Outstanding Filipino (Outstanding P’lok Pinoyz 2016)
RAISING two sons is not easy, let alone rearing them in a country with unfamiliar culture and people with different way of life and set of attitudes, but the couple, Mr. and Mrs. Emiliano and Edencita Olaer, the outstanding Filipino community member awardee of P’lok Pinoyz 2016, managed to do both with a little more extra – serving their SDA community in Phitsanulok and actively participating in P’lok Pinoyz’ activities.
Though both had passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers, Emil and Eden found it difficult to seek employment in DepEd schools in the Philippines, saying their lack of backers render the chance slim amid a very long queue of applicants and, with Masters Degree still incomplete, it made the chance even slimmer.
“Life was hard then, nine months after I gave birth to our second son, Emil decided to come to Thailand to search for a greener pasture in April 2006. With God’s grace, he indeed found a job here,” Eden recalls.
Shortly after two years, Emil went home and decided to take his family back to Thailand. That was in April 2008. But such decision has some price to pay.
The two boys – Kent, 7, and Kobe, going 3, being complete strangers to Thailand had a hard time adapting to their new environment.
“My kids are socially active and kinesthetic. They are the type of kids who really wanted to have playmates. When we arrived in Suphanburi, they longed to have friends to play with them outside but they had no one,” says Eden.
Emil and Eden felt this was one of the biggest challenges, aside from language barrier, especially when their kids ask why they had to come to Thailand saying they had no friends.
“As a mother, I always feel being stabbed in my chest. These are the kind of moments that I feel most guilty of robbing their childhood cheerfulness,” Eden claims.
Most academic subjects in Thailand are taught in Thai except for schools which offer English programs where subjects are taught in both Thai and English.
“Ken had finished Grade 1 in the Philippines and stopped schooling for a year because he could’t speak, read and write Thai. We hired a private tutor for him for three months before he started going to school the following year in Suphanburi,” says Emil.
He continues: “To keep up with the challenge, we keep providing them English reading materials to at least update their reading and comprehension skills so that when they go back to the Philippines, they can still cope with the educational standard there. My eldest son will be in Matayom 4 and the youngest will be in Prathom 6 next academic year.”
In Thailand, every foreign teacher’s contract is renewable annually because the teacher’s salary would depend on the annual budget of the school. With schools having different budget, it is prevalent that Filipino teachers hop from one school to another in pursuit of a higher compensation.
For the Olaer’s, moving from one school to another entails a lot of careful planning and consideration.
“We need to consider our kids’ education. From one school in Suphanburi, we moved to an international school in Saraburi. It was another adjustment for the kids as they have to make new friends in their new school. By May 2011, we decided to move again in Taphanhin, Pitchit. The experience of jumping from one school to another was quite a stressful one especially for our two sons,” shares Eden.
Church and Community
Although a predominantly Buddhist country, Thailand does not prohibit foreigners to exercise their religion. Christianity constitutes at least 1.2 percent of the national population. As parents, Emil and Eden made sure that Kent and Kobe’s Christian values are still intact so they go to church and join Sabbath worship every Saturday in Phitsanulok, a province which is at least 96.2 kilometers away from their workplace, Pichit.
Their arrival in the SDA community in Phitsanulok constituted more responsibilities as both were hailed community leaders since then. It was a challenge which both of them accepted without complaints.
“Sir Emil and Ma’am Eden as SDA Church Leaders in Phitsanulok are indeed paragon of light. Like a mother, Ma’am Eden always makes sure that everybody could feel the warm welcome and closeness of each other as a family. She is a very supportive mother,” shares Mr. Rey Mijares. “Sir Emil is a consistent church leader. He is always in action to the needs of the church. We are so blessed to have them both in Phitsanulok SDA Church,” Mijares further comments.
The couple’s active involvement in the SDA church paved the way to their involvement with the P’lok Pinoyz, the Filipino organization in Phitsanulok.
“The first activity that we had joined was the “ Spiritual Retreat” in Phuhin Rongkla in August 2011. It was a privilege meeting the other friendly Filipino members. The venue was serene and the activities were worth joining. It was an awesome experience! The president at the time was Miss Leah Doysabas. She possessed the welcoming smile. The other officers were very nice too and so we remain fastened to the organization until this time,” Eden cheerfully recalls.
Outstanding P’lok Pinoyz 2016
On its second year last December, the Outstanding P’lok Pinoyz Award is a recognition given to the outstanding Filipino community member who has given remarkable contributions to the community in Phitsanulok. The award was initiated by the Filipino Council of Phitsanulok for 2015-2016
Mr. and Mrs. Olaer told Pinoy Legacy that the recognition came as a genuine surprise as they believed they had not done anything notable for the organization.
“Whatever the reasons the committee had for choosing us to be the outstanding Filipino community member, we didn’t know. All we knew is that, we always support the activities of Pilok Pinoyz simply because we like to support an organization that treated everyone like a member of a family,” Eden quips.
“We are OFWs and we are away from our loved ones but in Pilok Pinoyz we’ve found a HOME away from home. We are thankful to the committee for choosing us. It was an honor coupled with a big responsibility to maintain this noble reputation,” shares Emil.
The Olaer couple hope that Pilok Pinoyz will continue to exist and make more activities that foster camaraderie and closer relationship among OFWs in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
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