WorkAbroad Philippines: A Glimpse at the Lives of Overseas Filipino Workers

WorkAbroad Philippines: A Glimpse at the Lives of Overseas Filipino Workers


Date Posted: December 21, 2018

Electronic products, transport equipment, precious metals, oils, and fruits – these are some of the Philippines’ primary export. Despite the high dollar value that each of these contributes, none of them are considered the country’s top export. The country’s top and most successful export has been and will continue to be its people. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or those from the Philippines who work abroad are regarded as the modern heroes of the country not just because of the sacrifice they make to lift their families out of poverty and better their economic status. They are also known to be the biggest export earners and among the largest contributors to the growth of the Philippine economy.

OFWs aid the country’s economy through their remittances or the portion of their salary that they send to their loved ones in the Philippines. All the money is sent through the international banking system and is immediately recorded in the country’s balance of payments. Once the money gets into the country and in the hands of the intended receiver, it then starts to impact the national economy. There are many ways remittances influence the economy, but the most noticeable and desirable one is its contribution to the rising living standards in the country.

Families who receive money from relatives who work abroad are given more purchasing power, which then improves domestic consumption – one of the key factors in the growth of the economy. Although most OFWs send money so that their families can maintain a certain standard of living, there are families that have sources of domestic income and use remittances solely for the improvement of their lives. They put the money into investments, home improvements, and high-quality education. Simply put, a lot of opportunities are opened for these families due solely to the remittances.

People from the Philippines who work abroad are deemed heroes because of their contributions to both their families and the economy. They are highly commended for what they do and put on a pedestal by some, which is why so many desire to become OFWs. There is, however, more to being an OFW that people don’t know about and that’s exactly what we aim to shed some light on today. Simply read more as we take a glimpse into the lives of overseas Filipino workers!

4 Misconceptions About Working Abroad

Filipinos have many misconceptions about working abroad. We aim to put these false notions to rest and paint you a realistic picture of what it’s like working in another land.

Working abroad means earning in dollars, yens, euros, dinars and other types of foreign currency. This also means that, when converted to Philippine peso, it’s sure to be more than what you can earn in the country. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Income isn’t always as big as people imagine or like it to be.

There may be people who earn six figures and have more than enough to enjoy life and provide for their families but the majority only earn enough to scrape by life – much like those that are working in the Philippines.

In line with earning huge amounts of money, people think that it’s easier to save up when you’re overseas, but this isn’t always the case. You have to keep in mind that the cost of living is much higher abroad than it is in the Philippines. When you add to that the fact that most of the money that OFWs earn is sent to their families, you can see that they aren’t any more capable of saving money than local workers.

Statistics indicate that only about 36% of OFWs have savings. The good news, though, is that these numbers seem to be on the rise and more and more OFWs are prioritizing savings over other things.

Many believe that working abroad is an instant and direct road to fame and fortune and that people won’t amount to anything if they continue to work in the country. Although there is some truth in the fact that it is easier to gain riches overseas, it isn’t always the case.

Not all people from the Philippines that work abroad end up flush with cash. Most of them only earn enough to lift their families out of poverty and the next generations carry on the responsibility until they can live in comfort.

Life abroad should be guaranteed to be better than life in the Philippines. Just think about it, those from the Philippines who work abroad don’t have to suffer through traffic, pollution, corruption, poverty, and such. All those may be true but, again, not all the time.

Every country has its fair share of troubles that the people living and working in it must struggle with every day. So if you think that life overseas is all nice and easy, it isn’t. But then again, neither is life in the Philippines.

We’ve long since looked at life and work abroad in rose-colored glasses when the truth isn’t actually as pretty and inviting. These misconceptions have long since bothered OFWs, so we hope that you cast them away and realize the truth about working abroad.

  • Income is better abroad
  • Saving money easier overseas
  • Working abroad is a direct road to riches
  • Life is guaranteed to be better abroad

3 Difficulties Faced by People Who Work Abroad

Many so easily assume that working abroad is much easier when the truth is that people from the Philippines who work abroad face a lot of difficulties in their daily lives. We’ve listed what these things are so you can be aware of what to expect before you actually start working abroad!

Cultural differences are sure to make your life abroad a lot harder than it already is. Even if you happen to work for your countrymen overseas, you still have to adjust to the culture of the country to not offend anyone. Your habits, both at work and on the daily, may also need to change in order to live

You may have to change the way you speak and act in order to fit in with the populace. harmoniously with the locals. An example of this would be the average Filipino’s habit of beating around the bush. Some countries prefer being much direct and getting straight to the point as it saves more time. Throwing small pieces of trash is also a good example because while that’s only looked down upon in the Philippines, it’s actually illegal in others.

Adjusting to the local culture may be difficult, but we assure that you won’t have to struggle with it for a long time. As long as you’re willing to make the necessary changes, you’re going to find working abroad a lot easier.

The language barrier is perhaps the most obvious thing that you’re going to have difficulty with when working abroad, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. A lot of people from the Philippines who work abroad have some level of English language mastery and fluency and, for the most part, it's enough. The majority of the countries that OFWs work at are English-speaking countries such as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the USA, so there’s really no need to worry about not being able to understand the people around you.

Language only starts to become a problem if you’re planning to work on non-English speaking countries such as Korea and Japan if you have very little knowledge and low mastery and fluency of English. If that’s the case, then you’re sure to run into some trouble whether it be within or outside work.

On the bright side, living and working abroad is going to allow you to hone your language skills. You’ll be speaking the local tongue in no time, given, of course, that you put effort into learning it. So even if the language is one of the most obvious things you’re going to face, it definitely is also one of the easiest to overcome. It’s easier to learn something than it is to unlearn another

The biggest thing that people who work abroad struggle with every single day is homesickness. Working abroad often means leaving your loved ones behind, may that be family, friends, and significant others. In return for giving them the best life possible, you must learn how to deal with missing out on important milestones and celebrations. Birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations – you might not be able to attend these things and that can be tough and heartbreaking.

If there’s one thing you can be thankful for, it’s the invention of the internet and social networking and messaging apps. These things have bridged the gap between relatives living away from each other. Sometimes, though, it’s not enough to just see them through a screen. You are going to crave physical affection and actual acts of kindness. Hugs, pats on the back, and kisses that used to lighten up your day won’t be there when you need them. Even the things that your loved ones did such as cooking your food, giving you surprises, and watching movies are surely going to be missed. Homesickness tough to deal with, but if you learn how to cope and battle through it, then you’re going to be able to come out of it a much stronger person who has a great chance of attaining success.

  • Intense culture shock
  • Language barrier
  • Being away from loved ones

7 Reasons People from the Philippines Work Abroad

There are people from the Philippines who work abroad without knowing the realities of being an OFW. There are also those who still push through despite knowing the truth about it. When asked, they’d be able to give you countless reasons, but we have the most common ones listed in this section. You can also view this as reasons as to why you should consider working abroad!

Unemployment rates are at an all-time high. There are more people in the Philippines looking for jobs overseas and in the country, but few are available to them. This has been a chronic problem for the country as millions of college graduates enter the labor force yearly and increase the level of competition among Filipinos. Due to the lack of regular employment locally, people are trying their luck by working overseas where there’s a lot more in store.

Aside from the low employment rates in the country, many of the employment opportunities simply don’t offer good incomes, salaries, and benefits. While some people are willing to settle, many refuse to work under such harsh conditions, so they decide to work abroad. Regardless of the job, it’s almost always guaranteed that the packages are better overseas even if actual work conditions may not differ much.

OFWs receive more support from the government than actual employees that work in the country. This may be mostly because of their great contributions to the Philippine economy. They are covered by better labor protection and are offered better healthcare and insurance plans. There are also benefits that only they can take advantage of such as special hotel offers, special lanes in airports, and even front-row seats on some local shows.

Building up your resume with global experience can certainly give you an edge in this cut-throat and competitive world. Your time abroad is sure to broaden your horizons, expand your understanding of the world, and give you the skills that are required in the global economy. It also shows to your future employers that you have the ability to adapt to different workplaces and cultures – something that is desired by many.

Working abroad is definitely the best opportunity for you to travel abroad and go on different adventures. You’re going to meet new people, discover new places, appreciate different cultures, and experience various traditions and ways of life. These are things you’re going to forever keep in your memories and also share with your friends and loved ones at home.

One of the biggest reasons people from the Philippines work abroad is their desire to help their family members and make their lives a little easier and comfortable. Sad as it may be to admit, this is something that you won’t be able to do so easily if you worked in the Philippines, which is why so many choose to go abroad. On top of earning more money to send to their families, they also hope to someday bring their loved ones with them abroad.

For many, working abroad is a necessity and the only option they can take in order to make life better for their relatives. For a select few, however, working overseas is the road to realizing their childhood dream. With the opportunity to earn more and the different possibilities of advancement, they’d be able to buy their own houses, cars, businesses, and other things that they’ve wished for as a child.

Despite the difficulties that come with it, working abroad definitely comes with a lot of benefits that many have seen and decided to take advantage of. Even though it is a necessity to many, it means the fulfillment of a dream for some!

  • Availability of employment abroad
  • Higher incomes, salaries, and benefits
  • Better government support for OFWs
  • Improves professional marketability
  • Love for travel and adventure
  • The desire to help family members
  • Achieving a childhood dream

8 Ways to Prepare for Life and Work Abroad

If you’re already set on living and working abroad, then we leave you with these brief tips on how to prepare for your new adventure!

  • Research about your destination and learn about its culture and people in order to avoid culture shock.
  • Open your mind to the many possibilities that come with working in a foreign country
  • Learn how to budget since you won’t have as much money to spare and no one’s going to be there to support you financially
  • Be willing to make changes that are going to help you live a better life abroad.
  • Start building your network way before you leave for your work through family and friends who may know people who live in your destination.
  • Make a bucket list of things you want to do, the food you want to try, and places you want to go to and let that serve as your daily motivation – aside from your family back home, of course.
  • Prioritize your own well-being instead of your family back at home because falling ill means not having the capacity to help them at all.

Workabroad.ph: The Best Site to Find the Perfect Work Abroad!

Working abroad certainly is an attractive venture that offers a lot of benefits. It’s going to help you give your family a better life and also allows you to achieve things you wouldn’t be able to if you stayed in the Philippines. That said, it isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. You are going to face problems on the daily may it be in life or work. If you’re prepared and dedicated to overcoming these things and enjoying life abroad to the fullest, then you’re sure to achieve success overseas.

For people from the Philippines who want to work abroad, we have the best site for you to find the perfect overseas job opportunities while in the Philippines – WorkAbroad.ph! We are the leading overseas job site in the Philippines which everyone can easily use. All you have to do is upload your resume, apply for jobs, and wait for the responses of employers. We’ll even give you some updates on the latest job hiring trends overseas as additional help!

Interested? Head to this page now and let us help you find the perfect work abroad!


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