The Continuing Philippines Domestic Helpers Saga

My lovely Filipina asawa, spouse, and I retired to the Philippines over eight years ago. Though we maintained a household of four to six people my hardworking wife did most of the housework herself. We had nieces and a nephew residing with us but the kids weren’t available to help out with chores during the week as they had to attend school.

The Continuing Philippines Domestic Helpers Saga

We didn’t have any paid household staff until about four years ago when I began collecting my Social Security pension from the States. At that time, we obtained a new “house guest,” my dementia-afflicted father-in-law, “Lolo,” “Grandpa.”

A 15-year-old female relative, not much bigger than a duwende, was hired to help out and take care of “Lolo.” Our diminutive relative did a good job but after two years on the job, decided to finish high school. That’s her in the following photograph at Raymen Beach in Guimaras.

Our helper Mera

 

Actually, she had already completed high school and obtained her degree. However, at the time, Filipino students were only required to attend grades K-10 in order to graduate.

A new law was passed which added two more years to high school and now mandated all students to attend school from grades K-12.  Our young household assistant wanted to attend college now but had to attend high school for two more years first.

Five Helpers in Two Years

Currently we’ve had five different domestic helpers working for us over the past two years. One got pregnant, one walked off the job, another was let go, and one, a niece, went back to her home in Manila.

When I last opined on this topic we were in the process of hiring an “older woman,” age 35, recommended to us by DFL, our Dog Food Lady. However, the helper had to give notice at her current job as a census taker for her barangay.

Our job would be paying her 3500 pesos a month, 70 US dollars, 1500 more pesos than the Philippine’s Dept. of Labor’s recommended salary for our region.  She would be getting a hefty 1500 peso a month raise with us versus her barangay job.

However, I had my doubts. The future employee couldn’t tell us when she could start working for us. I asked her to contact us as soon as possible with a start date. After four days and two messages to her, we never received any replies.

Fortunately, my sister-in-law was able to recommend a new prospect. My wife interviewed the 28-year-old, married with two children, and hired her. We sent a message to the woman who earlier had said she wanted the job. We informed her we had hired someone else.

The New Domestic Helper

Our new domestic helper in the Philippines, “Net,” has been with us for almost a month now. We’ve posted a work schedule listing the chores that are expected of her each day.

And, after only two weeks on the job, we’ve raised her salary to 4,000 pesos a month, 80 US dollars, a 500 peso increase. She’s been doing good work and we felt she deserved a raise.

Our new household helper also gets some extra time off that none of our former employees ever received. Since she is married with two young children, she gets off every Saturday afternoon in addition to her Sunday day off.

“Net” is a live-in-domestic helper and sleeps in our spare guest bedroom with her own CR, Comfort Room. We also pay her a 50 peso travel allowance on Saturdays so she can return to her home in Guimaras which is about 30 minutes away.

Our new domestic helper in the Philippines has two years of college and seems to understand some of my English. “The Continuing Filipina Domestic Helpers Saga” continues. Our new service assistant is working out fine thus far. I can only hope she will be staying for a while since it took almost two months to find a new helper.

Finding a domestic helper in the Philippines can be difficult at times as many locals decide to work overseas where they can earn better wages. Before we were married, my own wife worked in Manila at first and then went to work for years in Singapore and in Taiwan.

However, working overseas means being separated from your family for years and can be dangerous. Just ask the family of the poor woman from Sara, Iloilo, who was murdered and put into a freezer in Kuwait, allegedly by her employers. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her family.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO" aka "THE CRUSTY OLD EXPAT." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 18 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.