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Filipino migrants in Korea have their own share of controversial issues. If you see them shining, shimmering and splendid on their Facebook photos, that’s because they only choose what to show to people. The truth is, living as a foreigner in Korea is not 100 percent fun. There are also struggles, discrimination and challenges. Every Filipino living in Korea is prone to controversy because the challenge that everyone is facing here is pushing one to the limit.
Homesickness, temptations, racial discrimination and confusions are among the factors that lead some Filipinos to do things that maybe against the law of the people and the law of God. Because of that, I have noted here the top 5 issues that may put a scar to the dignity of Filipino migrants in Korea. I must issue a disclaimer first that I write this article not to degrade the Filipinos in Korea but to provide useful information based on facts so that those who are planning to come and live here have the idea not only about the good things that the Filipinos are enjoying in Korea but also some ugly truths that they could avoid.
Top 5: ARTISTA na yan!!!!
Artista is quite a derogatory word for some because it means “illegal alien”. While it means an actress or an actor, if a person is called Artista in Korea, that means the person has no legal document to stay in the country and he or she is just acting out like he or she is legal.
As of this moment, Philippines is rank 4 in countries with most numbers of illegal immigrants in Korea following China, Thailand and Vietnam respectively. There are more than 12,000 undocumented Filipinos in Korea, that is why the country is limiting the hiring of Filipino workers.
From the point of view of an “artista”, the reason why they choose to stay here illegally is because they could not afford to go home just yet. Either they are paying something or they haven’t saved enough money during their legal years that is why they could not lose their job. Some illegal aliens intentionally go to Korea and work. What they did was, they came here in Korea as a tourist and looked for jobs instead of the tour. As much as I want to believe that they are wrong, I understand their sentiments and struggles. If only they could find a job that could pay a decent salary in the Philippines, they will gladly choose to surrender and go back home.
Top 4: Pinoy versus Pinoy
Filipinos are generally sociable people. That is why here in Korea, there are hundreds of communities organized just so to accommodate people with the same interest, likes and tribes. To build up camaraderie among the communities, some activities like Sportsfest or basketball game are being organized. However, instead of strengthening the bond between different communities, sometimes these activities are the reason why there are heated arguments between groups.
Sometimes, the misunderstanding goes out of hand that it leads to almost killing a fellow Filipino. Some Filipinos have the guts to bring their “ugaling kanto” here in Korea. They feel like they are gangsters and they think they are “astig” if they can form a group that will give a chill to the bones of anybody that will go against their way. How many times I heard stories about a basketball game that suddenly turns out to be a riot. And who are fighting? It’s a group of Filipinos fighting another group of Filipinos. Aren’t we supposed to help each other since we are all in a foreign land?
The usual drinking session that leads to fighting is a common scene in the Philippines, but guess what, some Pinoys are also doing it here in Korea. The next thing you see, they are already trying to slit each other’s throat.
Top 3: Filipina Prostitutes, anyone?
A guy from the Philippines asked me why his girlfriend was asked to pose and introduce herself in a VTR when his girlfriend is just applying for a factory worker. That right there is a clear case of human trafficking. So I advised him to double check it because VTR is not necessary if you want to work as a factory worker. Some were promised for a decent job, an office job or whatnot but when they arrived here in Korea, they are forced to “entertain” people in the bar.
I heard a lot of stories about Filipinas being sold as sex slave. For somebody who is foreign in Korea and not equipped with the language, these girls have no choice but to sell their soul to earn money. Some tried to escape, but where else to go?
But don’t blame the Koreans for this. Most of the Filipina prostitutes in Korea are in the area where the U.S. Military base is situated. So that means their markets are the Americans and not necessarily the Koreans. But what is alarming about Filipina prostitutes here is that they are forced to do it. They usually come to Korea under the E6 Visa or the Arts and Performances. They expect to dance and sing, but apparently, they are forced to serve drinks and provide sexual services to the clients.
Top 2: The Unfaithful Wife
I have once befriended a girl I met at Hyehwa-dong, an area in Seoul where Filipino usually go every Sunday. She’s attractive and she has an interesting personality, so I started talking to her casually. She talked a lot, and in a few minutes of talking, I already knew too much information about her. She confessed that she’s cheating to her Korean husband and they are currently filing a divorce because her husband caught her in the arms of another man. I was speechless as I could not believe an angel looking lady can do this.
Recently, Korea has legalized adultery, but before the legalization of this, I heard a lot of stories about Filipina women being unfaithful to their Korean husband. I must say that not all are unfaithful. Of course I know a lot of Filipino Korean Spouses who are faithful and happy with their Korean husbands, but there are some who have the habit to blindside their husband. Some preferred a Filipino partner, so they are cheating their Korean husband to a Filipino. And yes, it is not a made up story.
Top 1: That thing Called “Ka-Couple”
I guess the “couple” thing is not only a top problem in Korea but also for other OFWs around the globe. Couple is a term to call a (excuse me for using these words) “Fvcking Buddy” or a friend with benefit. To add insult to the injury, a guy has a wife in the Philippines with 3 kids and a girl has a husband in the Philippines with 2 kids. Since they are longing for “sex” because of the long distance relationship, they decided to just do it together and keep it as a secret to their respective family.
However, some of the couples realize that their new found partner is better than their original partner, so they decided to leave their family behind and start a brand new life with their new partners here in Korea. It’s a very sad reality, but it is happening. How many times I received a private message on my Facebook page from a wife asking the whereabouts of her husband because her husband is no longer supporting them or calling them. Of course I have to ignore those kinds of messages because I don’t know how to answer.
As much as I want to remain oblivious about these ugly truths, you can’t deny the fact that Filipinos are not perfect human being. I am just hoping that everyone will become responsible of own action and will be willing to face the consequences of the mistakes made.
Nevertheless, I am still a proud Filipino.