I was away for two years for my first contract and could take vacation only once a year in my early years with GAMMA. After ten years, I was coming home more frequently, but I think it was too late to repair the damage in our relationship. I think I took my wife for granted, neglected her and failed to address this problem soon enough During our vacations with our children, I think my children were feeling miserable when for a tiny thing, my wife and I would argue and fight. I felt we were just wasting money on our vacations. Later on, our relationship further deteriorated and became so intolerable. It was like for as long as she holds our marriage contract, she could not give up and continued messing up with my life even if we were actually separated because she has some “right” over me. Thus, there was no choice but to part ways. In fact, the children helped finalize the separation. They talked to their mother and advised her to move on with her life. Much later, we got our marriage annulled. I think the children took it well. It was for the better for all of us and we all now enjoy peaceful coexistence.
I am a natural and fast learner. Even if there is not much opportunity to develop and advance oneself professionally in KSA, I learned to use the computer on my own in the early 80s, which helped me tremendously to succeed in the company. To progress in my job, I had to learn international financial market and the financial derivatives which were still new in the 80s. I applied these knowledge in my job which is not an easy thing to do for someone from a Third World country.
KSA is very particular about nationality, whether Westerner, Asian and Middle Easterner. The employers’ qualifications are biased for Western qualifications as manifested in their different pay, different regard and greater respect for Western people.
To prove, to my employer that the educational qualifications of Filipinos are just as good as any others, I corresponded with the University of Illinois to have my Philippine qualifications recognized. Fortunately, they gave me the equivalence and was allowed to take the US CPA State Board examination in 1995. I passed, and got accredited and therefore became “Western-qualified”. Thus, when I was managing the Finance Department of a big hospital, I was considered as good as any “Westerner.”
Interactions with the Filipino Community
Earlier in my career, I traveled a lot so while the Embassy Officials and Filipino leaders knew me, I was not visible in Filipino community affairs and organizations. However, being an executive in a big company with thousands of Filipino employees, it was unavoidable that I had to mingle with the Filipino community. I came out of my shell during the time of President Estrada when I joined e-Lagda. I became totally immersed in the community during the Overseas Absentee Voting Campaign.
Interaction with my Community in Pampanga...
...to be continued