Getting in the shoes of an Overseas Filipino Worker

Darna Cruz, a young filipino woman from the capital city of Manila located on the biggest island in the Philippines, Luzon is one from the 10.2 million Filipinos working abroad. This 29 year old is an immigrant as she has permanently gone to live 8,092 kilometers away from home in Saudi Arabia were she has worked for 5 years as a caregiver.

(Creative Commons)

Darna lived in her parent’s house with them and her two small brothers, Andrei and Jayson. Soon after finishing the second year of highschool, Darna dropped out the day she was announced she was having a sibling. She was told she had to replace her mother in the sewing factory as her mother would not be able to work there. The next day, her father and she got onto the car and rode the opposite route from school to Quezon City, a 33 minute ride, into a garments industry called Armina Garments. This great known industry had previously established quotas on textile items which were imported to European nations, Canada and the United States. This caused serious problems to garment manufacturers given there were more and more products being created at lower and lower costs, closely leaning into labour exploitation. After many needle pricks, Darna started getting the hang of her first job and soon she got her first month salary, P9060 Philippines pesos, equivalent to $180.

The year Darna became an adult at age of 18, she operated intraregional migration to Quezon City so she could better commit to her now permanent job at Armina Garments. She shared a miniature apartment with other four Philippine women who also worked at wholesale, but she barely spent time there giving that she had to spend from eight to twelve hours at her job. She meeted with the Cruz family every two weeks if possible and financially helped them with what she had saved up, however, it never was enough.

(Creative Commons)

The Philippines country working for progress, it is gradually developing, but it has a long way to go to reach developed status. As the CIA World Factbook states, “while there has been some improvement, underemployment remains high at around 17% to 18% of the employed population.” So far, efforts into improving tax administrations have helped facilitate debt burden. The current government in the Philippines is presidential republic lead by Rodrigo Duterte, and wistfully it is known to be corrupt instead of fighting for what is right, fair and just. Within this country, the two main topics missing from social conditions are poverty and inequality. Some of the causes are: low quality of jobs and weakness in employment, high inflation during crisis periods, high levels of population growth… These are also some reasons that cause brain drain where highly trained or qualified people migrate to another country in order to make use of their working abilities.

(Creative Commons)

At the age of 24, exhausted of working non-stop receiving peasant money as a result, Darna realized she had to do something more to keep her family standing. She had heard from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), people who fled to other countries in order to search for better quality jobs and salaries than what they had back home. 1.5 million Filipinos are working in Saudi Arabia, and given that this country has the strongest Arab economy, with high salaries and with tax free benefits such as housing and medical insurance, Darna knew this was her next future.

Without hesitation and weeks of planning, Darna kissed her two little brothers, hugged her parent and walked away from the Cruz family in the look for a better future. Her push factor was them, she could not stand that there wasn’t enough food to feed the boys, that they had to receive poor education, that they did not have a proper shelter to call ‘home’. On the other hand, she also had pull factors, she had heard that in Saudi Arabia, there were many job opportunities and with better salaries. Even though her move was voluntary, she felt forced to in order to help her family. Although it was far away from the Philippines, her hope for a better work quality was high after working like a fool in those sewing factories. In addition, the Philippines government always encourages citizens to take pride on the OFW referring to them as “heroes of the nation”. Of course, this was the cause given that approximately 80% of remittances come from seven countries around the globe.

Darna now lives in Saudi Arabia, in a house of three were she works as a caregiver at all hours. She cooks for them, cleans for them and babysits whenever they need her too. Although she has a lot of work, they treat her well and with respect and they provide a shelter and food for her. Darna finds life in this country so much easier and less stressing given the amount of jobs available and the reasonable salaries. She found a big community of Filipinos and they keep themselves as a close community and she recently discovered societies like Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) which help protect the rights of the workers. Even so, she still finds face racism and abuse and often targeted as “illegal migrant” even though her move was completely legal.

(Creative Commons)

Darna stays in touch with her family by calling them every week and she sends them most of the salaries she receives. Her move has improved both her life and her family and she misses hope but knows that home for her is the place where she is respected and cared of the most.


Works Cited

Asian Development Bank. “Poverty in the Philippines: Causes, Constraints and Opportunities.” Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, 27 Apr. 2018,

“Philippine Politics.” CBCP News,

Philippines. Compton’s by Britannica, 2011. SIRS Discoverer,

Rubenstein, James M. “Migration.” An Introduction to Human Geography, Ninth ed., Pearson

Prentice Hall, 2008, pp. 80-109.

“The Voice of Our Community Promoting Trade Education, Employment & Research.” Hinrich Foundation Vietnam Ceramics Sourcing Report Highlights International Buyers Prefer Crafts with Simple Design and Little Decoration Comments,

“The World Factbook: Philippines.” Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 1 Feb. 2018,

Twitter Expert Connect Part 3


During a couple of months, my class and I have been working on a project called ‘Twitter Expert Connection Assignment’, which like the name says, we were doing connections with people that had the same interest as us through Twitter.

First, we had to find a topic we would like to concentrate in. I chose Zero Waste* because I have been very interested about it since I think it is a great way to help the planet. This is also the topic I am doing for my second Genius Hour.   *Zero Waste is a way in which by producing less trash and accumulating less things, we become aware of how we impact the world around us, and we take better care of it.

Once we had chosen a topic, we had to find 10 experts or people interested in it, so we could follow them and learn a little bit more about this topic.                                                                                                                                                                  This are the 10  I chose to follow which showed knowledge about Zero Waste:

Lauren Singer


Bea Johnson




Waste Shifter


Rob Greenfield


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Kathryn Kellogg




The Girl Gone Green


Beth Terry


Ivan Clark


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Once we had our experts, we had to ask them some questions about our topic. I chose to ask them more specific things about zero waste such as how to compost, the hardest things to give up or the positive outcomes of shopping second hand.

At first, I was a little bit lost because I had no idea on how I should ask the questions to these people that I didn’t know much about and that I hadn’t met in person. But the one thing I knew was: I couldn’t be creepy. Finally, I decided to address them all as Dear _____, then thank them for their interesting post, and finally asking them a question.

Not all of the 10 experts answered my questions, but those who answered gave me incredible responses and help as well as recommendations and websites. All this information helped me for my Genius Hour because it answered many questions that I had about my topic from actual experts that I couldn’t find just like that in the internet.

Now I am going to talk a little more on what happened in the process:

Overall, I got three responses from the questions I asked, which isn’t a lot, but those who answered had very useful explanations. Waste Shifter (who ended up following me 🙂 ), gave me a link to a university report on waste and Kathryn Kellogg gave me tips to create a compost in the garden without any important materials. Of course, after they had answered, I send them another tweet thanking them for the information.

 –> Picture of the compost I created that I send to Kathryn Kellogg.


As a conclusion, I have liked a lot this project because it helped me develop the way I ask for help as well as being careful with the people we follow knowing if they will respond back and give useful information, or if they are too busy to do so. I will definitely use what we learn in the future such as writing a long IB essay, specially if I need specific information from experts.

Works Cited:

“Zero Waste Heroes.” Twitter,

Bye bye!

SBC 8 Let’s play a game or two

Hello everyone!

This week’s challenge is about visiting other’s blogs, leaving comments and writing a blog post abut who’s blogs you visited. I think this is a great activity because we get to work and share information with other bloggers as well as learn from them!

This week, I visited 3 blogs which I liked very much. Here are the blogs are the reasons why their blogs are so good:

Naho’s Blog

One of the things I most like about Naho’s blog is that it is super organized and it includes everything. At the beginning of each post, she has a couple of sentences explaining the week’s challenge so that we are all clear of what she is going to be talking about. She also includes beautiful pictures which helps the reader to follow along with the text as well as some links.

Here I commented on her very interesting blog post about Maui.

arg8 says:

Dear Naho,

Your blog is amazing! I specially liked the post on Maui. You include beautiful pictures and the paragraphs are very well written. In fall break, I went to visit one of the Spanish islands, Gran Canaria, and it was also very beautiful! What is the longest trip you have ever been in?

Congratulations on your blog!

Justin’s Blog

I love Justin’s Blog for one simple reason: His friendly voice towards the audience. All along his blog posts, he uses a type of writing as if the audience was his best friend. This is a very important thing because it invites the public to read in a very funny way.

Here I commented on his blog post about a very funny poem with a picture of an ostrich.

Hi Justin!

I really enjoyed reading your poem. I am from Spain, so I speak Spanish. That’s why I found your poem with Spanish rhyming words very funny! Good job writing it! If you had a power, would it be flying?
By the way, it’s azul, not azule 😉


Sadie’s Blog

It totally impressed me how informative a blog post can be. Sadie’s blog post about Endangered Animals – Sumatran Orangutans in danger of was short but it included all kind of information we want to know. This is great because the blog post doesn’t make the reader tired, but it informs him/her of what’s going on. Her pictures were also really good.

Here I commented on her post about Sumatran Orangutans which are in danger of  extinction.


Hi Sadie!

Your post on Sumatran Orangutans is very interesting! I love how you included so many facts and important information, for example, that they can memorize their forest like a map. The fact that surprised me the most is that there are only about 4000 Sumatran orangutans left in the world. That is too small!
What is your favorite animal?

Thanks for writing this informative post!

See you guys!

Genius Hour Flamenco


For my first Genius Hour project, I decided to investigate a little bit more about flamenco. I chose this topic because I am from Spain, but I felt like I didn’t know a lot of information from one of the most famous activities in Spain, the dance of Flamenco. Two years ago, I had received some classes, but I still wanted to find out deeper information about it and important facts.

This was my main research question which I needed to answer by the end of this project: What is the meaning of flamenco dance and where does it come from? How to dance it?

Where did it come from?

Flamenco came from Andalusia  (Wikipedia) which is located at the southern autonomous community of Spain. Although some say it also came from Rome and from the nomads (people who live in different locations moving from one place to another). It was mostly danced in canteens or cafes to entertain people and create a better atmosphere. After a while, flamenco became a richer cultural mix.

When did Flamenco start?

Flamenco developed in the 14th century, however, it became way more popular in the 19th century, when the guitar as well as dancing accompaniments were introduced. (A.Romeu)

What type of dance is this?

Flamenco is very different from ballet, in fact, there is a huge difference between those two. While ballet is calm and gentle, flamenco is rough and unique. If you ever see the face on a flamenco dancer, you’ll see that their face is very hard, as if they were angry with you or something. This is because flamenco expresses a lot of emotion and strength.


This dance falls into three different categories.

  1. Cante jondo – expresses the most emotion and shows/talks about →death, and other dark stuff.
  2. Cante chico – expresses →romance and less important subjects.
  3. Cante intermedio –  mix of the two cantes above.

This are some important and most famous accompaniments that you’ll find in Flamenco:

  • Guitar
  • Hand claps
  • Improvised dancing
  • Singing
  • Castañuelas- this is an instrument that you play with the tips of your fingers making a wood tapping sound.    They look like this–>  (

Flamenco with piano?

A while ago, I went to see a flamenco concert called « L’Art de la Haine et de l’Amour » which was very unique because the main instrument wasn’t the guitar, in fact, it was the piano. Yes, the piano! It was very surprising because piano is more likely to join ballet.

But what made this concert look so much like flamenco although the instrument wasn’t there, was the force of the pianist; Pablo Rubén Maldonado. He used his whole arm, from his shoulder to this fingers, and he was literally punching the piano. This shows that flamenco is nothing sweet and calm. It uses a lot of strenght both in the dance and the instrumental side.

 (le soleil)

What are some moves?

‎(Wikimedia Commons) Your hands are positioned in front of you making a circle shape. The hand movements are a bit different for men than for women. They are both making rotations inside and outside, but men have to have their fingers together, while women can open them. While doing this, you have to try to keep your elbows from moving.

General Moves:

Men- Focus more on feet movements (zapateo) and heel tapping (taconeo).

Women- Focus more on arms (braceo), fingers (florea) and uper torso movements.

Dress Code

Flamenco’s outfit plays a big role on performances and culture.

 (Viva España)         (flickr)

The professional flamenco dress usually is figure hugging and long (ankle length). However, the not professional ones are shorter and not that tight. The color of the dress is usually red, black or white, and it is decorated with a pattern of polka dots and fringes. Some accessories that you might see are: ribbons, long rounded earrings, bracelets and combs. Lastly, how women dancers might arrange their hair is by making a bun with a rose on top of the bun, or behind the ear.


This project has helped me learn a little bit more about my culture and one of the most important things Spanish’s citizens celebrate. However, this project hasn’t helped the world or the community because this is a project about something cultural. In the next Genius Hour, I will learn about Zero Waste, which will help the community around me to learn what happens with all the trash we produce and how we can prevent it.

Here is the link to my flamenco slide show presentation. Check it out!: Flamenco Presentation

Works Cited

“Castanets palo pink african”.

“Localización De Andalucía.” Localización De Andalucía, Wikipedia,

A. Romeu. “Juerga Flamenca.” ALCOCER ANTICUARIOS,

Fatima. “RoomSevilla.” Tradition of Flamenco, 1 May 2017,

“Who Are the Jury Members?” ¡Viva España!,

Currystrumpet, “Granada flamenco dresses for kids” Flickr

Wikimedia Commons “File:Hand drawing.png” 12 January 2017.

Le soleil, “Spectacle flamenco au Grand thêatre : L’artiste espagnol Pablo Rubén Maldonado en attraction le 14 octobre”,

Cavalcade of the Three Wise Men!

This Christmas, I went to Madrid, Spain to visit my family.

Around the world, people believe in Santa Claus, but in Spain, it is different. We believe in the Three Wise Men that came to adore the baby Jesus. They come the 5th of January night, and they leave gifts for the kids.

Normally, the 5th of January, there is a cavalcade, in which people go dressed as dancers, musicians or even sea creatures. At the end of the cavalcade, there always comes three big trucks with decorations of each Wise Men. Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar.

The thing is, that if you want to be in front of the cavalcade, you need to get there like three hours before it starts. If you are going to be there four three hours waiting, then you need to bring chairs and carpets to sit on the floor.

On the 5th of January, my cousins and our family went there like at three to be at the first line when the cavalcade started. Meanwhile, we played cards, and many other games. And when the cavalcade was going to start, guess what? We were in the front row!

I loved this event because you get to learn that if you get somewhere soon, then, you will have a good reward. And also it is a very beautiful and fun Spanish tradition!

Camping, a great event!

Last summer, I went with the Scouts in Leon, Spain. This was a great group of friends that I knew. I stayed 15 days with them camping on a huge field. It was beautiful and you could see the mountains from were we were camping. In the middle of those two weeks, we had four days of completely walking through Leon only stopping to eat at the shade of a big tree, or stopping when the sunsets at a little village where we had to sleep outside under the roof of a little church. Before going to bed (actually sleeping bags), we had to cook our food that we had been caring all the way from the camp. It was great smelling the pasta melting with the warm water, while we were surrounded by cold breezes of air that froze our feet. At night, we took our sleeping bags, and bring them to the floor of the church, and as close as caned sardines, we sleep with a huge smile on our face proud of all the effort we had done and hugely happy to finally rest.

Next morning, all the scouts woke up with red noses just like Rudolf the reindeer from the cold of last night. Once we were completely awake by the sound of the bell the monitors rang, we changed on the sacs and made a circle to eat breakfast: Milk with some cookies, (we were lucky if we there was nutella inside them). Once we were ready, we took our bags, and stared walking through the green forests were the cold went in a flash leaving the sweat come by. It was great walking through all the places. Whether there were trees, rocks, green grass walking through a mountain, we would always see beautiful plants, flowers, trees and best of all, the views. Whenever there was a hill we had to climb, you couldn’t hear anything as long as it was the breath from all the kids. But when there was a descent, you could hear all the grateful kids singing songs along with the sound of nature.

The rest of the days that we walked, were as fun and awaesome as the first one, and not only because you learned the beauty of nature, because you learned so much from the other people while you walked, and learned what a true friendship was when you had to cheer up a friend that was left behind. You could also learn so many jokes and songs, that in only four days you would have learned 20 of them.

Even though this thing of the Scouts might seem hard because of walking so much while it was freezing and sleeping in a sleeping bag instead of sleeping in a confortable bed, this is a great experience that you should all try it. Because it changes the view of things, and it makes you feel so good when you are back at your home sweet home, that you get to apriciate all the things that you live with in the normal day.

Some of you might think: ‘Well, going with the Scouts doesn’t seem like that’s the best activity you can do in summer. You could so easily be on a swimming pool drinking a fresh lemonade, or being on a cozy sofa while watching your favorite TV show.’ Ok, but you might not get that much fun than if you go to the scouts. Because if you have never swim in a river, or sang songs while watching more interesting things than in TV, that’s the best place for you to go.

And if you are one of those grumpy persons who go to the Scouts and discover that you are having a hard time, here goes the secret of the Scouts to have a good time: Be POSITIVE 🙂

This an important event that happened to me some months ago, which I will never forget!! -Alicia Ramos