Christmas Comes Early for Returning Kababayans, Tourists
For overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), leaving home and family for long periods of time to earn a living abroad is the biggest sacrifice which they must endure for the sake of their loved ones
Mario Navarra, who works as a seafarer for several years now, said coming home to Manila for a short break during the holidays is like a Christmas present he always looks forward to. Spending quality time with his family during Christmas and New Year is something money cannot buy. Imagine his joy then when he found out this time his homecoming has been sweetened with an additional surprise.
First off, he was greeted, not by his family as he expected, but by several employees of Globe Telecom’s International Business Group, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) who were waiting past the immigration area to hand out goodie bags to him and 369 other passengers of PAL flight 659. The flight, which planed in from Dubai, carried mostly OFWs who were home for the holidays. A live band was also stationed nearby, filling the arrival area with lively Christmas carols.
"Nakaka-taba talaga ng puso (It's a heart-warming sight)," said Navarra, explaining that while he usually takes his vacation in December, it was the first time he experienced such a holiday welcome. "Pakiramdam namin na very welcome pa rin kami lalo na ngayon na Christmas season (We really feel we're still welcomed by everyone, especially now that it’s Christmas season).”
Meanwhile, Corazon Diaz, a native of Butuan City, had just started work as a babysitter for a Filipino couple living in Dubai last October and had already accepted that she would be spending the holidays away from home. But her employers decided to have an early Christmas break in Cebu and brought her home with them. This probably explains the beatific smile plastered on her face upon arrival at the NAIA Terminal 2, a smile that grew even bigger as she received the holiday greetings and goodie bags from the Globe entourage.
"Akala ko talaga hindi ako babalik itong December dahil halos kakarating ko lang ng Dubai. Kaya sobrang saya (ako) tapos may salubong pa na ganito (I really thought I wouldn't be able to come home this December because I just arrived in Dubai. That's why I was so happy when they welcomed us this way.),” she said.
Among those who were visibly moved by the warm welcome was 70-year-old Bernadette Cristobal. Cristobal, a returning resident who had just spent three months in Dubai exclaims she was delighted and overwhelmed by the Christmas mood at the airport.
"It's awesome. Nanibago ako dahil masaya. Sana laging ganito para maganda ang dating ng mga passengers (It feels different because the mood is merry. I hope they do this often so that passengers would feel good when they arrive)," she said.
Another round of surprise were given to passengers of flights PR502 and PR319 from Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively, who received Noche Buena gifts packs. This time, Globe, PAL, and MIAA were joined by Puregold.
A week earlier, all passengers arriving at the NAIA Terminal 1’s were also given special treats from Globe.
"It's a surprise welcome for the passengers and is primarily focused on OFWs returning for the holidays," said Mike Frausing, senior advisor for Globe International Business Group. "They are recognized as modern-day heroes and we took the opportunity of welcoming them, along with PAL, MIAA, and Puregold ahead of their families who are already waiting outside the arrival area."
"As Christmas draws nearer, more and more of our kababayans who work and live abroad come home to be with their loved ones. There is nothing like spending Christmas with family in the Philippines, going to Simbang Gabi, enjoying traditional Filipino goodies, and gathering for the Noche Buena feast. We at Globe, and our partners, wanted to share this joy and appreciation to our hardworking OFWs as well as to welcome tourists with our signature Filipino hospitality," said Jurist Gamban, Vice-President for Strategic Marketing for Globe International Business Group.
All passengers also received free Mabuhay Miles Traveler SIM card which gives them 500 bonus Mabuhay Miles from PAL, free 300 MB of mobile data and unlimited calls to Globe valid for one day, plus a 10% discount at selected Duty Free Philippines shops.
Globe has a long-standing partnership with the MIAA and PAL in providing services to both inbound and outbound passengers. The three institutions held the surprise holiday greeting as their way of paying tribute to returning OFWs who have been away from their families for months.