OFW: Billionaire's Life Story
It all started because of Marc.
Marc is Marco Fernando; twenty-four years old, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), married, and a dreamer.
The story of the dreamer began on the thirtieth day of December 1985, Monday, Manila International Airport, Departure Lounge, Philippines: "Calling all passengers bound for Dubai, you have twenty minutes left to board the plane, Thank you!" The announcement nailed in my ears with excitement, hope, and fear.
It was in...
In the year 1976 , Bacolod City, on the island of Negros Occidental, Philippines:
I met Ayah Isabel Gonzales in the college of Chemistry Department at San Jose College, Bacolod City, in the province of Negros Occidental. Bacolod City is the capital city, one of the developed cities of the Philippine archipelago struggling for growth at that time, where students from different towns used to study for their college degrees and find their destinies. Different people with different characters met and traded for their wares; a place for newcomers to discover what this place meant to their lives.
Ayah and I were on the same academic course, and each day, we had time to discover ourselves together. I have taken this Chemistry course just to please my father. I was not interested in taking this course, in fact, I hated Chemistry subjects. It did not give me an interesting value with my whole being. It was natural for me to be there inside the classroom, only for the sake of going to school and finishing my course. I was too young to comprehend things from proper perspectives. I fall in love with Ayah Isabel, which triggered my inner feelings and thoughts to continue studying. She was the one driving my motivational force to finish my course. Ayah propelled my existence for the life I was treading on and my future. She was a woman with a simple outlook on life, but with the courage to face the world with dignity. She was brave to confront things that had a substance in her life. Ayah's personality made me a weakling in terms of finding a better life for myself and for her. A strength that I cannot find in my personality, almost, with our lives in Bacolod City, I relied upon her.
My ambitions in life and loving Ayah formed a doubt inside of me, in which, I had undecided feelings about which way to move forward; dug deeper with my love for her or find my own course after graduation.
Financial incapability entangled my parents and ensured to extend my college education faltered. I gathered enough courage to think of a solution that could give me a positive action with my present situation. Ayah helped me with every undertaking I made, even aiding with my day-to-day living. She lied to her parents about the whereabouts of the money she was always asking for her schooling. To augment my insubstantial entity, we lived together under the same roof without the sanctity of marriage. Our parents did not have knowledge of what was going on with our lives in this stead. We continued schooling with this kind of setup. We wanted to be together always.
I strived hard to find a job to alleviate our situation and could help with my studies but in vain. Ayah Isabel can withstand the poverty, but I cannot. I wanted a life that was comfortable enough for me, my ambitions, and my love.
I used to sit in the public plaza when I am worn out in finding a job. One day, as I was sitting alone thinking of my dilapidated situation, looking in a far distance of the seashore at Bacolod Seawall, suddenly a guy sat beside me which made me think negatively about him. He smiled at me and introduced himself, "Hi, my name is Edward," extending his hand to me. I accepted his right hand but I was adamant with my actuation. I wryly smiled at him and answered, "Hello, I am Marco... Marco Fernando...."
"I saw you sitting here in the public plaza when I passed by heading for my job these past few days. And, I think you need some help or, a friend maybe? I worked in a restaurant as a waiter, just across the main street," as he pointed his finger westward feeling agitated.
He looked at me squarely and said, "How are you? How about you? Are you studying? Working? Do you have a job?" His action was more of a brother to me.
And I answered, "No, I've been searching for two months now, but..." my words were not formed into a sentence but I looked and sized him up.
"Do you want to work in the restaurant?" Edward asked with a smile on his face. "There's a vacancy right now," as he moved towards me.
"I don't know any job in the restaurant, but I'll try... I really need a job to support my studies. You know, Edward, I am studying in college right now... maybe I can ask the manager for the schedule of my work? Is that possible?" I asked him with a constant confidence that deep into my heart I needed a job very badly.
"Yes, I'll recommend you. Come with me, I'll introduce you to my manager."
As we were heading to the restaurant, the sparkling light inside of me multiplied a billion times, hoping something beautiful will come along the way. Those crumpled thoughts that bothered me for some time, disappeared as quickly as the bubbles in the air. Never in my imagination had I felt so close to my feelings and thoughts. What I was hoping for, really at this moment for me to move upward even though I knew, how hard to push those negative things to be materialized.
Working in the restaurant with a salary to depend upon, built my ever-changing confidence, which helped sustain the rigors of my daily endurance and continuing my college studies. I had done so much of my learning system, wherein I developed my personality to acquire the freedom to do the things that I could learn somehow. The negative thoughts inside my head were blown into multiple rays of hope for my goals in life; adding some motivated aspects of my ambition triggered my inner sanctum to prolong the basic human emotions.
I resumed my schooling through the help of Ayah Isabel who supported me from A to Z. Even with my deepest soul, I knew too well that all of these were just stairs to heaven. The most important things that I could revive with my weaknesses were the ones destroying my dependent personality. But even though I experienced hardships in my existence, I was still aiming for whatever hopes inside of me. Battling through poverty was not my forte, and I didn't have the inkling of eluding them. I had such an amazing way of defying myself with what I've learned to fake things that came into my life.
I began to discover things the hard way. I worked as a server in a restaurant near my boarding house. Some customers wanted to know me personally. Others befriended me. At first, I thought that these people wanted to uplift my well-being and extend some wonderful things that I wanted in life. I considered my situation and emotion to be cultivated by what I valued as a new adventure to me. They explored me high enough as mountain climbers reached the mountain tops. It was such a feeling of developing your inner self to the people who liked to dig deeper and deeper until you cannot fathom the deepest evil in you.
After my duty hours, I was with them, daily as what they wanted me to, as what they molded towards the new day; drinking sprees, parties, and drugs. Nightlife seemed to be the breathing element of my soul. I discovered it, I wanted it, but deep inside my heart, I knew what this meant to be with them. Nevertheless, I continued schooling but my soul and energy cannot withstand the rigors of an everyday event. Even though how hard I tried to run away, still, I kept on coming back and wanting more.
Earthly things captured me like a prisoner, like a virus eating my flesh, and released the ecstasy within me. Believing that I could extend the wondrous feelings that I discovered, explored, and tasted; my discovery made me a fool until I found myself doing the craziness of humanity; money, drugs, and sex.
The more I valued my vices, the more I succumbed to their essence that I could not falter to taste; every minute of it. The happiness that I felt gives real meaning to what I wanted in my whole life. But, little by little, it destroyed my self-esteem and even my whole personality. It changes the core of my soul, my being, and even my heart, resulting in my downfall. The decreasing energy within me continued negatively. The goals that I cherished most were lost over time. I found myself weak, sad, and alone.
I cannot cope with my life in the city, alone, and it's Ayah Isabel who cared for me, who came to the rescue.
Even my friend Edward Ramirez helped me without any boundaries. I released the very core of my existence to the people who loved me. Edward and Ayah were the two human beings that always lifted me up for whatever problems I was entangled with my vices.