Earlier this year, MoneyGram launched a search for nine MoneyGram Idol Awardees, designed to find and pay tribute to modern Filipino heroes, the Overseas Filipino Workers, or ‘OFWs’, and their families. Many OFW stories involve hard work, sacrifice, and an enduring love for those they leave behind.
Jade Caolaljo’s story, however, stands out. While most OFWs were helping out relatives and their own families, Jade’s hero was an unexpected angel who took them under his wing when they needed help the most.
A son’s trials
Jade’s 59-year-old father passed away three years ago due to complications of diabetes. It was a devastating blow for their small family. Suddenly, he and his mother were left to fend for themselves. Jade was not even out of his teens and would have just started college, and his mother was a housewife who ran a sari-sari store from their home. He worried that their meager means would not be enough for him to finish school, or even survive.
It was hard enough when his father had been alive. Jade remembers that they had very little for their daily needs, but they worked hard to make ends meet. “Noon, halos wala akong baon papuntang school. Minsan kasi yung salary ni papa noon maliit na lang ang natitita, di na magkasya.” (I used to have almost no pocket money when I went to school. Papa’s salary was
so small that very little was left over for school).
With the way school is taught these days, a college student without a computer is always going to be at a disadvantage. But Jade wanted a computer for more than just learning. He wanted to be more self-sufficient. “Nung nag start ako mag-college, sinikap ko lahat. Nanghingi ako kay papa ng isang unit ng PC kahit CPu lang, kasi gusto kong magkaroon ng trabaho. May mga kaibigan ako na ganun ang trabaho yung online work.” (When I started college, I worked hard. I asked my father for a computer because I wanted to do online work like some of my friends did.)
At first his father refused, but relented after a week. Jade found work as a virtual assistant, and just in time. But even with his income, it was looking bleak when they lost his father.
Best friends are forever
Abdul was Jade’s father’s compadre from his bachelor days. When they grew older, Abdul left for Singapore to work as an engineer, and later settled there with his Singaporean wife. He hadn’t seen Jade or his father in many years, although Jade knew of him and called him uncle Abdul.
However, when Jade reached out to him online, he was quick to offer support for Jade’s schooling. His help, along with Jade’s income from online jobs, and the earnings of their store are enough to ensure that Jade will be able to complete his education and get a degree.
To show his gratitude at the opportunity his uncle had afforded him, Jade has poured himself into both his work and his studies. He’s even invested in a small computer shop from his earnings as a part-time virtual assistant. Studying days and working nights seems to agree with him – he’s currently gunning for cum laude when he graduates.
Easier and safer
With Iligan City on red alert, it can be unnerving for a family that needs an infusion of cash from a remittance that might get tied up at a bank. For many like Jade, a missed remittance can
mean a missed semester, or a medical emergency that goes untreated.
But with MoneyGram, it’s easy. Money sent will arrive once sent from the OFW, and can be claimed without long lines at a bank or a remittance center. Not only is it easier, it’s more reliable for everyone involved. In times like these, a little peace of mind is a huge comfort, and OFWs can rest easy knowing that their families will continue to receive their remittances, despite local unrest.