Remittances from Filipinos working overseas are at an all-time high. And no, it’s not just because they’re sending back US dollars, Saudi Riyals, Euros or Japanese Yen; but because our modern-day heroes are sending back what’s known as social remittances.
Social remittances refer to ideas, practices, identities and social capital that flow from receiving to sending country communities. It was coined by sociologist Peggy Levitt in her book “The Transnational Villagers and she describes social remittances being transferred by migrants and refugees that are exchanged by letters or other forms of communication that includes phone, fax, the internet or video. She suggested that social remittance affects family relations, gender roles, class and race identity, as well as have a substantial impact on political, economic and religious participation.
This concept isn’t something new for the Philippines. In the 1800s, this was already seen through the newspaper La Solidaridad and the novels of Jose Rizal. Like them whose ideas paved . In the 21st century, blogging is the new form of social remittance of Filipinos working and living abroad. Through their blogs they are publishing their stories online to inspire others. They also advocate for causes, help others and muster support from their readers to help effect change in their own little ways.
With globalization, Filipino migrants are beginning to realize the power of harnessing the potential of social remittance. They may be students pursuing a higher education, a professional with a white-collar job or a migrant working as house help; but all of them have something in common: an economic goal and aspiration.
This year the Pinoy Expat/OFW Blog Awards or PEBA 2011 is geared to recognize the contributions of Filipino bloggers abroad. This year’s theme is dubbed as "Ako'y Magbabalik, Hatid Ko'y Pagbabago." (I Will Return, I Will Bring Change) as Balikbayans not only send back their monetary remittances; but social remittances as well.
For this year PEBA opens a new blog search called PEBA’s Any Blogger, Anywhere for all Filipino bloggers in various categories, at home or abroad. This year’s blog contest will look into narratives as to how returning Expats/OFW will make use and share their social remittance or their talents, skills and fortunes to bring change to their families, communities and country. Expats/OFW bloggers who will be joining the contest will be required to write a blog entry on the said theme. There is also an ongoing blog contest for OFW supporters.
For 2011, VIPinoy, a service and perks for overseas Filipinos and OFWs offered by Ayala Malls is the biggest sponsor of PEBA. Ayala Mall is providing Trinoma Activity Center as the venue for the awards nights on December 9, 2011 and Market Market as venue for its photo exhibit from December 9, 2011. PEBA is equally supported by one of its long time partner NOKIA and communication giant Globe Telecom.
PEBA will exclusively invite some 200 guests who can make their reservation and confirmation/RSVP of their attendance through VIPinoy Lounges in the different Ayala Malls and the awarding will be watched by a thousand or more and will be telecast live for OFWs to watch.
For more information regarding PEBA, please visit http://www.pinoyblogawards.com/.