Oh Father! My Father! Bless Your Noble Soul | Pinay.com
Father’s Day is a celebration honoring all fathers, fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in every society. In the Philippines, Father’s Day is not an official holiday but it is widely observed on the 3rd Sunday of June, which falls on June 15 this year.
Our fathers are as we say, “Ang Ama ay haligi nang tahanan. Siya ay simbolo ng katatagan at katapangan.” The saying means: He is the head of the household. He is the symbol of stability and courage—the foundation of the house.
This Father’s Day, Pinay.com honors all fathers and their sacrifices. We highlight three Pinoy fathers who are away from their family and homeland on this special occasion.
CRISTOPHER BLAZA (RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA)
It was 2004, when I decided to work in the Middle East as an engineer. “Sabi ko noon, 14 years na ako nagtratrabaho, pero parang wala pa rin asenso dito sa Pilipinas.” (I said then that I had been working for 14 years but I was still not progressing here in the Philippines.) At first my family was hesitant but at the end, my wife agreed to let me go. It was a very difficult decision for me to make.
I explained to my 10-year-old daughter that I needed to leave so that we can have a big house and a car of our own. She replied crying, “hindi naman natin kailangan ng malaking bahay, basta magkakasama tayo pwede na yung maliit.” (We don’t really need a big house as long as we are together a small house will do.) I cried after she said this.
I think for all Overseas Filipino Workers, (OFWs) the first flight out of the country is mixed with excitement and loneliness. You’re excited because you want to know what will be your new environment but at the same time—lonely—because you know, you will be away from your family for a minimum of two years.
Going back to work after my first annual vacation of 30 days was the loneliest. You already knew the environment you were coming back to. You already knew who you were dealing with at work. “Masasabi mo, eto nanaman po.” (You can say—here we go again.)
My plan was to work only for two years, but now I’m on my 10th year here in the Middle East.
Through prayers and God’s will, my children are now in college. I have my own house and a car. I thank my beautiful and loving wife who has played the role of a mother and a father to my children throughout the years.
MICHAEL BELEN (CARIBBEAN ISLANDS)
Michael Belen decided to go try the cruise ship route so that he can provide for his wife and his daughter. He spoke about his work at sea, his extended family in Bicol, his earnings and his dreams for his family.
At night when he is off, he often communicates with his family via Facebook or through Skype—a bedtime routine for him.
He does not regret seeing vacationers partying out while he works hard because he understands that they work hard too. Without them, he would not have a job. One day, he says he hopes to be vacationing in a cruise ship together with his family.
As Father’s Day nears he knows that his family understands why he is away for them.
RODRIGO LOFAMIA (JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA)
I started working here in Jeddah when I was still a bachelor until I met the woman of my dreams. When we got married in 1992 we decided to start a family in the Philippines. We were blessed with a son and a daughter, but frankly, life was getting hard for us—until I’ve decided to come back and work in Jeddah on 2012.
I thought then that I would only have to stay at least ten years in Saudi Arabia but it seems like I’ll be working here more, maybe until my retirement age. This is the life of an OFW.
When I came back to Saudi, I noticed a lot of our senior kabayans around 60 years or more still working. I told myself, they should be retired. Why are they still working that hard? The answer is, “Kailangan pa kasi nilang mag stay sa work nila dahil nagpapaaral pa ng mga anak.” (They still need to stay and work because they are still sending their children to school.) You will be surprised to know that some of our oldies here are working to send their grandchildren to school. Hindi pa rin sure kung kelan sila titigil, maybe pag hindi na talaga kaya. (They are still not sure when they will stop working, maybe if they cannot take it anymore.) What a life! Sana huwag na akong umabot sa ganun. (I hope I don’t get to reach that point.)
Jennifer Bichara, our publisher’s assistant, enjoys the freedom and life of a blogger and freelance writer. Follow her blog Jenny’s Serendipity where she talks about life’s lessons.
English Translation for Quote on Slider 4: Ang isang ama handang saluhin ang kanyang anak kung ito man ay nadapa pero handang niyang damputin ito, kapag ito’y lumagapak at hindi takot na ulitin ang nagawa. Maligayang Bati sa Araw nang mga Ama! (A Dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall but instead picks you up, brush you off, and lets you try again. Happy Father’s Day.)
Jennifer Bichara is a free spirit. She is now a full-time art blogger, painter, sales agent for art pieces and a dealer of native products - one of her biggest passion besides art. Her work revolves around managing websites, writing, web content, web editing, coding, and working around WordPress themes for clients around the world. She is a champion of women's causes especially that of Filipinas and the love for art and art sake. Aside from being the Publishing Assistant of online magazine Pinay.com, Jenny is currently a member of United Women Artists Association of the Philippines (UWAAP), happy helping artists gain exposure through her blog. Here in jennysserendipity.com, her world revolves around ART and Pinay Artists of different genres.