over D. Steel's "No Greater Love." I hope I could borrow some more books. Keep up the good work! Mabuhay po kayo! (We have mailed you two more English novels. - Ed and May).
DEAR DOK AND MA'AM MAY,
Thank you so much! Those books eased my boredom and enriched my vocabulary. More power, and may God bless you and your whole family. (Good luck on your interview. We will lend you more novels this month. - Ed and May)
DEAR KUYA ED,
I'm very sorry po talaga dahil ngayon lang ako naka-reply sa iyo. Wala akong time almost every day. Very busy sa bahay ng amo ko. I wish you would send me some magazines. Kuya, mayroon po ba kayong mga recipe books? Pahiram naman po kasi gusto ko po matuto sa pagluluto. Wala po kasi akong alam. Maraming salamat po. (Pinadalhan ka na namin ng mga magazines at ng recipe book. - Ed and May)
SIR ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Thank you very much for sending me those articles on caregiving. Paumanhin po. Matagal bago namin naibalik itong pinahiram ninyo kay Richiel. Medyo istrikto po kasi ang employer nya. I need some reading materials such as humor or entertainment magazines. Thank you so much and God bless. (We sent you some entertainment magazines and the latest issues of Kabayan and The Migrants. - Ed and May)
DEAR DR. ED,
Thank you very much for the books that you lent me. I enjoyed reading them, especially the English novel. I am sorry it took me so long to return them. I shared them with my friends. If you have Part II of the Billionaire Boys Club, could I please borrow it? Salamat po uli and God bless! (Sorry, pero wala kaming continuation ng BCC. Pinadalhan ka na namin ng Tagalog pocketbooks at isang English novel. - Ed and May)
DEAREST SIR AND MA'AM,
Thank you so much for lending me those pocketbooks and magazines. I am sorry I was not able to return them right away. My grandmother passed away. I however will still be staying here to look after grandfather. A friend of mine also gave me some pocketbooks and I am sharing them with our kababayans.
Please lend me some useful magazines, pocketbooks, and an English-Mandarin book if possible. May the Lord bless you exceedingly and abundantly. (Thanks for the book donations. We have mailed you some English-Chinese lessons, informative magazines, and more pocketbooks. - Ed and May)
DEAR DR. ED,
Good day! May the joyful spirit of the Christmas season be with you and your family. Let me say thank you for fulfilling my request. I was so happy when I received them. I enjoyed reading The Migrants. I would like to request for some cookbooks and a copy of the recent issue of The Migrants. Thank you and God bless! (We have mailed you one cookbook and a copy of The Migrants courtesy of Ms. Nene Ho. - Ed and May)
DEAR SIR ED AND MA'AM MAY,
Christian greetings! Here are the books you lent me, thank you very much. I'm so grateful for the Grisham novel. Could you please lend me more books? (We have mailed you two new novels - one by J. Grisham. - Ed and May) Enclosed is Ate Melda's and my donation to KBC's book-buying project. Ate Melda, my neighbor and friend with whom I am sharing the books that you are lending me, voluntarily gave her donation. (Thanks for your contribution to the KBC fund. - Ed and May)
DEAR MR. AND MRS. LEANO,
Thank you for the books and the sinigang recipe. I would like to request for some more books since I really enjoy reading. I am also donating more books to KBC. It would be better if I share them with others. (Many thanks Susan for the book donations. We have mailed you two more English novels. - Ed and May).
Your book club has inspired me to start a similar club with my fellow Indonesians. I however got negative feedback since most of them are housekeepers who are not getting any time off and have very little leisure time if any. Some of their employers even commented that reading has made them (migrants) lazy. I tried to explain to them that those workers are feeling homesick. I also reminded my fellow Indonesians to finish their chores first before reading those materials that I have lent them. In fact, I only lent one book per person.
The negative feedback that I had been getting however forced me to suspend my book-lending project. Do you have any suggestions? For your information, some of those workers are allowed to go out only if they need to throw the garbage.
(Most of our KBC subscribers are housekeepers with no days off. I guess we are luckier since we have gotten such an overwhelming response from them. We understand your situation. If you have received positive feedback from one or two migrants however, we suggest that you continue what you have started for the sake of those two. Good luck! - Ed and May) Again, I want to thank you for your kindness. May God bless you all.
SUSAN LAI OF INDONESIA
Do you have any comments, suggestions or requests? Please tell us what you think. You may e-mail the Taiwan News at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also reach the paper by slow mail. Just send your letter to:
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