How a Pinay Caregiver in Canada Became Part of Canada's Armed Forces
Oct 6, 2013
Every Filipino who decides to work overseas is up for an adventure and sometimes the outcome can be totally different from the plans that are carefully laid out in their minds.
Such is the case of Gina Pinangat, who first came to Canada in 1991 to work as a Live-in Caregiver under the Foreign Domestic Movement Program. Her first two years in Canada proved to be a challenging period as she battles against homesickness.
In an article that appeared in ABSCBNnews.com, Pinangat said, "The first two years, I wanted to go back to the Philippines. Ang sabi ko po sa sarili ko mag-iipon ako ng 2 years and then I'll go home."
But she soon found another job at Nortel Networks in Montreal and when her contract ended, she decided to enlist for Canada's Armed Forces.
She was encouraged to join the military service because of the attractive salary, bonuses and benefits.
She said, "At first, there was a signing bonus of like humongous amount plus the offer was like really, really, good and plus the benefits were like top of the line."
As part of the Armed Forces, she received training to be an Aerospace Telecommunications and Information Systems technician.
Pinangat relayed that though she is part of Armed Forces, she never found herself in the middle of a war zone. Instead, she received training to be an Aerospace Telecommunications and Information Systems technician. She said her work is to valuable so she is never assigned in an actual war battle.
She said, “At that time po, I was too valuable to be deployed."
She dedicated nine years of her life in the military before retiring. She is now very active in helping the Filipino community in Canada. She imparts her knowledge as a volunteer in the Bayanihan Community Center in Victoria where she assists in technical and IT matters.
Pinangat received an award from the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur, a program that helps retired and transitioning members of Canadian forces to start their own business.
She shared that the said program made it possible for her to meet the Prince of Wales.
She met the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles through this program.
Her experiences in life made her believe that nothing is impossible. She said, "Coming as a domestic helper, it's really tough. Hindi madali po. But knowing na here in Canada you can be the best that you can be and marami po tayong pwedeng gawin."