Most of the heroes we look up to are usually the fictitious beings constructed in our imaginative minds. Although we know they are never going to exist in the world we are in, we strongly praise their unreal powers and abilities. Sometimes many of us even consider these heroes as a huge part of our identity, of our life. But what about our own real heroes who possess every quality and trait of any superhero you can think of? How appreciative have we been of our modern-day heroes? And these heroes are the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who deserve all our gratitude and recognition. Through the help of media, in a way, the stories of bravery of our OFWs are being told. And Maalaala Mo Kaya has featured several of the inspiring and at the same time heart-wrenching narratives of these admirable people. Here are some of them:
Nena Ruiz in MMK “Passport”
Aside from being an OFW, Nena (Irma Adlawan) has always been a hero to her family and to her students. Being a teacher undoubtedly demands much time and sacrifice, so the moment Nena pursued her teaching career, people have already looked up to her. Decades have passed before Nena decided to leave teaching for good, so she can finally spend more time with her family. A mother, Nena didn’t want anything else other than providing a good life for her loved ones. That is why she tried out entering a business by investing her hard-earned savings into it. However, Nena was duped, losing all of her money from the scam. Wanting to recover from that nightmare, Nena decided to try her luck abroad. She worked as a caregiver in the United States, spending time away with her family once more.
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Tragically, she would have the misfortune of working for an abusive employer, who would maltreat her constantly. Amid all the pain and suffering she encountered, Nena would gain the support and encouragement of an American girl who motivated her to break free from her predicament. She would eventually bring her employer to justice after seeking the help of authorities.
Nanay Wanna in MMK “Camera”
Nanay Wanna (Melai Cantiveros) is a loving mother of two daughters, Yesha (Althea Guanzon) and Reign (Mutya Orquia). She did everything for her family just to give them, especially her daughters, a bright future. And that motivated Nanay Wanna to take the risk of going overseas to work as a domestic helper and be away from her loved ones. She couldn’t help but show motherly love to her employer’s daughters Taibah (Brenna Garcia) and Lulu (Sofia Millares). The two girls filled in the absence of Nanay Wanna’s daughters and somehow alleviated her yearning for her family. She would have videos with the two girls which eventually circulated on social media. However, it caused jealousy among Yesha and Reign. Nanay Wanna then felt that she needed to go back to the country just so she can reconcile with her daughters.
Corazon in MMK “Escoba”
Tet (Empress Schuck) is one of those many children whose parents are working abroad in order to provide a good life for them. However, some children including Tet herself, could not help but hold a grudge against their parents whose only motivation is their love for their family. Right after college, Tet decided to follow her mom Corazon (Pokwang) in Italy. However, she became an illegal immigrant as she crossed through the country's borders. That’s what led her to having unfortunate experiences. But eventually, these incidents made Tet realize that it’s the same sacrifices that her mother had to go through just to provide for them.
Alma in MMK “Duyan”
Alma (Meryll Soriano) is another parent and wife who sacrificed by working away from her family. She first tried her luck in Dubai but unfortunately, her employer accused her of stealing. She then decided to go back to the Philippines. However, later on, Alma took on another job that was offered to her despite the disapproval of her husband Manuel (Allen Dizon), who thought she was being victimized by an illegal recruiter. True enough, Alma would realize she made the wrong decision of pushing through with her job in Saudi Arabia, where her employers maltreated, and raped her. As she reported the abuse to Philippine authorities and was rescued, she discovered she was pregnant with her rapist’s son. Thinking of aborting or having him up for adoption, as the baby reminded her of the abuse she experienced, Alma was surprised to learn that Manuel wanted her to keep the baby even if he was not the child’s father. Despite the harrowing experience and raising a child that was borne out of it, this led to more happiness and harmony in their struggling family.
Sarah in MMK “Tubig”
Sarah (Shaina Magdayao) was forced to marry Nelson (Mon Confiado) who turned out to be an abusive and unfaithful husband. Because of that, she was not able to finish her studies. Since Sarah was eager to provide for her family, she decided to leave her children and work abroad even though it was very hard for her. But what she thought was the right decision turned out to be her worst nightmare. She experienced all kinds of maltreatment as her employer physically abused her and even forced her to stop working without giving her legal documents. Her situation got even exacerbated when she was sexually abused by the people whom she asked help from. When it looked like Sarah was about to give up, she remained and stood strong with the motivation of finally getting justice.
These are only some of the painful yet inspiring stories of our modern-day heroes who showed unbelievable strength and resilience. All of their sacrifices, all the bravery and courage that they did and had in themselves resulted from only one thing - the love they have for their family.
They all choose to live a life away from their families not knowing what’s ahead of them, risking life and limb in an unfamiliar land. The pain and longing they feel while they are alone and away from their loved ones prove how they can push themselves to be strong for the people they love. It’s also very important to recognize the huge contribution they bring to the country’s economy through their remittances.
These OFWs are heroes who not only support their families, they save our country as well. Their grit, bravery and courage are rooted in their deep and unconditional love for family.