Marissa del Mar reaches out to OFWs
Bot Glorioso (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - From sitting face-to-face with foreign dignitaries and high government officials regarding political and economic issues in her past show, Marissa del Mar has now come closer to the heart of the masses as host of Buhay OFW, a show that features different stories of Pinoys working abroad. It has been airing for a year now on AKSYONTV on Saturday nights at 10 to 11.

“I was offered by (TV5 president and CEO) Ray Espinosa two or three years ago to host a show but since I’m still doing Upclose & Personal that time, sabi ko ’wag muna because my loyalty is with IBC 13,” begins Marissa on how the show came about. “So when Upclose folded up and IBC 13 became AKTV, he called again and I accepted his offer. He told me that they will agree on whatever concept I want so I thought why not a show that would cater to the needs of OFWs... where they could air their issues and concerns. There came Buhay OFW.”

Besides, Marissa is aware about stories of abuse on OFWs. “Some are being maltreated and want to go home. The show provides assistance by raising their problems to local government offices responsible about their welfare. We partner with OWWA, DFA, TESDA and POEA to be able to help them.”

A number of overseas Filipino workers have been reunited with their families back home after successfully sorting out the kinks with their foreign employers. But there are cases, Marissa reveals, that cannot easily be ironed out like criminal charges already filed in high court.

With regards to acquiring exit visas, Marissa happily shares that Buhay OFW benefits from her past show. One example was when one OFW in Saudi was requesting for an exit visa. The ambassador of Saudi whom Marissa interviewed during her Upclose & Personal days was able to help connect her to the right person who would grant an exit visa for the Pinoy worker.

She, herself, knows how difficult it is to be an OFW. She played leading lady to action stars in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong during her younger years. “What was good then was I was protected by the producers but still, I had a tough time in Korea. I was overworked. Imagine, two days na di pa ako natutulog kasi gusto nila trabaho lang ng trabaho pero naayos din naman agad.”      

But Buhay OFW is not all about failures and misfortunes, there are also stories of success. Televiewers get to know about how some are able to achieve life’s comfort. “There are some who have acquired properties such as house and lot, condo units and even a yacht. We try to balance everything, meron kasing foreign ambassadors who complain that the show often magnifies the bad ones. Paano naman daw yung magaganda which is true — about 90 percent naman yung naging OK ang buhay. So what we do is we share the problems then the good news.”

She feels a different high whenever a certain issue gets a positive result. “It means I was able to help through the show.”

Reaching out to those in need is not new to her. Marissa is involved with charity work since she was young as a member of the Legion of Mary. She became charter president of Rotary Club of Makati-Nielsen. She, too, is a member of the National Real Estate Association which extends help to Aetas in Porac, Pampanga.

For OFWs, Marissa recognizes their hard work by making Buhay OFW a mirror of their success and failure. She, too, calls on all Pinoy workers to share their stories to inspire others through the Search of Mr. & Miss Citizen of the World, conceptualized by the Buhay OFW Foundation in cooperation with Millicent Productions, Inc. It will be launched on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Glorietta Activity Center. The search aims to promote the Filipino culture and heritage as a foundation of world citizenship for others to emulate.

Those who are interested to join must be 18 years old and above, active or former OFW worker, can speak both Filipino and English and with good moral character. Fill out the application form at and attach a summary of the story. Coronation night will be held on March 22, 2013 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

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