Airports are said to be the happiest and saddest places on earth.
They are places where thousands of emotion-filled people converge. Emotions vary from giddy travelers excited to leave the country to fulfill a dream to returning OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) or balikbayan (returnees) who could not wait to be with their kith or kin whom they have not seen for ages and those whose steps are slow and heavy as their hard-earned vacation or piece of heaven is minutes away from ending.
Multiply the degree of happiness or sadness a thousand-fold at Christmas.
Raymar Cadiz brought home toys and few goodies for his family in Quezon. He is one of thousands of OFWs who traditionally spend Christmas with their families.
Despite being now at home, the 30-year-old concierge manager of a five-star hotel in Saudi Arabia hoped to bring his wife and two kids abroad.
“I’m longing for my family while I am there. So I’m working out now to bring them to Saudi Arabia,” the OFW, who arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Christmas Day, said.
Cadiz missed attending the traditional Misa de Gallo or dawn Masses,which sta rt December 16, but “good thing I’m home.”
He said life is so difficult in Saudi Arabia “without my family on my side. My thoughts are always with them.”
Cadiz has been working at Intercontinental Riyadh Hotel for seven years. “It’s a nice job but I have to work harder,” he said, adding that accepting higher position has taught him how to deal with all sorts of persons.
The hotel has 40 Filipinos in its staff.
The 30-year-old smiled when asked how much salary he gets from his job.
He, however, said he helps his two siblings who are still in college.
When he goes home to Quezon, the OFW plans to have a vacation with his family in Tagaytay for the rest of the month.
For Farida Famalo, who left for Saudi Arabia hours before Christmas, leaving her two kids is “depressing.”
A native of Mindanao, Famalo, 30, works as a nurse in a hospital in Riyadh.
Her children wanted her to stay at least until at the end of December so they could have more family time.
“I was scheduled to fly before Christmas. But seeing my children without a mother that would take care of them for a year is so painful,” Famalo said.
Famalo left her two kids under the care of her elder sister. She started working abroad in 2008. Her husband works in Qatar.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), a total of 369,082 passengers have arrived from abroad at the NAIA from December 11 to December 22 while 274,625 have left in the same period.