The Sandbox Writing Challenge #64 — Acceptance


Have you ever tried to change someone in your life?
How’d that work out for ya?

I am reblogging one of my early posts 2 years ago, about the Filipino migrant workers, trying to understand our situation and just accepting it.


Area of Expertise: Migration
Case Study: The Filipino Migrant Workers
The Country’s New Heroes

What makes people leave their countries to seek a better life? Is it because of demography, economics or politics? Great differences in trade between rich and poor countries have resulted to neo-colonialism. Adaptability of people has subjected man to a new form of subjugation. Migrants play a crucial role in filling up labour shortages, especially in the first world countries.

The Philippines, with the population of 83 million, have a fast declining mortality, increasing life expectancy and rapid population growth brought about by modernisation. They have numerous young labour force entrants. In the context of socio-cultural reality, migration in the Philippines is an issue of survival. Filipinos are leaving their country for economic reasons. These migrants are to be found in all highly-developed countries, but also in the Gulf, the new industrial countries, and Japan.

This case study will explore the different issues of migration and the Filipino migrant workers. The efficient management of the Philippine government, foreign affairs departments, institutional structures, migrant associations and advocacy groups concerned with migration requires a multitude of skilled specialists who combine their expertise to work out a solution. The experts are the Filipino migrants, with their varied skills, their determination, experience, remittances, technology transfer, new knowledge and attitudes.

The Philippines, as a lower middle income country, have about 8 million people abroad, close to 10 per cent of the population. To a large extent, it is an emigration country because of lack of rapid and incessant economic development. The Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines started a structured labour programme partly in the hope of lessening dissatisfaction with the plundering character of the regime and its incapability to ameliorate standards for the masses. The government sees labour export a vital and enduring aspect of economic policy and seeks to maximise it. Filipino migrant workers have become the Philippines’ largest sources of foreign exchange. In its development policy (2001-2004) under the Arroyo administration, the government now explicitly recognizes overseas employment as a “legitimate option for the country’s work force.” Thus, from managing the flow, the government now assertively promotes international labour migration as a growth stratagem, especially of the higher skilled, knowledge-based workers (Go, 2002).

Within the category of economic migrants, many highly-skilled Filipinos find work in the USA and Europe – often encountering employment downgrading (e.g. from doctor to nurse) in the process. Filipina domestic workers often have quite high educational eligibilities, which are wasted in their low-level jobs abroad. They are mostly employed in private homes where they are largely unprotected since the Philippine government often has no bilateral agreements with these countries. Some of them experience exploitation and abuse. Filipinos with middle-level and technical skills find work in construction, processing industries and other sectors in the Gulf. However, more Filipino overseas workers move to low-skilled jobs in a wide range of sectors, including seafaring. Seafarers often have low wages and poor conditions. Undocumented migration seems to be on the increase, because of the amalgamation of tighter controls and continuous demand for labour in receiving countries. Losing the expertise of all these people in the Philippines brings money, but doesn’t that also mean that you need expertise from outside if you lose yours by downgrading and outsourcing?

The transfer home of migrant earnings and savings is generally seen as the most important positive effect of migration in the Philippines. These remittances enable the migrants to build houses, send family members to school and pay for their parents’ medication. They help improve the country’s economy and sustain the local population. On top of remittances, if and when these migrants return to the country, they will bring with them greater amounts of training and experience contributing to social capital. There are also negative effects: the Philippines are losing some of their educated workers, like the doctors, nurses or engineers. In other words, the Philippines is experiencing brain-drain. Moreover, the benefits of government expenditures on education are not coming to support in the Philippines but rather in the USA or Europe. For example, because of the decreasing number of qualified medical workers, hundreds of hospitals in the Philippines have fully or partially closed, and medical care is disproportionately distributed, favouring industrialised cities and leaving rural areas with inadequate coverage (Lorenzo et al, 2007). Is it responsible policy for the USA or Europe to recruit Filipino medical workers and for the Philippine government to encourage emigration when these educated labourers are needed to support their own medical industry?

In acknowledging the diaspora, Filipino migrants have been redefined as bagong bayani, the country’s new heroes. Some means were taken to intensify their symbolic sanctioning, which incorporate presidential visits to communities overseas, the commemoration of “migrant worker days”, the launching of the Balikbayan status to bestow special rights (e.g. funds transfer, import of goods, reduction of import duties) for overseas Filipino, and a “Miss Overseas Philippines” beauty contest open to young women of Philippine origin, even if they are no longer citizens (Assis 2006 and Aguilar 1999). The Philippines has a powerful civil society sector, with many non-governmental organisations connected to the Church, to trade unions and political parties. Support groups concerned with migration appear to have a notable impact on the Philippine state, while associations related to welfare, migrant rights and women’s issues are significant in countries with Filipino migrant populations.

The Philippine Government devised a comprehensive institutional structure to manage emigration. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was set up in 1977 to facilitate the well-being of migrants and their families left at home. A Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) was initiated in 1980 to improve the interests and welfare of emigrants. Its purpose is to cultivate the ties between emigrants and the Philippines. A third major institution is the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) within the Department of Labour, which recruits and selects overseas workers, as well as processing their documents and contracts, and providing pre-migration orientation courses. It manages licensing and supervises recruitment and placement agencies.

The hardest problem in the Philippines is setting up valuable systems to protect workers abroad. This is normally the responsibility of foreign affairs departments which appoint labour attaches and welfare officers at their consulates in labour-importing countries. The Philippine government takes measures to try to safeguard its citizens abroad, often in response to pressure from migrant associations and other civil society organisations. For example, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 was a direct mobilisation at the time of Flor Contemplacion case. This law, designed to protect Filipinos abroad, is summarised by Assis (Assis 2006). The government has entered into bilateral agreements with some countries. Many more countries need to be covered.

Attempts have also been made to establish international legal instruments to protect the rights of migrant workers. The principal ones are the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions No. 97 of 1949 and No. 143 of 1975, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families of 1990. These instruments could do a good deal to enhance the circumstances of migrants, if states are willing to sign and implement them. Regrettably, that is not the case. The key instrument, the 1990 UN Convention, did not take effect until 2003, because few states are willing to ratify it. Even today, only 34 states signed up, mostly emigration countries. The unwillingness to have international authority of migration is because of the misgiving of recruiting countries: they think that regulation will increase the expenses of migrant labour and place social duties on receiving countries.

To summarise, the most significant development benefit of migration is mainly perceived to be the role of economic remittances in improving livelihoods. Others are seen in technology transfer and the return of the highly skilled and the new knowledge and attitudes by diasporas and returnees. It is right to say that the money they earn trickles into towns and villages, helping build houses and sending children to school. But the absence of so many productive and trained people – mothers and fathers, engineers and entrepreneurs – also demand a heavy toll.

In conclusion, long-term policies are needed that link the impending benefits of migration. There are many directions to take and important decisions to make. In the Philippines, it would mean giving up the idea of being the “producer of workers for the world”, which implies acceptance of permanent subjection in the international division of labour. It is remarkable how invisible the work of Filipinos in the global marketplace remains, and how little it is discussed in the first world countries. Instead, there need to be policies that unite political and economic reform at home with recognition of the prospective role of the Filipino migrants: to make visible the invisible Filipino overseas workers.

Works cited:
Aguilar, F.V.J. (1999). The triumph of instrumental citizenship? Migrations, identities and the nation-state in Southeast Asia. Asian Studies Review 23 3. Print.
Assis, M. (2006). International Migration, Migrant Empowerment and Development Prospects: the Philippines. Paper presented at the Conference of Migration and Development: Perspectives from the South.Bellagio, Italy, 10-13 July 2006. Print.
Castles, S. (2007). Comparing the Experience of Five Major Emigration Countries. Working Papers, Paper 7, International Migration Institute, James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford. Print.
Go, Stella P. (2002). Philippine international labour migration policy: its
evolution and future direction. Paper presented at the Workshop on Migration and Migration Policy in the Asia Pacific. University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. February 28-March 1, 2002. Print.
Lorenzo, F.M.E., Galvez-Tan, J., Icamina, K. & Javier, L. (2007, June). Nurse Migration from a Source Country Perspective: Philippine Country Case Study. Health Services Research 42-3, 1406-1418. Print.

For: The Sandbox Writing Challenge #64 — Acceptance

Tadhana ng Buhay


Que sera sera, kahit ano ang magiging, ay magiging
Iyan ay ang palagi kong iniisip
Anuman ang aking tinanim, isang araw ang binhing ito ay lalaki
Isipin ang paraan upang harapin ang sitwasyong ito
Sa kalaunan, makikita natin ang mga bulaklak na bumunga
Depende sa atin o tadhana na ang buhay ay sumaya
Kung ano man ang gusto ko, kailangan kong abutin ito
Pasalamat ako sa aking pamilya at pangako ko
Ang ilog ay dumadaloy , ang araw ay sumikat at lumubog
Ipagdiwang sa pamamagitan ng pagsasayaw
Sa pagsasaka, ang dumi ay napakahalaga
Ang mga pagsubok ng buhay ay nanatiling pare-pareho
Para sa paglaki ng mga buto ng mais isang araw
Ito ay tulad ng pag-iisip at pagsulat ng isang sanaysay
O ang puno na magkaroon ng ubas sa taglagas
Ang pinakamahalagang bagay ay kalayaan


Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be
That’s how I always think it will be
Whatever I sow, one day this seed will grow
Figure out the way to deal with the status quo
Later, there’ll be some sprouts and flowers come
It’s up to me to make life brilliant or awesome
If I want something, I need to reach out for it
Glad I’ve got a close-knit family and I commit
The river flows, the sun rises and sets
Let’s celebrate by dancing a minuet
In farming, dungs are very important
The trials of life remained a constant
For the seeds to grow corns one day
It’s like thinking and writing an essay
Or vines to have grapes in autumn
The most important thing is freedom

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

Yugto ng Buhay

Walang mga bituin sa gabi
Akala ko ikaw ay aking kabalyero
Walang masuyong humahalik sa aking pisngi
Puro lang mga kritika
Walang paglalakad sa hapon
Kahit man lang sa space lumakad
Walang mga bulaklak sa hardin
Gusto ko lang tumakbo
Ilan lang sa mga yugto ko sa aking buhay
Maraming yugto ng mga pagtatalo,
Walang kabilugan ng buwan upang panoorin
Puro lamang ang iyong segundometro
Walang magandang bote ng alak
Namimiss ko ang ating pagkain sa labas
Pakikipag-usap tungkol sa mga bagay
Karaniwang sa mga tao sa mundo
Walang halik kapag dumating ako sa bahay
Paalam, paalam !
Walang nagnanakaw ng aking pritong patatas
Pinapa-iyak mo ako
Ang ating pag-aaway ‘
Kailangan ko ang aking panyo
Nakapagbitaw tayo ng mga bagay na hindi dapat
Para sa aking pagkakasala kailangan ko ng pampalubag
Alam naman natin na ito ay masama
Ano pa ang maaari kong idagdag?
Ngunit natutunan natin ang ating mga aralin
Parola o lakas natin ang isat-isa
Oras na para sa muling pagkakasundo
At tangkilikin ang araw


No stars in the night
I thought you were my knight
No breeze to caress my cheeks
Just some awful critiques
No afternoon walks
Not doing any spacewalk
No flowers in the garden
I just want to run
Just some chapters in my life
Quite a lot of strifes
No full moon to watch
Just your stopwatch
No nice bottle of wine
I miss our fine dine
Talking about things
Typical of earthlings
No kisses when I come home
Shalom, shalom!
No one stealing my fries
You make me cry
No more lovers’ tiff
I need my kerchief
We said things we shouldn’t have
For my guilt I need a salve
We knew it was bad
What else can I add?
But we have learned our lessons
We are each other’s beacon
Time for reconciliation
And enjoy the sun

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

Kaluluwang Dalisay


Ang bawat isa ay may isang bagay sa kanila
Isang kasanayan, isang katangian , na natatangi
Pinararangalan natin ang mga kaluluwa napakadalisay

Maaari nating basahin, maaari nating hangaan
Sa isang biblioteka ng mga kaluluwa
Ang bawat isa ay may isang bagay sa kanila

Palayain ang espiritu , ilibre ang mga kaluluwa
Gumagala sa paligid sa mundong ito
Isang kasanayan, isang katangian , na natatangi

Hayaan ang mga ito na mananatiling dalisay
Huwag bumigay sa masasamang gawa
Pinararangalan natin ang mga kaluluwa napakadalisay

figure in ash storm

Each one has something in them
A skill, a trait, that’s unique
We honour the souls so pure

We can read, we can admire
In a library of souls
Each one has something in them

Free the spirit, free the souls
Roaming around in this world
A skill, a trait, that’s unique

Let them remain untainted
Don’t give in to evil deeds
We honour the souls so pure

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

Aking Makisig

Nanlamig ako sa simoy ng hangin. Sa bukas na bintana, lumapit siya sa akin. Matang nagniningning, makisig at mataas, hinalikan niya ako. Pakiramdam ko ay para akong nasa paraiso! Ang kanyang amoy maihahambing sa isang olspays. At naisip ko, wow, anong ganda. Maikli at matamis, ngunit napakatindi, tulad ng nasusunog sa isang siga. Alam ng Diyos kung bakit, ngunit sa palagay ko ako ay ngumiyaw na parang pusa. Isang mabilis na tibok at lumakas ang pandama, ako ay napunta sa ibang mundo.

O ang personal kong samurai, ang aking masasandalan – hinahalikan niya ako habang sinasabi ang pangalan ko. Kumapit ako sa kanyang mga braso at ako ay para paring nag-aalab. Daan-daang mga isda sa dagat, pinili niya ako. Para akong lumilipad, pakiramdam ko ay napaka liwanag, tulad ng isang saranggola sa kalangitan. Nanghihina ang aking tuhod at parang tumatalbog. Anong ginawa niya sa akin? Ang lahat bang ito ay isang panaginip? Kung ito nga, ayoko nang magising.

Umaasa ako na ito ay hindi isang laro lamang. Pangako ko na maging mabuti at hindi ko siya sisipain sa aking pinto. Masarap ang halik at umaasa ako na manatiling kami magpakailan man. Sana siya na nga. Ang aking makisig na lalaki.


The breeze made me shiver. With the open window, he approached me. Eyes shining, glossing over, he kissed me. I was in paradise! His scents comparable to an allspice. And I thought, wow, that was so nice. Short and sweet, but so intense, like being in a pyre. God knows why, but I think I even purred like a cat. A fast pulse and heightened senses, I was transformed to a different world.

Oh my personal samurai, my anchor and he’s kissing me. Kept me alive, kept saying my name. I hold onto his arms and I was still aflame. Hundreds of fish in the sea, he chose me. I could fly, feeling ever so light and high, like a kite in the sky. Felt weak on my knees and at the same time bouncy. What has he done to me? Was it all a dream? If it was, I don’t want to wake up.

I just hope it wasn’t just a game. I promise to be good and won’t kick him out my door. I love that kiss and I hope there’s a forevermore. I hope he’s the one. My dashing man!

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: Word-High July: Makisig

Ihip ng Amihan


Sa ihip ng amihan
Ang prinsesa ay mag-isa
Sa ilalim ng puno

Isang lugar na kalmado
Ang dahon ng palma ay sumasayaw
Ang kamelyo huminto sa pag-inom

Ang barko sa malayo
Abot-tanaw ang yelo
Nakita ko isang bahaghari

Ang dilaw na binhi
Nag-aalok sa banal na lugar
Isang bulong na panalangin


One warm summer breeze
A princess sat on her own
Under a willow

Oasis of calm
As leaves of palm trees swaying
Camels stop to drink

Vista of cruise ship
With snow on the horizon
I see a rainbow

The yellow rapeseed
Offers them to the shrine
A whispered prayer

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: Word-High July: Amihan and Wind & Kisses


Isang awit mula sa kanya at ako ay umibig
O ang pag-ibig, maaari kong sabihin sa iyo sa detalye
Parang narinig ko ang malambing na kanta ng isang ibon
Katulad ng pagiging suspendido sa isang mataas na swing
Pakiramdam ko ay pwedeng lumipad tulad ng isang tutubi o paruparu
Nakakita ang talon sa unang pagkakataon
Gusto kong umakyat at bumaba katulad ng isang siso
Tubig kumukutitaptap tulad ng diamante
Gusto kong isigaw sa mundo at magdiwang
Walang hadlang , walang pagtitimpi , puno ng ligaya
Laging mabulaklak, parang ipoipong panliligaw
Alam ko siya ay laging naroon bilang aking sandalan
Iyan ang kapangyarihan ng pag-ibig
Hanggang tayo ay maging iisa na lang


One song from him and I’m in love
Oh to be in love, I can tell you in detail
Hearing the melodious song of a nightingale
It’s like being suspended in a swing as high
Feeling able to fly like a dragonfly or butterfly
Seeing the waterfall for the first time in awe
I want to go up and down the same as a seesaw
Water glimmering like diamonds and so great
I want to convey to the world and celebrate
No barrier, no strap, no holding back, just full of zip
Everything’s rosy, always like a whirlwind courtship
I know he’s always there serving as my anchor
Such is the power of being in love
When we become one unit and above

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: Word-High July: Kundiman and Late Night Playlist

Word-High July: Aking Paraluman


nadarama ang himukin
kapag ang paraluman ay abot-kamay
dumadaloy ang pagkalikha
ngunit kapag ang paraluman ay nawala
lahat nito tila hihinto
walang kulay ang aking mundo
walang salita , walang pang-uri , walang pandiwa
walang dahilan upang lumaban
walang dahilan upang pagmasdang mabuti
walang dahilan upang umibig


encouragement felt
when muse is within reach
creativeness flows
but when muse is gone
everything seems to stop
my world is without colour
no words, no adjectives, no verbs
no reason to fight
no reason to contemplate
no reason to love

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: Word-High July: Paraluman and Dark Eyes

Word-High July: Basta’t Kasiping Kita

Basta’t kasiping kita
Hindi mahalaga ang ibang mundo
Basta’t kasiping kita
Kasing saya ako ng bagong kasal
Basta’t kasiping kita
Kaya ko ang anumang hamon
Basta’t kasiping kita
Kumpleto na ang aking buhay


As long as I lie down beside you
The rest of the world doesn’t matter
As long as I lie down beside you
I’m as happy as a new bride
As long as I lie down beside you
I can handle any challenge
As long as I lie down beside you
My life’s complete

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: Sa Piling Mo and Word-High July: Siping