Bench and children team up to honor OFW parents


Posted at Dec 29 2017 01:31 PM | Updated as of Dec 30 2017 12:28 PM

Twelve OFW kids pay tribute with OPM classic

The son of a food nutritionist in Florida, RJ Buena is one of 14 OFW kids from 12 countries in Bench's version of "Anak". Handout. Bench

For most Filipinos, December is a month-long celebration of holiday cheer and spending time with friends and family. But for the children of over two million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) scattered around the world, this isn't always possible.

For this year's OFW Awareness Month, Bench got together with some of these children so they could say thank you to their parents, no matter where in the world they happened to be. The result is a brand new rendition of Freddie Aguilar's classic "Anak", presented as a music video, shot in 8 countries and performed by 16 children of OFWs, including celebrity endorsers Rocco Nacino and Max Collins.

In line with Bench's #LoveLocal advocacy, the song is intended to convey a strong message of love from the children to their foreign-based parents, as expressed in their native dialects and languages. Among the performers was RJ Buena, the son of a food nutritionist in Florida, US, who said, "Maliban sa mahirap 'yung trabaho, mas mahirap mawalay sa mga taong mahal mo. 'Yun, saludo ako sa kanila." 

The child of a seaman whose work takes him away for months at a time, Belle Gaviola thanks her father for his sacrifices by lending her voice to Bench's version of "Anak". Handout. Bench

"Nakakainggit na nakakalungkot," said Belle Gaviola. As the daughter of a long-time seaman, Belle grew up all too used to attending major events alone. "Noong nakaraang Father's Day, wala akong mapapuntang tatay pero required talaga kaya 'di na lang ako pumasok."

For the kids who grew up and became celebrities, like Collins and Nacino, the situation was no less difficult. The son of two OFWs, Nacino found himself living in a number of foreign cities, unable to set down roots as he followed his parents around the world. 

For Collins, the situation was a bit more complicated, having been raised by a single mom who was working as a store manager in Los Angeles. 

Seen here recording her part for Bench's version of "Anak", Max Collins was raised by her OFW single mom in the United States. Handout. Bench

"My mom is amazing…siya yung tumayong nanay at tatay ko," said Collins. "It was difficult living abroad, just the two of us. We didn’t have the support that a family should give you, so I missed that family presence…My memories of us in the States were all of her working…I will never forget the times I tried to stop her from going to work."

Buena, Gaviola, Collins, and Nacino are just a few of the many children of OFWs who were left behind or raised abroad by parents working to give them a chance at a better life. While they may not have understood or appreciated their parents' decisions in the beginning, their experiences definitely instilled in them a sense of strength and love that they will cherish forever.

As Buena said, "Kaya niya yun ginagawa kasi para sa aming magkakapatid, para sa future namin, para mabuhay niya kami ng maayos."

Watch the video:


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