Status: Married with two children ages 3 and 6
Hometown: Villasis, Urdaneta, Pangasinan
Current Job: Receptionist at nail salon, City Mall, Urdaneta City
While getting a mani/pedi at City Mall in Urdaneta, my nail technicians started talking about their lives. One of them had been abroad several times as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) and was preparing to go overseas again. The other had never been but longed to go. As we chatted, Annie, the receptionist at the front desk, joined our conversation. She, along with the technicians, make 300 pesos per day ($6 US). Eventually Annie stepped out of the salon for this brief interview, leaving her post vacant even with streams of customers coming in and out.
Editor’s Note: I compensated Annie for her time.
Beverly: What would you like to do if you could work anywhere?
Annie: I want to work in a hotel overseas, but I don’t have domestic service qualities.
Beverly: So what else can you do?
Annie: Work in Dubai as a merchandiser or saleslady.
Beverly: What do you need to make that happen?
Annie: I need a passport, a visa, and certification and training.
Beverly: Would your husband go with you?
Annie: No. I’ll stay for only a year to earn money for a business.
Beverly: What kind of business?
Annie: I want a food business. I want to learn how to cook, make pastries and bake. I want my own shop. There’s a lack of money so it’s not possible as of now.
Beverly: What does your husband do?
Annie: He’s a salesman for Yakult. Do you know about this? It’s a yogurt. He works in Cabanatuan City. I only see him twice a month on weekends.
Beverly: Do many of your friends work overseas?
Annie: Most of my friends want to go overseas, especially as factory workers in Taiwan. It’s good money. There you can get 35,000 to 40,000 pesos per month. Here you only get 10,000 pesos a month. They send money home [to help their families].
Beverly: What about working as a DH – Domestic Helper?
Annie: I don’t like [to work as a] DH. If you stay in the house of your employer and they don’t like the quality of your work, they’re going to hurt you. They’ll lock you inside a room or won’t feed you.
Beverly: Has this happened to people you know?
Annie: Yes, I have a friend who was locked up by her employer. They took her passport away. She went to the embassy to get help. They were able to help her.