Since I started courting the Filipina who later became my wife, I have seen some of the most luxurious penthouses, mansions and condos that there are here in Rome.
Filipinos whom I know work for famous Italian politicians, actors, singers, C.E.O.s and otherwise rich people.
There are employers who are particularly generous with their Filipino katulong and pay some of them rather well and treat them well.
I know a Filipino family that works for the owner of a big mansion situated on top of Monte Mario, a hill overlooking downtown Rome, and he lets his Filipino employee’s family occupy the entire ground floor of his mansion and lets them freely invite whomever they want to have a party around the swimming pool and even swim in the pool.
Other Filipinos sometimes receive their employer’s slightly used Audi, Mercedes, Bmw etc as a gift.
Generally speaking a Filipina or a Filipino earns more per hour than an Italian cleaner or domestic helper.
But why is that?
One reason is perhaps the fact that, while an Italian or another European domestic helper only does what he or she is paid for, Filipinos do a little bit of everything.
Generally speaking Filipino men have diskarte skills or, in other words, have a way with D.I.Y. and each one is a Jack of all trades. So they don’t just clean the mansion of their employer: they do some gardening, fix their employer’s car, do some plumbing, baby sitting, walk the employers’ dogs, do some ironing, cooking etc.
So, despite the economic recession, quite a number of Filipinos here have mabait at mayamang amo and know how to get those amo to like them.
The downside is that many Filipinos here have very little budgeting and saving skills and often run out of money and even get into debt and this tendency keeps them stuck for a lifetime in live-in jobs that may even pay well and yield some benefits like second hand Mercedeses or other expensive gifts but, quite honestly, give them very limited free time. Most live-in domestic helpers only have time off on Thursday afternoons and Sundays and spend the rest of the week working almost around the clock.
And not all rich employers are mabait, some don’t want their katulong’s family around, they only pay like 500-600 a month and their katulong has to sleep in a small 10-15 square-meter room in the basement of the condo.
But the point is: regardless of whether the employer is mabait or not, live-in jobs drain so much time and energy that they could destroy family life.
One may end up having a slightly used Audi or Bmw while being a foreigner in his own house because his children grow up speaking the local language while their parents are too busy working.
Yes, rich employers do like Filipino workers and a Filipino could stumble upon a very generous one, but before being tempted to move here and accept a live-in job, even a well-paying one, it would be better to consider all aspects involved and particularly how to buy out quality as well as “quantity” time for the family while working these jobs which is a very tall order to fill.