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Why Filipinos go Abroad

Updated on December 16, 2012

The Philippines is a country that's pretty visible on the map of the world in the Southeast area in Asia. It's population to this date has just gone a little over the 90 million mark. A fraction of this "millions" of Filipinos, are actually not in the Philippines, well at least not in the country all the time. They're in other countries finding a living and sending money to their families back home.

While the statistics from the government isn't clear, one thing's quite clear, about 10% of RP's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) comes from remittances of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers).

The GDP is a rough estimate of a country's output. It's quite silly when 10% of RP's GDP is coming from other countries. Technically it isn't really its output, it just so happens that money is pouring in to the country so they can spend it and somehow keeps its economy afloat.

In fact, OFWs are called "Bagong Bayani" (New Heroes) in the Philippines and for good reasons.

Sure there are lots of various reasons why Filipinos would go abroad to work and to live and maybe even visit but for the majority of these Filipinos, the real reason is "economic".

The average income of a typical Filipino worker in the Philippines is about 10,000 pesos per month (200 USD). It's hard to tell the average expenses of a typical household since it depends on a lot of things like whether there are children or renting a house or apartment and whether commuting or have a private vehicle to work or school.

Different people have different ways of measuring whether an income is low or average or high. For me, I simply measure it against my expenses or the things that I can buy with the money I have.

For instance, with 10,000 pesos, how many international travels can I take, maybe to Singapore, how many times can I go to Singapore with 10,000 pesos. As of this writing the answer is hardly 1 per month.

For a much better comparison, I take my real job for instance. I am a software engineer making around 30,000 pesos (600 USD) per month in the Philippines. Now that I am abroad, I'm making about 120,000 pesos (2400 USD) per month. In the country that I am right now, I can go to Singapore and back to up to twice per month with my income. It's not a very good comparison since RP to SG is only a 3-hour flight whereas where I am right now, it's an 11-hour flight. If I were to take a 3-hour flight from where I am right now, I can do about 7 round trips per month.

What's the kicker? Well, I am living a better life now in where I am and my money goes farther and I'm doing exactly the same thing as I was in the Philippines. So in other words, even though I'm doing exactly the same thing, I am paid more.

I am sure it's the same story for most OFWs as well wherever they may be. Of course, the work environment and working conditions may be different depending on the line of work but the reality is clear, workers in the Philippines are really paid less than in other countries.

The Philippines is still faced with the challenge of keeping good and skilled people from going out of the country. Many would say that the Philippines is trapped in an economic trouble and may never be able to get out from it. I strongly disagree with this but time will tell.


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    • conradofontanilla profile image

      conradofontanilla 3 years ago from Philippines

      WE have seen the main problem in the Philippines. And we have identified the solution. We have to abolish feudalism, replace the present ruling class with the rule of the people and restructure society. Those done we will have enough good paying jobs in the Philippines. We know how to create jobs only that the policies espoused now are supplicant to neocolonialism. The OFW phenomenon shows the failure of the present ruling class.

    • profile image

      honey rose 4 years ago

      i salute all OFW

    • profile image

      daberill 4 years ago

      For all Filipinos abroad: What was the main reason you left the Philippines?

      Vote here:

    • profile image

      boss 6 years ago


    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      "What's the kicker? Well, I am living a better life now in where I am and my money goes farther and I'm doing exactly the same thing as I was in the Philippines. So in other words, even thought I'm doing exactly the same thing, I am paid more." - no contest, agree :)

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      RIP GLORIA 6 years ago

      totoo yan, less than that pa nga sa city namin hindi dahil sa class B or C ang city namin pero yung mga bibilihin naman ang subrang mahal. as a casual employee earned b4 4k+ and now here 4x pa ang makikita ko kaso nga lang malayo sa pamilya pero buhay naman ang sikmura nila kaysa patay ang sikmura namin magka pamilya.

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      daberill 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Companjera and I agree with you that many don't even earn the minimum wage.

      To enlighten you a bit about the stats, please click this link:

      No one can tell for sure the exact figure, not even the Philippine government itself therefore my approximation is influenced by my own personal experiences and research.

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      Companjera 7 years ago

      The vast majority of workers in the Philippines do not even earn the 'minimum wage', so how you can say "The average income of a typical Filipino worker in the Philippines is about 10,000 pesos per month." is beyond me.

      Unless of course you are using the skewed figures of the 'Average income'.

    • bunnyjumalon profile image

      bunnyjumalon 8 years ago

      Sad but a reality...And I'm not as optimistic as you that we can still get away from it...So long..!