7 Things About OFW Culture That Only OFWs Would Understand

7 Things About OFW Culture That Only OFWs Would Understand

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) have been branded as modern day heroes for their sacrifices to support their families. As of September 2015, approximately 2.4 million OFWs were working abroad.

With so many of our fellow countrymen going down this road, there now exists the OFW culture. Here are seven things that only an OFW would understand:

1.) Culture shock is a real thing.
Yes, it is. The first time you land in a foreign country, especially in one with many cultural practices and traditions, you begin to understand how an alien must feel like, you’re likely to get some things wrong on your first attempt to fit in, but don’t take it personally.

Give yourself a few weeks to get settled in and you’ll find yourself up to speed in no time.

2.) Discrimination is basic.
Sad to say, we live in a world where racial slurs and stereotyping are far too common despite being globally regarded as unacceptable. Even worse is all we can do is suck it up. There are many forms of discrimination, but none more offensive than the other.

Over time you’ll learn ways to deal with it without creating damage. It’s always handy to carry a lot of patience and self-control in your arsenal.

3.) Everything makes you miss home.
For some reason, everything you see reminds you of home. Sometimes, a colleague’s mannerism in a given situation brings back memories of a friend back in the Philippines, or a song on the radio brings up the time when you and your family went on a road trip where that same song played repeatedly.

Whatever it is, you’ve come to associate what the senses perceive with something you were subconsciously missing.

4.) Sleep is definitely not only for the weak.
The work is tough and the hours are long. That doesn’t make you weak, but it sure does make you tired. Sleep is one of the things you look forward to most.

On some free days, you do house chores or go out with friends, but mostly, you just want to catch up on your rest.

5.) Conversion is key.
You just can’t help it. Between knowing how much to send back home and gauging whether you should get yourself that new toy, it’s become a practice for OFWs to convert to peso and vice versa to know exactly where you stand financially. “Is it cheaper to buy it here or back home?” Convert and then you can decide.

6.) Balikbayans are always associated with big boxes full of treats.
Sales are one of the things Filipinos live for, whether or not we’d like to admit it, we can tend to be a bit materialistic. Getting something you want for a good price, especially when it’s to bring it back home as pasalubong, is one of the life’s simple joys.

Who wouldn’t love to put a smile on Nanay and Tatay’s face when they open that box?

7.) You feel like a foreigner in your own country.
As soon as you become an OFW, you’ll find yourself feeling different and lonely in a foreign country. But who would have thought that you’d feel that way when you come home, too? It isn’t as alienating as being in an entirely different part of the world, but you’ll realize that you’ve changed somehow, and the things you’ve grown used to while working away are just as foreign to the Pinoys as it was when you first arrived abroad.


  1. Just think of the money you will earn and send to your family so that their lives will be wonderful and everything will be fine… Absolutely fine… Even if your own life becomes miserable…

  2. Why we make a big deal about an OFW it is our choice to work abroad for family govt is not getting anything from us ,OFW do not pay income tax , do not pay travel, and airport terminal fee .Our salary is receive directly by our family So why they call us Modern Heroes because of the USD that help our country stabalize our foreign reserve and also help our local economy indirectly by our families spendings.haha

  3. I can relate all of the above…

  4. Nakarelate ako sa #7..being away for 27 yrs is no joke when I retired and went home for good…na homesick ako kung Saan na di ko maintindihan…but now I’m ok with it …I’m happy to be home ..

  5. May kulang pa rito. Pagtitimpi at pagpapasensya sa mga siraulong ibang lahi na gusto mo ng sapakin pero bawal kasi makukulong ka. At meron pa pala, especially sa mga OFW sa GCC, maraming amoy putok na ibang lahi.

    • Rich Zablan… eh ang tanong bakit andyan ka sa Riyadh na pugad ng sinabi mong siraulo at amoy putok na ibang lahi??? tandaan mo, kung walang Saudi tiyak gutom ang pamilya mo! kaya tigilan mo na yang reklamo mo at baka sibakin ka dyan sa hotel na pinapasukan mo!

    • Eh bakit ka parang naka shabu magsalita?😂😂😂

  6. Number 7 is so true…

  7. i’m an ofw but i never considered myself “bagong bayani” nor what i’m doing is a “sacrifice”. because, i’m simply fulfilling my responsibility towards my family.

    di ko kailangan ng awa o pansin at ipagsigawan sa mundo na nag sasakripisyo ako o isa ako bagong bayani. obligasyon ko lang po ito na di kailangan ng recognition o attention.

  8. #5 i thought conversion about ForEx lol

  9. #7 is the thing that struck me the most, when i first go home. Some people cannot accept how much you change but then again, you have yo suck it up.

  10. Ako tlga dun ako nhirapan sa no. 1. Sbrang tgal kong nkapg adjust sa culture dto. Mggulat nlng ako mali pla ung gnawa ko. Ksi no big deal un sa atin pro dto pla bwal.

  11. #7 is true after many years being OFW

  12. All of them..I can truly relate to this article, especially #2 & #7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *