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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Yaya Experience

Back when I was a child, I was one of the lucky ones who, apart from the attention of my parents, had a yaya (Filipino/Tagalog word for nanny) who took care of me. I think I have had several through the years. Some of them I only remember by face while some I only knew by their first names. Sometimes I wonder how they are doing now, and hoping that they are doing well. I wonder the same about the yaya of my cousins, who I also got to know whenever I went on vacations at their homes. 

A few years back, we got the chance to be reconnected with the yaya of my youngest sister. She was one of the lucky ones who got to go back to school and moved on from being a nanny. My sister even got to attend her wedding along with some members of our family. Thanks to Facebook, we have been able to catch up with her and her family, who we lost touch of after the wedding. 

My mother, on the other hand, recently got the surprise of her life when she got a message on Facebook from my Yaya Mita, who took care of me when I was still a toddler. My mother was so happy to hear from her and to find out that she settled back home to her province with her family and was now retired.  


I don’t really remember much about her, but I do remember her face for some reason. We managed to dig up a photo of her from my old albums and it was fun to reminisce about the days when my sisters and I had yayas when our parents could afford them. Those were the days! Our nephews and niece didn’t have that luxury! 

These days, it’s not easy to find a yaya. For one thing, it is expensive! How much is the minimum wage these days along with benefits and the required contributions? It’s not something we can afford anymore!  

It is also very difficult to find someone you can trust nowadays. How many times have I heard of yayas who would ask for advances then would take off and go home, never to return? How about those who would take the job, fleece the parents of their belongings and then run away? Or those yayas who team up with robbers to rob the family? Or those who actually run away with the children? It’s all so scary to think about! 

I’m glad that we were lucky enough to be from the generation when it was not as difficult as it is today. Either that or we were lucky with the ones we had in our family. It probably helped that we never treated them as anything other than members of our family. 

The thing about finding a good yaya is that they should have to be people who can commit to stay for a long time. It’s hard to have to get children to bond and trust people if they change every few months or so. They have to be people you can trust to leave your children and your home with.  I’ve heard such horror stories from family and friends and I’m just glad that I have never had to deal with that problem in my life. The people who have good yayas who stay are the lucky ones. Those are hard to come by! 

Being a yaya/nanny is not an easy job, and I am grateful for the ones my family and I have had through the years, particularly the ones that we had become close to during their stay with us. We may no longer be able to afford them, but I am grateful that we got to experience having them at some point because they were a blessing to have! 


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