Mark Anthony M. Perdon is currently working as a cook in a product tanker vessel en route EU and USA. He was born in Mariveles, Bataan, and the eldest among siblings. As the eldest child, he was in charge of every household chore, particularly when his parents were working. His very first job was as a bus conductor, when he was a freshman during high school. His dad was the driver. He also worked as a factory worker in Export Processing Zone located in Mariveles for two companies.
He studied Associate in Computer Programming but he dream of becoming a Master Mariner. After he graduated, he worked as a Computer Operator in a Videoke Bar in Makati. Mark, now 35, worked for a year as a Computer Operator, and enrolled at a Maritime School, where he graduated from Basic Seaman Course.
What makes you decide to work abroad?
I decided to work overseas because it provides my families basic necessities at the same time I can travel and see the world for free.
How did you apply abroad? Will you please tell us the procedure, so those who are planning to become OFWs can have an idea how? What is the hardest part of being an OFW?
When you’re in a Maritime job, local experience is a must. But when you don’t, you have to serve the manning agency where you apply for as a utility while you’re waiting for your line up to go aboard on ship like I use to do when I was applying which happen to be my company up to the present for ten years. That was during my time. But now a lot of things have changed. But that’s just a start. The hardest part is being a first timer when you’re working abroad.
What are the things you have established/bought since you became an OFW?
When I become an overseas worker it helps me a lot and with my family. I bought a house that I used to pay until now. Send my son in school and provides my families basic needs every day.
Do you have a bad experience as an OFW either abroad or in the Philippines?
Luckily until now I don’t have any bad experience in my line of job as an OFW except bad weather conditions which is usually happens when you’re out into the ocean. That’s normal for all seafarers like me. All we have to do is to conquer that fear of big waves and do a lot of prayers.
Do you have any plans in mind so that you don’t have to work abroad for the rest of your life?
Every overseas worker is dreaming of not leaving. It will only happen if you have savings and invest it in a business like i use to happen so that I will stop departing with a lot of tears in my face every time I turn my back to my family to work overseas. That’s the hardest part to me.
How do you handle being homesick (homesickness)?
Seafarers today are lucky not like before, as they say. Before, you have to wait for almost a month to receive a mail from your loved ones. Sometimes no mail coming so have to wait for another month. But now, with the help of technology homesickness is not a problem anymore. You can chat, talk and video call to your loved ones anytime and anywhere.
What are the things you regret not doing because of your time spent working abroad?
There are a lot of things I regret for not doing ever since my son came out in the world. A lot of overseas workers like me do. But this is the life I choose. And I know, my son and other children will understand our situation. But I’m still finding a way to be able not leave my family. I still have high hopes about that matter that I always used to pray.
Most people don’t realize what it’s actually like to be an OFW. They think that OFWs just travel and have fun abroad. Can you share your real situation as an OFW so people understand what you really do? Can you give tips or advice for people who are planning to go abroad?
As a seafarer, you will encounter things like: no good crew mates, lack of sleep, bad weather condition, no good officers etc. Strong courage is the only weapon you need to conquer all of these bad situations. Finally, prayers. It helps a lot.