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In telling her story, a Filipina in Belgium departs from the Cinderella narrative


First of a series


Most of the time, Filipinas who have made a fortune or a rosy life abroad are described as Cinderellas, especially if they come from humble beginnings and lowly stations in the Philippines.


To recall, an avid Noranian (a fan of Filipino phenomenal star Nora Aunor) from the US in the 1990s went to town already an heiress to a rich American husband—her Prince Charming. In the Philippines, she ran around with the Nora, the Filipina actress whom she wanted to portray her onscreen. She even volunteered to produce the film for her idol. The fan disclosed that she left her poor and desolate family back home to find her greener pasture in the land of milk and honey. In the US, she started as a caregiver and went on to meet a wealthy American divorcee whom she married. Afterwards, her life was never the same again.



Philippine entertainment writers went gaga over the Noranian’s amazing story and covered her as well as a personification of Cinderella. Sadly, the film project didn’t see the light of day although stories of the same mold keep on reeling.


An impoverished beautiful young girl from a small island in Surigao went to Japan to wed a Japanese man on a fixed marriage only to deliver their family from poverty, but the relationship didn’t work. Despite the faux pas, she stayed put in Japan and worked in a prestigious club where she was courted by a wealthy man as her knight in shining armor. Because of the attraction and the kindness of the man, she made a lot of money to put up a real estate business in the Philippines and succeeded in it. Now, she lives like a queen.


These Cinderella stories among female Filipinos in the diaspora, though, are being revised by a Filipina in Belgium.


From the start, Melysa Aldiano never wanted the usual route to a comfortable life abroad when her cousins invited her to Austria to work in the late 1990s. “I have relatives living in whole Europe actually. And I was asked to come and visit first Austria, then after a while I decided to stay,” Melysa recalled in our online interview.


“I just wanted to work and earn my keeps and to send my siblings to school,” she said.



Subscription to dating apps on social media and going out with non-Filipino males or the mail-order-bride syndrome didn’t cross her mind. “As a matter of fact, I was witness to a lot of Filipino women in Austria who wanted a good life by marrying Austrians or Dutch or Belgians or any white males but all their unions were failures,” Melysa observed.


Had she wanted to settle for life’s comforts in Europe, Aldiano would have grabbed an opportunity that was served to her on a silver platter. Melysa’s first work was caregiving to a paralyzed world motocross player, Hans Kinigadner, a well-off Austrian. Her taking care of the pro MX racer, however, Melysa said, had turned Hans falling for her. “He was already giving me so much money on top of my salary. I told him I couldn’t accept that extra money. I told him it wasn’t my character,” she divulged.


Still, Hans—brother to international famous motocross champion Heinz Kinigadner—persisted.


Yet Melysa felt she was pressured to Hans’ whims. “And he was also an alcoholic,” she quipped. She didn’t want to get along with a drunkard again as she saw in her dad in the Philippines. “I must admit, at first I was a Papa’s girl. Soon enough, I’ve realized and witnessed his abusive drinking problems,” she disclosed in her written accounts of her family.


The Aldianos lived in Biñan City when Melysa was a kid. According to her, her father had a good job in a construction site. He provided them with a house in South City Subdivision, a gated village in the city. They had a good life. They were God-fearing people, especially her mom who was a dressmaker.


Melysa was the eldest among five siblings of three boys and two girls. She was born in Siniloan, Laguna but moved to Biñan when she was two years old. She studied at the San Vicente Elementary School, a public school, in the city and went to the Business High School of Perpetual Help College Of Laguna now known as University Of Perpetual Help System Biñan. “Due to lack of financial support from my father, I switched school and spent my last year in Carmona National High School in Cavite,” she informed.


The man’s vice multiplied to other foibles like womanizing, gambling and wandering with his peers drinking as if there was no tomorrow more than staying with his family.



Until they were bereft of money and homeless “because of the irresponsibility of my father” while the family was expanding.


They moved to Sta. Cruz, Laguna where Melysa studied at the Laguna State of Polytechnic University where she took up BSIT (Bachelor Science of Industrial Technology) in Electronics Engineering but she never finished it because she went abroad already. At the same time, her parents have already parted ways.


These were Melysa’s vivid memories of her past when she was working for Hans. She was twenty years old at that time.


Not happy anymore and evasive of his wooing her by what she termed as “blackmail” or “bribery,” she told Hans and his family that she would already leave them. “I was officially hired as his caregiver and my salary was even only half of the amount because I lived and stayed at his place. My salary was officially monthly transacted,” she said.


“The extra money Hans would offer me was all in black, as if it was only ‘barya’ (loose change) para sa kanya (for him). He would offer it on a clear day randomly,” she explained.


The moment Melysa left Hans, he was kinda threatened. “The day I left his place, on the way inside the car, he phoned me and ACCUSED me!!!! By saying, that I stole his money on the bank account!!!” she wrote in her Facebook chat box.


Hans charged Melysa in court with a crime of theft.


“I was living in fear and uncertainty at the time,” she confessed. (To be continued)










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