I am sure you have not heard of it. For the lowly Indio, it stands for Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). These are Filipinos who decided to leave their homeland to work for a living somewhere in the world. They are all over the world, that is literally true, so much so that some sociologists are dubbing this the Filipino Diaspora. You might find it a contradiction in terms because psychologically, the Filipino is deeply entrenched in his love for his native land. The Indios are enigmatic, they are superb in assimilation, they can absorb, they can adopt, they can blend, they can talk the way you do with accent, intonation and all, but when you rip their chests, and take a look at their hearts, you will see their hearts beating love for their native land. It is the place the Indio loves and dreams about but could not live in nor have it. His body may be somewhere but his mind is where he was born. So he works, and saves and sends money to P.I. It is known that they, on the average, send US $8B to the P. I. If not for the OFW, the country would have gone down the toilet already (i.e to the dogs).
Name a country and I am sure there is an OFW there. They are in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea even as far as Finland. In the Middle East they are in - Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel. Some of them are managers, engineers, laborers, maids, cooks, or drivers; you name a profession, an OFW covers that.
Each Christmas time, the OFWs heart goes through a wrenching agony of loneliness; for you see to the Indio, the family is everything. It is for the family that is why they have become OFWs in the first place! They leave for the sake of providing something better for their families. They hope that in their sacrifices something good might come, not for them, but for their moms, dads, brother, sister or their children. It is their hope that something good for the future may come, and we know, hope is quite a dangerous thing. The Indio finds his identity through his family. Ask them what they wish for in life and they will say "oh, I just want an intact family". That is their hope.
I am sure this Christmas eve, they will spend the night with their Karaokes belting out Barry Manilow's songs (now there is a guy who is cute and charming, if you are like that, you can get away with anything in P.I.) and the Indio Christmas carols. Then they lay their head to sleep with tears in their eyes as they muse to themselves -- here you are a care giver in Israel, and you are taking care of someone else's grandma or grandpa. Here you are rendering service to elders who are not your own. The domestic helper in Singapore cries herself to sleep, it is Christmas after all, and here you are nursing, feeding, caring for someone else's baby while you have been there now for 6 years away from your very own child who has grown up without your care, oblivious of what it would be like to have your arms surround her. Christmas, a time spent for the family, what is meant to give joy, suddenly and in the end, brings sadness. It is not easy being poor, and so no wonder you have a temporal concept of being "saved".
I like you to know OFW, I respect you.
I will mention a prayer for you in our noche buena and drink a toast too, to you my OFW. For I want you to know, I understand. But not I alone, but your Lord Jesus understands too. Look at your suffering and sacrifice, and then in His, and know that yours is only a pattern of the real sacrifice - that one of Christ - he was sent outside the gate, the scape goat, the fall guy - He too was an "OFW".