Witnessing Philippines’ Greatest Export in Hong Kong

When my friend Ed extended an invite to Hong Kong, it was not a hard decision to make. Not only is it great to catch up with a friend, it is also great to have a local show you around.

The OFW

In Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown, he highlights Philippines’ greatest export, the OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker. I knew of this phenomenon through stories from my parents and shows like Bourdain’s, but seeing OFW in full effect shook me as a Filipino.

From what I’m told, an OFW in Hong Kong is a live-in domestic worker that serves as a maid and/or nanny. They work 6-days a week and are essentially kicked-out of the home on Sundays where their Hong Kong family have a day to themselves. As shown in the video above, OFWs congregate in public spaces like parks or walkways throughout Hong Kong.

Filipinos are, for reasons I have yet to figure out, probably the most giving of all people on the planet.

Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Manilla (Season 7, Episode 1)

I became very reflective as to the sacrifice of the OFW. In Bourdain’s show, he explains how the Philippines’ poor economic condition forces Filipinos to find opportunities abroad. OFWs leave their families behind to work abroad for 15 to 30 years, sending money back home so their families in the Philippines can live a comfortable life.

And for this reason, as Bourdain said best, Filipinos are the most giving of all people on the planet. OFWs leave their own sons and daughters behind to raise the sons and daughters of strangers. Now that’s a very selfless act.