Bantay OCW (Ang Boses ng OFW)

Seafarers suffer from holiday sickness


When the month of December comes, numerous seafarers ask for leave, saying they have a relative who has died. Captain Ronaldo Enrile, vice president for operations of Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC).

PTC is now requesting seafarers to present death certificates and other supporting documents to prove that their leave request is not just an alibi for a holiday leave.

Another thing shipping executives note is that seafarers are suddenly difficult to call during the holiday season. In other months, seafarers anticipate their calls to board. “Of course, that is the most significant message for our seafarers, especially for those who are first timers,” he said.

Rear Admiral Adonis Donato, president of OSM Maritime Services also observed that the boarding schedule excitement does not seem to apply in the month of December.

If they are already on vacation mode in the Philippines, they will turn off their mobile phones so that OSM nor PTC cannot reach them. Actually, what they want is to reset their boarding schedule to  January when the celebrations of December are over.

On the other hand, Enrile and Donato note that a seafarer has been working overseas for a long time, the ones they call “timers,” do not want to leave the ship during the holiday season.

Maybe they do not want to spend a lot for parties and gifts in the Philippines.

The family of a seafarer plays a role in the holiday mood of seafarers. They should be the “katiwala” of our seafarers and not “katiwaldas,” shipping executives quip. They are the ones who should encourage seafarers to spend reasonably during these times. Additionally, our seafarers should not be pressured to come up with numerous reasons just to be able to return home in December.

With holiday smarts, seafarers do not have to start the New Year saddled with debts.

Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming:


PTV 4, every Friday, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. & GMA News TV International

Hotlines: 5357209/8819423/0920-9684700


BANTAY OCW Foundation Operations Center: 631 Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City



Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • noonyan

    Once i leave the Philippines Dec. 24 … a call of duty, airport attendants ask us are you leaving??? yes , sa hirap ng buhay walang magawa

    • prodigalson60

      oo nga nman.

      • JACK

        …and celebrate Christmas and New year when you come home wherein you have  a budget to do so…anyway, everyday is Christmas fort those who wanted it…

  • Entropia

    Families of seafarers should not squander hard earned money of the seafarer. Kawawa naman ang mga seamen kung ang mga asawa o pamilya nila ay mga waldas.

  • i_am_filipino

    Well, time is more important than money.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos