Testimonial of a Filipino Migrant

Note: This is a true story. The name of the author is withheld to protect his privacy.

I. Introduction

This is a testimonial of a Filipino Family who decided to migrate to New Zealand. This is not very unusual, most Filipinos want to leave beloved Philippines to find a greener pasture, and live a better life.

If you don’t know how life goes on in the Philippines, you might be asking why? If you do know, you will be able to understand the exodus of Filipinos out of their country. This is the very reason why there are about eight ( 8 ) million Overseas Filipino Workers are spread out worldwide.

Not all fate though are created equal. Some succeed, some are not lucky enough and some even have to lose their lives. If only the Philippine government provides just a little bit of concern to their citizens through creation of job opportunities then its poor citizenry will not even think of leaving their own country. If they do, probably, it will only for pleasure and not to earn a living.

This Filipino is not different from the others, a little bit lucky though to be able to settle in a foreign country and find a good job. It was not achieved overnight though. It was only through patience and willingness to succeed that help him achieve his fate. That is the purpose of this testimonial, to share his experiences to serve as an inspiration and lesson for others who want to migrate to other countries and leave hopeless Philippines under the pity of the insatiable politicians.

II. Primary Reasons to Migrate

After years of working in the Middle East, I was tired of the environment. I decided to migrate to a western country together with my family rather than settle in the Philippines where only the POLITICIANS and the RICH are capable of living a comfortable life.

III. Other Reasons

I planned to put my family savings into a business in the Philippines but what business do I have to start? Most businesses are already monopolized by the Rich and Famous. Only a backyard business will be suitable for me. Worst, the government doesn’t even have a clear-cut re-integration program for OFWs like me. After decades of being outside the Philippines, I am not anymore familiar with the procedures of the government with the numerous laws being promulgated by the so called Politicians.

Aside from the GOVERNMENT procedural problems and red-tapes, CRIME is also a problem. My daughter was taking her snack at a burger station in front of her school when she was knife-pointed by a snatcher. She have just given her mobile phone to avoid being hurt. Worse, place of incident is just 50 meters away from a Police Station. This is a very simple incident compared to the high profile crimes of kidnapping.

I was happy that the GOVERNMENT is taking steps to reduce crime rate but this did not persuade me to stay in the Philippines.

IV. My Options

To live a comfortable life, going into business is the best option, however, where will I put my business (assuming that I have gone through the tough processing of my business papers)? Metro Manila or in the Provinces? You might say Metro Manila is the best place. I agree with you but I could not afford the high cost of renting an office or a space for my business (again this is because of the monopoly). My savings will not be enough. So I have to find a place in the Provinces.

The place is cheap and the initial investment is not as high as in Metro Manila. It is a fact though, that the revenue may not be comparable to Metro Manila. But what is waiting for me in there? There is a new kind of tax I need to pay. It’s the revolutionary tax of the leftist group, that if I will not give in, surely my business will go down to ashes. I really don’t have options left that why is decided to leave the Philippines (for good?).

V. No Options Left

I have no more options left but to leave the Philippines with my family, start a new life in a country where I will be accepted as a resident or as a citizen, where RED-TAPE or CORRUPTION is not a culture in the government, where CRIME is minimal, and where my family could leave a PEACEFUL COMFORTABLE life.

VI. Culture Shock

We were lucky enough to acquire permanent residency in New Zealand, the country we have chosen to live, through an AGENT whom we paid to do the processing in our behalf.

It is actually the first time that my family is leaving beloved Philippines, go to a country we don’t actually know what is waiting for us. Based on statistics however, the country we are going is far better than beloved Philippines in terms of governance, life comfort and crime rates. Racial discrimination? We still don’t know. Some people say, the citizens are friendly. We actually don’t have any concrete basis on this very important matter. But still, we want to give it a try. There is no place on earth where someone could live totally in peace. Only in heaven that someone can have that total experience.

We enrolled our children the next day after our arrival. Immigration laws requires us to do so. My youngest child, then only in primary grade in the Philippines, was actually shocked on his first day in school. He is not able to express himself in his classmates’ language, though he could understand them a little bit. Well, probably of the TWANG not on the language itself. This makes him an easy target of bullying. He was able to adapt easily though, just after a few months, someone could not determine that he was just a new comer. The twang, the language, he learned them. At this time, he is accepted to the ‘group’.

VII. Job Hunting

While still in the Philippines, I already kept trying to apply on-line for possible works. That is the beauty of technology. Communication became faster and cheaper. Some companies have shown interest on my profile, but sad to say that every time I say, I am still in the Philippines, I got no more responses. These companies just don’t want to waste time and effort for someone who will not be able to report for a personal interview or report for work the time they need him. In short, I was not able to succeed. One company however was patient enough to wait till I will arrive.

The following Monday upon our arrival, I did not waste anymore time reporting to the said company. I was amused but not quite. All I thought, I applied directly to a company which will employ me, it’s not. It is an Employment Agency that is waiting for me. As a standard procedure anywhere, I filled up my application form and waited for my Career Consultant. Most of the time, I really could not understand her because she is eating her words and talks very fast. It’s just her lips that I am reading. She informed me that she will be sending me to a company which needs my services. When? She will give me call. I just can’t imagine, I was just new and now I will be able to get a job. Not just a job but a job related to my work experiences. I am supposed to celebrate, but when I got her call, she informed me that the company where I am supposed to work have re-organized due to company takeover. My supposed position became redundant. In other words, no more job waiting for me.

I did not lose hope. I told to myself, I can have a job very soon. I read the Classified Advertisement in every newspaper that came to my hand. I browse the internet. I will do everything that will help me find a job. Unfortunately, every time I send my application, I almost always get similar responses, that I am not qualified for the position I am applying for. I asked myself, how could I not be qualified for such position, I have been doing that kind of job for more than two(2)decades now. The only problem I know is that, I don’t have my qualifications or registration in this country where I choose to live. Some responses are civil enough to say “…. there are other applicants more qualified for the position….however, this does not reflect your actual qualifications….”. It is still the same carriage with a different horse.

We came to know of other Filipinos around the community. Some are Engineers, Doctors, Teachers, etc. Tell me the profession you know and they are here. I belong to the first group. I am a duly registered Professional Engineer in our beloved Philippines. These Filipinos are content being in the “Labor” group in the companies they are working. But mind you, their pay was far better than the pay they might be receiving if they should have been working in the Philippines. This was the time I realized that I need to reduce my standards in job hunting. In two weeks time, I got my first job. Yes, you’re right, not as an Engineer but as a factory worker. Throughout my career, this was the very first time that I will be doing such a job. With my qualifications, my manager was kind enough to give me a starting salary much higher than usual and even much higher than some other long time permanent employees. I know because these are buzz words within the factory floor.

I am still sending my applications on-line. I still want to practice my profession. I am still not losing hope. Actually, I am having my school records evaluated by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to determine if my degree is comparable to a similar degree in my adopted country.This is the process that most Filipinos do not want to undertake that is why they are contented with the kind of works they now have.

VIII. Patience

I accepted my first job offer not because I like it but because I need it for my family to survive. It is true, we just can’t rely on our savings indefinitely. At least, we have an income to supplement our daily expenses. As I told you earlier, this is my first time work as a factory worker in my entire life. I need to accept it, the evaluation of my school credentials is still on-going. I am hoping that I would be in a better job hunting postion when I will be getting my degree accreditation.

Finally, I got my degree accreditation from the qualifications authority. It is not what I actually expected, it is even more than that. I got a full pledge recognition of my degree equivalent to Level 7 which is a University Degree in this country.

With this first feather in my cap, I have started applying for jobs attaching my degree accreditation as a supporting document. The treatment I am getting changed. Prior to that, I was getting an answer of not being qualified to the position even without having an interview, which is really very disappointing. Now, I am having the chance of reporting to an interview.

Luck is not really with me though on this part of this country. Most of the jobs available are for vertical and horizontal constructions which is not my line of experience. I was aligned to industries especially in the oil and gas.

With the numerous applications I was sending everyday. I finally got two ( 2 ) serious probable employers. I was finally short listed by both of them. Both companies are local subsidiaries of international consulting firms. That is the good news, the bad news is that, both are companies are located in the countryside serving mostly the local industries. That means I need to move my family from the city to the countryside given the opportunity to be employed by any of them.

Given my considerable distance with the companies, my preliminary interviews were actually done on the phone. Good enough I made the first obstacles. The next stage will be the face-to-face interview. I really don’t know what happened, but I was actually schedule for the face-to-face interview with both companies on the same day. This is my dilemma. I really need to decide. I don’t want to blow this up and lose both of them. I tried to evaluate the credibility of the companies and the work that they are doing. This a very tedious job that I need to complete for only a week. The first company has about a hundred ( 100 ) personnel with three( 3 ) branches nation wide. The branch that is requiring my services has only fifteen( 15 ) inclusive of all other personnel. The expertise of this company is Aluminum Smelting and Power Generation.

The second company has six( 6 ) branches nationwide, an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor. It has about two hundred and fifty (250) personnel. And one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the country.

With all these factors plus the fact that the second company is my line of experience, I have given my nod to them for the interview.

I have flown to their office, with an all expense paid trip, for an interview. I find the employees very friendly. To my surprise, there was no interview done, but an orientation of the company. The best of it was when I was given the offer sheet for my evaluation. I can’t really believe that I will be given an offer this soon and the offer sheet contains a package that I could not resist. This is by far the best offer I ever got, much better that the package I got from my work in Saudi Arabia. Of course, I did not show off my happiness.

On my way home, I called up my wife to tell her the good news. She was not able to speak for several seconds when I told her the figure. She really can’t believe it. She just can’t believe it, that was her only answer. I did not compel her to believe.

I met her on the city center. She came from work, I came from the airport. I did not miss a second to show her the offer sheet, only then that she believed but still she can’t believe that I got that great package.

I know you have been very eager to know, the result. We are now at the countryside, all expenses paid by my company. I am now happy and contented, patience and perseverance were the key factors.

IX. My Advice to my Fellow Filipinos

If you decide to migrate to another country, be ready to face the consequences. If you believe in your abilities, then go for it. I pity those kababayans who have very good works in the Philippines and just be contented to be a plain factory worker (I am not against it – it’s was my first job remember?) in their adopted country. The Pinoys can, believe in yourself, you can do it!

X. Family Life

We are now a happy family. God have given me my wishes, I can’t ask for more.

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