- Geraldine Santillan shared her personal tale on being an OFW in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- OFW mom revealed what she had to endure for the sake of her children’s education
- Despite the hardships, Santillan also shared her story of success
In the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are dubbed as the modern heroes of our society. But as many Filipinos seek better opportunities abroad just like the main character of our story — Geraldine Santillan — it remains an undeniable fact that many of them endure difficult challenges in exchange for their family’s future back home.
Based on the story that Santillan personally sent to KAMI, she used to live a very simple life. Her husband was a construction worker while she sells vegetables, fishes and other merchandize that can be sold to the people in their town.
Santillan and her husband have five children and all of them are boys. Unfortunately, her life took a challenging turn when her husband got sick.
Due to this unexpected circumstance, the family went through a series of hardships — from hunger to having no water and electricity. Santillan even recalled how her children used gas lamps when making their assignments.
For a mother, seeing your own children suffering that way is very hard and painful. That’s why Santillan became so determined to try her luck as an OFW in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Dahil sa hirap ng buhay na naranasan naming, [may pagkakataon na] walang tanghalian pati mga anak ko,” Santillan shared. “Matutulog na lang para di makaramdam ng gutom.”
“Dati wala kaming gripo, wala kaming kuryente… nag-aral mga anak ko sa solo na my gas para makita nila assignment nila,” she continued. “Umiiyak ako talaga [kapag] nakikita ko silang nahihirapan kaya kahit madaming balita na about Saudi nag-pursige ako, sabi ko bahala na, kung mamatay ka talaga, kahit saan ka mamatay ka talaga, di ba?”
Since Santillan wanted her children to continue their education, she decided to leave home and look for better opportunities in a foreign land. Even though she was sad to leave her family and kids behind, she endured the feeling of homesickness just to send money back home.
Despite what she went through, Santillan remained optimistic that she could surpassed all the hurdles that life are throwing at her. With her hardwork and perseverance, she was able to send her children to school, with a son who’s about to graduate from college.
Santillan added all her sacrifices paid off— from enduring the work of being an all-around housemaid to the sadness of feeling homesick. But she admitted that all the pain and sufferings she endured are nothing just to see her family and children happy.
“Masaya ako na malaman ko aasaya sila tuwing nagpapadala ako ng pera sa kanila,” Santillan said. “Kapag nasa ibang bansa ka, lahat kakayanin mo para sa pamilya mo dahil sila ang dahilan kaya ako nag-abroad.”
Due to her faith and perseverance, Santillan was able to endure them all the challenges that every OFW face. In fact, she was able to renovate their house, buy home appliances and even a motorcycle.
“Sariling sikap lang talaga at tiyaga, at salamat talaga Kay God at napakabuti niya sa atin,” Santillan concluded her letter to KAMI. “Kaya ang payo ko lang sa mga nanay na OFW, tiis, tiyaga lang makakaahon din tayo sa hirap.”
Meanwhile, KAMI commends Santillan for her perseverance when it comes to providing a better future for her family.
Speaking of perseverance and determination, the video "Success always starts with failure" also aims to inspire others.