Here I am at a hotel in Dubai, staying for 1 night on my way to Bangladesh. I was actually quite excited to stay in Dubai knowing that I would see Filipinos everywhere. It definitely came true. Their stories are not new or different than those I heard from returning OFWs at home or from  my English students aspiring to go abroad. Yet, they still don’t fail to hit me. I met one girl who in 2 years time had only gone home once on emergency – the emergency being when her mother died. She’s just from Muñoz, an area I know well and not far from our house in La Loma. Others work long hours – the same receptionist that checked us in at 7 PM last night is here again working since 8 AM this morning.

Mga bagong bayani, that’s what GMA calls them. And for once, she’s right. There is no lack of evidence proving that the money these brave and lonely souls send home is the onlyt hing keeping the Philippine economy afloat and keeping even more of our people from starving. Talk about foreign investment. Pero, what that means is kulang ang mga tao na naewan sa pilipinas para baguhin ang bansa. The best and the brightest, the masipag, the educated, are either working here serving foreigners or doing all in their power with the hopes of going abroad to serve foreigners.

Sama ba ako into that framework? I suppose in some ways, yes, in many ways, no. Pero sad talaga ang situwasyon natin when people who love their country are forced into economic exile. It’s a stark contrast to the mayabang and oblivious Fil-Ams who are all to happy to flaunt their blue passports or greencards. We’ve all got to work harder so our mga bayani can go home.