MANILA, PHILIPPINES, January 6, 2020 – Families of Hong Kong-based foreign workers celebrated the Christmas season with their loved ones in a tearful thanksgiving at TFC’s “Kapamilya Reunion 2019”, held annually as a way to give back to Overseas Filipinos by reuniting them with their loved ones.
For the year 2019, in celebration of TFC’s 25th anniversary, instead of virtually reuniting them with their loved ones, the gathering has become more intimate and memorable with select members of Hong Kong-based choir Unsung Heroes flying to the Philippines for a three-day affair. It began with the customary “Salu-salo” (banquet reception) held at the iconic 9501 Restaurant where most functions with the Kapamilya stars and executive officials are being held, which is inside the ABS-CBN Compound in Quezon City, Philippines.
Millions of Filipinos leave their home country in pursuit of a better future for their families. In Hong Kong alone, an estimate of 250,000 overseas foreign workers come from the Philippines – the majority are women. They are mothers, aunts, sisters, and daughters who are sorely missed especially at this time of the year.
Jaylord Bacani opens his heart to his mother, 55-year-old Emma Bacani, who has been a domestic worker in Hong Kong for sixteen years. Akin to stories of children with parents working abroad, he shares his desire to be like other kids who could spend Christmas with their moms. “’Pag nakasama mo yung mother mo sa season of Christmas, sobrang saya kasi once in a blue moon lang mangyari yung ganoong pagkakataon (I feel so glad to be with my mother this Christmas season because it only happens once in a blue moon for us),” said Jaylord.
After three decades overseas, Aida Oñate continues her role as the rock of her family. Her niece, Jane Oñate, tearfully takes the opportunity to thank her aunt for ensuring she completed her education and still supporting the clan from across the miles.
Similarly, Joanna Mendoza appreciates her mother, Sanie Dalida, who unceasingly provide encouragement and guidance even now that Mendoza has children of her own. It was revealed during the interview that Joanna herself was joining the Hong Kong workforce a few days before Christmas. While forty-nine-year-old Bessie Toledo may have missed the years when son Ireneo Toledo Jr. was growing up, but ‘JR’ – as he is fondly called – recognize the hardships and sacrifices the matriarch goes through for their sake.
What tugs the heart most perhaps was when a brawny Delmark Romuan, a 41-year-old taxi driver, choked back the tears as he shares how his family experience trials after trials before and after his wife Irene Romuan left for Hong Kong. As their family spends most of their time apart, their recent three-day reunion meant a lot as they get to bond with the family’s matriarch. “Nakakalungkot na hindi kami mabuo-buo. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa TFC na kahit tatlong araw, magkakasama kami ngayon. (I feel sad that we are barely together. I’m so thankful for TFC that albeit the short 3 days, we get to be with each other), ” said Romuan.
“Kapamilya Reunion 2019” was hosted by”Umagang Kay Ganda” and TFC’s “Newscolored” host KaladKaren. While Crooner Erik Santos serenaded them with sentimental Christmas songs. Watch the video here.
The Unsung Heroes were also featured in ABS-CBN’s longest-running concert show, ASAP Natin ‘To, along with the Erik Santos and “The Voice Kids” Season 4 top 3 Vanjoss Bayaban, Carmelle Collado, and Cyd Pangca. Catch their performance aired last December 15, 2019, still available via Video On Demand (VOD) on TFC Online and TFC IPTV.