Kassy, a Speech Communication graduate from UP Diliman, with her Mommy Ailen during her University Graduation last June 26, 2016.

From Dubai with Love: OFW Moms deserve only the best!

We all know it’s difficult growing up far from our parents, especially our mom. Our moms are one of the most influential and important people in our lives. Whenever we need someone to give us advice, someone to understand our shortcomings, someone to support our undertakings, or just someone to be with when life gets a little rough, it’s our moms we go to.

We spoke with Kassy, a recent graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman, who majored in BA Speech Communication. She grew up away from her mom since she was 13 years old. She admits it was difficult having a long-distance relationship with Mommy Ailen, but it was never a hindrance for them to constantly stay in touch. Even if mommy is away, she never forgets even the little things, like the basic needs of her family. Just like any other parent, Mommy Ailen makes sure that her family has their basic needs. To make this part of parenthood a lot easier and better, BeamAndGo is here to help!

Click here to send Supermarket GCs!

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Have you found a supermarket near your family? Buy now!

Kassy tells us that just like most OFWs, her mom decided to work abroad to improve their family’s financial stability. From being a housewife, her mom flew to Dubai, not knowing what job she would get into. She just took her shot. After just 5 days, her mom found a job as a secretary. After a year, she found her current job as an HR employee. She has been happily working for the same company after 10 years. Kassy says her mom is career-oriented. This motivates her to become successful in her future career too as a Speech Communication graduate.

Communication is Key!

Kassy considers herself very close to her mom. Early on, they have always been regularly speaking — talking about the little things, like how their days go, to major life decisions. Thanks to Facebook, they can now talk to each other everyday! Kassy’s mom has been very hands-on in taking part in her life. She makes sure that she’s always here for special occasions and major celebrations. Whenever she’s in the Philippines, they make the most out of their bonding time as a family.

13874954_10207989155501104_103121876_nKassy has three other siblings. Kat, 27, who works as a ground crew, Kyle, 26, a customer service agent and Kris, 18, who is still in school. All four siblings look out for each out other especially when their mom is not here. They’ve learned to count on each other and have formed a solid support group. Whenever Mommy Ailen goes home to Manila, they all go out together. On most days, they communicate through their Facebook chat group.

Related: For bonding ideas for you and your family, click here.

Like other children with OFW parents, Kassy imagines what it would be like if her mom just stays for good. Of course, she prefers to be with her mom more often. And although it’s difficult, she understands that the decision for her mom to work abroad is the more practical option.

To our OFW parents: You deserve only the best!

Bittersweet — this is how Kassy would describe how it is growing up with an OFW mom. Mommy Ailen’s sacrifice to not be with Kassy as she grows up is no joke. Open communication and understanding really is key to staying close with your family, whether together or away from each other.

What’s your family story? We’d love to hear from you as well!

Sign up at BeamAndGo and share us your story!

OFW Shopping Advice: ‘Wag mong bilhin yan!

Bilang isang OFW, ikaw nga ay nagpapadala ng Supermarket GCs using BeamAndGo, pero sinisigurado mo ba na nagagamit ito sa wastong mga bilihin? Nararapat lang na ang maging wais tayo sa ating mga gastusin bilang OFW. Ilan lamang ito sa mga remittance advice at shopping tips on what not to buy and their alternatives when grocery shopping in a supermarket.

Gusto mo o kailangan mo?

Bago pa man pumunta sa supermarket, ugaliing gumawa ng listahan ng mga kailangan sa bahay. Siguraduhing ang nasa list mo ay ang inyong household needs at hindi wants. This is a good way to spend under your budget and make better buying decisions sa pag-grocery shopping. Pagdating sa supermarket, unahing bilhin ang mga nakasulat sa listahan. Kapag may sobra pa sa budget, saka kumuha ng ibang mga bagay na gustong bilhin. Avoid impulse buying. Don’t buy items that aren’t on your list or those that will go over your budget.

Kung kailangan mo pa ng mas maraming tips kung paano mag-budget, punta lang dito.

Maramihan o tingi?

Mas mabuting bumili in bulk (maramihan) para sa mga produktong matagal mag-expire. Kadalasan, mas napapamahal kapag bumibili ng patingi-tingi. Kung in bulk at isahan ang pagbili, makakatipid tayo sa presyo mismo ng produkto at sa effort at gastos ng pagpunta natin sa supermarkets. Para sa mga bagay na hindi nabubulok o matagal mag-expire, do buy in bulk. Halimbawa, kung may sobra pa sa budget mo, ‘wag lang isang soap bar ang bilhin mo, bilhin mo na ang pack of 6. Nakatipid ka na, hindi ka pa pabalik-balik sa Supermarket.

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Pero kung ang bibilhin mo naman ay mabilis mag-expire, tulad ng gulay, prutas, karne, at iba pa, bumili lamang ng sakto para sa iyong pamilya para hindi ito masayang. Para sa mga bagay na nabubulok at/o mabilis mag-expire, do buy just enough.

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Healthy o junk?

May iilan sa atin na nakasanayang kumain ng junk food araw-araw, kahit na alam nating hindi ito maganda para sa kalusugan. Okay lang namang mag-indulge paminsan-minsan — everything in moderation. Kaya lang, don’t buy junk food on a regular basis.

Regular price o sale?

Madaling masilaw sa mga items na on sale. Iniisip kasi nating makakatipid tayo kapag bumili tayo ng mga gamit na naka-promo, pero mas madalas tayong napapagastos dahil sa mga ito. Don’t buy items on sale, if you don’t really need it. Kung hindi naman talaga kailangan, mas mapapagastos ka pa kapag bumili ka ng naka-sale, lalo na kung hindi pa ito kasama sa inyong grocery list.

More tips on making a budget, click mo lang ‘to!

Generic o sikat?

Isa sa ating mga values bilang Pilipino ay ang pagiging loyal, kasama na dito ang pagiging loyal sa mga brands ng mga produktong ating nakasanayan. We trust these “household brands” dahil sanay na sanay na tayo sa brand na ito, pero palagi tayong may mahahanap na alternatibong mas mura at mas sulit. Don’t always buy products from big brands you’re used to. Once in a while, makabubuting sumubok ng mga bago o hindi gaanong sikat na produkto, kasama na dito ang mga generic brands ng mga supermarket. Karaniwang mas mura ang mga ito pero ganoon parin ka-epektibo.

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Local o imported?

Iniisip kasi nating mas maganda ang quality ng imported products, pero sa katotohanan, pareho lang naman ‘yan! Minsan nga ay mas maganda pa ang mga produkto natin. Don’t buy imported products just because they are imported and do support local products. Kadalasan pa nga ay mas makakamura tayo, at makakatulong pa tayo sa negosyo ng ating mga kababayan kung bibili tayo ng gawang Pinoy.

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Kapag napadalhan mo na ng Supermarket GCs ang inyong mga kapamilya sa Pilipinas, i-share mo sa kanila ang article na ito! Sa susunod nilang punta sa BeamAndGo partner supermarkets, alam nila ang mga dapat bilhin at dapat iwasan.  

Para sa mga katanungan tungkol sa BeamAndGo digital gift certificates, you may contact us at customerservice@beamandgo.com. The favorite brands you love from Luzon to Mindanao are now available!

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You can pay via credit card, debit card (PayPal), online bank transfer, at any remittance centers that accepts BDO deposit and through our partners, Pacific Ace, Payremit and iRemit!

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こんにちは! Fiestang Pilipino! The most awaited event in Japan

The Philippine Festival

Malapit na ang June! Malapit na naman ang araw ng kalayaan and it’s time to celebrate! Hindi basta-basta ang dinaanan ng bayan natin para maging malaya. Biro mo, dumaan tayo sa ilang daang taon sa ilalim ng Kastila, ilang dekada sa mga Amerikano, tapos nandiyan pa ang Martial Law.

Siyempre, dahil panahon ng celebration, dapat piyesta tayo!

Related: Dito sa BeamAndGo,sigurado na laging may pagpiyepiyestahan ang pamilya. Click here to sign up!

Para sa mga kasamahan natin sa Japan, nandiyan ang Philippine Festival! Gaganapin ito sa darating na June 18 at 19 sa pagtutulungan ng Philippine Festival Organizing Committee at ng Philippine embassy sa Tokyo. Doon tayo magkikita sa Hibiya Park!

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Noong nakaraang taon, humigit-kumulang sa 100,000 ang mga taong pumunta at hindi lahat doon ay Pilipino. Marami na rin mga kaibigan nating Hapon ang nakisalamuha at nakipagsaya. Siyempre naman masaya ata pag ang daming Pilipino sa paligid.

Related: Play the video for a recap of last year’s Philippine Festival with BeamAndGo

Pero higit pa sa lubos na kasayahan, ngayong 2016 din ipinagdiriwang ang ika-60 taong anibersaryo ng Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations.  Marami na tayong

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Miss mo na? Mangan tana!

pinagdaanan kasama ng mga tao sa bansang ito at dito sa Philippine Festival natin ipagdiriwang ang lahat na pinagsaluhang iyan.

May traditional parade, dalawang araw na programa ng kultura, katatawanan, at kasayahan. At dahil siguradong miss na ng lahat ang mga talipapa sa atin, marami ring mga booth na nagbebenta ng mga sari-saring produktong Pilipino. Mawawala ba ang mga pagkain ng mga probinsiya natin diyan? Naamoy na namin ang sisig, barbeque, Pinoy spaghetti, puto, lechon, at sobrang dami pang iba!

Dito sa Philippine Festival mas matutunghayan ng dangal, saya, at kagandahan ng kulturang Pilipino. Maaasahan ang maraming kantahan hindi lang ng mga awiting Pilipino kung pati na rin ang mga kantang Hapon na ibabahagi ng mga kababayan nating mahusay umawit.

At ano pa nga ba ang isang maaaring makapagpakita ng ganda, kulay, at diwa ng pagdiriwang ng mga Pilipino kundi ang Ati-Atihan ng Aklan? Sayaw kalye, baby!

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At dahil marami nga namang magaganda talaga sa ating mga kababayan, hindi nalalayong masiyahan tayo sa beauty pageant tulad ng sa nakaraang taon.

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Ang dami nga namang festivities! Tiyak na hindi kayo mauubusan ng matutunghayan.

Paano naman ang BeamAndGo?

Related: Find out how BeamAndGo has been helping Filipino families across the world! Sign up with us now and experience it yourselves! (click here)

Kami ba sa BeamAndGo ay mawawala sa ganyan? Aba hindi! Nandoon kami at maghihintay doon nga sa Hibiya Park para makipagkwentuhan sa inyong lahat. Alam naming gusto sana ng marami na magpadala ng mga biyaya ng kanilang trabaho sa mga mahal nila sa buhay sa Pilipinas. Makikipagkwentuhan kami at tutulong muli para sigurado kayong maramdaman din ng pamilya ninyo ang ligayang taglay ninyo at ang biyayang nakamit sa pagtatrabaho sa Japan.

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Unti nalang ang hihintayin at matutunghayan narin ng mga Beamer sa Japan ang bago nating payment partner – ang JCB! At dahil nga tiyak kaming marami sa inyong natulungan na at patuloy na nakikinabang sa JCB, sisiguraduhin namin na maaari na ninyong gamitin ang inyong credit card na ito kapag namili kayo sa BeamAndGo. Abangan na lamang ang mga karagdagang detalye tungkol dito sa www.beamandgo.com o kaya sa aming Facebook pageComing soon na, mga kababayan!

Okay, di ba?

O paano? Kita-kits tayong lahat sa Hibiya Park para magsaya, magtawanan, magpakabusog, magdiwang, at magpakita ng pagmamahal sa ating inang bayan at sa lahat nating mahal sa buhay.

Huwag rin kalimutang bisitahin ang www.beamandgo.com para alamin kung paano kami mas makatutulong sa iyo sa Japan at sa pamilya mo sa Pilipinas.

The Power of Women

BeamAndGo believes profoundly in the power of women and how our sisters, mothers, and friends contribute concretely and positively to our combined future. This faith was shown to be nothing less than true when recently, two days before the world celebrated International Women’s Day last March 8, a march was held in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada with the support of no less than 40 Filipinos.

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Litrato mula sa Inquirer.net

Ano ang sigaw nila? Bigyan ng mas mabuting serbisyo at pangangalaga ang mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa lalo pa ang mga kababaihan. Tulad ng marami dito sa Pilipinas, sawa na sila sa mga pangakong napapako. Sawa na rin sila sa mga artistang walang puhunan sa halalan kundi ang kanilang kasikatan sa pinilakang tabing.

“Voters really need to reflect and understand who they’re really voting for,” sabi ni Clarizze Truscott,pangulo ng Kabisig Society sa Fort Saskatchewan sa Canada sa isang panayam sa Inquirer.net.

Dagdag pa niya, “A huge source of income for the Philippines is OFW remittances. People should be reflective and vote for candidates who will serve OFW interests and who will provide them with protections (sic) and support…not just lip service as we’ve seen so many do.”

Maraming mga binubunong isyu ang mga kababayan natin sa Canada. Siyempre pa, nandiyan na ang katotohanang they had to leave their husbands and children behind to give them a better future. Hindi biro-biro iyon. Bukod pa doon, mas mahirap pang umuwi sa Pilipinas kung ikukumpara sa mga kapatid natin sa Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, atbp.

Related: Experiencing Filipino Warmth in Cold Canada ; Kwentong Beamer: Kanya-kanyang kwento ; 多謝: Salu-salo ng mga OFWs sa Hong Kong!

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Litrato ni Sidney Snoeck

Marami rin sa kanila ang hindi pa permanent resident sa Canada at alam na alam nila ang takot na baka mawalan ng trabaho at mapilitang pauwiin ng Canadian government. Sa ngayon, may mga hindi mabigyan ng PR status at di nila malaman ang dahilan. Dahil dito, no choice kundi uwi na lang. Wala tuloy ang planong pagtulong sa pamilya.

Halimbawa, may isa tayong kababayan na hindi naging PR doon dahil daw sa “medical inadmissibility”. Para sa kanya, ano raw ang ibig sabihin noon? Bakit may ganoon? Kasi autistic ang anak niya. Ang lungkot at nakababasag naman ng puso na iyon pa ang ginamit na dahilan sa kanya.

Kaya nga hinihimok nila ang lahat, lalo pa ang mga kapwa OFW at ang mga pamilya nito na maging totoong mapanuri sa kanilang pagpili ng kanilang mga iboboto. Hindi na puede ang bastang sikat lang o yung nagsasabi parati ng maglilingkod daw sa masa pero wala pa namang nagagawa.

Mahalaga naman talaga ang pagboto at ang pagboto nang tama at totoong napag-isipan. Panahon na talaga na hindi lang matuwa sa dating artista o boksingero. Kailangang tanungin ang sarili: Alam kaya nito ang trabaho ng isang Presidente? Ng Bise Presidente? Ng Senador? Kongresista? Mayor? Councilor?

Hindi basta-basta ang Pinoy

Sabi ng Merryn Edwards, isa sa mga nag-ayos ng 92876381_2331bd0104marcha sa Canada, na mismong mga Pilipina ang nagpamulat sa kanya sa kahalagahan ng kilos politika. Ipinaliwanag niya na ipinapasa lang sa balikat ng mga Pilipinang “live-in caregiver” ang responsibilidad ng pag-aalaga sa mga bata o matanda. Wala naman sanang problema iyon kung hindi nga lang ba dahil sa uri ng trabahong ito, para na rin silang second-class workers at hindi lahat ng karapatan na binibigay sa ibang nagtatrabaho ay ibinibigay rin sa kanila. Para kay Edwards, hindi ito nakabubuti sa kahit kanino – Pilipino man o Canadian.

Ikaw? Ano ang kilos na maaari mong gawin para sa higit na ikabubuti ng kapwa Pilipino? Hindi na panahon ng pagiging makasarili. Panahon na ngayon para isipin ang kapakanan ng bayan at ng kapwa tao.

Baka naman sinasabi ninyong busy kayo o ano ba ang magagawa ng isang katulad mo. Tandaan: Ang mga Pilipinang nagpamulat sa Canadian na si Merryn Edwards ay mga kapwa Pilipino, mga caregiver na tulad rin nating lahat.

Ano nga ba ang maaari mong magawa? Una, may ilang linggo pa bago maghalalan. Pag-usapan na kasama ng mga kaibigan kung anu-ano ba ang mahahalagang dapat sana’y pinagtutuunan ng pansin ng mga kandidato. Anu-anong isyu ba ang tinututukan ng mga kandidato mo? May tinututukan ba siya? Baka naman puro, “Gusto kong maglingkod sa masa!” o “Panalo ang masang Pilipino!” lang ang kayang sabihin.

Simple lang naman e: Sa bawat problema, may pagsubok ng lunas. Kahit magkamali sa solusyon (okay lang magkamali) at least dapat may plano ang kandidato mo. Marami diyang mahilig magsalita na gusto nilang tulungan ang mahihirap. Sinagot na ba niya kung paano?

Pagkatapos noon, subukan ninyong tignan kung totoo ba ang mga sinasabi nila. Halimbawa, sa Presidential Debates, may isang nagsabi na gusto niyang magkaroon ng mga agri-industrial zone para sa mga magsasaka. So, iisipin mong “Ay, oo. Tama nga naman.” Pero, hindi niya sinabing lampas na sa dalawampu ang mga agri-industrial zone ang meron ngayon sa buong bansa. Hindi naman yata fair.

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O, hindi naman puro Facebook na lang. Puede tayong mag-usap ng mahahalagang bagay.

Iba na ngayon

Dati, puro mga lalaki lang daw ang dapat nag-uusap tungkol sa politika. Tapos na ang panahon na iyon. Yesterday’s news na iyon. Sino ba ang malaki ang naitutulong ngayon sa pangangalaga ng pamilya? Di ba ikaw? Dahil doon, malaki ang karapatan mong pumili ng mga pinuno natin at magreklamo sa kanilang kakulangan.

Panahon na, babae. Makialam ka. Now na.

***********

For more Philippine politics and election-related discussions relevant to OFWs globally, these previous articles by BeamAndGo may interest you:

Lowering taxes and preventing another Balikbayan Box controversy

The Right to Suffrage or Suffer

Ayan. Nagsalita na sila. The Philippine Presidential Debates

Who can you trust? 6 things Filipinos want in our next President

Beamer from Bicol? Para sa indo ini!

Mga kaibigang Bicolano! Saan ka man naroroon, mas sigurado at ligtas na ngayon ang pagpapadala ng tulong sa mga minamahal ninyo sa buhay! Members of BeamAndGo, ang ating mga magaganda at magigilas na mga Beamer, you can now send everyday needs and goodies to their family through our partnership with Liberty Commercial Center (LCC). Ang matagal na ninyong inaasahan at pinagkakatiwalaang LCC ay ang panibagong offer namin sa pagtulong sa inyong mga minamahal na nakatira sa Bicol.

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Hindi lang iyon. Dalawang uring BeamAndGo gift certificate and pwede ninyong bilhin para malinaw sa inyong pamilya kung sa LCC Department Store ba sila pupunta o sa LCC Supermarket. Malabo naman yatang may bitbit silang bayong kung bibili ng damit para sa graduation di ba?

Related: did you know that BeamAndGo has more to offer than just supermarkets? Click here to find out

At totoo namang ang ganda ng ating timing ano?

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LCC Branch in Daraga

Maulan nananman sa Pilipinas at for sure, may mga kakailanganin ang pamilya mo pang-handa. Wala kang dapat katakutan kung gusto mong pagpadala ng pagamahal sa mga mahal mo. Bili lang ng LCC gift certificate sa BeamAndGo at siguradong ligtas at sigurado ang kanilang magiging pagbili.

Related: Kung BeamAndGo member ka na, silip ka muna uli sa ating website para ma-review mo kung anu-ano nga ba ang mga pinadadala mo.

Pero sandali. Bakit nga ba dalawang uring GC ang pwede mong mabili para sa LCC? Dahil pinagsikapan ng LCC mula pa noon na makapaglingkod nang lubusan sa inyo, meron silang department store at supermarket. Kailangan ba ng gagamitin para sa salu-salo? Sa supermarket ka. Kung kailangan naman ng mga kagamitan at mga kapote o payong, sa department store meron niyan lahat!

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Hindi na bago sa buong Bicol ang LCC. Matagal na itong pinagkakatiwalaan at unang nagbukas ng kanyang mga pintuan noon pang 1945. Noon pa nito naipagmamalaki na kabisado nila ang pusong Bikolano sa kanilang paglilingkod, serbisyo, at sa katotohanang madali silang mapuntahan. Para sa kanila mahalaga ang buhay pang-araw-araw ninyo kaya pinagbubuti nila ang paglilingkod nila para espesyal ang inyong araw-araw. Di ba? Parang parati na lang piyesta.

Dahil dito, tunay na pinagkakatiwalaan sila sa buong Albay at sa kabuuan ng kabikulan!

Game! Paano ba ito gawin?

Sigurado kaming maraming gustong maging Beamer ngayon sa pagsama sa atin ng LCC. Kung hindi ka pa Beamer, o may kilala kang gustong maging Beamer at nais mo siyang tulungan, eto, pag-usapan naman natin kung paano nga ba magpadala sa Pilipinas.

Una, kailangan kang maging member ng BeamAndGo.

Mag-Sign Up sa aming website at sagutin ang mga tanong doon. Kailangan kumpleto ito.

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Halina at mag sign up na.

Pag member ka na, pwede ka nang bumili ng digital gift certificate. Piliin mo muna sa website ang Groceries (kapag LCC Supermarket ang nais ipadala) at Department Store (kapag LCC Department Store naman ang gusto nila). Click ka doon. Tapos, kailangan mong piliin sa susunod na screen kung saan mo planong magpadala ng gift certificate. Dahil Bicol ang pinag-uusapan natin, click mo ang Bicol Region. Makikita mo naman ang LCC sa mga puedeng mong piliin. Ngayon naman, isipin mo lang kung ilang Php 500 gift certificate ang ipapadala. Siyempre, hindi naman isa lang ang pwede mong bilhin. Puede ang isa, pero mas happy ang lahat kung mas marami! Kung lampas sa isa, pindotin mo ang Quantity para dumami. Tapos, pili ka ng padadalhan mong tao. Cell phone number niya ang kailangan mong ilagay. Kung nagawa mo na ito dati, nakalista na ang mga dati mong napadalhang cell number.

Kung tapos na iyon, bayad na. Maraming payment option na puedeng gamitin. Tandaan lang na may kaunting convenience charge ang BeamAndGo na USD 1.99. Pag nakapagbayad ka na, magpapadala kami ng SMS sa napili mong cell number na padadalhan. Para sigurado, mag-email ka o mag-text sa pinadalhan mo kung nakuha niya ang text message namin.

Once nakuha na niya ito, pwede na siyang pumunta sa LCC!

Ipakita lamang ang SMS sa mga sumusunod na LCC Redemption Centers:

LCC Legazpi- Peñaranda St,. Legazpi City

LCC Naga – Felix Plazo St., Naga City

LCC Tabaco- Ziga Avenue Tabaco City

LCC Sorsogon- Magsaysay St., Sorsogon City

LCC Masbate- Zurbito St., Brgy. Bapor, Port Area, Masbate City

LCC Market Plus Daet- Barangay 6 Market Site, J. Lukban St., Daet Camarines Norte

 

IMG_9678Pagkatapos ng confirmation sa tauhan nila, maari na mamili ang iyong kamag-anak sa kahit alin na LCC Supermarket (LCC Expressmart, Market Savers at Store Plus ay kasama rin) para magamit ang Supermarket GC at sa kahit alin na LCC Mall Department Store para sa Department Store GC.

Ang serbisyo na ito ay tiyak na mae-enjoy ng mga mahal mo sa LEGAZPI, TABACO, NAGA, PILI, LABO, DAET, GOA, IRIGA, NABUA, POLANGUI, LIGAO, GUINOBATAN, CAMALIG, BACACAY, TIWI, SORSOGON at MASBATE.

Okay na? Punta na sa BeamAndGo website at magpadara na kamo sa inda!

*************

Click here to send LCC SUPERMARKET GCs

Click here to send LCC DEPARTMENT STORE GCs

(For the complete list of LCC participating branches, visit their website!)

Building a Start Up? Go Against The Herd

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We zig when they zag.

Last October, Victoria T. Vizcarra of Entrepreneur Magazine, invited me for a little chit chat to share some business insights about BeamAndGo and how we, as a startup, are attempting to “break the mold” in our industry.

Below is a rundown of what had transpired:

Victoria T. Vizcarra (VV): How well is BeamAndGo doing? Has the business reached any new milestones or made any significant changes recently?

Jonathan E. Chua (JEC): We have reached our 1 year mark since we raised our first round of funding. And it has been a wild year …

1. We signed up almost 20 new merchants, with more being added soon;
2. In addition to supermarkets, our merchant network now includes pharmacies, health care, hospitalization cards, OFW protection insurance, eye care, household essentials, affordable electronics, and bill payments;
3. We partnered with offline and online sales channels in Asia, Middle East, Europe and Canada;
4. We participated in OFW outreach events in the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo;
5. We conducted a financial literacy seminar and workshop for OFW families;
6. We started an employee benefits program for companies in the Philippines; and,
7. Our revenues have gone up.

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The BeamAndGo Team at the TGFI Global Summit in Singapore

VV: Has there ever been a time when you trusted your gut to make a big business decision instead of confirming to the norm by which things were normally done? Could you tell us more about this? How did this risk pan out?

JEC: Being a new company in a mature industry, we make a conscious effort to do things out of the norm (we zig, when others zag). However, we are not blindly contrarian: our decisions are based on our core values and made with careful analysis with a view on the long term.

When we first started out, other companies who targeted OFW remittances focused on gifting. Their products included gifts and their advertising leaned heavily on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s day, and birthdays.

For us, we curated our merchant network with a focu on the essentials – groceries, supplies, health, insurance, bills. No teddy bears. No bouquet of flowers. Our marketing and outreach concentrated on essential everyday giving and we advocated responsible spending and financial prudence.

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We always aim to be a trusted partner in our customers’ lives.

Furthermore, our efforts were not limited to eCommerce and our web store. We held financial literacy seminars for OFWs AND their families. While other companies targeted just OFWs, we included OFW families in our outreach; we believe that uplifting the financial welfare of a family is not the sole responsibility of the provider but requires the involvement from the whole family.

Right now it’s too early to see if our approach works; however, this past year, we have gained the support of many merchants, sales channels, LGUs, and NGOs. And more importantly, our customers have made us a trusted partner in their lives.

VV: Follow-up question-If you go against convention, the chances of rejection are much higher. So what made you decide to take that risk?

JEC: “going against convention” was a result of our company beliefs, not solely a decision made from a commercial perspective. So we didn’t perceive it as a risk but as something we needed to do to stay true to the values of the company.

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Staying true to the values of the company translates to how we build relationships with consumers.

VV: Are there any unspoken social niceties that happens when founders are hustling for their business? Have you ever had to be not-so-polite when dealing with others, for the good of the company? Could you give us an anecdote?

JEC: I have noticed that having the title of “CEO” helps to get things moving faster. As for social niceties, we have been treated well by everyone we have met.

Be not-so-polite? Never. We are always polite and respectful.

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Politeness goes a long way.

VV: Have you ever dealt with a lack of support from other people? Could you tell us a story about it? What did you do when faced with skepticism from friends/family, mentors, or even potential clients, when you pitched your business?

JEC: when starting a new company, you need an unwavering and irrational belief in what you are doing. The obstacles and roadblocks are many. The whole process will test your creativity and problem solving skills; but mostly, it will test your will. A highly rational person will give up.

As for skepticism, unless the criticism is constructive, I let it slide. If it’s constructive, I love it and learn from it.

Here’s a story …

When we first started, I informed my family members and close friends. They were all polite enough to say they liked the idea, but when it was time to invest, none of them did. Over the past year, I sent out an email to them every Saturday called “#BeamAndGoStaturday”: the content was lighthearted and contained snippets of what we were doing. 50 weeks later, some the same family members and friends invested in our current funding raising round. Skepticism can turn around with time and positive results.

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Skepticism turned into support for our advocacy to bring something new and meaningful to people’s lives.

VV: Are things like name-dropping, or aggressively pursuing investors, or slightly exaggerating a business’ size/scale things that actually happen within local startup circles? In what ways do you think these can help or hurt one’s business?

JEC: Yes, yes, yes. Every business in the world does this. Doesn’t matter if the company is a startup or a Fortune 500 company.

This might sound Machiavellian, but the business world is tough stuff and as a business owner you have to be ruthless in all facets of your company if the company is to survive and thrive.

Since we started, we have witnessed some borderline un-ethical stuff and the general consensus in our company was “hey, that’s unfair!” But that’s life. How we combat it is to be smarter, work harder, and remember. (I have a good memory)

VV: What advice would you give a fledgling startup founder about treading the line between following the rules and taking bold risks for their startup?

JEC: I am still a fledgling company CEO!

Ok, this is my advice: as a startup, you are inherently at a disadvantage against the incumbent big company: you don’t have a lot of money, you don’t know the market, and you don’t have a large experienced staff. So “the rules” are THEIR RULES and these rules are slanted in their favor. If you think you can beat them at their own rules, by all means go for it. I prefer to zig, when they zag.

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If you wanna read the full published story, grab the November 2015 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine and check out the feature story entitled “The Rule Breakers”, written by Joe Robinson and Victoria Vizcarra.

 

Please vote in the 2016 elections

The Right to Suffrage or Suffer

INQUIRER PHOTO NINO JESUS ORBETA

After living in Singapore for over 12 years and witnessing 3 general elections here, I have come to understand the power of every person’s vote.

When I first moved to Singapore, I thought the city-state was perfect: highly efficient systems, clean sidewalks, orderly and well-mannered people. Everything worked. This was the by-product of a motivated, disciplined and focused government.

The first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, once famously said:

“We (Singapore) would not have made the economic progress if we (the government) had not intervened on very personal matters. Who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit or where you spit.”

However, after over 40 years of hyper growth under a domineering government, Singaporeans wanted a change: they wanted more input into the policies that govern the country and their own lives. During the 2011 election, they spoke with their vote: the People’s Action Party (PAP), the ruling party since the country’s independence in 1965, lost seats in Parliament.

While the PAP still owned the majority of the Parliamentary seats, they experienced the lowest margin of victory in 46 years. This was their wake-up call.

After the 2011 election, the PAP went to work: they held town halls with business leaders, engaged with the citizens on social media, consulted grass roots organizations, and created forums to listen to Singaporeans.

Change happened. New policies were implemented. And in the recent 2015 General Elections, the PAP won nearly 70 per cent of the popular vote, the highest percentage of votes since 2001. It was a clear mandate from the people that they were doing a good job.

The people were heard and the government reacted positively.

Commision of Elections RP

BeamAndGo encourages Filipinos around the world to register and exercise their right to suffrage in the 2016 Presidential Elections.

Now in 9 months, the Philippine presidential election will take place. If you are happy with what’s happening in the country, vote. If you are unhappy, vote. If you are unsure, vote. Even if you are OFW and not living the Philippines, vote.

Here’s why …

If you vote on May 9, 2016, you will be forcing the government to listen to you. What you write in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media channels will mean something; the leaders will need to pay attention.

Your vote is a politician’s currency. If you don’t vote, then whatever ideas or complaints or issues you have are meaningless to a politician. You won’t matter to them.

Plus voting is not a hard thing to do. It only takes two steps:

Step 1. Register to vote. You only have until October 31, 2015, to register as a voter or validate your biometrics data for the 2016 presidential, national, and local elections. For more information, go to http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections/2016/98510-voter-registration-primer-2016-elections

Step 2. On May 9, 2016, go to an election polling station and cast your vote for whom you think will do the best job leading the Philippines.

Remember: your vote is critical in making the Philippines the best that it can be.

I-Remit and BeamAndGo Join Forces

BeamAndGo.com teams up with I-Remit to offer direct grocery remittances

(repost from http://business.inquirer.net/196141/beamandgo-com-teams-up-with-i-remit-to-offer-direct-grocery-remittances)

July 29, 2015

BeamAndGo Pte Ltd, an alternative remittance service that guards against misspent funds through digital gift certificates, has forged a partnership with I-Remit to offer over-the-counter payment services for OFWs to provide for their families’ grocery shopping in the Philippines.

BeamAndGo CEO Jonathan E. Chua said, “We understand that many of I-Remit’s customers have apportioned a specific budget from their remittances to their families’ monthly grocery spending. Instead of sending cash, OFWs can now purchase our convenient digital gift certificates which can be redeemed by their loved ones at our participating supermarkets.”

The insight on the behavior of I-Remit customers is further supported by a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) study on OFWs which revealed that 82 percent of overseas remittances are allocated for their families’ basic needs such as food, supplies, medicine, and utilities.

The partnership with I-Remit, which owns 12 percent of OFW remittance market, will expand BeamAndGo’s distribution network to over 1,400 payment centers. At present, BeamAndGo actively promotes its digital gift certificates in 9 markets–Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, UK, UAE, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

I-Remit Chairman and CEO Bansan Choa said: “We are committed to serving Filipinos everywhere in the world through our modern and efficient remittance facilities. We are excited to partner with BeamAndGo to offer their innovative digital gift certificate platform to our customers who want to assure their remittances will be channeled specifically to grocery spending.”

Jonathan E. Chua added, “Both firms strive to be an instrument of positive change for OFWs and their families. And together, we can provide a more comprehensive remittance service that addresses the issue of fragmentation and leakage. Our services complement each other and I’m looking forward to a long and positive relationship.”

I-Remit customers can now purchase BeamAndGo digital gift certificates in 3 simple steps: First, they indicate the amount they wish to send, select the supermarket, and complete the form with the recipient’s information. Recipients in the Philippines will receive an SMS bearing a redemption code within a few minutes. With this code, the recipient proceeds to the selected supermarket and presents the code during checkout to redeem.

With partnerships with payment centers such as I-Remit, the Filipino remittance startup expects its customer base to grow from 70,000 to 300,000 and revenues to hit $1.5 million by December 31, 2016.

To celebrate the partnership with BeamAndGo, I-Remit customers will receive a discount of Php50 for every Php1000 worth of digital gift certificates bought from August 1 to October 31, 2015.

For more information about BeamAndGo and its services, visit its website at https://www.BeamAndGo.com.

Jonathan E. Chua and Mount Iriga

Hula Hoops, Ping Pong Balls and Tennis Balls

The City of Iriga is located at the heart of the Bicol Economic Growth Corridor and is one of the fastest growing cities in the region. It has evolved into an eco-tourism, agro-economic and educational hub with two big universities within the city. Surrounding the area are more than thirty natural springs giving the city the name “City of Crystal Clear Springs.” Iriga is also referred to as a “Character City” and its citizens have earned the reputation of being warm, friendly, and industrious.

But that’s not why I was there …

Recently at Singapore Management University, I gave a talk about Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), their families, remittance, and BeamAndGo. After the talk, I was introduced to the Honorable Ronald Felix Y. Alfelor, the Mayor of the City of Iriga.

Turns out the Mayor and I share the same advocacy – fiscal responsibility and financial literacy. As a result, he invited me and the BeamAndGo team to a visit and speak with the Iriga’s business, education, utilities and healthcare leaders.

With the wind at our backs, Albert Go (Marketing Director), Jasmin Co (Business Development Associate) and I packed our bags and headed to Iriga for a 3 day, 2 night adventure.

On our first day in Iriga, we spent the afternoon talking with a group of city leaders and business people, discussing the social issues that OFW families are experiencing. We presented the BeamAndGo platform as an agent of positive change and spent time fielding questions and exchanging ideas.

Everybody say

The gang is all here

The merchants, schools, hospitals and utility companies provided great feedback on implementation, concerns, and adoption. It was encouraging to see both the private and public sector acknowledging the plight of OFWs and the willingness to work together on a solution. Love it!

Gawad Kalinga Character Village

On our second day, we were given a tour of Iriga’s Gawad Kalinga Character Village. This village was, and continues to be, the pet project of former Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazman.

Situated along the hillside facing Mount Iriga, the Character Village was built by the poor and less fortunate. Those who participated in the building eventually became the residents. The village is clean and well-maintained. And over the years, through the hard word of the dwellers, this community has become self-sufficient. Power!!

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The Steps of Gawad Kalinga Character Village

At the top of these steps is a wonderful vista of Mount Iriga. I have a bunch of pictures of the view, but I think it’s better if you visit it yourself and enjoy the scenery with your own eyes.

A word about Madelaine Alfelor-Gazman: she is the former Mayor of Iriga and served that position for 9 years, ending in 2013. During those years, she was responsible for much of the city’s progress. She is also a member of Kaya Natin and an avid proponent of good governance.

When there was free time, there was good food …

C’mon, this is the Philippines, you know the food is going to be delicious! We were lucky enough to have the time to enjoy 3 meals a day and each meal was yummy: crispy pata, dinuguan, corned beef hash, pancit, manok inasal, kare kare, sisig, bulalo, inihaw na posit … these are a few of my favourite things!

masarap!

masarap!

In one of our meals, we had the pleasure of tasting the Bicol speciality pinangat. I was already full before I had my first bite, but the pinangat was soooo good, that the taste of all that coconutty goodness made me hungry again.

By the end of the trip, the Mayor noticed that I had gained weight. And he was right!

So what does all that have to do with Hula Hoops, Ping Pong Balls and Tennis Balls?

On our last night in Iriga, we were invited to the surprise birthday party for the President of the University of Saint Anthony. We arrived a little late and missed the surprise part, but we didn’t miss anything else …

Highlight #1. A group of very talented singers and dancers did an Iriga version of Your Face Sounds Familiar. One word: Bondying.

Bondying relaxing

Bondying relaxing! Couldn’t find a better pic, so this will have to do. I think this is from the movie The Little Big Boy (1989)

Highlight #2. Lechon and home-made ice cream.

Highlight #3. Well-sung, really fun karaoke lead by ma’am Madelaine and Romy. While they sang, we danced.

Highlight #4. Three parlour games: the first game involved passing a set of hula hoops through 10 of us, while we were holding hands; the second game was to shoot ping pong balls into a cup, which rested on top of a person’s head; and the last game was a relay race where the participants had to run around a chair while dribbling a tennis ball.

Our visit to Iriga was productive and the party was great way to end the trip. To paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger, “we’ll be back.”

Shout outs to Mayor Ronald Alfelor, former Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazman, Nenet Berina, Nona Santiago, Peter Lagyap, Lilo, and everyone we met at Iriga.

Filipino Remittance Fintech appoints Marketing Director

(This article was originally released on June 8, 2015 and was published in SunStar Baguio, Panay News, Watchman Bacolod, and Ely’s Planet)

BeamAndGo Pte Ltd, an alternative remittance service that guards against misspent funds through digital gift certificates, has announced the appointment of Albert Go as their Marketing Director. This new role reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan E. Chua.

Albert brings with him over 10 years of marketing, investment sales, and fundraising experience in the consumer banking, financial technology, and NGO sectors. In his capacity as BeamAndGo’s Marketing Director, he will be driving their outbound and inbound marketing campaigns to grow the customer base to 570,000 by the end of 2016.

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An alumnus of University of Asia & the Pacific (UA&P) with a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, Albert has had stints in Citibank and General Electric in the Philippines. His most recent job was at the nonprofit organization New Life Community Services in Singapore, where he spent 4 years raising its brand presence and fundraising portfolio to include foundations and top corporates.

BeamAndGo CEO Jonathan E. Chua said, “Albert has a deep understanding of the financial services sector and the issues that Filipinos face on a daily basis. He has already been helping us with introductions to influential merchants and providing marketing consultancy since we began in February 2014. I am excited to now have him onboard full time as we enter our next phase of growth.”

For his part, Albert Go, who himself spent 4 years as an Overseas Foreign Worker in Singapore, shared his own experiences on the plight of Filipinos living overseas. He recounted the frightening stories where money sent by migrants ended up getting misused on alcohol and gambling rather than on life-essentials such as tuition fees, groceries, medicine, and utilities.

The 31-year old social entrepreneur and grassroots event organizer, elaborated: “We Filipinos work overseas because of higher wages. While our motivation is to uplift the quality of life of our loved ones, I still see many Filipinos’ hard-earned savings being squandered by their relatives back home. I joined BeamAndGo because the digital gift certificate technology we created will certainly address this social issue. Our marketing campaigns will aim at educating the Filipinos to shift away from traditional remittances in order to build a better future.”

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at jonathan.chua@beamandgo.com. Also if you like this article, please share it with your friends and family.