Posts Tagged With: OFW success stories

Ronilo Victoriano: The Notable Filipino Seafarer, Singer and Songwriter



Why settle for less if you can be the best?

As what Ronilo Victoriano takes as gospel, good is no good especially when you can do better things in life. Ergo, he was able to reach greater heights and entertain thousands of people, most of them our fellow Pinoys around the globe.

I quickly became a fan upon hearing one of his soulful songs and knowing that he’s not only a world class performer but a seafarer too, I feel ecstatic to point over the klieg light on him. He’s our couleur de rose OFW Singer and Songwriter.

I conducted an online interview and I must say that Ronilo’s craft deserves our dear support and recognition.

When and how did you start singing and writing songs?

“I started singing when I was just 7 years old. Since then, I had participated into various activities that stretched and tuned-in my vocal chords. When I was 20 years old, I joined a local band and eventually became its lead vocalist. However, it was disbanded so I searched for other job until I answered the calling of the sea last 2000. When I joined my first ship, I really thought it was the end of my singing career but thanks God it didn’t happen. In 2003, I started to give life to my melodic thoughts. Ten years after, I had been in cloud nine in for I was able to launch and copyrighted my first album entitled “Iba na ngayon ang Pinoy”. My album has seven songs and it became a hit on one local radio station. Six months later, I composed another 10 songs for my second album entitled Paglalakbay. Special thanks by the way to Mr. Sammy Rubido for the musical arrangement, Mr. Tonzie Gay Escano of Cool Digital Production and Mr. Silvester “Beting” Jubilan for all their help and support. As of today, I wrote 19 songs already and this milestone makes me sing for joy and more success in life! ”

Who inspires you to go the extra mile in singing, song writing and of course, sailing?

“To write good songs, I usually base them on my own experiences in life. I had been through many difficulties and it drives me to speak by my own heart whether I sing or write a song. My loving wife and three talented kids give me strong reasons to perform best. They were even involved in my outputs. Moreover, I find inspiration on my fellow Overseas Filipino Workers who are fighting hard against all odds just to promote the welfare of our compatriots. My songs are mostly pro- OFW for I could relate more to what it’s like living away from your own family to search for greener pastures abroad or in particular, brave the seas to secure a more comfortable life for my family.”

Share us your future plans

”For now and the coming years, I always and would like to work hard for the development of both my sailing and singing careers. I will continue to compose songs, different kind of songs if possible, because to be a famous singer/composer is my dream since I was a small kid. With me is my wonderful family and we are praying that my singing and song writing career would thrive. I also started a small business back in our place and it’s helping us financially. I don’t hold the future but with hard work, courage and sweet lullabies, I’m confident I’ll be going into places. ”

As an Overseas Filipino singer and songwriter, what is your message to the public?

“Life is a best avenue for personal growth. You can win or unfortunately, lose your ground in a competition but don’t give up and have a stronger faith to your Creator. Meanwhile, if you have the “X-Factor” (talent), grab each chance to enhance it. Always dream big, grow as a mature person and take good care of such God-given talent. I hope that many people, especially those front-runners of the music industry would give us spotlight – the independent recording artists/composers. To my countrymen, I ask your humble support to patronize Original Pilipino Music (OPM) while to all my avid song listeners, thank you with all my heart. I assure you that I will be singing and writing more and more beautiful songs for you! ”

Finally, what makes you proud as an Overseas Filipino?

“I’m proud to be an OFW for we are the buhay na bayani (living heroes) of our motherland. We are global ambassadors, confident and talented enough to be “The Voice” of our fellow Filipinos both on local and international arena.”

Ronilo’s songs are being played on 94.1 spirit FM and on international web streams like Tinig Pinoy ( of Ottawa and Ontario Canada, Tambayang Pinoy Radio, Ka Chat Pinoy Radio (Singapore and US based), Music Pinoy Radio and Himig Radio.




What can you say about Ronilo’s talent?

Share your thoughts by writing a comment below.

Categories: Inspiring, OFW TALENTS | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are Unique!


Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not ONE of them is like YOU!
No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.

No, one’s hair grows exactly the way yours does. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one has the same combination of secret inside jokes and family expressions that you know.

The few people who laugh at all the same things you do, don’t sneeze the way you do. No one prays about exactly the same concerns as you do. No one is loved by the same combination of people that love you – NO ONE!

No one before, no one to come. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!

Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.

You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in all of history will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.

If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.

Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!

No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.

No one can be cheerful and lighthearted and joyous in your way. No one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.

Share your uniqueness. Let it be free to flow out among your family and friends and people you meet in the rush and clutter of living wherever you are. That gift of yourself was given you to enjoy and share. Give yourself away!

See it! Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you! YOU ARE UNIQUE!

Related Reading: OFW Sailor/Singer/Songwriter


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Outstanding OFW Child and Filipino Blogger


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.


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: , , , , ,

Outstanding OFW Blogger Acceptance Speech


” Maniniwala po ba kayo sakin kahit wala akong pera? Eh, Pamilya? Totoo po wala po akong pera at pamilya sa ngayon dahil kung meron, nandito sana sila to witness this glorious moment. Sayang, hindi nila makikita kung gaano kasaya ngayon ditto sa SMX! Pero sige lang..wala man sila dito meron naman akong walang hanggang “double P” para sa kanila at para sa inyong lahat. Sino ang may alam ng double P na sinasabi ko? Pakitaas po ng kamay at yung mga hindi alam, pakitaas po ng inyong isang kilay! Biro lamang po pero sadya namang may double P tayo. Hindi po ito unli pasabog para sa mga gustong magnew year na diyan o pakain para sa mga kumakalam na ang sikmura dahil ito ay walang iba kundi ang ating walang hanggang pagmamahal at pasasalamat. Pero sabi nga nating mga OFW, pagtitiis lang ang kailngan mo at masasanay karin. Apparently, nasanay narin ako pero iba kasi talaga pag kasama natin ang ating mga mahal sa buhay lalong lalo na sa ganitong mga pagkakataon. Generally sa ating mga OFWs, in order to give our beloved ones a more comfortable life, we need to detach ourselves. Parang lovelife status lang sa FB ano?.. it’s complicated.

Excited napo ba kayong makinig sa kwento ng buhay ko? Dahil excited na kayo, simulan natin sa..ang nakaraan, Ipinanganak ako sa mahirap na pamilya. Ang aking itay, bago pumunta ng Saudi ay pagtatanim ng palay at tubo ang tanging hanapbuhay at ang aking inay ay isang kasambahay lamang. Anim po kaming magkakapatid at pinalad na ako ang panganay. Pinagpilitan ko lang po ang salitang pinalad actually. Dahil nasa bandang kabundukan kami nakatira, halos isa at kalahating oras kaming naglalakad ng mga kapatid ko para makapasok sa eskwela. Kalimitan ding walang masarap na ulam sa hapagkainan kaya’t naging pambansang ulam na namin ang pinaghalong mantika at toyo. Espesyal naman ang aking agahan kung minsan dahil sinasabaw ko ang tinimplang gatas sa kanin at nilalagyan ng toppings na walang iba kundi ang hinimay-himay na tuyo. Kahit nakakadry ng utak at nakakasawa sa dila, lumaki naman po akong normal at di sakitin. Wala din kaming kuryente sa aming bahay noon kaya kapag nag-aaral ako, de gaas na lampara ang aking ginagamit. Maraming beses na nakatulog ako habang nagbabasa ng libro at yung ilaw nakaiwang umaapoy sa aking uluhan, delikado sa delikado dahil pwede kaming masunugan pero sa kabutihang palad, nagigising naman ako kaagad kapag naamoy ko na ang nasusunog kong buhok. Sa mga gamit naman po sa eskwela, kung hindi inutangan ay bigay lamang ng ibang taong may magandang kalooban. Kapag bakasyon nagbebenta po ako ng mga gulay o di kaya kakanin na kami mismo ang nagluluto at binebenta sa mga kapitbahay o kung di pa maubos sa buong barangay. Naglinis din po ako ng mga malalaking bahay sa amin para may pandagdag sa allowance ko. May crush na ako nung time na yon kaya kapag nakikita niya akong nagbebenta, hiyang-hiya ako dahil alam na alam ko, hindi yung tipo kong tindero ang magugustuhan niya. Ang pagkakataon na iyon ang nagpatimbang sa akin kung ano nga ba ang mahalaga..Pera o Pag-ibig. Syempre sa huli pinili kong makapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Sa loob ng humigit kumulang sampung taon ganito kahirap ang ikot ng aking buhay estudyante. Pero ginawa ko po itong inspirasyon at sa awa ng Diyos, nakapagtapos bilang class valedictorian at naging kauna-unahang President ng Division Federation of Supreme Student Government at Outstanding Student of Antique Awardee ng aming highschool. Salamat sa pinaghalong gatas at tuyo, sana po maniwala kayo kung sasabihin kong yun ang nagpatalino sa akin. Nung nakapagtapos na ako ng sekundarya, sinubukan kong mag-aaply sa isang prestihiyosong unibersidad sa siyudad ng Iloilo. Wala po talaga akong balak maging marino pero dahil may inofer na scholarship ay agad akong naghanda para ipasa ang mga exams. Halos 700 kaming aplikante galing sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa pero 24 lang ang nabigyan ng pagkakataong makapag-aral ng libre. Hindi naman po nasayang ang aming inutang na pamasahe at panggastos nung mga panahong iyon dahil isa ako sa mga pinalad na makapasa. Ngunit hindi po naging madali ang aking buhay iskolar sa kolehiyo dahil naging malaking hamon ang aming semi-military dorm training na kung saan ang aming mga kilos, salita at oras ay kontrolado ng mga nakakataas sa amin. Hindi po kami nakauwi ng first three months at nakagamit ng cellphone dahil bawal. Maaga po kaming nagigising sa mga araw na may celesthenics, bilang po ang oras at may nakapatong na saging sa ulo na hindi pwedeng malaglag hanggang matapos ang aming pagkain at kami ay palaging nakikitang nagmamartsa sa campus. Madalas po pumapasok kami sa klase na hindi na nakaligo at pinaparusahan kapag nagkakamali. Ang masaklap, namatay ang isang kaklase ko isang araw habang kami ay nagjojogging. Hindi nakayanan ng kanyang puso ang pisikal at emosyonal na stress kaya bigla nalang siyang bumagsak at dead on arrival na ng dalhin sa hospital. Magkamatayan man, isang misyon lang ang tinatak ko sa aking isipan. I will survive at gagraduate ako no matter what happens dahil may pamilyang naghihintay ng tulong at suporta ko. Lubhang lubak-lubak ang daanan pero narating ko din ang tagumpay nang makapagtapos ako bilang Magna Cum Laude ng kauna-unahang maritime university sa bansa at itinanghal bilang one of the Outstanding OFW Children of the Philippines ng Bank of the Philippine Islands noong November 2011 sa Makati. Kinilala din po ang ating husay sa public speaking, community service, peer facilitating, leadership and arts. Lahat ng ito ay dahil po sa ating pagsasakrispisyo, pag-aambisyon at matatag na paniniwala na ang tagumpay ay napakatamis kapag ang iyong puhunan ay dugo at pawis. And here comes the time I officially became an OFW. I just turned 18 then, batang-bata pa when I left my family and searched for greener pastures abroad. I will be joining my first vessel as a cadet on Hamburg, Germany and since it’s also my first time to travel abroad, naexcite din ako. Pero bumulaga po sa akin ang mga maala-ala mo kaya magpakailanman na mga eksena sa departure area ng NAIA. Kitang-kita ko na bago bitawan ang isang miyembro ng pamilya na mag-aabroad, bugbog sarado ito ng hugs and kisses at syempre nandun yung tears of sadness dahil siguradong mamimiss nila ang isa’t-isa. I just closed my eyes at bilang pampalubag loob I told myself, buti na lang wala sila dito, makakaalis ako ng walang eyebags. To make the long flight details short, we departed Manila bound to Hongkong to Munich and lastly, to Hamburg, Germany. Mahaba-habang biyahe but every sight was new and enchanting. Nasabi ko nalang sa sarili ko. Wow, thank you Lord! Dito na talaga ako sa ibang bansa, my dream came true! Upon embarking our vessel, we were introduced immediately to our Swedish Captain and to the rest of the crew. Pagkatapos binigyan ng safety shoes and working clothes ay doon ko simulang naintindihan kung ano ba talaga ang ibig sabihin ng matalinhagang salita na “kayod-marino”. Let me give you a quick description of life at sea. Maganda dahil libre ang pagkain, tubig, internet, movies at iba pang mga bagay. Masaya din dahil nakakapunta ka sa iba’t ibang bansa, nagkakaroon ka ng mga dayuhang kaibigan o kumakain ng kanilang mga pagkain. On the other hand, malungkot naman dahil malayo ka sa iyong mga mahal sa buhay, madalas demanding at mapanganib ang trabaho, may mga cultural differences at kahit pa kapwa mo Pinoy ay mga pasaway din minsan. Nevertheless, seafaring will give you the best opportunity to prove your worth as a global Pinoy ambassador dahil very challenging but rewarding po ang buhay-barko. The first time I made a telephone call since I left home 3 months ago, ayaw ko po sanang maiyak but may isang nakapaka-sibuyas na tanong. My mother asked me, “Kamusta ka naman diyan, ok lang ba?” Then I quickly replied “Ok naman, maganda naman ang buhay dito” at napaluha na lamang ako ng di ko namalayan. I know in myself, it’s a white lie and ganyan lang dapat, if you’re an OFW hindi mo masasabi ng diretso sa mga mahal mo sa buhay na nahihirapan ka dahil ayaw mo silang mag-alala sayo sa malayo. That time I was suffering from a very painful sciatic nerve pain. Papauwiin na nga sana ako ng aming Chiefmate pero humingi ako ng pabor na konting panahon pa para ako’y gumaling. I endured those sleepless days, ginawa ko nang vitamins ang pain killer tablets and I prayed hard na sana gumaling na ako dahil ang aking working performance, bagsak na bagsak na and I just can’t go home untimely dahil may mga taong umaasa sa akin. Sa awa ng Diyos, nawala naman po ang aking sakit. Hindi lang po iyon ang mga naging hamon dahil marami ang mga naging buwis buhay na mga sitwasyon. Nahulog napo ako sa hagdan sa pagmamadaling buksan ang motor ng hatch covers, tinamaan ng lumipad na wrench sa mukha at dumugo ito, muntik mahagip ng mala anaconda na lubid habang nagmomooring operation sa Algeria o makuryente ng milyon milyong boltahe habang nag cha- chanelling sa Houston dahil foggy at ako ang nagdadrive ng crane na ginagamit sa pagpapalit ng reducer sa aming manifold. Sinasabi ko po ito sa inyong lahat hindi para takutin kayo pero para ipaalala sa inyo na not all the time, maganda ang kinalalagyan ng isang OFW kaya po kung puro masaya ang mga larawan na nakikita ninyo sa kanilang Instagram o Facebook, naku po.. magduda naman kayo kahit konti lang. Nung nilubog na ako sa totoong mundo ng pagmamarino, hindi ko ito nagustuhan dahil napaka-pisikal ng trabaho and you need to endure long period of working contract. Sabi nga ng iba dapat nag opisina nalang para pa aircon aircon lang at hindi mahihirapan. It’s true and even a day in my life came na gusto ko nang sumuko, gusto kong tumalon sa dagat, gusto kong magbigti! but as usual, tinamad ako that time so I’m here in front of you today, nag-iingay at humihikayat na lalo pa sana nating suportahan at alagaan ang ating mga OFWs particularly seafarers dahil po nahihirapan man sila palagi sa kanilang ginagawa, ay pilit paring nagpapakatatag at hindi sumusuko bagyuhin man ng mga problema sa buhay o hampasin man ng mga alon na sinalaki nitong SMX ang barko na nagsisilbing kanilang pansamanatalang tahanan. I started writing a blog not just to for fun but primarily for the purpose of becoming a pinoy sea ambassador. Marami po kasi sa atin ang hindi alam kung what it’s really like to be a seafarer or kahit pa ang mga kasamahan natin sa industriya, kulang ang kaalaman with regards to the things which make us proud to be seafarers. If this is the concern, ang diretsahang tanong. Sino ang gagawa? Eh di ikaw. Sino pa ba? My point here is having a self-initiative. Kahit po OFW kaman o hindi, if you have this kind of attitude, I’m sure you’ll be blessed and today, I’m truly and more than blessed to be recognized as an outstanding OFW Blogger. Hindi ko po nasunggkit ang ganitong karangalan kung imbes na magsulat at maging interesado sa mga bagay na makakatulong sa kapwa OFW ay mas gugustuhin kong maglaro ng mga computer games, matulog ng maaga, manood lamang ng mga pelikula or spend my free time sa maboteng usapan. Alam nyo po ba I never won an award sa pagsusulat since I learned how to write the ABZ’s. I became the editor-in-chief of our student publication nung highschool, as appointed of course, pero tandang-tanda ko pa na ang aking editoryal, yung adviser namin ang gumawa dahil nga hindi ko talaga forte ang pagsusulat. Kaya wag na kayong magtaka na sinubukan kong makapasok sa student publication office nung kolehiyo not just twice but thrice pero kinaladkad ako palabas ng oportunidad dahil wala nga akong talento sa pagsusulat. But I never stopped writing and my first ever article to be published was for our company magazine which was circulated globally. Moreover, it’s also my first time to write my Expat on the Spot Blog at nangibabaw po ito para bigyan ako ng ganitong karangalan ngayong taon. So you see? Masusurprise ka nalang sa mga gawaing minamahal mo. All you need to do is to never say never. It’s not all about the talent but all about having the right attitude to pursue your passion and grow as a well-rounded individual. On the other hand, what is the purpose of this award kung wala din naman tayong natulungan o pinasaya? As your sea ambassador online, naniniwala po akong service to others is service to God and it is more important than stealing the limelight. Pero paano yun dahil kung ikaw ay isang seafarer, you’re always not at home, you’re always busy making a living at sea, etc. etc. which leads me to the saying na kung ayaw may dahilan, kung gusto merong paraan. Hindi po ba? I would like to present the idea of i-Pinoy Circle. I established it almost a year ago while we were sailing on the middle of Atlantic Ocean and it answers the question- How can a seafarer be a part of nation building knowing that he has a lot of troubles in doing so. I highly recognized na maraming balakid at kumbaga sa problema, given nayan pero yung solution ko, I network with schools and other organizations. Nakipagtulungan po ako sa kanila. For example they will about to celebrate the nutrition month. Now how can i-Pinoy Circle be of best help knowing that they would be having such activity? Kinontak ko po ang isang teacher and told her that iPinoy would like to sponsor a slogan and poster making contest to inculcate cooperation and creativity among the participants especially the pupils. She then became the iPinoy Circle on site coordinator. Sa isang libong pisong naibigay ko ay isang libo’t isang tuwa ang balik sa akin as they reported me how happy and conducive for learning the event was. Nasa kalagitnaan po ako ng laot nun kumakayod at ang sarap ng sarap ng pakiramdam na kahit gumugulong man sa alon ang inyong barko, may natulungan ka at napasaya. Ang isang libong piso sa mahirap na kagaya ko ay malaking bagay na po iyan dahil makakabili na ako ng isang damit at pantalon pero hindi naman kasi tayo nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Madalas ko ngang iniisip na sige total hindi naman ako binubuwisan, parang tax payment ko narin yun dahil hindi ba yun yung purpose ng tax, para umasenso ang bayan, sa case ko lang, I’m sure hindi ito nakukurakot. So the funds used came straight from my pocket but were like tax payments for me. Mapalad po tayong mga OFW na hindi na tayo nagbabayad ng buwis, well it’s our privilege and we should enjoy it pero sana po magbuwis pa tayo ng buhay para tulungan ang ating kapwa para umunlad at umasenso sa mga paraang angkop at alam na alam nating gawin. Ano man ang estado mo sa buhay at saang bansa kaman nagtatrabaho, kayang-kaya mo kabayan dahil po ang pagbabago nagsisimula dito (puso) kaya tandaan ninyo sana ang iPC o slogan ng i-Pinoy Circle, na walang iba kundi.. i-Pinoy, I for Positive Change! I was 20 then when I clinched the Outstanding OFW Child award and I’m just 22 today to be recognized as an Outstanding OFW. I don’t know kung ano pa ang naghihintay sa akin sa future pero naniniwala po akong everyone is destined for greatness kaya patuloy lang tayo dapat lumaban anuman ang hamon ng buhay.

Sana ay huwag din kayong matakot magkamali, madapa o lumakbay mag-isa because you’re the only one who holds the key to your destiny. Always try to be assertively creative and bold in your thoughts, words and actions for that makes you Ibang Klase! Uulitin ko po..Mahalin, suportahan at unawain po natin ang isa’t isa. Hindi madali ang maging isang OFW pero kung may pagbibigayan, wala pong matigas na tinapay sa mainit na kape. Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng sumoporta at tumulong sa akin para makamit ang ganitong tagumpay. I would like the public to know that I offer this award primarily for my parents. To my beloved mother and to my OFW Father. Kahit hindi tayo OK sa isa’t isa sa ngayon, I’m still lucky and proud to have such parents like you. I’m sorry for whatever wrong I’d done at sana maging masaya tayong lahat ulit dahil yun ang pinakatanging tagumpay na pinapangarap ko. To my brothers and sisters, thank you for inspiring me to be the best kuya. Mahal na mahal ko kayo and I will protect your welfare no matter what it cost me. Sana mag-aral kayo ng mabuti and make our parents proud as well. To the organizers of this award, my mentors, friends, relatives and colleagues wala po ako ngayon dito kung wala ang suporta ninyo. And Lastly, to you Lord God Almighty, you are the source of my power and wisdom. To you be all my glory! Mabuhay ang mga mga bagong bayani ng Pilipinas! Mabuhay tayong lahat! ”


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