“Ay Pilipino pala kayo!” (Oh you’re Filipinos!). A reaction we’d get all the time when A and I would start conversing in Filipino. You see, A can pass for a Latino and I any Asian origin (Koreans, Japanese or Chinese), thus the reaction. Always excited to meet “kababayans” (fellow Filipinos or countrymen), I gather owing to homesickness as they have been away from their country for 6 months at the least to up to 2 years, depending on their contract. They are called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), our country’s new heroes.
A photo with our servers in Banff
OFWs are Filipinos who are employed in foreign countries to seek better opportunities out of a desire to earn better wages. The National Statistic Office estimates that the number of Filipinos working abroad has increased by 15% from same period last year. About 3/4 of OFWs are land based laborers and unskilled workers, which includes domestic helpers, cleaners and manufacturing laborers. Seafarers (or sea based workers) on the other hand, make up 24% of total OFW deployment and they account for some 20-25% of the world’s seafarers.
“Filipinos are in demand to man ships from luxury cruise ships to giant tankers and container ships. They are known to exhibit a great ability to learn, to be hardworking and loyal”, according to Pier Luigi Foschi, President and Chief Executive of Costa Crociere Cruises. “They set a good example for other employees and crew. They sign up for months at a time and have very little free time”.
Filipino cooks grilling salmon at the poolside
One feels at home right away at the Ryndam. From the boiler to the front desk, the poolside to the pantry and the bar to fine dining are Filipinos always ready to serve with a smile.
That’s Roger, one of the bartenders with his shaker
Hanging out at Crow’s Nest almost every single day of our 7 day stay was made unforgettable due to the many stories told and friendships developed.
Always the happy bunch at the Crow’s Nest Bar
The Filipinos comprise perhaps about 30% of the crew at The Ryndam. Being so much an entertainer at heart, they were given the privilege to entertain the passengers by way of a Filipino Night.
Head Chef of the Lido Restaurat by day, singer by night
No longer the cooks, waiters and boiler men, here on stage, they transform into entertainers, well known for their singing prowess and their knack for humor.
Our National Dance (I think), the Tinikling
Doing the “planting rice” dance
Yes… look again… they’re all guys!
Filipino snacks were served right after the show, because I think all the cooks are Filipinos. Tee hee! 🙂 In my opinion, Filipino Night is the Cruise line’s way of honoring the well-loved Filipinos as employee, crew and servers. And they make me proud to be one of perhaps 6 Filipino passengers aboard The Ryndam at the time. Mabuhay!
And the finale… a demonstration of ice carving… again a Pinoy!
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