Each year thousands upon thousands of Filipinos go on a journey abroad in search of greener pastures. They make the difficult decision of working thousands of miles away from their families so they can earn money to provide for the needs of their loved ones. Figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that there are currently around 2.3 million OFWs working abroad. And around 53.7% of them are women. Among the millions who work abroad are mothers who make the heartbreaking decision to travel to another country leaving children back home. Here, we will share the story of an OFW mother that will inspire you.
One of the millions of moms who work abroad, away from their children, is 29-year old Angie Remollo. Angie, who works as a Business Development Executive for an E-commerce company in Dubai, has a three-year-old son she left in the Philippines. We sat down with the doting mom who talked about her experiences, the sacrifices of OFW mothers, and how she shows her love even from a distance.
How hard was it to make the decision to work abroad and leave your children in the PH? Tell us your story.
It was the biggest decision we had to make. [It came] to a point that we fought a million times and thought it through a million times as well. There was resistance from the family too and we had to defend our decision. Not everybody will understand. It was the hardest for us, for me being a mother, to not be with my only son. However I felt I needed to see the big picture – I needed to think of his future, our future.
One thing that strikes me is that, if we did not try, we would be haunted by the what ifs. “What if we tried our luck and we made it?” or “What could have been our future?” So we decided to make a plan and stick to it.
My husband and I strived very hard to find a good job so we can get our son as planned. After eight long months of working we were able to get Sean, our son, to live with us in the UAE. We were again a happy family for almost a year, but then we noticed that Sean was behind his age in development, especially in speaking.
We had to see a neuro developmental doctor who recommended that Sean undergo therapy. The cost of the therapy in the UAE was way too much and was beyond our capacity, so we had to make the decision to send Sean back home to get the therapy and schooling he needed. It has been six months since Sean left to go back home, and live away from us.
Although it is very hard for us to wake up every day away from our son who lives with my mom and sister in Dumaguete, we remind ourselves that this is for my child’s own welfare.
We have made arrangements to see him twice a year and bring him here with us during his summer break.
How has working abroad been able to help your family?
Very much! Here we are earning four times what we used to earn in the Philippines. We are able to provide the needed aid and decent living for our family especially the needs of our only son. We are able to send him to therapy every day and schooling too.
What are the challenges you have faced working abroad?
Cultural differences since we are in an Arab country. There are things we used to do in our home country that we cannot do here. At first we had to adjust but eventually we realized that we love the environment and the country itself.
How do you stay in touch with your child?
We always do video calls almost every day when we get a chance. My sister regularly sends us pictures and videos of our son. So that’s why somehow we are regularly updated of our son’s improvement.
Sean was diagnosed of having developmental delay due to his speech, so we sent him for therapy and schooling. That’s why we sent him back to the Philippines. We enrolled him to speech therapy and Occupational therapy. When we enrolled him, he didn’t know the alphabet yet and only knew several animals. After six months of therapy he is now able to sing and recite the alphabet… He also now knows many animals like cats and dogs to reptiles like gecko and other animals I don’t even know. He also loves to sing and dance.
How do you show him your love even though you can’t be there physically?
We provide my son’s needs. All these sacrifices are all for him. We make it a point to spend every weekend speaking to my family and my son on a video call. And we go home and visit him when we can and we also arrange to get him during his summer break.
What is your advice for moms (and dads) in a similar situation as yours?
For parents like us, just always be strong. Your sacrifices will pay off in time. Be with your family every chance you get and remember that your family should always come first. God is always watching us. He will be with us all the way.
Stories like Angie’s remind us that distance cannot and will never be a hindrance to a mother’s love. A parent’s love goes beyond borders and distance. It is able to overcome loneliness or homesickness. Truly, there’s nothing a parent can’t and won’t do to provide for the needs of her children and give them a better future.
Because of her inspiring story of an OFW that shows the sacrifices of being a mother, Angie has won a one-year milk supply of Enfagrow A+ Four for her son Sean.
Enfagrow A+ Four, with its special formula that contains precious MFGM and highest levels of DHA for brain development, helps moms like Angie show their love and nourish their children’s greatness even when they’re far away.