Friday, December 15, 2006


Her name is Jessa, age seven; my niece’s youngest of three children. They spent the weekend at my mother’s house. On Sunday morning, I set up my camera on its tripod and asked her to sit on the wooden bench while I tinker with the settings. I told her that unlike the point and shoot camera that her mother has, this one requires a lot of time to configure. It was a lie, of course; a mere diversion to get her as relaxed as possible.

She was quite animated as she told me about their upcoming Christmas party in school. But when I inquired if she had already asked something special for Christmas from her Papa, she suddenly became pensive; directing her gaze at a far distance. I then snapped this picture.

Jessa didn’t have to tell me what she really wants; it’s obvious. I’m sure if she had her way, more than anything in the world, she would want her Papa back with them as it used to be during the past holidays. You see, her father left for Saudi Arabia only two months ago to pursue a higher paying job. It was a way for him to secure a better life for his family.

During this holiday season, I’m certain Jessa is not alone; thousands of other children in Metro Manila share Jessa’s deep longing for a mother or father who is currently abroad. Unfortunately, lacking the necessary wisdom because of their very young age, they are unable to make sense of it all.

posted by Señor Enrique at 10:18 AM


Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Folks, I'm unable to post any comments on most Beta Blogspot sites. I've a serious feeling that Blogger does want me to switch to beta as well; however, in so doing it corrupts my custom blog template.

Please bear with my inability to post comments on your site until I get something done with my template.


December 15, 2006 10:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely young lady on portrait. nice :)

sana tinanong mo rin kung ano gusto nya galing sayo, sigurado ngigiti sya sayo :)

December 15, 2006 11:16 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nice portrait.


I'm sure her Papa wants to be home with them as well. But nevertheless, thoughts would always be there.

December 15, 2006 11:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how she feels. For many years, I also longed for my mother to come home for Christmas when she left to work abroad.

Nice portrait.

December 15, 2006 1:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Oo nga, Iskoo. Sana tinanong ko kung ano gusto niya mula sa akin pero alam na nila na pera bibigay ko at bahala na sila mamili kung ano gusto nila. Ganon din mga parents ko sa amin noong mga bata kami. Pero pinasaya ko na lang siya ng madaming shots kinuha ko sa kanya. Tuwang tuwa na siya doon.

Yes, Kyels, I'm sure their father would want to be with them also. This is the first time they're not together as a family.

It's a tough life, Irene, especially for the kids. But his father had to do it because of the three kids, and they're growing up fast. My niece lost a lot of weight; unable to eat since he left.

December 15, 2006 1:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice tone here. I could see longing on her face.

December 15, 2006 5:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This picture has plenty of heart Eric. I can't stop looking at it. Bakit nga ba? People go abroad for their family, yet that same family also suffers. The OFW phenomenon really has a big social cost to our children.

December 15, 2006 8:12 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Ferdz. I guess she was caught unaware on just how to react to my question. This is the first time her father has gone away. So her immediate reaction was to simply gaze at a distance.

December 15, 2006 8:34 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, I agree, Toe. The separation takes a great toll on our young. However, for the most part, there isn't much option left but to uproot one's self from his/her loved ones and familiar surroundings and do what's necessary and best for all.

December 15, 2006 8:37 PM  

Blogger abet said...


hmmm...i think Jessa looks like her Papa...innocent and shy looking shot ....:>

December 15, 2006 9:16 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Hola Senor! Lovely pic of your niece. I can sense the sadness and longing... It is hard to have our loved ones leave us, in order to earn more for us.

When Hubby was assigned here in Africa, we were not able to follow him immediately due to visa problems. This meant that he was away for 11 months of the year (for 2 years). It was hard for all of us, specially in seeing our son (who was 5 months old when Hubby left) shying away from him when he comes home for vacations.

What more for those with parents/wives/hubbies whose contract does not allow them to go home for 2-3 years?

December 15, 2006 11:49 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ooops, close but no cigar for you, Basey ... hehehe.

Actually, out of the three, Jessa takes after her mother; the first two resemble their father.

December 16, 2006 5:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This is what's driving my niece batty, Sheilamarie. Neither she nor her husband has any idea when he will come home for a visit, which is the case with most of the OFWs I know of here in Manila.

Tough life; tough decisions; definitely hard for the children. But it all works out for the better for most :)

December 16, 2006 5:23 AM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Classic shot Señor E! The social cost of the OFW phenomenon is one thing we should watch out in the future.

I experienced the same problem with comments a few days ago. I think it's an isolated case since I can again post in beta sites today. I'm also ignoring the invitation to switch. I'd rather wait for the new version. Hope it wouldn't create drastic changes in my blog.

December 17, 2006 7:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It's quite frustrating, Dave, especially when I had to ask questions from the site's author. Unitl now, I'm still unable to post my comments; kept getting that string of letter security verification :(

December 18, 2006 7:18 AM  

Blogger Francesca said...

I ve been visiting your blog and I find it refreshing, the photos you load and the event that goes with it.

I learned of the ideas how photographers think when they took pictures and I learned from it.
Some sentimental, some romantic, some realistic.
I put you in my favotites long time now and lurk you if new photos are in.
Keep them coming. all the best!

December 24, 2006 6:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Francesca ... Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2006 7:10 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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