(CNN) – He says he spent 13 months adrift on the Pacific Ocean, but now he's on his way home.
This time it's a little quicker and easier for Jose Salvador Alvarenga; his flight is expected to arrive in El Salvador on Tuesday. It's been eight years since he was last in his home town.
"Ay, mijito lo voy a volver a ver."
His mother shows a photo that was taken the last time Alvarenga came to visit her. But her favorite one was taken when her son was only six months old.
"Uno nunca pierde la fe y la esperanza."
"I never lost my faith and hope," Julia Alvarenga says of her son's disappearance.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga appeared in the Marshall Islands in late January, claiming to be a castaway.
The 36-year-old told authorities he was lost at sea for 13 months, eating raw fish and turtles.
For his 59-year-old mother in El Salvador, the survival story was an answer to her daily prayers.
"Yo le dije a mi senor Jesucristo, usted, porque usted es poderoso y usted sabe lo mejor. Y era la unica esperanza que yo tuve todo el tiempo. Le oraba a mi Dios y le he llorado a el, para que le voy a mentir, pero nunca perdi la fe."
"I would pray to my Lord Jesús Christ, "you're all powerful and you know what's best,"" Alvarenga said. "And that was the only hope I had all this time. I would pray to God, and I won't lie to you, I was crying; but I never lost my faith."
His parents say Jose Salvador Alvarenga last visited their home in Garita Palmera eight years ago. All they knew about him all this time was that he was working as a fisherman somewhere in Mexico. In fact, they didn't know he was lost at sea until the story of the castaway made the news and his picture was shown around the world.
Even though he is yet to return, Alvarenga is already is a Celebrity in Garita Palmera and neighboring towns.
"He's a hero for my country. Not only a hero, but a superman, like those on TV. He's really, really a hero."
Many wonder if they themselves would've been able to survive in a similar situation.
"Yo lo que digo es que el es un hombre de valor, porque esas cosas no cualquiera las puede resistir. Dios anduvo con con el porque Dios es bueno y Dios hace grandes cosas."
"I'm telling you that he's a man of great courage because of what he went through. God was with him because God is good and does good things."
Also waiting back at the Alvarenga home is Areli. She's the mother of the castaway's only child, 14-year-old Fatima, who says she remembers her father only vaguely.
When Julia Alvarenga is asked what's the first thing she's going to do when she sees her son again?
"Que es lo primero que va a hacer cuando lo vea?"
Her answer needs no translation.
Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.