Outstanding OFW Child and Filipino Blogger

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It’s my childhood dream to appear ‘inspiring’ on a TV screen. For this dream to come true, I have to toil and believe that the universe aligns itself at least a second for someone like me to shine. Thankfully, it happened. 🙂

It’s exactly a year ago  when I received this letter from the Millicent Productions of Buhay OFW TV, inviting me for an on-camera interview.

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Buhay OFW is a TV program hosted by OFW advocate Ms. Marissa del Mar, and being televised via AKSYON TV in Philippines. It airs abroad through AKSYONTV International Channel too! Hence, our kababayans in KSA, UAE, UK, Italy, Guam & USA got a glimpse of me and hear my life story.

Not to brag, but that opportunity was a golden moment of my life. Since I’m not good looking nor talented, it required blood, sweat and tears to happen. hehe

So let me tell you how I worked hard for years, and eventually hitched my wagon to a star.

This is my (uncut & unrated) interview with Ms. del Mar.

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Mark, pwede mo bang ikwento sa amin ang buhay mo nung kabataan mo?

Dahil po ipinanganak ako sa mahirap na pamilya, maaga akong namulat sa realidad na kung gusto mong umasenso, kailangan mong mangarap, kumayod at maging resilient sa anu mang hamon ng buhay. Ang bahay-kawayan po namin noon ay nasa bandang kabundukan kaya hindi pa naabot ng kuryente. Sa tuwing papasok kami sa eskwelahan ng aking mga kaapatid ay naglalakad kami ng halos isang oras, binabaybay ang mga talahib, maputik at mabatong daan para makapagtapos lamang. De gaas na lampara naman po ang aking ginagamit kapag ako ay nagsusunog ng kilay. So maraming mga pagkakataon na ako’y nakatulog at nagising na lamang kapag naamoy ang nasusunog kong buhok.Alam niyo po ba Ms. Marissa at sa lahat ng mga nanonood sa atin ngayon, ang aming dalawang pinakapaboritong ulam kapag taghirap na talaga ay ang pinaghalong mantika at toyo at ang isa naman, pinaghalong tinimplang gatas at kanin na binudburan ng hinimay-himay na piniritong tuyo. At para po naman makatulong sa mga gastusin sa eskwela, kung bakasyon po ay naglalako ako at ang aking mga kapatid ng mga sariwang gulay at kakanin, na kami na mismo ang guamawa. Kahit nung highschool na ako at consistent na top sa klase, patuloy parin akong sumasideline sa pamamagitan ng paglilinis ng mga malalaking bahay sa aming lugar. Ang kinikita ko po ay dagdag pang allowance sa skul o pambili ng mga project. Determinado po akong makapagtapos talaga dahil gusto kong maiangat sa kahirapan ang aking pamilya. Ayaw kong magtanim nalang ng palay at tubo hanggang sa huling hininga habang umuulan man o umiinit. Sa awa ng Diyos, lumaki naman po akong hindi sakit sa ulo ng aking pamilya at komunidad at nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral bilang Class Valedictorian at kauna-unahang Oustanding Student of Antique ng public high school sa aming barangay. Maraming salamat po pala sa lahat ng sumoporta sakin nun, sa mga guro ko sa Aureliana Daycare, Elementary and National High School at sa lahat po ng naging karanasan ko nung kabataan ko, mahirap man o masaya, buong puso ko po itong pinagmamalaki dahil kung wala ang ni isa man sa inyo, I wasn’t able to transform myself into a well-rounded and productive individual. I definitely couldn’t make a difference!

Ang pag sea-seaman ay hindi mo plinano, basta kusang dumating sayo ang pagkakataon na maging seaman, right? Ikwento mo sa amin kung paano ka naging seaman.

The happening was a big turning point in my life dahil doon po ako nagsimulang mangarap para maging isang Filipino global ambassador. First I want to be an educator or a media/TV personality katulad po ninyo but an opportunity came and I need to choose for what I really want or what I really really want. Biro lang po. Pero ang Norwegian Shipowners Association Philippines Cadet Project po kasi ay nag-offer ng isang scholarship with partnership with JBLFMU, the first maritime university in the Philippines. Kaya po inihanda ko ang aking sarili para maipasa ang mga written, oral and computer exams. Mga 700 daw po kaming nag-apply nung time na iyon and 25 lamang ang mabibigyan ng oportunidad na makapag-aral ng libre sa kolehiyo. To make the long story short, the Lord granted my sole birthday wish that time.Napakasaya ko po dahil hindi naman nasayang ang lahat ng pagpupuyat at pagtitiis namin considering that we had a very limited financial resources that time. However, if you think that was all, masasabi ko pong it was just the start of more sacrifices and a different chapter in my life. To be a scholar of a Norwegian based shipping company, hindi kalang dapat magkaroon ng mataas na IQ but more importantly, meron kang matatag na EQ or emotional quotient dahil hindi basta basta ang trabaho at buhay sa barko. So we were immersed into semi military type of training while studying hard to maintain good grades. Basically, hindi lang mental at pisikal ang mga naging hamon kundi pati narin ang emosyonal at spiritwal. Isa po sa mga kaklase ko ang binawian ng buhay, habang isang umaga kami ay nagjojogging. Malungkot isipin but instead of thinking to quit, lalo ko pa pong pinagtibay ang aking pananampalataya. Malaki ang aking pangarap na makatulong sa aking pamilya, travel the world for free and be an advocate of change. Lahat naman po ng mga paghihirap natin sa buhay ay may katapusan and when it’s all done, those who never quit, those who never said never to surpass all the challenges, sila po ang binibigyan ng blessings ni Lord. For my side, I was just surprised one day and even on this moment, hindi parin po ako makapaniwala na ang isang marinong katulad ko, has something inspiring to tell at napapanood ito ng libo libo nating mga kababayan here and abroad.

Nung naging seaman ka, hindi pa rin natapos ang mga pagsubok mo sa buhay…pwede mo bang share sa amin kung ano ano pang mga challenges ang pinagdaanan mo nung nag babarko ka na.

The working and living conditions at sea is far different from what we have on land. On the lighter side, sabi nga naming mga marino, once we go back to work, balik selda na naman and yung tagal ng kontrata serves as your “sentensya” and once you finish your contract, the common statement is ” hay, sa wakas, nakalaya narin!”. And all of these, naranasan ko po but on a positive angle of life. Before I embarked on my first vessel, syempre excited ako but when I finally experienced the true color of seafaring, pinaghinaan ako ng loob nung una. Hindi lang homesickness at physically demanding job ang naging hamon but also the adverse effect of weather conditions just like, pag may byahe kami sa mga sobrang mainit o malamig na lugar. Once I had a sciatic nerve pain case. Hindi ako makakabuhat ng mabigat na bagay or even sit, walk or sleep for a longer period of time. Pero I was the cadet and the expectations were very high kaya po natry ko iyong uminom ng pain killer tablets araw-araw dahil nakatanggap na ako ng warning from our Chiefmate, na kapag hindi nagimprove ang working performance ko, ako ay uuwi ng wala sa oras. Marami din pong mga pagkakataon na dahil sa sama ng panahon, hindi nakakatulog o nakakain ng maayos. Napakarisky naman po ng  mga trabaho dahil kapag walang ibayong pag-iingat, pwede kang malalag sa tubig, masugatan, mawalan ng hihingaing oxygen at iba pa…unfortunately, lahat ay nakakamatay. But since may misyon pa ako sa buhay at iyon ay tulungan ang aking pamilya, I need to endure all the difficulties. I have the choice not to work overseas but it’s not the right time to just sit down and relax. Mapanganib man o matrabaho sa barko sabi ko nga it’s just my job, not my life. On the positive side, the more challenges I overcome, the better seafarer I become.

Hanggang ngayon ba nagbabarko ka pa? What are you busy with nowadays?

Yes, I’m still sailing. I’m just 22 at napakabata ko pa po para tuldukan ang estorya ng aking buhay-marino. If time permits, I want to reach the pinnacle of my career while at the same time, living life to the fullest. For now, it’s my trainings which make me busy here on the city pero when it’s not for my job, I like to stay at home, magtanim ng mga gulay at prutas and do housekeeping for my younger siblings. On the other hand, pinapatuloy ko parin po ang serbisyong naihahatid natin thru i-Pinoy Circle and my Expat on the Spot Blog. Oh, how I wish I have very enough financial resources but few or abundant, it’s still my time which I find most valuable and helpful.

Bago ka nakatanggap ng award bilang Outstanding Blogger, nakatanggap ka ng award bilang Outstanding OFW Children of the Philippines, sa pananaw mo, ano ang mga katangian mo bakit nabigyan ka ng ganitong award?

It’s quite remarkable to think that I was able to prove my worth as an OFW Child and as an OFW myself at the same time. Last November 2011, I received the Outstanding OFW Children of the Philippines Award for Kakaibang talino Category and about 2 years after, the Outstanding OFW Award, Blogging Category. Syempre po proud tayo sa estado natin ngayon knowing that to be a part of an OFW family, hindi madali ang maging successful. Just like to be an OFW Child, marami po sa mga katulad ko ang naliligaw ng landas. Let’s say it, dahil provided na sa iba ang comfort of living and more than enough finances ng kanilang OFW parent, they tend not to pay off their parent’s sacrifices. Unfortunately, others were into dreadful partying, drinking and drugs but for my side, I made a choice and that choice should definitely make my parents proud and happy especially my OFW father and if there’s one thing which makes me Ibang Klase among others, I think it’s not talent nor brilliance but my attitude. Let’s make it easy and meaningful, achievements in life don’t describe a person, attitude does and wherever you go and whatever you do, if you possess the right one, you would live an award-winning life.

Paano ka naman napunta sa blogging, kelan mo nadiscover na pwede ka pa lang maging isang blogger?

Ako kasi yung tipo ng tao na kapag hinayaan mo sa tapat ng computer, imbes maglaro ng mga computer games ay bubuksan ang internet para makipagusyoso sa mga pangyayari. I admit it, “usi” ako but not yung klase na binebenta ang mga nabasa o nabalitaan. Once, nabasa ko ang isang article written in line with the seafarers week celebration and it pointed out the ugly truth that the general public has a limited view or not much aware of seafaring profession. As a seafarer, hindi ko po naiwasan na maging malungkot dahil totoo po naman na kami ang inyong lingkod sa karagatan. We deliver goods and commodities from nations to nations, we connect continents, we endure the high seas and strong winds para po maihatid sa inyo ang kinakailangang langis, bigas , damit at iba pang mga kailangan at gusto ninyo sa buhay. On the other hand, I was challenged at the same time and I asked myself, why not I will use some of my writing and photography skills to inform and influence the many. So I started writing my blog eventhough I’m not a promising writer and just an amateur photographer. You can do everything if you don’t limit yourself, ika nga ng aking teacher nun sa highschool and it’s true, I’m not just a seafarer. I became a blogger by choice.

Ano ang intensyon mo sa iyong pag blo- blog?

Aparently, I would like to raise the public’s awareness about us, seafarers and our job, seafaring. I’m also happy to promote our dear seafarers talents. Marami po tayong mga kasamahan sa industriya na magaling kumanta, sumayaw o magsulat and they all deserve the spotlight. Sa blog ko po may isa akong section doon na entitled “around the world” which features maritime photos taken from various nations while I was still sailing. Once, I was bashed online and questioned why I posted such dull photos and I just smiled but let me grab this opportunity to express my puspose. Naniniwala po ako na kapag nakita ng iba ang ganung mga larawan, somehow they would be inspired to work abroad and join our force. Hindi po ba ang mga OFWS ang pangunahinh nagbibigay ng income sa ating bansa? So why not, inspire them through photography, hindi ba?. To be a blogger means to fill the role of a sea ambassador for me. I write and I should not stop writing even I’m in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean or channeling the Gibraltar strait because at sea, it’s not just my diversion but became my passion as well.

Kamusta na ang pamilya mo mo, ang parents at mga kapatid mo?

I would like to say that my family is blessed and standing still and strong against any challenges of time. I would like to grab this opportunity to say thank you to my parents, my younger siblings and all family relatives for everything you endowed. To my most valuable investment, sa mga kapatid ko pong pinapaaral ko, thanks for showing great concern and utmost responsibility to your studies and our family. Sana ay patuloy kayong mag-aral ng mabuti para hindi masayang ang lahat ng pinagpaguran ni kuya. I love you all!

Ano na ang plano mo sa buhay mo at ano ang gusto mong marating at ma accomplish?

I have some 3-4 months remaining at babalik na ako sa barko, with heavier responsibilities and new roles now. I look forward na kahit maraming challenges and difficulties, magiging proud ako and contented when I finish my contract. I hope I would reach the top position before I turn 30 years old but if not especially due to some valid reasons, I don’t want to force myself. Once financially stable and established a promising career on land, I would like to start my own family and gusto ko po talaga makasama sila palagi. Lumaki ako sa pamilyang walang father na gumagabay and it’s different, very different from the usual kaya I promised myself na iibahin ko ang aking diskarte sa buhay. I also finished taking an instructor’s course and hopefully, makakaturo ako sa mga training centers by next two months. Next year I hope makastart na ako to take my masters degree at sana, mabigyan ng pagkakataon na maging katulad po ninyo, nag iinterbyu at nagpopromote ng ating mga inspiring and talented OFWs, sa radio man o TV. Isa po kasi sa mga pangarap ko iyon na naantala dahil ako ay nagdesisyon na maging marino. For all my glories, I offer them to God, my creator and mentor for without him, I am nothing. My future is full of uncertainties, but what I know, I hold the key to my destiny.

Mensahe mo sa iyong mga kapwa marino

Sa lahat ng mga marinong Pilipino, Mabuhay po kayong lahat! Saan man po kayong sulok ng mundo, ang mga mahal ninyo sa buhay ay naaalala kayo kaya dapat ingatan ang sarili patuloy lang na maging masaya sa buhay, ano mang uri ng panahon meron tayo. To all the crew and family members po ng  Bulk Jupiter at sa lahat ng mga marinong naagrabyado ang buhay dahil sa kanilang trabaho, our prayers po na magiging OK tayo lahat. Salamat sa lahat ng mga kasamahan ko, lalo na sa mga mababait kong mga superiors and officers, hindi ko napo isa-isahin dahil andami ninyo and to all our OFWs syempre na nagtitiis sa malayo Saludo po ako sa inyo dahil ang lahat ng mga paghihirap at panganib, sinusuong at nilalampasan ninyo makapagbigay lamang ng comfortable life sa mga mahal na naiwan dito sa Pilipinas. I’m more than honored and happy that today, a seafarer has spoken.

Salamat po sa inyong suporta at pagmamahal!

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Categories: OFW TALENTS, Overseas Filipino Workers, viral | Tags: , , , , ,

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