The latest commercial aired in The Filipino Channel (TFC) features graduating students thanking their Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) parents & relatives for sending them to school & dedicating their diploma to them. It’s heartwarming as it delves on the concept of celebration.
For the graduating student, it’s a celebration of achievement, growing up and moving on to the next chapter of his life. For the parents or sponsors of the graduating student, it’s a celebration of success for the whole clan and it’s a testament of their hard work paying off especially for those who are working overseas sacrificing being far away just to provide a good education and comfortable life for those they left behind.
It makes me think about my own childhood. For as long as I can remember my Dad was always working far away. Even when he was still based in the Philippines, his projects will take him out of town which in hindsight made it a bit easier when he decided to pursue working overseas in Saudi Arabia. He will be home only 1 month to a maximum of 45 days usually in summer to spend time with us.
He missed Christmas, graduation rites, birthdays (that’s primarily the reason why I decided not to celebrate my debut with a party), and most of our growing up years. It felt weird when he was home because suddenly we will be “more courteous and respectful” by saying “po” and “opo” and doing “mano”. “Mano” is a sign of respect to bring the back of the hand of an elder to one’s forehead. We were not used to do this as my Mom is very hip or “groovy” as most of my friends would say.
It was difficult to bridge the gap and distance especially as technology was not as it is now. During that time, there was only sending via “snail mail” of handwritten letters and Hallmark greeting cards together with pictures of momentous events and cassette tapes where messages were recorded, which usually takes forever before the recipient gets them.
Maybe that’s the reason why TFC’s Graduation commercial makes me teary eyed. Because I can relate to the graduating students being thankful to their OFW parents & relatives. For me, I am thankful not just to my Dad who worked overseas but more so I am thankful to my Mom who was with us in our every journey, as it is not easy to be a single parent bringing up and disciplining 3 “smart alecks” and making sure we finish our schooling and on top of that balancing it with her own work and running the house and doing household chores.
I salute the graduates. Kudos to you and I hope you enjoy the next phase of your journey. Take the time to appreciate and say even a simple thank you to your parents.
I salute the parents. Cheers to you for your hard work. I admire you. It’s not easy to be responsible not only for your own life but also for the life of your children. Parenthood is indeed a vocation.
I salute the relatives who sponsored the graduating students. It’s a self-sacrifice that is admirable showing a capacity for being generous that no words can describe. You should feel blessed for being able to share and make a difference to other people’s lives.