President and Managing Director Ma. Theda G. Collantes, together with Chairman of the Board, Carlos Brosas visited the jobsite at the US Naval Base in Guantamo Bay Cuba (GTMO) from December 8 to 11, 2010. The purpose of the trip was to see for themselves the working and living conditions of the workers, to spend some time with them, and bring to them something from the Philippines that neither emails, Skype, text messages, nor even phone calls can deliver, the human touch of people who represent home. While Mr. Brosas came from Canada, Mrs. Collantes flew from the Philippines. She endured the long 14 hours trip from the Philippines to LA, experiencing first hand what the Filipino workers sent to GTMO go through, including two connecting flight lay overs in the US, airport security and other formalities, and a boat trip.
The Filipino contingent in GTMO did not expect to see two executives from the Calerey to suddenly drop by their work place to see how they were doing. Wide-eyed with surprise, they could only blurt out “Ma’am!!!!, Sir!!!!, followed by excited hand shakes and occasional hugs and of course, posing for pictures. It turned out that The Calerey was the first recruitment agency who took the time and effort to pay them a visit.
The succeeding days saw the two executives attend Christmas parties, visit more work sites, attend “kainan, ” more “kainans, ” after work get-togethers, “inumans,” visit the workers living quarters, the canteen where they eat, the recreation and exercise facilities where they spend their off hours, the garden where they grow their own veggies, the church they go to, play a round of golf with the principal’s executives, posing for pictures, and engaging in plain and simple “kamustahan” with everybody Filipino they see.
Alas, all good things must end. On December 12, mostly teary eyed, the workers bade goodbye to the two executives, holding on to them until the last moment, seeing them off to the boat which will bring them to the GTMO airport. Teary eyed themselves, the two executives were sad to leave the workers behind, but were happy to have confirmed that, although all of them are raring to finish their contracts and return home, the Filipino workers in GTMO are OK.