I am from the Albay-Bicol province in the Philippines. I came to Singapore as a domestic worker in 2009. Before that I was a vegetable seller but I can make more money for my family here. My salary supports my husband and my two daughters.
I don’t want to get rich and don’t need a big house – I just want to have a happy family. I dream of finishing work here soon so I can return home to be with my family. When I go home I will set up a day-care centre because I want to be surrounded by children all the time, to give them the care and attention they may lack at home.
I am in a play right now called ‘Rojak’ at the Arts House Play Den as the Filipina girlfriend of a construction worker. I am glad to be part of Remittance because I feel that this is my story – and I want to be part of telling it.
Emeline Florentino Egaran
I am originally from Sipalay City in the Philippines and have been working in Singapore as a domestic helper for 19 years. I plan on working here in Singapore until I am 60. I am not married and so I use my salary to help support my extended family back in the Philippines. They have many costs that I can help with and I have been able to pay for my nephews’ education that is really important so they can get good jobs. I am very proud of them and one of them actually works here in Singapore as well.
I am involved in Remittance because I love films, especially romantic dramas! One of my favorite films is Be Careful With My Heart from the Philippines.
I first came to Singapore in 2002 to save up enough money to open a piggery back home in Bacacay, Albay. My first years in Singapore were very difficult, and shortly after I started working my husband took a mistress – leaving me to raise my young daughter Jonna Mae, who is now 12, on my own. Things got so bad that I almost left Singapore but my mother convinced me it was best to remain working so I could provide a good life for Jonna Mae. Everything I do now is for my daughter and I – she is my motivation to get through the tough times and to stay determined.
After a few years in Singapore I began taking steps towards opening my own business back in the Philippines. I use my day off every week to take different courses. I obtained an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) diploma from the Cambridge Examination Board, and recently completed the entrepreneurship course at aidha, a micro business school, where I won first prize in 2012 for my business plan for an internet café.
I want to be in this film as I want to help open the audience’s eyes to the reality of life as a domestic helper, especially how difficult it can be managing a family long distance.
I am from Guimbia in the Nueva Ecija province of the Philippines and have worked as a domestic helper in Singapore for 4 years now. I came to Singapore in October 2009. Most domestic helpers remember the exact date we arrive in Singapore because it is such a challenge. I came here to support my family. My salary has helped to pay for my husband’s motorbike and piggery. It is difficult and sad to be here because I am away from my daughter and son. I left when my son was seven months old and when I returned for the first time to visit after 4 years, he didn’t recognize me.
Acting is familiar to me. I was the lead and won awards in school plays. Also, being away from my family for so long means that I need to maintain an appearance of strength, suppressing my own moments of sadness so that my family does not worry. I want to finish as a domestic worker soon so that I can return home to raise my children.
Venife Escultor Biong Cadilo
I am originally from Mindanao in the southern Philippines and arrived in Singapore February 2013. I came with my German-American expatriate employers whom I started working with back in the Philippines. I am a single mom with three teenaged children, Angelica, Jezreel, and Marc Vincent, aged 18,16 and 13. My extended family takes care of them while I am in Singapore.
It can be stressful to have three teenage kids at home without their parents around, and I am always worried about that they will come under bad influences. However they understand it is important for me to be here so that I can save up some capital to open a business back in the Philippines.
I live upstairs from one of the Remittance directors heard about their film from a friend! I want to be part of the film to show how much strength many of the women working here have – and the things that they must to for their families back home.
I first came to Singapore in 2000 when I was just 21 years old. My cousin helped me get a job as a sales girl in Lucky Plaza. I didn’t like it and so I switched to domestic work, which I have done for the past 13 years.
I am the youngest of five children, most of who work on my family’s farm. I was attending university but my older brother got married and started a family. Financial constraints meant he could no longer support my education so I came to Singapore to take control of my life and provide for myself. I sometimes miss the freedom of home, but my experiences here has made me clearer on who I really am and what I really want. I invest a lot of time educating myself by taking classes in Singapore and am studying for a diploma in hospitality management at the Addison Institute, located in Peace Centre.
I have worked for my current employer for 5 years. Often employers can be difficult, but mine treat me like one of the family, which makes me feel less homesick! I love volleyball, acting, and want to work in the hospitality business in the future.
Olive Nieto is an actress, known for Jesus Is Dead (2016), Mga ligaw na paruparo (2014) and Saanman ngunit dito (2016).
Paolo O'Hara is an actor and director, known for Noah (2010), Tandem (2015) and Batad (2006).
Prem John lives in Singapore and makes his feature film debut with Remittance. He spent the better part of his youth as a business consultant before getting bitten by the acting bug when thrown onto stage as a last-minute replacement by his then actress girlfriend when the lead actor dropped out of a play she was doing. Recent stage credits include Jafar and the Jester in Arabian Nights, John in Baby with the Bathwater, Chris in Venice under the Snow and Ken in Rumours. He is very excited to be part of Remittance and he’s grateful to everyone who worked on the film for helping make his first movie experience a blissful and memorable experience.
Willam John Ledbetter
William lives in Singapore, and has appeared on stage with the Singapore Repertory Theatre, on television with Channel 5, and as a host and educator with organizations such as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Press Holdings. Prior to moving to Singapore, he worked as an actor off- and off-off Broadway in New York, and regionally in the USA. A Master's degree holder in Drama Education, William concentrates his time now on designing and facilitating workshops for adults and children, focussing on Team-Building, Communications, and 21st Century Skills.