As we end our 19-day cruise with 42 family members (including parents, siblings, in-laws, and grandchildren), we shared our time with 300 Filipino crew-members. They compose more than half of the total crew of 500 on board Crystal Symphony, which is just one of the many cruise ships that Filipino workers dominate. Back home, Doris Ho of Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, Robie Delgado, and Carlos Salinas are some of the big names that supply the cruise and cargo vessels.
Out of the 800 guests, we were the only Filipinos on board, and many of the Americans, Australians, and Europeans that were cruising with us have heard about the Philippine turnaround story. It feels good to share with these people that our country has now achieved investment grade, and it feels good to see how hard our Filipino overseas workers sacrifice their time to work far just to be able to get a better life for their families back home. We met Filipinos in every place we went—in Cabo, Costa Rica, and even in Cartagena. Who would think that there would be around three thousand Filipinos living in a small island like Cayman, as well as Filipinos manning the security counter in a place like Charleston in South Carolina as you disembark? Read the rest of this entry »