Maria Arlene Manalo was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) since 2002 up to 2020 to countries Lebanon, Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Her last country of deployment was Kuwait from 2019-2020, where she experienced maltreatment from her employer that caused her to be hospitalized after collapsing few times. There was also a time where she vomit a lot of blood while working. Unfortunately, she was not able to finish her hospital treatment because of the pandemic/lockdown imposed by the government of Kuwait so she had no other choice but to continue to work with her employer. She sought help from her agency but to no avail. She had tried to ask her employers to send her back to the Philippines but she was rather reprimanded with violence.
Fortunately, she has an Arabian friend whose husband is a Kuwaiti national. He helped Manalo break free from her abusive employers and be finally repatriated last September 2020. Bruises of maltreatment were still visible when she arrived to her hometown in Batangas.
Manalo, with the help of her husband Mr. Felix Manalo, started their backyard piggery business months before her repatriation. They initially have two (2) sows and upon the release of the Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program, they bought an additional of four (4) sows, for a total of six (6) in their backyard. They were able to sell twenty-seven (27) piglets, earning almost Php 100,000.00 more on their income since the BPBH release.
Now, Manalo plans to add more pigs in their backyard as their business is going very well. With her unfortunate experience abroad, she no longer wants to go back and will stay in the Philippines for good, full of hope that what they have started will continue to prosper.