It’s not the distance that breaks an OFW. It’s the homesickness that does it. To help your OFW parents/loved ones keep their high spirits, please keep in touch. There’s nothing like precious minutes listening to your voices or reading your letters. For your parents, that already bridges the gap their being abroad has created. We’re living in such a high-tech world. Keeping in touch is such a breeze! It’s as easy as maintaining a Facebook account, or easier.
1. Use your phones.
Aminin, your cellphone is one of the first katas ng Saudi (or insert the country where your OFW parents work) in your family so put it to good use by texting or calling your loved ones abroad. Imagine if we’re still using those aged telephone booths. We didn’t even have those in the province circa 90s! All we had was a suking tindahan which offered long distance calls at exorbitant prices but we had no choice but to use their phone because it was the only one in the entire barangay! For this generation, cellphones are now a part of life. You can shorten your messages by using abbreviations but please… no Wer na u? Ditoh na me. Muztah pow? 😛
Sundrenched’s Nokia E75, Shoegarfreeruby’s Nokia N96, and Eyecandy’s Nokia E71. The three of us are SAWA users. Mary (who’s still in the Philippines) uses a Sony Ericsson and Mobily.
For OFWs in Saudi Arabia, there are two major networks in the country. Check out http://www.stc.com.sa for Aljawal/SAWA or http://mobily.com.sa for uh, Mobily. There’s the newest contender Zain if you want. 0.45 halalas (P5.00) for an international text on all networks. Watch out for promos like 50% off on international calls or additional load for every card purchase. For those who are looking for cellphones, go to Mursalat or Batha to get the best discounts. However, be careful of fake/second-hand units. Ask for a good suki from fellow Filipinos. Wait for the promos of Hyperpanda, Carrefour, or Geant. They also give huge discounts on cellphones.
2. Go online.
What will we do without emails? Just make sure your OFW parents/loved ones know how to use the Internet. There are some who don’t so make sure they’re tech-abled. You know naman how the oldies go… (We mean our fathers for instance, lol… lagot!) the IT boom did not happen in their generation so they rather call than email. And parents who usually work in the field (building/road engineers, construction workers, etc.) are too tired to face the computer once they settle in their villas/flats. Tinatamad silang mag-type (rason ng fathers namin). But for those parents who are email/messenger-savvy, then you children can breathe a sigh of relief. Just email them everyday and instant message them in schedules that you agree upon. You can also keep them updated through your social networks (which is weird btw pero baka gusto n’yo kasi silang maging ka-Facebook or ka-Twitthearts eh). Or, create a blog where they can easily read up on what’s going on with your life in the Philippines (yun nga lang, buking kayo agad sa mga escapades n’yo!).
Here’s some extra tip on tools/platforms you can use: For email, use Gmail. For instant messenger, use Yahoo messenger. For video chat/call, use Skype. For blogs, use WordPress or Blogger. IOHO, they’re the most dependable ones around.
For OFWs in Saudi Arabia, you might want to visit http://www.stc.com.sa for your internet needs. Call their 907 hotline for installation and grievances though the first complaint that you will probably lodge is their hotline itself. Lol. They take forever in answering. The lines are always busy (baka puro reklamo kasi, jk). And if they do take it, the operator will just direct you to check the answers to your question online. Kailangan ng kulit powers so they give you a line asap!
3. Go old school.
There’s just something to cassette tapes and handwritten letters that still appeals to old souls. As we have shared with you, we were once those children whose voices you can hear in those tapes (kulang na lang album!). We talk a lot back then (kahit ngayon naman yata madaldal pa rin kami), even if whatever we were saying didn’t make sense. We just like to share stories of what our day was like to our fathers who were somewhere far away. Side A and B are filled with lots of experiences and events we wished they could have experienced with us personally.
This genius invention during those times, accompanied by a handwritten letter, fills the distance. The effort that goes into recording and writing will surely make your OFW parents/relatives’ eyes tear up. However, please avoid starting with “Kamusta ka na? May padala ka na ba?” or ending with “PS. Magpadala ka naman ng pera as soon as possible.” Nakakasira ng moment eh… Also, gandahan n’yo naman ang handwriting ha.
For OFWs in Saudi Arabia, you will have to use the mail address of your company. Also, Saudi Arabia uses postal boxes instead of the typical house no., street, etc. type of address used in the Philippines. Chances are, you wouldn’t even know what street your flat/villa is located. There’s the Saudi Post located on the way to Batha but we haven’t tried mailing a letter so we don’t know the process, sorry.
4. Connect with the TV.
It’ll be a great surprise when your OFW loved ones find their names on the television. We’re not sure with GMA’s pakulo but ABS-CBN has TFC Connect (Kapamilya ba ang Pink Tarha?! Hahaha…). Maybe you can have Bianca Gonzales greet your loved ones abroad for you or watch Wowowee in the studio and create posters greeting your parents or make an announcement in the Global Post, LOL. The most important thing is make sure they will be able to watch it. Baka naman sa Wowowee kayo nagpunta eh Eat Bulaga naman pala ang pinapanood nila! 😛
For OFWs in Saudi Arabia, you know where to go when you want to subscribe to TFC and Pinoy TV, yes? We’re sure you do. Ang pagpapakabit ng mga channels na yan yata ang unang-unang ginagawa pagdating dito sa Saudi noh. 😉
Did we skip some keeping in touch options? Please share with us how you communicate and keep that communication lines open with your loved ones. The only thing to remember now is that “There is no long distance in love, it always finds ways to bring hearts together no matter how many miles there are between them.” And the ways, ladies and gentlemen, are above.
Have a happy week ahead, kabayans!