Filipino Homecoming: Different Perspectives

Being an OFW, the most awaited time in the entire experience is the homecoming. It could occur once or several times, but the similarity lies on the attention one gets. Filipino homecoming is quite unique within the Philippine society. It is somehow seen in different perspectives depending on the role of the person in the homecoming. This is the focus of this blogpost, which aims to provide light on this Filipino phenomenon.

The homecoming is the person's triumph.

Every Filipino has been taught that life is a  journey or a struggle. So, when one is confronted with a challenge or problem, possible solutions may yield either success or failure. This is also true when it comes to homecoming when the person coming home is considered to be a triumphant individual, who gained both economically and experientially. This gives the individual better self-confidence and improved self-image. No matter what the person achieved before homecoming, that does not matter as long as he or she is more determined to become better or be more successful. It is an endless cycle of self-motivation, such that an OFW would not hesitate to take risks again in the future outside the country, even if there are possible challenges and hindrances, just because the previous homecoming gave him a boost to continue further even without knowing what to expect for in the end.

The homecoming is the family's honor.

The value of the family in the Filipino society is strong and forms basis of the entirety. Parents sacrifice everything for their children, and when the children become adults and are capable of earning and supporting, it is expected that they could give back to their parents especially economically. So if one member has come back from an endeavour outside the country, no matter the outcome, the entire family remains proud for an achievement the person possesses. Because of this mentality, every OFW does everything to be successful outside the Philippines to give honor to themselves and to their respective families. Therefore, a homecoming is a manifestation of familial honor that requires celebration and recognition. It is important to note that honor received by the family reflects the social status and credibility of the family members themselves in the Filipino society.

The homecoming is the community's important event.

The Filipino community is composed of closely associated families or social groups. Because of this unique social structure, if a member of the community has made a so-called "comeback", it is considered a success of the community that every member would look forward to, emuliate or at least celebrate. This is because of the high incidence of poverty, especially in the rural communities in the Philippines; the sense of belongingness is stronger given that community members help each other to survive or to live a better life. So, homecoming itself is analogous to a king entering the gates of his kingdom with his subordinates are standing and cheering frantically for their king.  The battle of where the king came from is like the endevour of the person coming home, either due to work, or any other thing. Although the royalty of the king's homecoming is absent in a homecoming of a usual person, the value of coming home is not just appreciated on a personal level, but a social level.

The homecoming is an attempt to preserve the nation's identity.

Homecoming is a manifestation of a strong ties to the mother land, the Philippines. Perhaps some would argue that it may not be the country itself that provides the motivation to9i come home, but the people left in the country do so. It is natural that family members that are important to the person gives a sufficient reason to go home. To go back to one's roots is a psychological need everyone who have been away for a significant amount of time must do. hThat forms the person's identity, which includes culture, traditions, beliefs and even language. Although most homecoming are permanent, homecomings are itself a sign of going back to where the person in reality belongs. Collectively, the millions of Filipinos coming home presents a good opportunity for the Philippines as a country to preserve its national identity - a question for a long time has left uncleared or unanswered. It is logical that those who have been away from the country could better see and appreciate the Filipino identity.

The homecoming is an unending series of expectations.

What is the most demanding and challenging aspect of an OFW's homecoming is a string of high expectations more likely not to be met. This is unfortunate because this creates stress and even long-term frustration because of the expectation of guarenteed success and wealth that could aid anything, anyone and anytime. Because of this is usual that many relatives and acquaintances would approach the person coming home to help them in one way or another. This is considered not an option, but an moral and communal obligation, such that not helping means greed and violation of code of conduct in the Filipino society, worthy of condemnation by everyone. The problem lies on the absence of limitation, such that it is acceptable for one to compromise onself or one's family for the sake of helping others. This roots to the assumption that those coming home from working abroad or vacation have more in life, thereby justifying the call for help no matter what it is and what it requires.

There are many aspects of a Filipino homecoming. It is a stress in a way due to the expectations set before, during and after the homecoming. Many use every money they saved in their homecoming. That itself maybe counterproductive and unnecessary use of hard-earned money. That is a dilemma for itself given the need to help and support significant others remains more important than saving money for most OFWs - a financial mistake experts would consider. However, homecoming is still perceived as a positive event, marking triumph, hardwork and hope for a better future.


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