Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes
The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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I arrived in Manila on September 2, 2001, with an overwhelming sense that I was entering a strangely familiar place. After sitting on a plane filled with a group of boisterous and animated Filipina workers who were returning home from Japan and then being immediately greeted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport with a cardboard cutout of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo bearing a welcome sign ...
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This book has been my hardest and longest marathon. From San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and now Chicago, writing this book is probably one of the most solitary, exhausting, and humbling activities in which I have ever engaged in my life. I am indebted to a community of support that sustained me in this journey.
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Chapter 1: Home of the Great Filipino Worker
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While waiting in a cramped space of a recruitment agency’s reception area in Manila, a middle-aged woman sitting across from me asks, “Where are you going?” with the certainty that I was also a potential worker. She is one of the modern-day heroines of the Philippines who leave the country to join thousands of her compatriots in a crusade of hope and survival that they envision lie overseas.1 In her ...
Chapter 2: Cultivating a Filipino Ethos of Labor Migration
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Every Saturday Morning, a television show called May Gloria Ang Bukas Mo (There’s Gloria/Glory in Your Future), features the current Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.1 In these shows, she often began with an inspiring message about the place the Philippines occupies in the global economy and the economic promise that foreign investments and overseas employment bring to Filipinos. Viewers heard of potential business ventures such as the ...
Chapter 3: Governing and (Dis)Empowering Filipino Migrants
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In a room filled with about thirty-five women, an impassioned woman stands proud, shouting,“You are not yet heroes.You are just soldiers right now!”This woman is Mildred Yamzon, cofounder of the Women in Development Foundation (WIDF), an NGO authorized by the Philippine state to provide pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOSs) to prospective domestic workers headed overseas. Alternating ...
Chapter 4: Delivering “Our Contribution to the World”
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On January 17, 2002, the usual hustle and bustle of Malate, one of Manila’s busiest districts, was interrupted by a crowd of men and women who marched through its streets. Beginning at Malate Church and ending in the historic Intramuros, the marchers forged through the unruliness of the everyday traffic, hopeful that their umbrellas and bandanas would protect them from the oppressive sun of a typical ...
Chapter 5: Selling Filipinas’ Added Export Value
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A bright spotlight illuminates a tiny room equipped with a television monitor and video camera. The videographer, Marco, directs a job applicant dressed in a maid’s uniform to the back of the room to stand with her back against a white wall. Marco asks her to put her feet together and her heels against the wall. He gives her a cardboard sign that reads, “File #345: Maria Reyes,” and tells her exactly how to ...
Chapter 6: Living the Dream
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In 2006, I met Gabriela, a thirty-one-year-old nurse living in a growing suburban enclave in Arizona.1 She and her husband had just bought a single-family home in one of the newest KB Home communities, so new that their house address had not yet appeared on MapQuest.2 The novelty of their home was complemented by strikingly matching furnishings, from the dark wood–tone tables, coordinating lamps, and even banana-leaf-shaped ceiling fan blades, all of which were ...
Chapter 7: Securing Their Added Export Value
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On October 3, 2005, I received a startling voice mail message from Eureka Incognito, a nurse I had met in Arizona seven months earlier. “I am now in California,” she said in her usual upbeat and excited voice. She was staying temporarily at her father’s friend’s house as she looked for jobs in Los Angeles and San Diego. She spoke with a sense of hope and happiness that I had not heard in a long time and especially ...
Chapter 8: Conclusion
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The year 2007 was a good year for the Philippines’ overseas employment program. With more than one million workers deployed globally, the country celebrated being ranked fourth among developing countries for its global remittance flow of $14.4 billion (POEA 2008). The increase in the number of highly skilled professionals (nurses, information technology personnel, engineers) and the corresponding decrease in the number of domestic and construction workers ...
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Page Count: 274
Illustrations: 6 tables, 3 graphs
Publication Year: 2010