Technically speaking, an Overseas Filipino is a person of Filipino origin but lives outside the Philippines. They may either be citizens of other countries, permanent residents or students, staying indefinitely and with specific time in different places. Balikbayans are part of this group.
Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs are Filipinos working abroad, both land based and sea based, who are expected to return to their home country after their work contract expires or upon retirement, for others. Filipinos migration overseas has given rise to an approximate 10 million in statistics.
But digging deeper and in truth, who is an OFW? He may be a person whose childhood dream was to go out of the country to work, to live and be happy. He may be a person who, due to dire circumstances in life, decided to seek better job opportunities than what he is able to achieve back in the Philippines. He may be a person who turns away from seemingly insurmountable problems and makes a getaway from it all. He may also be a person who assumed the responsibility of his parents, in order to provide a better life for his family.
There are a thousand and one ways to answer the question who is an OFW. But the lasting truth lies in the reality and fact that an OFW is a person who might be eaten up alive by homesickness, tired up to his last breath due to unfavorable working conditions, unfair practices and non-contract stipulations.
Kabayan, an OFW is a person who needs our understanding and appreciation.