Who are you?
Hi there – I’m Merx, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Selangor, Malaysia. I graduated as an Electronics Engineer in Mapua Institute of Technology and practiced Infocomm Technology (IT) profession as a Software Test Engineer.
I’m also the author behind Roumery.com, a blog dedicated to traveling and narrating the life of an overseas worker.With my passion for writing and crafting lots of ideas, I hope that I can help my countrymen achieve their goals to pursue a career abroad and travel at the same time.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Malaysia six months ago to seek the greener pasture. It was a norm in the Philippines to work abroad to go after a better paycheck. However, I took the job in Malaysia because I want to travel the world and experience different cultures. It is easier to travel back and forth to Asian regions because some are actually connected (like Singapore and Thailand) while others are just a flight away.
What challenges did you face during the move?
During the move, I had to borrow money to process the necessary documents needed for my work visa. I faced problems with my agency as well regarding house rentals (which were bigger than I anticipated) and other work issues. Since most of my colleagues – mostly Chinese and Indians – speak conversational English, there was no noticeable language barrier to everyday work.
Malaysia is overall a Muslim country so there was a bit of adjustment to their culture. However, since I can still go to Church in Masjid Jamek every Sunday, buy 1 kilo of pork belly on a secluded meat stall on the wet market and watch streaming Philippines news with a faster Internet, only a slight challenge was observed during my transition to Malaysia.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes – there are a lot. In fact, I join groups on Facebook like ‘Pinoy OFW in Malaysia’ or ‘KL Secrets for Expats’ to subscribe to their feeds and weekly activities, if any. I have also joined some Meetup groups in KL and Selangor like ‘The Multilingual Society in KL’ and ‘Board Game Chill Up” so that I can further meet locals and socialize with other expats like me.
What do you like about life where you are?
It has faster Internet, low cost of living, better working conditions and a wide range of traveling opportunities. Malaysia also has lots of tourist spots so I don’t need to go outside just to relax or experience new adventures. It is also rich with delicious food from different Malaysian cooking traditions that will satisfy your cravings.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I had to be away from my girlfriend, sisters, friends and parents, which makes me homesick sometimes. However, I figured that I can help them better with the finances so I had to sacrifice my presence with the family to achieve a brighter future.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
The biggest difference would be to see Malaysian women with their head veiled with hijab and their body fully covered with clothing. Malaysia is a tropical country so you would expect people to wear less clothing like the ones back home. And what’s more interesting is that you’d have to be married to a Malaysian woman for you see their hair unlike in the Philippines where clothing is less restricted.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Whatever you want to do right now, just do it! Once you pass and miss the chance, you will forget it and it would eventually count as a lost opportunity.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to make Roumery.com one of the famous travel blogs out there and follow my dreams to see the whole world with my own eyes. I am also planning to build a travel app for travel enthusiasts and wanderers alike where a single platform will take care of all your travel necessities – starting from flights, accommodations, itineraries, pocket money, mementos and so much more.
You can keep up to date with Merx's adventures on his blog, Roumery.com.