Indeed, one of the Philippines greatest pride are the Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWS). Millions of Filipinos are working abroad aiming for good life and bright future for their loved ones. Thank God for technology! Skype, Facebook and other communication tools are here to keep in touch with families while thousands of miles away from home.
Filipinos are known for special unique traits and values such as having strong family ties, being respectful, loving and caring. I, as part of the million OFWs, always think of our families back home. Aside from sending monthly remittance, OFWs, connect with their families not just through communication but through balikbayan boxes. A balikbayan box is a box which contains non-perishable items sent by Filipinos working abroad to their loved-ones within the Philippines.
Here in Dubai, you would not see fellow “kabayans” flats or apartments without balikbayan boxes. These boxes are slowly fill with all the items and gifts they wish to send until they are full and ready to go. While filling the box, we put name labels of each and every item be it for the wife or husband, kids, parents, siblings, and sometimes even for aunts and uncle, nephews, nieces and cousins. While filling the box, we think of our loved ones back home, figuring out their size of shirts or shoes, the clothes or dresses that would perfectly fit them, the smell of perfumes that they would love, the chocolates that they would like, the toys that they would enjoy, and the canned goods such as corned beef and spam that would last for couple of weeks. While filling the box, the vein of excitement runs through every OFWs knowing that despite of sacrifices and hardships, our thoughts would reach them no matter how far we are. Yes, we, the OFWs put our hearts in those boxes because from a distance, we could see our families’ precious smiles. It is Love and it’s priceless.
By: Joyce Villalino