Italy is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, particularly among the wealthy and those interested in arts and culture. It is also, coincidentally, one of the most sought-after places for Filipinos seeking jobs overseas.
In Italy, the majority of OFWs work as domestic staff and caretakers. Some people work in the hospitality, manufacturing, and farming industries. In their desire to earn more to provide a better life for themselves and their families, many of these Filipinos working overseas scramble to find second, third, and even fourth jobs.
One inspiring OFW found a way to supplement his income by selling vegetables grown in his rented piece of land.
Planting Seeds for Success
Lino Mandigma hails from Mulanay, Quezon Province. Having grown up on a farm, he always considered farming to be a dream job. But life had other plans and he chose the path of being a teacher instead.
“Noong nagtuturo ako, maghapon akong nagtuturo, minsan masakit sa ulo. Pagdating mo sa bahay magsusulat ka pa ng lesson plan, walang katapusan ang pag aaral,” he said as he recounted his days as an elementary teacher.
At the time, Lino’s wife worked as an OFW in Italy. In his desire to be with her, he decided to leave behind his life as a teacher in Quezon Province to be a domestic worker in Italy.
“Sa awa naman ng diyos, nagkasama kami dito [ng asawa ko]. Kaya kuntento ako kahit ang trabaho ko ay katulong. Anong problema? Basta malinis ang ating trabaho, proud ako sa sarili ko,” Lino tells Summit Media’s OG Channel.
Lino shares that it’s not very difficult to earn money in Italy when you work hard, have a positive attitude, and are “madiskarte.” Apart from his housekeeping jobs, he also earns from being a barber and farmer.
The Fruits of Labor & Love
After years of tending other people’s yards, he now looks after a 150-square-meter garden that he leases from the Italian government. There, he grows well-known Philippine vegetables like talbos ng kamote, upo, talong, sitaw, patola, kalabasa, mustasa, kamatis, luya, and ampalaya. Lino shares that one summer, he was able to earn an extra 2,200 euros, or more than P128,000 by selling produce harvested from his garden.
“Ang the best na trabaho ko dito kapag yung gawain ko ay sa labas–sa garden. Nagtatabas ako ng mga halaman, nagwawalis, iyon ang pinakagusto kong mga trabaho,” he said.
“Pag nakita ko na yung mga bunga [ng mga tanim ko], ang dami, nawawala talaga yung pagod ko. Talagang tinitignan at binibisita ko, iniikot ko muna ‘yung garden, at nakakatuwa talaga kapag ang mga bunga ay napakaganda,” he gushed with delight.
Get inspired by Lino Mandigma’s buhay abroad success story featured in OG Channel‘s latest episode of Buhay Abroad:
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