Overseas Filipino Workers leave their families back home in search for a greener pasture. Each one of them hopes to land a decent work with a decent salary abroad. After long years of being apart from their loved ones, the only wish of every OFW is to stay in the Philippines for good. But not Lolo Tony.
Antonio Espia, 62-year-old, or Lolo Tony, works in two jobs. He works as a Jollibee crew at night from 6 p.m. to 12 MN except Fridays and Saturdays. On those vacant days, he works as a musician at Tong’s Seafoods and Grill.
Despite the hardships in life, Lolo Tony never forgets to smile. He greets every customer with a smile and even exchanges quick chat to Filipino customers.
Lolo Tony wanted to give a better life for his family so he chose to work abroad. He is from a poor family in Molo, Iloilo and the eldest of nine kids.
“As a child, I learned how to sing, play guitar and keyboard. I joined singing contests and my winnings were used to buy food,” says Lolo Tony.
credit Photo: inquirer.netLolo Tony finished a two-year electronics course. He also worked at bars in the Philippines as a singer and a keyboardist. His desires to work abroad led him to a work in Manila because he thinks that working in Manila may somehow help him to go abroad.
“Every Friday, I attended the Mass at Quiapo Church and became a Nazarene devotee. I was praying to have work abroad,” says Lolo Tony.
Fortunately, he met a man who referred him to an agent who was looking for a musicians in HK.
After staying in the country for 28 years, Lolo Tony is permanent resident in Hong Kong. He is entitled for a pension when he reaches 65, free medical services, Right of Adobe, and other useful benefits given only to locals.
His family also migrated to Hong Kong last 2015. Because of that, he worked countless jobs to send his children to school. He believes that Hong Kong is a very expensive place to live in, most especially because he is the only breadwinner.
“I stretch our budget until the next pay day. I ask support from the Hong Kong government for my two children, one of them in high school and one in elementary,” he says.
The Espia family is living in the cheapest flat in Hong Kong.
Despite that, Lolo Tony is positive.
“We do everything to give our families something better. We don’t think of ourselves anymore because our families’ needs come first,” says Lolo Tony.