The Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Identity: Local Modern Day Heroes or Global Servants?


Migration has become a common demographic response of Filipinos to various socio-economic problems. In the light of the severe economic crisis that has confronted the country in recent years, the Philippines has become a major source for international migrants and become one of the largest sending countries of labor to various countries in the world. The Filipino workers, both women and men, leave the country in order to earn a sustainable income, a condition that is difficult or inadequate in their own country. This research investigated if OFWs perceived themselves within the context of the social labels “local modern day heroes” or “global servants”. Do these labels affect their personal, family or social life?

In this paper, the author used the grounded theory research method to formulate a theory concerning the perception of the identity of OFWs: a local hero or a global servant. The author conducted an on-line survey of OFW men and women who have been deployed since 2001 in one of five countries: Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.

The three most important findings of this research were the following:

Globalization has created a new reality for OFWs, there has been a feminization of Philippine migration and OFWs have based their identity on what they can do for their family. OFWs know who they are and do not care how others perceived them. Because of the importance the OFWs place on the welfare and well-being of their families, labels are of little significance to them.


International and Intercultural Communication | Sociology of Culture

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