By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, SEOUL

20 December, Seoul. "Isa po itong regalong hindi mapapantayan ng pera", Teresita Recinto expressed with tears of joy as she received this month her personal copy of the book Katatagan: Tales of Faith, Strength and Resilience of Filipinos in South Korea where her essay, Alarm Clock, is one of the featured pieces. Ms. Recinto, an OFW, a cancer survivor, and a member and volunteer in the Seoul Filipino Catholic Community (SFCC), said that she wrote the essay to share her reflections on the pandemic, writing paragraphs in instalments every night after working "arubeit" or sideline ? something that she had to do to augment her income.

"Katatagan" was launched virtually on 05 December 2021 and presented by the Philippine Embassy to the Filipino Community in Korea as a gift during the Paskong Pinoy 2021. Conceived by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-OWWA) in collaboration with the Association of Filipino Educators in Korea (AFEK) and the Filipino Photographers in South Korea (FILIPOS) with the support of the Philippine Embassy, the publication brings together 13 essays and 3 original song compositions of Filipinos in Korea which won awards as part of the 2021 Philippine Independence and Migrant Workers' Day commemorations.

According to Ambassador Theresa Dizon ? De Vega, the entries reflect and chronicle the daily struggles of overseas Filipinos in a foreign land, navigating their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, and finding the inner strength and fortitude to face the most complex of challenges. "While the winning entries depict the struggles brought about by the pandemic, particularly for migrants whose voices are often underrepresented, and in some instances, even stifled, the essays likewise speak of hope and courage", the Ambassador said.

During the book presentation, Ambassador de Vega thanked the production team composed of POLO in Seoul led by Labor Attache Ma. Celeste M. Valderrama, AFEK headed by Dr. Joeffrey M. Calimag, and FILIPOS headed by its President Ed Mallo. She also expressed her deep appreciation to the Katatagan Editorial Board composed of Filipinos in Korea who shared their time and professional expertise in editing the book, headed by Dr. Sherro Lee A. Lagrimas as Editor-in-Chief and members Dr. Massuline Antonio Ligaya, Director Katherine Corteza, Dr. Cynthia Amatorio, Asst. Prof. Ardelle Bondad, Dr. Engelbert Pasag, and Dr. Randy Tolentino.

"Katatagan is a perfect combination of inspiring messages and images, and also the commitment of everyone who took part in this joint project. The heartfelt appreciation of Ms. Recinto, one of the essay writers, for publishing Katatagan and recognizing her work in it is humbling as it is the least we can do to share her inspiring message for all of us, today and for the many years to come", Ambassador de Vega said. -END-