Bantay OCW (Ang Boses ng OFW)

Seafarer’s insensitive wife


A ship captain noticed that one of his officers often looked anxious and could not focus on his tasks. He would often stay alone in his cabin when off duty.

The captain tried unsuccessfully to get the seafarer to open up about his problem. The seafarer would only say he was not feeling well.   From being a happy person, he became a loner and even irritable.

When the captain got in touch with the officer’s wife through his manning agency, he learned the couple was having problems. It was also evident from the text messages the husband received from his wife.

It seemed the wife was insisting that her husband should send in advance P5,000 for the junior-senior prom of their daughter.  But the husband could not comply with his wife’s request, hence, her abusive text messages.

After hearing about the problem, the captain talked to the officer and found out the seafarer did not have the courage to ask his wife to explain how she spent the big allotment he sent to the family regularly.

Every time he tried to talk about expenses, his wife would act like she was having a heart attack. The officer worked as an engineer and he sent enough to his family.  He said his wife was very sensitive about money matters.

It was found out that the wife never saved anything for the family, not even for emergencies.  The seafarer was worried of what would happen to them if he no longer had his job or he became disabled.

The manning agency asked his wife not to bother his husband over the small amount she needed. Or she could ask the manning agency for help to prevent bigger problems that could arise while his husband was at sea.

The captain would like to send a message to seafarers’  families. He said they should be more considerate and not to bother our seamen with small problems and to be more understanding of their situation and the hard work they were doing. Their inability to perform their work well would have an adverse effect on their fellow crew members and the efficient operation of the ship.

Wives of our seamen should realize every peso of their allotment is hard-earned by their husbands. Do not spend everything just because you will be receiving your next allotment.

Another thing is, do not wait for your husband to ask you to account for your expenditures.   You have the obligation to make a list and show the family expenses to your husband. This way you will enjoy a more harmonious family life, even if your husband is away from home.


Susan Andes, aka Susan K., is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-12 noon and 12:30-2:00 p.m., with audio/video live streaming: Studio: 2/F MRP Bldg., Mola St. corner Pasong Tirad St., Makati City; PTV 4, every Friday, 8 -9 p.m. and GMA News TV International Helpline: 0927-6499870 E-mail: susankban

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  • 123ch123

    in my opinion, this kind of case happens to those OFW’s whose spouses / partners have nothing else to do. am not generalizing but based on observing a lot of OFW’s families, they seem to have similar situations. the spouses/partners have all the time in their hands and are being provided for with a lot of money from the allotment, but they are bored. so they spend everything on anything (at times on someone). But if they have something to put their minds to like work, a small business or something that will generate additional income (however small it may be), money will not be an issue.

    i’m a seaman’s wife. I work to help out my husband. I handle the rest of the expenses at home through my salary. I only ask for enough money to pay for the bills so he can save the rest of his salary. that way, when he’s at home or on vacation he doesn’t have to worry about money. everything that’s left on his savings from his last contract is saved on a trust fund that we have set up for when we both grow old and retire.

    • cia69

      we just hope that most if not all ofw wives/husbands has a mindset and perspective like yours and we will all live happily ever after.

    • Rene V

      you are a good person and a good wife. from the material you wrote, i discern that you have a good sense of having… a good sense. sana ganuon ang mga asawa ng ating mga OFW. my best wishes for both of you.

      • 123ch123

         thank you po. nagkatapat lang po talaga kami na pareho ng takbo ng isip :)

      • cia69

        i guess your a teacher,,,and teachers are the best partners imho.

      • 123ch123

        Engineer po. Hindi pwedeng walang ginagawa. Pero my parents are both Teachers. They instilled really good values in me ..:)


      How can you say that a wife have nothing else to do. You are a working Mom that is why you don’t know that 24 hours a day is hardly enought time to take care all the needs of children. Are the children not enough to put intact the wifes mind. Maybe you are childless ! weeeeeeeee…….. byeeeeeeee…… >>>>>>>>

      • 123ch123

        am not childless. I have 4 kids. What i say when they have nothing to do is that they are probably stuck in routine work at home. nothing else is running on their head. it pays to get wives something else to think about other than homemaking… makes them less bored or something

  • andresa igbac

    lest this article spawns more gender-insensitive comments, it is a fact that this situation happens not only to wives left behind in the country by the OFW, but also to husbands left behind by the OFW. (or even in other countries where there are overseas contract workers). in fact, this situation has been happening for so long that it’s time DOLE or POEA or even the placement agencies should perhaps start giving gender-sensitivity seminars or even budgeting seminars to the OFW and spouse, or even just to the spouse left behind in the country (as a start). Keeping the marriage and family intact despite the distance should never be sacrificed for earning money.

    • cia69

       good point!

    • 123ch123

       good idea. these will help those who will be left behind to realize they too need to help the OFWs. :) It might also be good for the teenage children to undergo that kind of seminar as well. another common observation of OFW families is that commonly (again, am not generalizing) their children end up spoiled brats or tambays.

  • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

    Hear ye all people.  The captain has spoken: “DO NOT BOTHER OUR SEAMEN”

  • tra6Gpeche

    This is the general rule. Most of the spouses in the Philippines receiving money from overseas will forget about the future. Why? Money will surely come every month. The recipient becomes sycophant and irresponsible. They will only realize this when both of them are in their sixties.

  • pepito gwaps

    This is true..if the OFW has knowledge in financial accounting he will know if her wife can be trusted to be a responsible wife. If the balance sheet is not tally it means somebody is happy…

  • Serom

    There are many wives who are like that. They are just contented receiving the allotment but never saving for the future when their husbands are no longer productive.

    A friend of mine had just dumped his girlfriend recently just because she is a lakwatsera and has no intention of finding employment. He changed her with a teacher. I think he made the right decision.

  • dansel

    Sit down with your spouse and write up a monthly budget. Send that amount only or you may want to add a little extra. If you have kids in college, do the same thing: sit down with your son/daughter and write up a budget for each month, how much is spent for what, then send that amount only or you may want to add just a little extra for ice cream or snacks, but just a little amount. Save the rest of your salary in your own bank account where you are working. Let us teach our dependents to spend money wisely because our source of income abroad is not a ‘bottomless pit.’

  • valsore

    Send only what your family needs at home. Wife or no wife, keep a fixed percentage each month, say 10-20% to a mutual fund that grows 10-15% per year in a reliable trading frim like E-Trade. That way, you have savings when you lose your job overseas you can use to start a business back home.

  • eigh chuahu tiu

    This is a common dilemma faced by OFW families…Maybe. It’s BEST to go back to BASICS… Identify the NEEDS from the WANTS!!! TRACK your expenses and LIVE with-in your BUDGET…Always PAY your DEBTS…Avoid using CREDIT CARDS unless it is ZERO percent interest…otherwise, PAY the FULL amount in the monthly bill…Is it easier said than done? Discipline is the KEY… FRUGALITY is a virtue… Never FORGET to SAVE for the RAINY days! And whether required or not, LIQUIDATE your allotments for purposes of BUDGET and CONTROL…

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