Yes, we are among the one in every two Filipino families now dependent on overseas workers, having my parents in Italy. My sister and I were thus socialized into a world as a workplace, and not a tourist’s haven. And even long before the magnitude of Filipino worker’s migration reached a tenth of our national population, we have already been setting our ground to continually live in its rocking cradle of both comfort and distress.
The Crux of it All
Our history has to start somewhere and we simply refer to that which indeed made the turn of lives for all four of us in the family: my mother Arsenia, left the country for Italy while she was 19, in 1979, a little shortly after she completed midwifery. Leaving the country then was not yet the widely recognized way to go about poverty; my grandmother’s house then was a small bahay-kubo, and only the land’s yield could take children to school.
Later she married my father Nemie, also from our place in Bauan, Batangas. In 1993, my father who used to be in Singapore moved into Rome, where they still are until now. As I understand it to be, my parent felt responsible for helping their own families in the Philippines by sending and lending them money to augment their meager incomes. This was while they also try to build our own family: acquire some agricultural land and stall in the local public market as investments.
Then I came into their lives. Far and in the cold, I was born in March 1986 (and as I see it now, the realities start to set in!). How to take care of a young was a problem for Nemie and Arsenia as they both had to work full-time.
So little I was already discovering the world quite by myself. My father says he would have my crib near his work, and look at me from time to time. Luckily, there were days when some friends come over to my parents’ workplace and so, look after me. Their bosses luckily also played with me, as my parents say.
Well, the same went with my younger sister Myra, June 1993. Also born in Italy, her early years were spent and dealt with in the same way as mine.
Instability first presents itself when finally we have to live apart from each other. Until I was six, I attended school in Rome, so my parents were always around. But I have to be educated in the Philippines! Among our visits to the country since my birth, That one when I was seven left me in Batangas to attend grade school. As for my sister, when she was two years old, my mother brought her to the Philippines also to be entrusted to our relatives, while they go on working abroad. Myra and I then were guided by a number of relatives, each taking turns depending on their availability.
Really not easy for anybody, as I accounted for my…..
...to be continued