The Worst Thing on Being an OFW

10 mga puna

I used to think that spending Christmases or birthdays away from my loved ones in the Philippines is sad. I just realized that being hospitalized is way worse, especially for an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) like me.

The feeling of boredom, loneliness and uncertainty bitch-slapped my face when I woke up in the middle of the night and found out that I am indeed alone.

I could still remember the last time I was hospitalized in the Philippines. I was still in elementary when I got admitted in Polymedic Hospital (currently known as Victor Potenciano Medical Center) due to H-Fever (currently known as Dengue Fever). Well,using the phrase “currently known as” is a proof that I really am getting old and these events happened ages ago, back when Family Computer and Atari were the “must-haves.”

I am not a person who easily gets sick. If there’s one thing that I could really be proud of, it’s the fact that I did not have sick leave in 2012. Yes, that’s perfect attendance last year. But for 2013, I could not say the same. Well, even superheroes get sick and I am not bulletproof after all.

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thank you Sir Jay for capturing the moment!

This unfortunate thing happened on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. I was already a little under the weather when I woke up at 5:15am but I did not mind it, thinking that I will never get sick anymore. I had lunch and felt weird later in the afternoon when I got back to work. I had an uncomfortable feeling at the lower part of my back. I would not describe it as ‘shooting’ or ‘terrible’ pain, but it felt really tired, which urged me to go the the pantry and lie down.

 

THANK YOU NOTES

Thank you to my colleague Maria Ria, who, after she saw me lying down at the pantry sofa, a chain of events followed. Thank you to our doctors: Jey,Justine and Steve, who took time to look at my condition and advised me to go to Gleneagles Hospital, since it’s the nearest panel from our office. Thank you to our Head of Operations, Chris Helms, who made me realize that going to the hospital and taking the day off from work will not make me look like a bad employee. Though I never wanted to leave work and wished I could finish my shift, my condition showed otherwise. Thank you to Sir Beda, Sir Jay and Kuya Irving for bringing me to the hospital in a jiffy. When we reached Gleneagles and had my temperature checked, it was only then I found out that I was already running a 38.6 fever. Thank you to the ever-reliable Sharits, who drove all the way from Bukit Jalil to bring clothes for me. Thank you for always being available when I requested to bring my tab and book since boredom was killing me. Thank you to my good friend Fritzie who took time to visit me. Fritzie is an OFW working as a teacher in Myanmar. Our original plan was for her to stay at my place while she is exploring KL but it did not materialize due to this unfortunate incident. Having a familiar face in my hospital room helped a lot – Jezu Timbale Shin! Thank you to Edson, who consistently showed me what, who and how a true friend is. Texting and asking my condition maybe enough but a big thank you for taking the extra mile to visit me on my last day at the hospital. Though we never usually hang out after office hours, thank you for being there when I needed a friend. A huge difference it is being just a colleague and a friend for keeps.Thank you to those who prayed, who cared and didn’t care at all.

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1st Night at Gleneagles Hospital

 

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Fritzie from Myanmar… Jezu Timbale Shin!

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Edson aka Daddy E, the Father of All Nations

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Informing my family about my current condition in the hospital was the last thing on my mind because I did not want them to worry. My plan was to tell them I was hospitalized on the day of my discharge. But in the three days that I was admitted in Gleneagles Hospital, there was not a single day when I wished that my family was beside me. The silence in the hospital scared me because it screamed the truth that I was alone, and I had no choice but to get over it.

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cold food on a cold night

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have you ever heard somebody describing the food as “malamig pa sa ilong ng pusa?” (colder than the nose of a cat) ..well, the hospital foods were colder than the noses of 10 stray cats combined!

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so-called pancake

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what’s the use of having a menu when all the foods tasted the same?

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this is the type of give-away that I never wished to have…

Everytime the nurse woke me up to check my blood and temperature, everytime the hospital attendant informed me that she had to change the bedsheet and pillow case, everytime the staff brought my cold hospital food, I wished I was never in that situation. I may have thought a couple of times what did I do to deserve being hospitalized? But then I got ashamed of myself asking that question. God always has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom but we simply have to trust His will. 

It was Friday, April 19, 2013, when my treating doctor told me that the result of the X-ray was negative and it looked like it was a case of muscle cramps, fatigue and fever. He still requested me to visit his clinic though for a follow-up treatment next week in order to get the result of the blood test.

Being an OFW is not all glitz and glamor. After almost five years of working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it’s inevitable that I still feel sad and alone sometimes especially during unfortunate incidents like this. But I am a fighter as I have always been. I am still thankful that I am here, back in my room, writing a new blog post, I survived,  alive and kicking, ready to face a new day.

God bless us all!

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camwhoring makes me feel better

 

 

 

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KLINIK SENTRAL in SRI PETALING, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – NOT TRULY ASIA!

26 mga puna

January 16, 2012 (Monday)

I went home directly after my dayshift because I was a little under the weather. I have been coughing and sneezing the whole day and I felt pretty tired.

And so I prepared my dinner. I took off my shirt, heat the pan and cooking oil and fried the ‘embutido’ which my mom bought for me in Manila before I went back to KL.

Maybe I was really tired. Maybe I was in a hurry. Maybe I was freaking hungry. Or maybe just plain stupidity. Since the ‘embutido’ was frozen and I was lazy to get a knife and cut it, I used the ladle and tried to cut the ‘embutido’ in half. The rest was history. I just realized that the cooking oil splashed on my body and burned around 1/8 of it.

I posted this on Facebook and was overwhelmed with the number of responses and advise that I received from my fans, err, friends.

Thank you to my mommy, Sharits, Fei Wong, Rick Simon, Geri, Kuya Ely, Mami Kengkay, KH Yong, Eden, Tito Felix, Sid and Sir Beda who called me all the way from Manila to give me advice.

Since I did not have any aloe vera, Sir Beda told me NOT to apply toothpaste on the burned area. He instructed me to wash my body and put lotion as a temporary cure. Of course I believed him. He would not be a Registered Nurse for nothing.

 

 

January 17, 2012 (Tuesday)

 

The next day, the pain still has not subsided and I did not have any ointment or medicine to cure the burn. I decided to go to the nearest Panel Clinic from my place. And boy, it was when my living nightmare started!

 

  • KLINIK SENTRAL in SRI PETALING, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

This was not my first time to go to this clinic. I have been here a few times before and I knew that I should present my Medical Card first before they even entertain me. The place was a bit rundown but I had no choice at the moment. Besides getting ointment for my burn, I also planned to consult the doctor because I was already feeling feverish due to my colds and as I have mentioned, I have been coughing and sneezing the whole day.

Receptionist A who could not speak to me in English asked me to write down my name on their list. When I started to ask her questions, she called Receptionist B who spoke basic English. I seated patiently in their waiting area until I realized that nobody’s attending to me anymore. So I got up and went to them.

Receptionist B told me that she could not verify my name in the system. I calmly told her that I have been in their clinic before and asked her to check again. Instead of checking, she told me to pay the treatment and reimburse from the insurance provider. I dunno if she just wanted to cut our conversation short or if she was just not in the mood to assist me because she has been telling me to pay first.

Being in the call center industry for many years, I know the importance of Listening. I also know that customers may not always be right, but they have the right to be treated right. First, Receptionist B did not even try to listen to me. Second, she did not treat me right.

I also mentioned to Receptionist B that I got burned with cooking oil and I needed immediate treatment. Instead of listening, she told me the three words that I dreaded to hear: ‘pay-and-file.’ I asked if she can verify this again but she was hesitant to do an extra mile. I asked if I can call my HR to verify this but it was as if I was talking to a blank wall. It was during this time when I lost it. I raised my voice and got everybody’s attention. I went outside and called my friend in the office, Edson (Terima Kasih! I really owe you one!)

I asked Edson to conference the call to our so-called ‘HR Services for your HR needs.’

I spoke with one lady from the department and told her what happened. She immediately told me to call the outpatient number at the back of my Medical Card. I asked again, ‘”So, it means you can’t help me?” She said bluntly, “No, you have to call the outpatient number at the back of the card.”

Edson called the hotline and I spoke with Subash, who was indeed very helpful. I explained to him what happened and he advised me that there should not be any problem with the card because it is valid in the system. I even went inside the clinic again and passed the mobile phone to Receptionist B. She has been talking to Subash and verifying my name through their system for around 30 minutes. When she came back, she told me in-a-matter-of-fact-way, “You have to pay first and reimburse from the insurance.”

Look, just to set things straight, I could actually pay the consultation because I still had fifty bucks in my wallet that time. But even if I could, I WOULD NOT. I have used this card time and again and I would like to prove a point that my name should be in their system and they should be able to assist me. Besides, when this unfortunate-cannot-verify-your-name-in-the-system-and-you-have-to-pay-first-and-submit-claims-to-the-insurance happened to me before, I was only able to reimburse around 50% of the total cost.

I stormed out of the clinic and went to KLINIK MEGA which was around 5 minutes away from the ill-fated clinic. Surprisingly, the staff in the clinic was able to verify the card and advised me that I could consult their doctor – in less than 10 minutes!  After I was given medication for my burned skin and my fever, I decided to pass by KLNIK SENTRAL again and tell them that my Medical Card is valid.

Receptionists A and B were chit-chatting when I reached the clinic. The lady doctor was also with them. I approached them and told them that I was able to use the Medical Card. I also added that I went back to their clinic in order to prevent similar things from happening in the future. Receptionist B was rolling her eyes as if she was the prettiest thing on earth (and she is not!). Receptionist A said something while I was talking to them which made me jump. She told me, “Okay, bye!”

This made me very very furious. I asked why she said that to me when all I wanted was an explanation to clear things out. I told them that I will file a complaint about this incident. This was when the lady doctor went out of the room and spoke with me. I told her that that they should teach their staffs the proper customer service. I showed her my burned skin which surprised her. She conversed with the receptionists in Malay and explained to me that Receptionist B thought I had heart burn and not burned skin. I was thinking, if Receptionist B understood me right and I ONLY had heart burn, she would actually treat me that way?

The lady doctor even tried to console me and told me to go inside so that she could apply ointment on the burned skin but I refused. I told her that the damage has been done. She tried her luck again and told me that the ointment is good and it is for free; she will not charge me anything. I firmly said no and went home.

KLINIK SENTRAL in Sri Petaling Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia sucks big time! They don’t give a freakin’ care about the patient’s condition. The rundown place is a disappointment, the receptionists don’t give a damn about the clients, the way they treat their patients is a nightmare. If I was dying the moment I went there, I would have died already without anybody lifting a finger!

I have called MiCares (the assistance company of AIA, our Medical Card) and will file a complaint because of how the staffs in the clinic treated me. They should have known me better. I will NEVER go down without a fight especially when I know that I am right.

 

 

It’s Christmas and I’m Home Alone Again

6 mga puna

15 hours to go and it’s Christmas! It’s that time of the year again when everyone feels homesick and nostalgic. It’s just like a regular day for me here in Kuala Lumpur and as usual, I’m home alone. Can’t wait to be back in Manila on Dec 30!

I went home late because of our Christmas Party. I slept at 2am and woke up early in order to listen to Chico and Delamar of Monster Radio RX 93.1 through live streaming. Their topic today is hilarious! ‘The Top Ten Titles for a Sexy Christmas Movie.’ So far, some of my entries which were mentioned:

1) Let It Blow! Let It Blow! Lei it Blow!
2) Puto ni Bongbong, Bibingka ni Neneng.

I still have some titles in mind though:

1) Jingle Balls Rock
2) Si Santa, Ang Lalaking Walang Pahinga
3) Little Cummer Boy (about a boy who comes and celebrates with you on Christmas Eve)

Some of the entries worth-mentioning:

1) Feliz na Hubad (alternative title: Pulis na Hubad)
2) O Whorey Night (A Japanese Christmas Movie)
3) 12 Inches of Christmas

There. Nice thoughts on Christmas morning! Merry Christmas everybody!

Look! I've decorated my post in the office for Christmas!

My Christmas Baby

At least, we celebrate Christmas in the office.

Singapore Team

...with the China Team

Happy Thoughts

208 mga puna

Wendy: Once upon a time there was a boy named Peter Pan, who decided not to grow up. So he flew away to Neverland where the pirates are.
Hook: What fun he must have had.
Wendy: Yes but he was rather lonely.
Hook : Peter Pan thought you how to fly. How?
Wendy: You just think HAPPY THOUGHTS. They lift you into the air.
Hook: Alas, I have no happy thoughts.
Wendy: That brings you down!

I have felt a variety of emotions for the past weeks.

I was sad, down, disappointed, homesick, happy, excited, inspired, positive and invigorated.

It was a roller-coaster ride for me. One thing I realized was, If I choose to be happy, I could.

I am too blessed to be depressed by petty things. At the end of the day, the only choice I have is living while I’m alive, and enjoying every moments of it.

Now I really believe that having a good life is indeed the sweetest form of revenge.

Happy thoughts also helped me in the process.

1. Thank you to ABSCBN News for recognizing the nominees of the 2009 Philippine Expats Blog Awards. It is really a humbling experience for us Overseas Filipino Workers to be mentioned in your news.

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2. I received two compliments in one day from my clients. Well, these things serve as a reassurance that I am doing something good for other people and believe me,I’m gloating right now.

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3. I was able to book two return tickets for next year (September 2010 and October 2010) thru the AirAsia promo. Paying RM70.00 (RM35.00 each return flight) is not bad at all. (Note: RM1 = PHP13.50 so technically, I only paid PHP472.50 for each return ticket from Malaysia to the Philippines.)

4. I will be going home on December 29 for my Christmas vacation -insert hooray and applause here- I’m so excited and there’s no hiding it. I am planning to meet some of my long-lost friends, old-time friends and blogger-friends as well. It will surely be a blast.

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Christmas in KL 2008

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Christmas in KL 2008

5. I’m getting married next year. I am so inlove. If I am dreaming, please don’t wake me up. It’s really good to love and to be loved in return. I would not trade this for anything in the world. Okay, I just made this up. Number 5 is yet to happen.

Happy Thoughts. There.

When Good Becomes Better (I’m Still Standing)

113 mga puna

There’s always a bigger picture behind every happening in the present.

We may find it difficult to understand at first but as days pass by and we start to mature, we would be able to understand why God let us experience these things.

It’s inevitable, all good things really come to an end. And as soon as it ends, we face another challenge. As cliche as it may sound, it’s like seeing a glass half-empty or half-full. It would depend on us whether we accept another exciting chapter wholeheartedly or rant because we’re too afraid (read this: chicken) to face it.

I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would be working abroad. I used to be somebody who would rather stay in my comfort zone because it is where I felt secure and loved. I had a stable job before as a service assistant/teller in Bank of the Philippine Islands and a parttime trainor for call center agents but a part of me still wanted to grow.

After almost two years of counting millions of deposits and withdrawals, I realized that I was not enjoying the job anymore. For one, it did not make my heart beat faster and I am not excited to go to work every morning.

Everything changed when my friend and I visited Mang Badoy in Kuala Lumpur last April 2008. I realized that apart from the usual job which was just good to make ends meet, independence is something which I’ve been craving for the longest time. I took the opportunity and sent my application during the job fair, and the rest they say, was history.

I could not deny the fact that luck was one of the reasons why I was hired by my company in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from it, working in a customer service environment for more than five years also helped in sealing my fate. If I did not experience the hardships that I’ve had before during my call center-hopping days and I gave up in the process, I would not know where I would be right now. Being away from my loved-ones sucks. Working on a thirteen hour-shift sucks. Preparing my own meal even if I’m already dead tired sucks.

There may be times when I almost gave up. There may be times when loneliness got the best of me. There may be times when I felt deserted and depressed. But I’m still one of the luckiest people in the world. I am working abroad despite the economic crisis. I could save money to have a stable future. I could buy the things I want and I could pamper myself anytime. Above everything, I could make my family happy and proud of me. And hey, I’m still standing.

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rye during his college days

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PEBA-Nokia photoshoot..Good becomes Better

30 Second Post on Moving On

107 mga puna

When do we move on?
When our heart finally understands that there’s no turning back.

When can we say that there’s no turning back?
When we stood up for what we believe and feel happy about it. We should not be sorry nor cynical about love. It should rather make us wonder that ‘If we were happy with the wrong one, how much more if the right one comes along?’

When do we feel happy about something?
When we did our best to accomplish it, whether we win or we fail.

When do we fail?
Failure is just a word. Failure is an event, never a person. It would either make us feel bitter or better.

When do we think that we failed?
If we did nothing to succeed. It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all. Failure doesn’t mean we are a failure…it just means we haven’t succeeded yet.

When do we succeed?
If we did everything we could to accomplish our goal.Success is a journey, not a destination.

‘You can run from the past. But sometimes the only way to move on is to go back.To face what your life was so you could make it what you want it to be. It’s my time to move on.’

This Time I’ll Make It Right

142 mga puna

PEBA

This is a repost and my official entry to the 2009 Pinoy Expats Blog Awards…

(Please vote for us: #35 Flamindevil #34 Topexpress #33 Bonistation..You could vote up to 10 bloggers at the same time. You could only vote once per IP address. Here’s the link: http://pinoyexpatsblogawards.com/ )

I have been a call center hopper before. Since it’s pretty easy to jump from one call center company to another when I was still in Manila, I made the most out of it. My first company catered for outbound clients. I stayed there for five months. After I bought a fridge for my parents as a Christmas gift in the year 2003, I resigned. A string of applications and resignations followed after that. The rest, as they say, was history. Now I am here in Kuala Lumpur working my ass off.I sometimes feel that I am very tired to go to work. I sometimes feel like laziness has gotten the best of me. But I’m proud to say though, that I have never been tardy since I started working here in August 2008. Being abroad helps me mature fast. As what I’ve said before, I’m already starting to learn how to look at the bigger picture in making decisions.  Though physically I still look young and cute maybe because of my height, wow I’m ageless according to my peers, mentally and emotionally I’ve matured. I dun have a choice anyway. Being away from my comfort zone, I realized that I can’t depend on anybody but myself. At least I can’t blame anybody and I’ve prepared myself to the consequences that my decisions will bring. I firmly believe that if I felt good about something I did as long as I did not do anything to aggravate anybody, it’s absolutely right. I realized that I’m one of the luckiest people in the world because I’m working abroad despite of the current global crisis. Countless people lose their jobs everyday and I’m not one of them. Though I have clients who can really be a pain in the ass sometimes, at least I still have clients who appreciate what I do for them. A simple ‘thank you’ could really make the day of a call center agent. Yeah, we are sometimes bombarded with information overload, but it’s better than staying at home and earning nothing. Thank God I am a PINOY and I’m very proud of it. The work ethics which was instilled in me through my previous jobs could really save the day. Some of my colleagues are really, really, really, err, lazy. They call in sick and report for work thirty minutes after the shift started. I’m glad that call centers in Manila are really strict in terms of attendance and performance.Even if I am dead tired everytime I go home, I always see to it that my company would feel lucky because they have a Filipino employee in their center. Besides being the hope for the nation, Filipinos are gift to the world. We know how and when to be patient. We know when to keep our mouths shut and when to explain our sides in a courteous way. I was easy-go-lucky before…This Time I’ll Make It Right.

I have failed many times in this crazy thing called ‘love.’ I’ve been bruised, damaged, hurt and my ego was shattered with and without my consent. Now I’ve learned that if I have to love again, it is because I want to, not because I have to. Love was the reason why I felt empty. Love was the one that made my tears fall as if I was dying. Love broke my heart and stopped my breath. I used to think that love was not great because it’s a gentle death. I’m too tired to play games. Now I realized that in relationships, it is impossible to find someone who will never hurt you. So I’ll go for the one who makes all the pain worth it. I’m positive that I will find that someone soon. I’m still weighing the pros and cons though. I hope as soon as I get to my senses, I would be ready to love again and I promise myself…This Time I’ll Make It Right.

I am nowhere near perfect. I eat when I’m bored. I’m vulnerable to believing lies. I’m hoping that one day I won’t need a fake smile. I live by quotes that explain exactly what I’m going through. I make up excuses for everything. I have true friends and critics. I have good memories and a share of dramas. I really appreciate it that there are many people (if I say ‘many,’ I mean it) who love the imperfect me unconditionally. They are the reason why giving up has never been an option for me.And because of them…This Time I’ll Make It Right.

Smile. It makes a world of difference. Dance. Who knows when I won’t be able to? Cry. Holding the emotions inside is bad for me. Kiss. It’s the most wonderful thing in this world. Laugh. What’s the point of hiding my happiness?Frown. Why not let them know that I’m unhappy? Apologize. I dun wanna lose friends. Hug. There’s no better feeling than being wrapped up close to someone I love. Live. Because life is everything. Pray. For God’s guidance and to be an inspiration to others. Be positive.  That This Time I could really Make It Right!

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