Heading home, after 33 years with the Ngs

Remidios Sabado, 66, has worked in the Ng household for over three decades. Her employers tried to obtain permanent residency for her so she can stay with them long term, but they have not been successful.
(From left) Mr Alvin Ng, 38, Ms Alicia Ng, 27, Ms Sabado, 65, Ms Agnes Ng, 34, and her four-year-old son Aiden, and Madam Yeong, 60. Ms Sabado helped raise the children and accompanies the family on yearly vacations. Ms Remidios Sabado (in white) wit
Ms Remidios Sabado (in white) with the Ng children (from left) Agnes, Alicia and Alvin, and their mother Doris Yeong at a park in 1991. Ms Sabado, affectionately known as Aunty Remi, has been with the Ngs for 33 years.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ALICIA NG
(From left) Mr Alvin Ng, 38, Ms Alicia Ng, 27, Ms Sabado, 65, Ms Agnes Ng, 34, and her four-year-old son Aiden, and Madam Yeong, 60. Ms Sabado helped raise the children and accompanies the family on yearly vacations. Ms Remidios Sabado (in white) wit
(From left) Mr Alvin Ng, 38, Ms Alicia Ng, 27, Ms Sabado, 65, Ms Agnes Ng, 34, and her four-year-old son Aiden, and Madam Yeong, 60. Ms Sabado helped raise the children and accompanies the family on yearly vacations. ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN

Today is International Domestic Workers' Day. The Straits Times looks at a subset of foreign domestic workers: older maids above the age of 60, many of whom have worked for the same family for decades.

In a month's time, Ms Remidios Sabado will be sending dozens of "balikbayan" boxes - or repatriate boxes - back to the Philippines.

But these will not be filled with the usual presents to make up for her absence from her village in Baguio, the Philippines. Instead, they will be filled with over three decades' worth of belongings.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2018, with the headline 'Heading home, after 33 years with the Ngs'. Print Edition | Subscribe