My family and I are one of the many Filipinos who decided to leave Philippines to immigrate to Canada, in the recent years Filipino community in different provinces of Canada has rapidly increased. Yes, one can consider that Filipinos find “home” in Canada. And here in Winnipeg, we are such a big community, hence, Tagalog was recognized to be one of the most-used language.
Each immigrant has his or her own reason for leaving his or her country, some personally chose to work or permanently live abroad, and there are some who are forced by the circumstances that his or her family is facing. I would say that my “big move” is a decision and a choice.
My husband and I have a good life back home, but I decided (and convinced my husband) to immigrate to Canada not just for our own family… We Filipinos are known for a lot of things and one of these is our deep love for our families, we put great importance on the value of family and our families are closely-knit. Hence, I became one of the many Filipinos who live abroad not just for my husband and my kids to experience a more comfortable life but to fulfill my dream of giving a better life for my loved ones that I left in the Philippines.
This is why, when this opportunity about Global Money Transfer (GMT) was discussed to me, I instantly said yes to the collaboration offered to me… I can very much relate to it.
When I (and my husband) decided to leave our country, we knew that it meant that from the time that we left we’ll have to learn to be contented communicating to our parents, siblings and friends online whether through email, video chat or long distance calls, it also meant that there will be no more Sunday family lunch with our siblings or family gathering or reunions during Easter, All Soul’s Day, Christmas and New Year. It also meant being able to help and support my parents, my siblings and even our other relatives in their financial needs, it meant an ability to make the people that you love feel the love that you have for them every time I remember them on special occasion or in times of need.
There are people who may find it strange when they hear stories of someone leaving his homeland to work abroad in the intention to earn more so they can provide not just for his immediate family but for their parents, grandparents, siblings and even aunts or uncles. I remember a co-worker once heard me and a fellow Filipino colleague talking about sending money to our parents regularly, she asked us why are we obliged to send money to our parents when we already have a family of our own… I told her that “that’s us, it is a part of our culture and values, we were raised and taught that love for family is on the top of the list and family will always be there for each other.”
I lost count how many times have I come to a financial institution to transfer funds to the Philippines in the past seven years, be it for my parents hospitalization expenses or medication, a gift for a niece and nephew celebrating their birthday, a donation to the victims of typhoon and other calamities in the Philippines or a help for a friend who has financial needs. A few years ago, my dad was brought to the hospital, I learned about it through a text message sent to me, tears instantly fell from my eyes as soon as I read the message. I got so worried and I felt so guilty that I was not there for my father. After praying real hard for my father’s safety and recovery, I went straight to my laptop and log in to my Canadian online banking account… I transferred funds to my mom’s bank account in the Philippines, because I am sure they need it for the hospital expenses, in times like this, the least that I can do is to make my mother and my siblings feel that I’m one with them, each hard-earned dollar is all worth it if it’s for a person very dear to you. After a day, my sister sent me a text message to let me know that my dad is doing well and the money I sent was already deposited to my mother’s account and they used the money to buy my father’s medication. Thank God he is well, in fact, a year after that, he and my mom came to visit me here in Canada. And just last week, I sent funds to him to buy his plane ticket for his second visit to Canada that is happening in the next 2 weeks!
I am fortunate that every time I send money home, whether I personally go to the bank or do it online (which I always do), I am not just confident that the money I am sending is secured, since I do not have to pay any fee (yup that’s the benefit of being CIBC banking customer), so instead of the money going to the transfer fee that is usually between $10 to $12 which is equivalent to a few hundreds of peso, I just add the money to the amount that I’m sending.
Yes, that’s us immigrants and overseas workers, we are miles away from the people we love but as much as we can we find ways to make our love felt through the gift or help that we can send. Individuals who has loved ones or friends abroad would know that it is not easy to be far from the people you love and the lives of those who are living or working abroad is not as easy as other people thought… we also have to work really hard and some of us will even take 2 to 3 jobs. But all these hard work is always worth enduring with the thought that our children or siblings will be able to go to the university, our niece or nephew can celebrate his graduation or her birthday, our family’s dream home will be built, or our parents’ medication will be sustained.