Tips for OFWs Planning to Go Home

Are you an OFW planning to go home soon? Then you might find these tips handy.

Preparing for Home

You don’t want to arrive in the Philippines only to remember that your pasalubong for your beloved Tatay was left in the fridge back in the country you were working in. Thus, if you are planning to go home, make a list of things you need to bring so that you will never forget anything or leave something behind.

Of course, foremost on your list are the documents you need for exiting and re-entering that country. Surrender stuff you have to leave in that country and bring along the documents you need for traveling.

On Pasalubongs

One of the things that separate Pinoys from other travelers is that we really enjoy bringing pasalubongs to the people back home – around 95% of Pinoys can attest to that. In all trips, whether vacations, work, or business, we always bring back something for our loved ones back home.

For balikbayans and OFWs, however, that could actually spell trouble. People back home have this notion – correct me if I am wrong – that those working outside the country have a LOT of money. So, when these OFWs go home, all their friends and relatives plus the friends and relatives of their friends and relatives go to their house to ask for pasalubong. Ooops.

By Tammy Green from Chicago, USA (Wall of Bunnies) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tammy Green from Chicago, USA (Wall of Bunnies) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Well, there is no problem with being generous, especially if you are going home during the Christmas season – but do you really have to give EVERYONE a pasalubong? Remember, unless you really have a lot of money to spare, you do not have the obligation of giving everyone pasalubong.

People will talk, yes. Many will be disappointed – but you have the right to choose how you spend your money. You don’t just pick dollars from the streets or dig diamonds from the pavements, right?

On living as a 1-day millionaire

You probably have money saved all those months or years you spent working. When you arrive in the Philippines, do not splurge and spend your hard-earned money on things that you might later regret. As with our first tip, it would be best if you make a list of what you will be planning to use your money for.

By whologwhy from Philippines (ISLAND IN THE SKY) [CC BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By whologwhy from Philippines (ISLAND IN THE SKY) [CC BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you can have fun and enjoy visiting resorts or go island-hopping – it is your money, after all. However, bear in mind what would happen after you spent all your money. Do you still have some to spare for emergencies or to pay for the fees needed for you to go back to work?

Do not live as a 1-day millionaire then suffer the rest of your vacation. Spend your money wisely. Yes, it is your money but it is also going to be your headache if you have to resort to taking a new loan to pay for your fees so you can go abroad again.

Know your limits

For many OFWs, going home to their families might just mean a few weeks for every few years (usually 2 years) of work. So, we understand how you want to make the most of your time with your family and friends. However, know your limits.

Just because your kumpares want to go on a weeklong drinking session in your honor does not mean you have to always agree with them. Chances are they are simply hanging out at your home so you would give them pasalubong and free drinks. Harsh as that may sound, it could be close to the truth. Not only can that mean a big problem on your wallet, it could also cause problems to your body.

You Could NOT Please Everybody

If anyone complains because they did not like the pasalubong they got or did not get any pasalubong at all, let them. Remember, you suffered months or years of being away from your family so you can earn money for them. If they can’t understand that sacrifice, then it is not your fault anymore.

Even in families, you could never ever please everybody. Sorry for being a bit harsh here but you really have to understand that or else you will only end up worrying and hurting about everything.

Photo credit: PantomimeReader

Photo credit: PantomimeReader

It is high time you also think of yourself and the sacrifices you made.

People will always have something to say about anything. Do not let them bother you. Enjoy your limited time with the people who matter, the people who truly love you – whether you gave them the best pasalubong or you did not bring anything at all. Have fun!