When terrorism acts happened in various countries around the world, I felt bad and sad. Praying for this act to stop has been part of my daily prayer. Cliche as it may sound, but I always pray for World Peace. … Continue reading
When I was still in the Philippines I always heard people telling stories about lots of OFWs who came back to the Philippines without any savings. I really wondered and even criticised them. I didn’t understand how can they not save when they were earning way bigger than what I was earning back then.
Then, here comes my turn to work abroad…
Everything has become very clear why…
Let me give you the THREE THINGS why WE – OFWs cannot save abroad.
1. Cost of Living – We may be getting 3, 4, 5 times our salary in the Philippines but the daily expenses that we have here is also high. Let give share with you some of my expenses daily:
- Breakfast – Egg & Cheese sandwich (7 dirhams) thats 88 PHP or 1.9 USD
- Train fare – 5 dirhams per trip (10 dirhams roundtrip) thats 126 PHP or 2.72 USD
- Lunch – A filipina delivers food to our office everyday – 13 dirhams thats 164 PHP or 3.54 USD (just a cup of rice plus a filipino viand)
- Dinner – I often go to a cheap Filipino restaurant to eat – 20 dirhams thats 253 PHP or 5.45 USD (that’s why sometimes I skip dinner, to save) or just eat salad (5.95 dirhams or 75 PHP or 1.62 USD. You may think this salad is cheap but this is just from a Grocery store, the cheapest I’ve found here. Other alternatives for dinner are 2 Shawarma (10 dirhams or 126 PHP or 1.9 USD)
Have you tried summing all that up? That’s around 50 dirhams a day if I want just the normal meal. 13.6 USD or 632 PHP a day.
I haven’t even added my monthly rent, electricity, internet, mobile charges, etc.
I am staying in a room divided into 4 partitions for 8 people. I share my partition with an Indian guy. He owns the partition and I pay him 700 dirhams a month (8,850 PHP or 191 USD). Our electricity and internet bill last month was 142 dirhams (38.67 USD or 1,795 PHP) Take note that bill has already been divided into 16 people staying in one flat. We are sacrificing convenience and comfort just to be able to save money here.
2. Stress – Working abroad is so different from working in the Philippines (UAE for me). In the Philippines if we felt tired, unhappy, unsatisfied with the current employer we can immediately resign and look for another job. Here, it’s a BIG NO! Once you have a job, you will be bound to a contract. The only way for you to stay in the U.A.E. is for a company to sponsor your VISA. Yes, your employers are the one paying for our VISA. If we get terminated or if we resigned, then we need look for another job and ensure that we have new visa to stay in the U.A.E. If not, we need to get a tourist VISA and pay for it.
If you also quit, you will have to pay the company for the expenses they incurred when they hired you. Like VISA processing, medical exams, etc… So, people need to stay for 2 or 3 years with the company before they can have the option to look for another job.
No one can actually stop you from resigning, but it is not a good option considering that looking for a job in the UAE is not easy anymore. There is so much competition going on between different nationalities.
Here, work is work. You are expected to give your best because they pay you. That’s why STRESS is part of our DAILY DIET here.. Which is not good.
We resort to spending more with Food, Shopping, travel, etc and thus using the money we could have saved. 😦
3. Our FAMILY back home – The main reason why most of us Filipinos work abroad is our FAMILY. We want to provide them everything they need. We want them to experience a good life. A life we only used to dream about.
Living abroad means seeing things that we didn’t have the chance to see back home. And we want our family to see them. Some of us always try to bring our family members to where we are. And this is not easy and cheap. A lot of Filipinos tried loaning money just so that they could support a family member to come here. Again, savings gone… Going abroad is not a guarantee that you will have a good life. A lot of Filipinos here in the UAE are struggling with low salary because they don’t have options of a better job. They just have to accept what’s available because if they won’t they would have to go back home. Like I said earlier, you cannot stay in the UAE without a VISA. The best option to get it is to be employed.
Living abroad also exposes us to different brands, things that we only once dreamt. We tend to buy stuff for ourselves. To make us feel better. Like I said, STRESS is a way of life here and shopping is a good way to make ourselves feel better. But… when we go shopping the first thing that comes to our mind is our FAMILY. We don’t just buy stuff for ourselves, we buy for our loved ones back home.
Everytime I go to malls and see stuff, I buy them and they are not for myself. Most of the time I buy for my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Niece, Sisters, Brothers, very close friends, Gradma. Again, that money should have been added to our savings, but gone… However, we are HAPPY. I am HAPPY.
I am happy to keep buying stuff for all the people I love. I don’t care if I can’t save as long as my family back home can experience the things that I wanted to experience when i was still there. I want them to wear branded clothes, play nice toys, taste good food, experience a touch of the Middle East and other stuff.
I have already sent two balikbayan boxes and currently working on my third box. I have been here in the UAE for just more than a year and still no savings. No regrets though, the satisfaction and happiness I feel cannot be bought everytime I see my family so happy when they received the packages. A simple thank you from all of them is more than enough for me to go on with my life and fight the daily struggles here.
I am trying to save, most of us are… But we choose to share what we have and it makes us very happy.
So please.. don’t ever judge a Filipino going back to the Philippines without bringing anything or doesn’t have any huge savings because life here is very hard and we are doing it for love.
If your friend or a family member returns home, kindly give him / her a hug and say THANK YOU!
That’s all what we want to hear.
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I’ve been reading a book entitled “Too Busy NOT to Pray: Slowing down to be with God” by Bill Hybels. What I want to share with you now is one of the chapters that really struck me. This chapter is called “A Pattern for Prayer”. Is there really a pattern for prayer? How do you pray? Is there a right and wrong way to pray?
This is how I usually prayed before – I thank God for all the blessings, I ask forgiveness, then I asked for more blessings. However, after reading this chapter I realized that I might have been missing something with my prayers. I still believe that when we pray, it will never be wrong. As long as we pray we will always be connected with God.
Anyway, let me first tell you about “A Pattern of Prayer”. Bill Hybels said that developing prayer fitness is like developing physical fitness: we need a pattern to avoid becoming imbalanced. Without routine, we will probably fall into the “Please God” trap: “Please God, give me. Please God, help me. Please God, cover me. Please God, arrange this.” Yes, that is correct! We do need to pray regularly in order for us to be more comfortable talking with Our Father. By praying regularly, we are strengthening our spiritual muscles therefore making our faith stronger.
But is what is an imbalanced prayer? It is a one sided prayer. In my understanding it is when we only pray to ask God about something and nothing more. I think there are a lot of people out there who only go to church or pray just to ask help from God. I don’t find that wrong because that’s still a good thing. They still believe that God can help them. However, that’s a perfect example of an imbalanced prayer that could lead to feeling guilty. Bill said that guilt leads to faint-heartedness, and that in turn leads to prayerlessness. When praying makes us feel guilty, pretty soon we stop praying. When we pray only to ask God about something our spiritual muscles are not fully developed and will not be strong enough to keep us together.
Now, if this has happened to you, it’s time to set up a PRAYER ROUTINE.
All we need to remember when we pray is the word ACTS. It means ADORATION, CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING and SUPPLICATION. Bill said that this pattern has been used for many years in Christian circles. When I prayed before, I always forgot Adoration, but Bill pointed out how important adoration is in our prayer. Adoration sets the tone for the entire prayer. Adoration reminds us of God’s identity and inclination. Adoration purifies the one who is praying. And God is worthy of adoration.
When we confess our sins, we should try and be more specific. I think it’s about time that we stop saying “Lord, forgive us for our many sins.” I actually tried doing it and it made me feel better. It made me feel embarrassed talking to God while admitting the exact thing that I did. However, after praying it felt great. Instead of saying the usual “forgive me for all the sins that I did” why not try “I lied to my boss earlier today, I plead for your forgiveness for being a liar” or mention specifically the things that you did wrong.
The T in ACTS stands for Thanksgiving. I think it is just right for us to say thanks to Our Father in heaven. God has given us all the things that we need so we should just say Thank You to Him. According to Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When we pray, we should never forget to say thanks.
But now, it’s time for supplications – requests. “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) If you have adored Him, confessed your sins and thanked him for all His good gifts, you’re ready to tell Him what you need. Let us all remember that nothing is impossible with God. He can always grant our prayers in His perfect time. If you need something, all you need to do is ask Him.
Praying has become more fulfilling after following this pattern. There is actually no right or wrong pattern in praying as long as we pray with all our hearts. However, we should also remember who we are praying to and what has He done in our lives. I think He is more than worthy to be adored and to be thankful for. Praying should not always be asking for help and forgiveness.
So, don’t forget to pray after reading this. 😀
God Bless you!