Friday, June 24, 2011

Surviving Saudi Arabia - Contract Failure

June 20, 2011-Monday the day when I haven't had enough sleep due to insomnia of excitement, an overwhelming of emotion scorching within my core that lying in bed and closing your eyes cant lead you to nowhere. I decide to look at my luggage for final minute checking. All my bags are pack and hell yeah ready to go!. It was almost 7 years ago that I went to Manila the capital city of my country to compete for National Skills Competition and got lucky to bring the bacon back home and now Ill be going back there to test my fate and if I still have the luckiness within me.
My family really extend some effort and travel 8 hours from Cagayan de Oro just to send me off here in Davao City for departure, well 3 years is a long time we will not be seeing each other. My flight was schedule early in the morning need to go to the airport by 6am before checking in at 7am bound to Manila via Philippine Airlines (This was my first time inside Philippine Airlines most of my travel is by PhilAir and Cebu Pac).
Dressed to kill as I say with a fairly bad weather but this will not stop this undying will to continue being a OFW and widen my horizon.
We arrived at the Davao International Airport around 6:00 in the morning. With some full of love hugging and blessing from my parents and my sisters and brother was a good thing to bring in the land of uncertainty and wealth. Before entering in the departure area I held my last look at them in a distance and wave for the last time "see you after 3 years". As I enter the premises of the airport, lined up for checking in and getting a window side seat is a good deal. I had my self a cup coffee before boarding time arrives and drink it as a well bread class of ancient times.
Entering a spacious cabin of PAL and seeing those pretty flight stewardess was priceless. 1 hour and 48 minutes past like it was 5 minutes and I already arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Wow the NAIA got a fresh new look now, my eyes cant stop from looking everywhere lavishing each angle of architectural haven and interior extravagant and as a probinsyano I cant stop to act like one to be amaze just by walking in the isle to luggage waiting area.
8:46 in the morning and I was in Manila already, got my luggage and went straight to the Restroom(Need to dispose some intake liquid) good thing someone was already been waiting for me her name is Jobet a petite young woman standing around 4'10 or 5 flat and working in the agency that processed my papers as a filing clerk (thats what she told me). She brings me to the OFW Lounge to wait for a certain Maam Zeny for contract signing so Ive entered inside and see those OFW going somewhere around the world for work but as an old saying goes "Don't go with an empty stomach" so I ate but I cant fathom why my stomach can take enough (butterfly in the stomach i guess) so Ive just ate a Mami.
Waited....waited ..... waited ... 1 hour past ..... waited .... waited .... waited .... my cellphone rang its from Maam Zeny asking if I am at the NAIA and I said yes waiting for her, she answer that she is still preparing the documents.... waiting..... waiting... waiting.... 2 hours past.... waiting .....waiting .... waiting ...... to kill time ive just talk to those OFW who approaches me and have a conversation......3 hours past waiting.... waiting ... waiting.... waiting and my god Ive waited 7 hours before Ma'am Zeny arrived and from there a shift of inter-galactic fate spread.
My cellphone became unrest from calling my employer that I will not sign the contract brought by the agency due to some discrepancy that Ive seen. the Job Order - JO was a different one my supposed work designation will be Interior designer with a salary of $xxxx.xx but in the POEA paper was different it was Architectural something (I forgot the full detail) with a salary of $xxx.xx it was cut half! talking about numerical shock. From the other sheet of paper got my correct work status and my salary to be but Im still uncertain to signed it so due to some mental stress I didn't signed it and if I'm not mistaken a 4 hours of pure negotiation from the employer even come to the point to send me 1.3m pesos to pay the half of my 3 years worth of salary in the land of dessert I almost give in but my pride as a professional takes on the center stage. I came with the final decision to went back home in Davao and told my employer if they really want me they will do something and make it more clearer in my side IM NEW IN THIS TRADE FOR HEAVEN SAKE! Im toO vigilant on this, I don't want to be sulking my self for the rest of 3 years in the foreign land. My mind became blurry of emotional burden and decided to purchase a first flight in the morning bound to Davao via PhilAir. My flight was schedule 4:25am in the morning and that was the longest day of my life and remembered the movie "the terminal" by Tom Hupkins and Katherine Zetta Jones.
Sleeping in the cold ceramic tiles of NAIA is no joke been there for hours thinking of what my family will be feeling. Positive hopes perish like a winter wind and a total opposite behavior coated my being emitting a negative aura of gloominess...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surviving Saudi Arabia - Leaving The Place called "Davao"

Last Saturday (June 18,2011) I receive a call that changes my future in a glance. A call coming from the people who assisted me to fasten my application due to the employers request and then Ma'am Diding called me and told me a good news.
Ma'am Diding: "Bert good news ok na lahat ng papeles mo at ok na din ang stamp sa visa mo aalis kana"
Me: "Talaga Ma'am! wow kelan po" (Thinking 2 weeks)
Ma'am Diding: "Sa lunes na!" (June 20,2011)
Me: "............. pag sure!"
Ma'am Diding: "ahahah uu totoo kaya mag prepare kana ... " .... toooott line disconnected.
Ive started to rattle and dont know what to do... First thing that came up my mind is to check my atm account..
and I only got a cold hard 2K pesos on it (how the hell should I went to Manila!)
Good thing my employer stand to our agreement that they will produce everything that I need so I may arrive there and start working ASAP!

Sunday came fast and I'm already looking at my baggage that Ill be carrying to the dessert land. I already bid farewell to my friends its better that way. I keep on thinking about our past the good memories and laugh we shared, and somehow I felt a pinch in my heart that Ill not be able to be apart of our annual tradition anymore due to the fact that Ill be working abroad.

Its not that easy to leave the place that I found peace and that is my beloved "Davao City" thinking about it I already spend 8 years of my life here! Ive tasted the best of what Davao may offer and I enjoy it in every day I live in this prestigious city. I thank God that he offers me the place that I can look back when I want to spend the rest of my life in this world but for today I will leave this great city and I hope Ill be returning back with the same beauty as today.

Ill be leaving Davao with good faith breaming with confidence that I can go beyond miles and showcase my skills to the foreign land and when they will asked me where do I came from? Ill smile first and answer "Davao". But before bidding farewell Ill thank this city of mine for making me the best of what I am today, Ill carry on the name of my city just as the same last 5 years ago when I won the 12th Philippines National Skills Competition and today Ill challenge the world itself.

Ill be back Davao make sure to welcome me when I came back after 3 years!

Surviving Saudi Arabia - First Time Abroad

Its been so many months that I haven't updated this blog but last week a wind of change blew unto my presence and open a new challenge in life and that is to become a new OFW! so from here on bare with me as I face new culture, new races, new style of living and new work environment. As of the moment all my bags are pack and equip't of undying patience and hope to seek greener pasture in the land of strangers where my belief in god will be put unto test.
This new series will be Labeled Surviving Saudi Arabia and dont tell my mother that ill be going to Al Hasa, Hufof, Saudi Arabia....