Thursday, June 19, 2014

After The Gulf War: The Past Still Lingers On #OFW40

We received news about the atrocities done by Iraqi people to other nationalities inside Kuwait. Different stories were spreading in Dubai about these news, other stories of heroism and escapade too.

I visited Mike Luna in the coffee shop where he’s working and found out that he had rented a room for both of them. He was living-in with his new partner. I talked to him about his wife Lina, but he ignored me. I felt sorry for him that his life centered only in one facet of living.

It was in the year 1991 of February 15 when deadline for withdrawal had been set by the United National Security Council.

I remained in Dubai for my usual job, monitored the news headlines, an occasional night outings and continued the manpower business. The news coming from the Philippines and the local dailies were buried deep in my heart while continuing to follow its development.

The forces of a multinational coalition led by the United States compelled Iraq to withdraw its occupation forces from neighboring Kuwait. Iraq had illegally invaded and occupied Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and in January 15, 1991, deadline for withdrawal had been set by United Nations Security Council. Iraq accused Kuwait of conducting “economic warfare’ against it by overproducing oil and thereby pushing down petroleum prices. When faced with international demands for withdrawal, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein tried to elicit Arab support by offering to pull out if Israel would withdraw its forces from the territories it occupied during the Six-Day War (1967). His efforts to portray himself as the champion of the Palestinian drew little support other than the Palestinian themselves, who later found their cause injured by the support they gave Saddam Hussein.

Shortly after the invasion, U.S. naval, air, and ground forces were dispatched to Saudi Arabia, initially as a defensive force. US president George Bush constructed a diverse international coalition and repeatedly sought UN mandates for action against Iraq. Trade embargoes were imposed and enforced by naval forces. Resolutions later passed by the Security Council authorized the use of “any means necessary to bring about the withdrawal of Iraqi troops. President Bush also obtained authorization from Congress to use force, although many urged that sanctions be given time to take effect.

The forces arrayed against Iraq, commanded by US General H. Norman Schwarzkoff, included combat units from 28 nations, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Britain, Syria, , and France, and noncombat units from several others; Germany and Japan., prohibited by their constitutions from deploying armed forces outside their territory, pledged billions of dollars in financial underwriting for the operation.

The war code-named Operation Desert Storm, began on January 16 with massive allied air attacks on Iraqi military targets. The allies quickly gained air superiority; many Iraqi planes were flown to Iran (neutral in the conflict) to escape destruction. Iraq launched Scud missiles against Israel in a vain effort to split the coalition by presenting the war as Arab-Israeli conflict.

The ground phase of the war, initiated when Saddam Hussein ignored a February 23 US deadline to begin large-scale withdrawal, lasted only 100 hours. Arab troops launched a two-pronged frontal assault on Kuwait; recapturing Kuwait City on February 26, while US and European forces swept westward into Iraq, cutting off Iraqi avenues of retreat. Iraq’s defeat was decisive.

It was in the year 1991 of February 26 when deadline for withdrawal had been set by the United National Security Council.
Allied military operations were suspended at midnight on February 27. The Security Council on April 3 imposed stiff and unprecedented conditions for a formal end of the hostilities. The United Nations mandated the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons capabilities.

In the aftermath of the war, Saddam Hussein remained in power and was able to crush two major internal rebellions – by the Shiites in southern Iraq and the Kurds in the north. The coalition declined to intervene.

The war was notable for the prominent role played by high technology weapons. Hundreds of Kuwait oil wells were set ablaze by retreating Iraqi forces and millions of oil deliberately spilled in the Gulf.

It was in the year 1991 of February 26 onwards that Dubai started its developments. The expatriate workforce in the United Arab Emirates especially Dubai, continued to show the usual brisk business because of the foreign people were still around. Danielle instantly arrived in Dubai to ironed-out other important business transactions.

Dubai was gearing to be the hub of tourist attractions and business acumen of international organizations. Notable was the appearance of women from the part of Russia. They invaded the nightlife of Dubai scene which constituted more tourists and visitors around the Gulf.

Manpower businesses were thriving permanently that Danielle bought a personal visa for me, service car and a flat for me at Salahuddin Street near Al Guhrair Center. I resigned from my job in the food industry and managed to put up my own food business concept that thrived permanently. For a short span of time, I opened another two fast food stores around Dubai constructed in strategic locations.

I joined in every Filipino organization and to market the manpower and food businesses. It took some time to form the targeted network of people that really cared to trust what I had in mind. It was such a good moved for me that I uplifted the image of my company to successful endeavors.

Danielle supported me for every endeavor I made that our relationship blossomed into permanent daily living in Dubai. We carried our lives with different perspectives but more in spearheading into the future. I opened my own two manpower agencies that I planned to unify the two businesses in the future. My own transactions were mine alone that Danielle did not questioned it. For legal purposes, I documented all my dealings with government authorities and their regulations were clearly followed.

Starting from the onset of the Gulf War, I had a communication with Ayah Isabel every week that I had knowledge of their activities. The children were growing tremendously as what Ayah told me; the same with Marco Junior and Shaira Rose in Bacolod City.

It was in the year 1993 of May, when I went to the Philippines for vacation.

The rigors of my daily life in Dubai contributed much to my desire to have a break from my usual work. The improvements of my food businesses really spearheaded tremendously with my hands-on style of management and the new innovations for manpower business too.

After completing some important matters with my businesses, I purchased round-trip ticket going to the Philippines. Danielle was very glad that I had to take my break and to visit our children in Bacolod City.

I arrived in the Philippines with high spirit anticipating the happy and contented families I had. Before, I felt differently when I traveled coming from Dubai, but now it’s totally different. Ayah Isabel and Bryan welcomed me to the airport where we headed directly to our house in Bacoor, Cavite. I hugged my five children and gave time for them after I arrived. The happiness that I felt really conformed to my deepest desire for them. “Ayah, where’s Lina?” I asked her.

“Its two months now that she left us, told me to go to Imus, Cavite.”

“How is she?”

“Mike did not send money for her.”

“You helped her?”

“Yes, but I think she missed her husband.”

I kept my silence for this matter, continued to talk to Ayah Isabel. “How’s the children’s education?”

“Good, they’re improving through the help of their tutor.”

“How’s the status of our bank accounts here in the Philippines?”

“Still growing, remember, you’re transferring money every month?”

“Ohhh, yes, I forgot.”By the way, we had to go to Barrio Tuyom, your place, for some important matter together with the children, Bryan and his family."

We prepared instantly for the things to be brought, bought plane tickets; rent a ten-seater van going to Barrio Tuyom. My heart kept on pounding when we arrived at Ayah’s house before. The owner told us that they bought the house since 1988. I asked if we can tour around the interior of the house which he permitted us instantly. The house had the same in structure but different in decors and arrangement.

“Actually, I’m selling this house….if you want...we can finalize it now….” The owner said while we finished touring the interior of the house. His words were like a thousand dreams able to collide with the reality.

‘Yes, please…” I answered him directly. Next, we went to the chapel guardian and asked about our marriage contract.

“Yes, have a seat please Mr. Fernando, Ayah and Bryan.

“Okay Father.”

“I still remember that incident long time ago, your parents were killed Ayah and Bryan, sorry. The thing is that, the marriage was not fully solemnized but I kept the records. I can help you with this one for a week’s time.”

“Yes Father, please we can wait. If you need something I can help you.” I answered instantly without soliciting Ayah and Bryan opinions.

“Mr. Fernando, only, I have to go to the town of Cauayan proper for formalization of this marriage contract.”

“You need help Father?” I asked.

“No, I can manage, just wait here in Tuyom. Do you have a house to stay?”

“Yes Father, the same house of my parents,” Ayah answered.

We stayed for about three hours at the chapel office while the owner of the house removed and transferred their belongings. Bryan hired some laborers to repair the old house while we bought household stuff in Kabankalan. I rented a truck to deliver all the items that we purchased to the supermarket and got a permit for the electricity.

Our first night of stay in the old house was a moment of truth for me to realize the living conditions in the barrio with my family. Everything was temporarily used by our children who, for the first time adapted this temporary life. I never imagined that I can retraced my yesteryears with the advent of knowing what in-store for me while chasing my dreams.

Happily contented with the new environment while waiting for some important documents, I asked Bryan to find a trusted caretaker of the house while we were here in Tuyom. We went to the coconut plantation near the beach together with the children. Grilled some fish, eat ripe mangoes, collecting seashells and totally enjoying the coolness of the shoreline. Deep inside, I can still remember vividly the time when we left this place.

“Ayah, do you remember the time…..” My words lost in the vastness of the sea.

“Yes Marco, it’s inside of me that cannot be forgotten…” Her tears started to flow.

“Mommy, are you crying?” Anne asked her mother.

“Why mommy’s crying Daddy?” Kent asked me.

“Anne, Kent, this is place where Mommy’s met Daddy!” I answered.

“How beautiful Mommy…Daddy!” Anne said.

“It’s like paradise, same in the movie!” Kent shouted.

“Okay kids… let’s go….it’s time to play in the sand!”

We played with the kids at the place where we washed ourselves after the killings. I searched the heels of Ayah’s sandals in the sand.

“Daddy, what are you searching for….a big shells?” Anne asked me.

“Yes, the mermaid left it here a long time ago.”

“Daddy…let’s go to the water…let’s swim!”

“Okay, but be careful Anne…Kent…don’t ever go beyond the shore!”

“Yes Daddy…yeheeey!”

I watched them played in the shore while Ayah watched the three children in a cottage made of coconut palm leaves. Bryan was grilling fish, hot dogs and vegetables. I’d got the two little kids from Ayah which made four of them playing in the sand. The children enjoyed it so much for the whole morning and ate our grilled foods with cold beverages.

The first time I ever played with them in the beach that had a sad story long time ago. I never thought in my whole life, that I can enjoy the feeling of fatherhood along this shoreline, the shoreline of our past, the shoreline where I felt my obligation to my wife.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

Share This


  1. This is a bad news for industry and the OFW, Hoping and Praying that this mess will be done peacefully Thank you for the information

  2. Must have felt so good to finally come home and play with your kids!

  3. This sad and bad new, while reading this i felt bad.

  4. This is a good one. The best part for me is when they bough the house they used to live in.

  5. Several myths about the Gulf War still linger years after its conclusion. One is that the ground war was a relatively simple, high-tech campaign; another is that the air campaign essentially destroyed the Iraqi Army; and the third and most important is that the Iraqi Army did not fight, but simply surrendered at the approach of the coalition's forces.

  6. It's nice to see that their life is getting better after the gulf war and Marco's business are growing.

  7. The scene of the family at the beach side is really a nice scene.

  8. I felt really bad after reading this. I'm not yet in this world when this happened. So excited for the continuation

  9. This reminds me of a favorite quote, "To find happiness, one must fight life's war and challenges.

  10. Up to this day, hundreds of tales still exist about that horrible Gulf war and how it changed the lives of our OFW.

  11. Marco is fast accumulating his fortunes in Dubai and in the Philippines.

  12. The situation in Iraq always rig the whole world. Just sad that atrocities in the area is still going on. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the continuation of your story.

  13. Wow I didn't know how intense the struggle of OFWs is until I read this post! I'm so gripped and I can empathize with their troubles! Can't wait for the next part!

  14. It's always great to reminisce how parents meet up so when you land at the place where they initially have gotten to know each other, it can't be helped to feel somewhat kilig.

  15. Reading about the gulf war through your post feels like bringing me back to the history. I don't remember a thing about it, I was 9 yrs old when it happened. Being home with family is the greatest joy an OFW can have.

  16. My father is also an OFW from middle East, I remember before he sent balikbayan package and some in the package are gas mask and suit, he said it was issued by their company in the vent that there's a war happened.

    My father said if he has an opportunity and will earn enough salary here in the Philippines he'll choose to work here. One of the reason I don't want to go abroad, If I'll have a family I'd rather work only here in the Philippines just to be with my family or if given a chance to work abroad, I want my family be with me in the country where I work.

    I understand that most of the OFW's don't want to left their family, they're just responsible and want to give their family needs.

  17. gulf war is devastating not to the country but for the men as well who had experienced it. After all, it's the family's presence is the only thing that makes us stronger.

  18. I am really curious what happens next..I hope they join their kids in swimming.

  19. I wonder how many chapters are left for this story.

  20. The tears that were welling up on my eyes were both for heartbreak & joy later on. The things we sacrifice for our families practically makes us stronger.

  21. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you and the others living in such a chaotic time :(

  22. This brought back memories from that time when there was gulf war.

  23. Every OFW deserves a break especially if their job is equally exhausting and difficult. To add to the problem, war broke through the middle east. It's really hard to imagine how they've survived such catastrophe.

  24. Hopefully there will be no more wars in the future. But with the way things are going now, it's wishful thinking.

    Happy to hear that in your story, the family is financially thriving and Marco get to go home to visit the family.

  25. My late dad used to be an OFW in Jeddah. It is hard for OFWs to be away from their families and moreso to be stuck in war-torn countries just to be able to support financial needs of loved ones.

  26. I felt very sad about this, inspirational story.

  27. I can't say much Sir.
    It's a huge plot, and its coming from all over the the place.
    I can't pinpoint the direction in which you bring the readers.
    A little character build up would work to make this stand alone as a different chapter.
    I got a little bit of history during the gulf war, I was a kid then, and I seem to pinpoint some things that happened during those years.

  28. Back here in this story. I wonder where's the continuation


Email Address

Send message for any suggestion, recommendation, and other concern about this site.

Designed By Seo Blogger Templates Copyright@ Fernando Lachica 2014 OFW: The Game of Life