Labor Day 2023

This post is three days late. But the thoughts expressed here were those on the 1st of May, yet I didn’t find the time to write them down.

On May 1st, I felt great when I woke up, because, well, it’s a free day, a reason to celebrate! Moreover, a major diplomatic event that I have been coordinating for over a month was successfully conducted a day before. It was a day-long event that started early and ended quite late so it was one of those times that I really, really appreciated the holiday.

I had a hearty Filipino breakfast of fried rice, fried bangus (from Dagupan), salted egg with fresh tomatoes and a cup of coffee with a generous amount of milk. My daughter prepared this meal, which made it all the more special.

Then I sampled a bit of various products from Pangasinan. (The peanut brittle and mushroom chips tasted so good. ) I played with out pets too, chatted with my mom and daughter, and just spent the morning resting.

I wanted to stay at home and just watch a movie, but later in the afternoon, we had a change of plan and went out for an errand. I visited a new place, went to a new marketplace, then to another market to buy fruits and vegetables, in a new resolve to eat more healthily starting May. 😀

So since it’s Labor Day, I was more aware of the working people around, and felt a deeper appreciation for them — the Grab driver that brought us to our destination, the baker at the local panaderia, the streetfood vendors (including a young boy aged perhaps 7 or 8 selling siomai) the fruit sellers, vegetable sellers, delivery boys, porters, jeepney drivers, the street sweeper, the traffic enforcers, and even the guards at the entrance of the subdivision.

May 1, Labor Day, is celebrated every year. Does something change or improve? Do people’s lives get better? Are more people given employment opportunities that make use of their skills? Are they compensated fairly?

Let me segue to another topic ’cause I suddenly recalled several conversations I had with several Grab drivers, whom I had the chance to have conversations with en route to my destination — one was employed as a trailer truck driver in the Middle East; another used to be a factory worker in a multinational company in the Philippine and he along with many workers were “redundated” last December 2022 after being with the company for over 10 yrs.; one used to make bullets for gun practice; another was a private driver of a rich family; and another used to work in a farm in the province but it didn’t offer regular earnings enough for the family. They had different concerns– family, livelihood, stability, working environment and so on. Each had a story to tell. But one thing is common: the desire to have a proper employment opportunity that will give their family a better life.

Now, going back to my labor day story, I’d like to say that having this one day break and being consciously mindful of it, made me appreciate all the work that people do to make one another’s lives more comfortable. This also attests to the interconnectedness of everyone’s lives and how others’ work impact ours and so on…

Sa lahat ng manggagawang Pilipino, mabuhay po kayo! Nawa’y matupad ang mga minimithi nyo sa buhay, para sa sarili nyo at para sa pamilya.

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