More Filipinos continue to secure their GDRFA and ICA approvals to return to their second home, the UAE.
Siblings Paul, Kieth, Kris and Kara Ayuso were among thousands of Filipinos who have been affected by travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in March, Kieth remembers that they were already in the airport when the fresh announcements of the travel restrictions were put in place when he only intended to stay in the Philippines from March 12 to March 19.
“We were the first flight to be canceled, nasa airport na kami nun nacancel flight namin kaya mas lalo nakakapang hinayang,” recalls Kieth.
His brother Paul was already in the Philippines last March 8 and his siblings Kara and Kris followed back home when they left the UAE on March 11. All siblings went home to attend the burial and mourn the passing of Paul’s wife.
Family bonding time
Paul who has been living in the UAE for over 13 years, saw this as an opportunity to catch up with his child and family since his company put him on an indefinite leave during the period.
“Almost 5 months din ako nasa Pilipinas. Ito na ang pinakamatagal ko nagstay pero sa panahong ito I got to spend time naman kasama ang anak ko at family,” said Paul.
Kris shares that this pandemic was the first time that she and her siblings bonded back home after a long time.
“First time namin nagkasama sama na complete ng mga kapatid ko so we made the most out of it tapos inayos nmin ung bahay namin kasi matagal nang walang nakatira eh,” said Kris.
Kara adds that the period gave them time to catch up with each other’s lives and spend as much time as they can to enjoy life together at the comforts of their home.
“Basically itong stay namin ang pinakamatagal na stay namin sa Pilipinas and its been years since nakumpleto kaming mag kakapatid. So family bonding as much as we can and bahay lang talaga kami,” said Kara.
Kieth said that as a family of OFWs, they tend to live busy lives in Dubai so they made sure to bond together over what many Filipinos around the world delight in – food.
“Nagbonding kami magkakapatid ng sobra too since ngayon lang kami lahat umuwi ng Pinas ng sabay sabay at matagal na wala tao ang bahay namin sa Pinas, all of us are working abroad. Kaya todo bonding sa bahay. We also ate a lot, as in lahat ng online food na pwede bilin, tinikman namin,” said Kieth.
Return to UAE
All Ayuso siblings secured their GDRFA permit approvals since all of them were holding valid Dubai visas. Kieth and Kara shared that they both managed to get approvals within the hour that they applied for the permit.
Meanwhile, Kris and Paul had to apply three times to get their permits through the same platform.
Kieth was the first to return to the UAE last June 27 while Kris and Kara returned to their second home by July 9.
Paul was the last to return when he landed last July 25 and had to present a negative COVID-19 test as required by UAE authorities to be able to board the plane.
Prior to landing, all siblings shared that they filled up quarantine and health declaration forms. When they landed at the Dubai Airport, they shared that all passengers were asked to do a swab test before they proceeded to the baggage claim area and headed towards their respective quarantine facilities.
Words of gratitude
Paul thanks Philippine authorities particularly their local government unit in Laguna who kept their entire family safe during the quarantine period.
“Continue doing things for the betterment of everyone. Salamat sa lgu namin sa efforts to keep us safe and dun sa mga ayuda pero I believe marami pa din areas to improve,” said Paul.
Kara hopes that the Philippine government could help out frontliners more and for the Filipino public to adhere to the safety regulations back home.
“Help natin mga frontliners para mas maging maayos na ang lahat. Tsaka sa netizens, Wag po pasaway at sumunod tayo sa mga batas,” said Kara.
Kris thanked the UAE government for ensuring their safe return to the country.
“Thank you sa mga efforts to keep din all our kababayans and all expats safe. Hoping na mas maging clear yng pgbalik nung iba pang stranded expats na waiting for their approvals din,” said Kris.
Kieth hopes that fellow OFWs who remain in the Philippines could soon secure their approvals to return to their second home, the UAE.
“I pray that all those who still stranded in the Philippines can get their entry permit approval to return here at the earliest. We all need them as much as we need each other during these challenging times,” said Kieth.