No roads are too long for a mother who missed five years of her daughter’s life. Rhodora Esta braved the muddy terrains of their area in Rodriguez, Rizal to fetch her daughter at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Her daughter (name withheld) is one among the 117 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who returned home today, August 26, as grantees of UAE’s amnesty program.
The OFWs mother told The Filipino Times that she and her family had to hiked down the muddy terrains of the mountains in the remote outskirts of Rodriguez (formerly known as Montalban) for almost an hour and then traveled 50 kilometers from there to get to NAIA.
She narrated that allowing her daughter to go to the UAE before was a difficult decision. However, she eventually had to give in because of her daughter’s persistent request.
“Ayaw po naming malayo yung anak namin sa amin. Kaya lang naisip ko din na baka gusto niya yung ganun, baka sabihin niya naman hinahadlangan ko yung kanyang [gusto] kaya pinayagan ko na rin,” she recalled.
Her doubts were eased by the presence of her niece in Dubai who found a job for her daughter. Her daughter and cousin worked as household service workers, tending to their employer’s children, but this only lasted one year.
“Tapos na po yung visa niya, parang TNT [tago nang tago] na po siya dun”
Descending from the communal culture of the Dumagat Tribe, Esta admitted that she was not used to not seeing her daughter everyday.
“Ganyan po talaga kaming mga katutubo, di naman kami sanay nang ganung malayo ang pamilya. Mahirap. Gabi-gabi ‘yun ang naiisip ko. Parang isang buwan rin ako nagkasakit,” she told TFT
In order to communicate with her daughter, she would go downtown a few times a week as their area has no cell phone reception. But when she received the call saying her daugher was returning to the Philippines, Esta was overwhelmed with joy.
“Sabi ko naman sa kanya, umuwi na talaga siya kasi nandito kami, maa-alagaan namin siya,” she added.
Having waited for five years to see her daughter again, Esta could not help but wipe the corners of her eyes in anticipation.
After the plane landed, she rushed to the arrival area to monitor the screens to look for Riza. When she spotted her, she fully drew her face behind her scarf to contain her emotions.
Her eyes teared up while she rushed and almost ran to the daughter who received a five years’ worth of embrace.
Watch their emotional reunion in a documentary to be published by TFT this week.