5 Cliches to Bust as a Young Overseas Filipino Worker


OFW life, for many, is loaded with clich├ęs that we wish would happen to us in real life.

More often than not, waiting for these "moments" can become a trap that keeps you looking for drama rather than working towards your real goals. Well, here's a list of cringe-worthy scene stealers and why you need to bust it for the more important stuff.

Cliche #1: Maalaala Mo Kaya scene at the airport

Scene from the movie "Anak"
Yes, it’s the familiar piece of melodrama we've all seen in our favorite soap operas: the hero/heroine leaves for abroad and everyone readies to fill up their buckets of tears. If you’re lucky enough, you might even have a lover chase a bus, run past airport security just to yell out “STOP!!!”, as you hand in your plane ticket. (P.S. This scene from the movie Anak isn't the best example of that. We just think the kid did well in this scene! But you know what we mean.)

Bust it with: Save (some of) your tears. Communicate your plans, as well as fears, with your family before you leave.

Cliche #2 Big balik-bayan boxes

Scene from the movie "Anak"

Admit it, OFWs have one distinction when at any of the world's airports -- those hulking brown boxes. Yes, the balikbayan box always looks like it’s just about ready to explode and hit everyone on the face with pasalubong (namely an inexplicably large amount of canned spam).

Bust it with: Reduce the size of your balikbayan box to the items your family will need and enjoy.

Cliche #3 Rags to riches transformation

Ze great Amor Powers of Pangako Sa 'Yo

Oh, what a dream it would be to return to the Philippines as Amor Powers, the rags-to-riches protagonist of Pangako Sa 'Yo, or maybe virtually every character played by Dawn Zulueta (who seems to be stuck in that character profile...just a feeling).

Bust it with: As an OFW, don't expect a luxury car and a brand-new house and lot to come as fast as TV commercial breaks. Dream big, take calculated risks, but be realistic. For sure, drastic Cinderella transformations happen only in a teleserye montage because long work hours are probably too dull to feature in prime-time TV.

Cliche #4 Prince (or princess) charming

Scene from the movie "La Visa Loca"

Love knows no race. While this remains to be true, what is not cool is when others set stereotypes that the end goal of going abroad is just to marry a local. If someone asks “oh, are you living in this country because you want to marry Mr. Darcy?”, would it be absolutely defensive to answer “No, Mr. Darcy is awesome, but I got here because I kick-ass at my job” or "I'm here because I want to try things on my own. Without Mr. Darcy," or something?

Bust it with: Prince (or princess) could come whenever he wants, but I'M working hard to make my own dreams come true. Thank you very much. 

Cliche #5 Modern-day hero

Scene from PAL's commercial

This is what many people quite so liberally dub the OFWs. Modern day heroes. The Rizal s and Bonifacios of this age. It is a flattering title, and a generous one at that. 

 Bust it with: Don't give in to this, for crying out loud! Yes, OFWs sacrifice much, but what about those who choose to stay in our country to make an honest living? What about those who have to go against all plunderers in the Senate? Those who brave through the buwis-buhay daily commute in Manila? Don't they fight their battles to make both ends meet for their families as well? They’re all heroes too, at least in my book. 

Moving overseas for a new job?

You need to prepare yourself for it. Buy Abroad Me: 22 Success Strategies for Young Overseas Filipinos to learn how you can make the most of your overseas experience.