Tarragona: The untold story of a Kababayan

The second city on our 3-City-Spain voyage was at Tarragona, Spain. The city is another key maritime district due to its location as an autonomous community of Catalonia, North East of Spain.

On our chance-visit, we searched the city for Orange sim card top ups so we could enjoy internet data while still in port. Two hours into our data-expedition, we got nothing but sore legs and tired feet. The city was nice though, like most of Spain. It is very clean, highly urbanized and a great destination for free walks, shopping and sight seeing.

We finally found an Orange Network office but was closed that time, luckily we met a fellow kababayan along the streets of Tarragona.

The instant connection was a given deal, having shared the same experiences as long time OFWs, the ”hugot” (tagalog term that refers to emotional sentiments) is real and very much alike. She had been working abroad for more than 20 years, a veteran OFW, who works away from home to support the medication of her ailing husband back in the Philippines.

She happily pointed the direction to the mall where she got friends who sell this Orange top up card. Being a kababayan by heart, she graciously led us through the streets to the mall and even helped us with our food provision-store errands. Captain asked us to buy some vegetables, dairy and fruits for on board supply.

The world is small and the family of filipinos working abroad is one bond that holds out at any given place or time.

It turned out that we just circled in at the very first turn that we took upon entry into the city, but the walkathon was useful still.

As a native of the Visayas, I instantly distinguished her roots through her visayan accent. She shared her experiences with us, her journey from Russia all the way to Tarragona. Thankfully, she has a kind hearted employer, who shouldered the medical expenses of her husband’s surgery and medication, in salary deduction arrangements.

Few more years into her retirement, she is already processing her residency in Tarragona for good, with some of her family members already working with her in the city.


Our kababayans working in Tarragona are no different from us sailors. They experience the same amount of home sickness, body pains after a hard day’s job and self sacrifice just to provide for the family back home. And today I have proven that wherever you are in the world, there’s always a friendly kababayan ready to help. The world is small and the family of filipinos working abroad is one bond that holds out at any given place or time.

We ended our shoreleave with a thank you snack to our helpful kababayan at our favorite McDonald’s. It’s not everyday that you meet a fellow filipino working abroad, fortunately we found someone who is welcoming, generous and always ready to help. Salamat, Kabayan!

Our next voyage will be in Barcelona, Spain. Catch up again next time!

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