We had the chance to grace an interview with co-Family and Life Apostolate coordinator, Homer Balais, at his home in Poblacion, Antequera during the town fiesta last Saturday. He has been in the service of the Santo Rosario Parish as the FLA OFW and Parish Coordinator. Being a former OFW in Qatar for 20 years, he knows the sacrifices every mother or father as breadwinner has to make for the family. Countless celebrations, missed graduations and many â€œfirstsâ€ from their own children not being able to witness, a painful truth every OFWs come to know.
Mercedita Bucia Balais or Ajec as we fondly call Homerâ€™s wife, a public school teacher, never did imagine the sacrifices both she and her husband made for their family and community be recognized by the government.
The 2013 Bohol Quake was what made Homer quit his job abroad and focus on helping the community rebuild after the 7.2 earthquake. Also, as an active FLA OFW Parish Coordinator, he administers seminars, rally fellow Antequeranons for stronger prayer life despite adversity. He sees to it that OFWs, though limited by distance and being miles apart, stays connected with their families through His Divine Providence.
â€œWe were just told to go Cebu. My wife and I, together with the kids and we were told to bring FilipiÃ±ana customes too. I was bewildered and honestly did not know what was it for. I got the surprise of my life when told I was to be awarded model OFW of the year!â€ said Homer.
The ceremony was attended by the different judges from the Church sector and representatives from OWWA while the awarding of winners was spearheaded by the chairman of the Moyfa 2015 Region 7 search committee, DOLE 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga. Balais was chosen among 3 other finalists for the Regional Model OFW Family of the Year land-based category. Charlie Garcia of Paknaan, Mandaue City bagged the sea-based category. Both will represent the region at the national level for this OWW-given recognition. (Jun-Sally Rasonabe/FLA Diocesan couple coordinator)