Manila, Philippines. Photo: iStock
Manila, Philippines. Photo: iStock

Ellen Asis was 23 when she left her poor Philippines village of Bicol to better herself as a domestic worker in the Middle East. A decade later, she is returning home with the qualifications to build a new life.

Asis spent six years in Kuwait before moving to Hong Kong, where she planned to stay two years. But fate intervened when her father became ill and she had to stay longer to pay for his care. He died in 2016.

In a guest column for, Asis relates how she decided to put the extra time to good use by learning additional skills that she could put with her management degree and get a good job back home.

On her days off she attended financial literacy seminars and took a massage therapy course, gaining her national certification.

“Through the financial education seminars I attended I learned how to invest money and save for my future. I learned how to budget my salary and apply tough love on my family,” she said.

Asis, who hopes to one day set up her own business to support her family, realised how important it was for overseas Filipino workers to plan ahead for the time when they would be going back.

“All of these valuable lessons helped me realise to take every opportunity that comes my way. As an OFW we should set our priorities, limit our expenses and set goals for a given period of time.

“Coming home for good will turn from dream to reality when we take action, or by applying what we have learned,” she said.