The natives of the Philippines, or citizens of the country, are called Filipinos. They make up the faces of the Philippines. They are of different ages, gender, and come from different walks of life. Currently, the population is more than 106 million, 61% of which belongs to the 15 to 64 age group. The population of male is bigger than that of women’s by 1%.
This article portrays some of the various faces found in the Philippines.
A huge number of Filipinos are scattered in various parts of the world as workers in various industries particularly as nurses, seamen, teachers, engineers, midwives, domestic helpers, and many others. These people endure many days and nights away from the country and their loved ones just so they can find jobs abroad and send money back home. The OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) is just one of the many faces of the Philippines. Aside from their skills which make them significant at work, they also manifest characteristics particularly courage, resiliency, and determination to help them get through the day in a foreign land.
Call Center Agents
Alongside OFWs are Filipinos in the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. They, too, have daily interaction with foreigners. But unlike OFWs, they get to do this without stepping foot on foreign soil. Call center agents, as what they are popularly called, are a treasure to several foreign companies. These people handle various types of customer relations including travel services, technical support, education, customer care, business to business support, and business to customer support, all done online. There are more than one million of them in the country and some of them have faced discrimination, even by fellow Filipinos, as they’ve been stereotyped as substandard employees and college dropouts who are only good in speaking English. The truth is, call center agents are more than that! Many of them juggle their time between studies and work so they can finish their degree and get their dream job. The job is not easy either. Aside from being proficient in a language that is not their first language, they have to be extremely patient, resistant to stress, and quick-witted to be able to deal with various issues of customers from halfway around the globe. Most of them experienced being yelled at by irate customers but they take everything with a grain of salt and move on because they have to be tough like that.
Unlike OFWs and call center agents who are widely recognized all over the country, farmers do not usually get the attention that they deserve. They are one of the most overlooked faces in the Philippines. They work long days under the scorching heat of the sun to till the muddy land but despite that, they remain poor due to high cost of inputs but low farmgate prices. And if they’re unlucky, natural disasters like typhoons and floods happen, eventually destroying crops therefore resulting in losses in the production. Hence it is not surprising if some of them think of giving up farming to find jobs with guaranteed salary every 15th and 30th day of the month. Their already small number is declining because of this, and with ageing population and young people choosing city life over farm life, there may only be a handful of them left in the coming years. The government should improve farmer’s support else there wouldn’t be left of the people who grow food.
With more than 7,000 islands richly blessed with marine life, fishing has been a source of income to many Filipinos. There are over a million fishermen in the country and more than half of it are small-scale fishermen who use traditional, low-cost techniques such as net fishing from small boats. Decades ago, their daily catch would have been enough to feed the whole family and send children to school. Unfortunately, it isn’t the case nowadays. Rapidly increasing population, illegal fishing, commercial fishing, and pollution contribute to the decline in marine life therefore making it hard for fishermen to get through the day with a meager catch. They have to venture further out to the sea in order to match the usual catch. But despite the adversities, they remain steadfast for they know that the country needs them. After all, fishing isn’t just a source of income to many of them… it’s a way of life.
They come from various parts of the country – be it a city, a village mountains away from the city, or an island with no internet reception. Professionals are found in a teacher, doctor, engineer, nurse, lawyer, accountant, and many other highly skilled individuals in the country. They are degree holders with licenses to practice their profession or work in the government. They need to adhere to certain rules to uphold their integrity and protect their profession. While the majority of them remain in the country, there are millions of them who work abroad and eventually settle there.
They play a major role in building the foundation of the country – the family. They aren’t just found in the four corners of the house preparing meals for the family, washing dishes, doing the laundry, tidying the house, or looking after small children. They can be found outside the house, too! She could be running her business, managing a company, teaching children at school, performing surgery, or getting ready for a fashion show among others. They are hard workers who have mastered how to juggle time among responsibilities for the family, work, and personal needs. They’d walk to the end of the earth or endure the loneliness of being away from the family to work abroad just to give them a comfortable life and bright future. And more than the monetary compensation, they feel more happy when repaid with love, attention, and concern by the people they really care about.
Like mothers, fathers are the other half of the family. They are often pictured as responsible and loving men in-charge of providing what the family needs. While each one varies from the other based on traits, physical features, parenting style, and belief in life, they all have the same goals – to make the family happy by providing them with their needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and education for children. To a father, there is nothing as fulfilling as seeing the kids finish their degree and achieve their goals in life. Filipino fathers could be anything – a farmer, doctor, fisherman, lawyer, jeepney driver, business man, janitor, teacher, or cook among others. Whatever he is or does in life, his role in the family is recognized by respecting his decisions and loving him no matter what.
Every city, town, and even island in the Philippines has schools because of the number of children needing to get educated. As early as four years old, kids are expected to start going to school to prepare them for higher education in the years to come. A college diploma is a big deal to almost every Filipino family and to some, education doesn’t stop after college graduation. Many are diligent enough to pursue graduate schools to get their masters and doctorate degree. Sadly, being a student in the Philippines is not always easy especially if one belongs to less privileged families. Classes in public schools are typically large with 1 is to 60 teacher student ratio so a student must not only depend on the teachers for learning. Self-study or help from parents can greatly hasten their development. Some have to juggle their time between studying and working to fund their education. Students are recognized as the hope of the country so adequate attention and support are given to them to prepare them for the future.
In the future we will be creating a blog series about the various faces of the Philippines, highlighting a different Filipino each month. Filipinos of all ages, amateur and professional, inhabitants throughout the islands, to create a portrait of the time, place, and community in which we live.
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