MANILA, Philippines – “Dili ko.” (I don’t like.)
Five-year-old Vaniah Ayn Perdido was in tears as she tried to stop her father, Joe Mar David Perdido, from returning to the Maldives where he works as an assistant restaurant manager for a resort.
The emotional parting of Ayn and her father was captured on camera by her grandmother. The video was later posted by her mother, Icar Yves, on Facebook.
The video shows Ayn passionately crying and hugging her father at the Davao International Airport. “Dili man ko love nimo daddy,” she tells her dad in Bisaya. (You don’t love me, daddy.
OFW LIFE: My 5-year old daughter’s love to her daddy!
Heartbreaking moment of my daughter and husband at Davao International Airport .Eto talaga ang nakakalungkot sa mga OFW parents pag bumabalik na sa ibang bansa. I hope one day in Duterte’s administration, Filipinos will no longer need to work abroad instead dito na mag trabaho sa sariling bansa natin.
For the first few years of her life, Ayn was cared for by her grandparents in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, along with her little brother, David.
Her parents were both OFWs who first met in the United Arab Emirates and eventually moved to the Maldives where they worked at the same resort.
Back then, Ayn and David could only be with their parents for 30 days a year.
According to their mom, Icar, she and her husband each had 30 days of leave annually, which they would divide into two trips.
It was easier at first because the 2 children were still too young to understand their situation, but as they grew older, Icar said Ayn would cry every time they had to return to the Maldives.
In one instance, Ayn was so upset that she ignored her parents’ long-distance calls for a week.
Seeing her daughter incredibly sad was what pushed Icar to leave her high-paying job abroad and return to the Philippines this year.
Her husband, Joe Mar, remains in the Maldives.
Joe Mar was allowed to go on vacation last October 28. But this time, he only had 13 days.
By November 10, Ayn’s time to be with her father was up.
The bus ride from Dangcagan to Davao International Airport takes 4 hours. Throughout the trip, Ayn wouldn’t let go of her father and cried every time he tried to talk to her.
She burst into tears when they arrived at the airport.
One of many children
Ayn’s cries showed the widely documented emotional toll of the OFW life – the struggle of the children left behind.
“The social cost of migration is also something that needs serious attention,” said Melanie Reyes in her 2008 working paper, “Migration and Filipino Children Left Behind: A Literature Review.”
According to Reyes, while working abroad does benefit many families financially, several studies “show that migration of parents is indeed heartbreaking for children” who may “long for parental care, be confused over gender boundaries and roles, develop a consumerist attitude, [or] be vulnerable to abuses.”
For now, Ayn has no choice but to patiently wait for her father’s next return. But Icar said their children can now hold on to one promise: that Joe Mar will finally be back for good next year.
Meanwhile, Icar is looking forward to making her first Christmas with Ayn and David an unforgettable one.