Opinion: The middle class OFWs and the cost of higher income

It was the year 2010.

Having been voted by more than 15 M Filipinos, President Noynoy Aquino delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). His electrifying speech against corruption and the culture of “Wang-wang” or special treatment to VIPs was a hit in local press and the business sector.

Noynoy Aquino

A photo of President Noynoy Aquino. Credited for fixing the fiscal policy, reducing foreign debt, and tightening of spending. During his term, income taxes were unchanged. Good or bad for middle class?

Back then, I was working in one of the largest Universal Banks in the Philippines and was drawing a moderate salary but it was not enough for me to be financially free.

Related: Did you know that as OFWs, you can send remit smarter to your families’ household needs from groceries to medicine?  Register now for free and let BeamAndGo help support your family needs

Like many middle class college degree holder employees, my dream was to own my own house and be financially independent. I asked myself the question,” How long would it take for me to accomplish my noble aspirations? 20 years?”

So in January 2011, I finally boarded the cheapest flight to Singapore after months of deliberation with my family.

I armed myself with the very small stash of savings from the past 4.5 years. That’s it! #Bahalanasibatman ika nga but I was confident with my qualifications. So I bid goodbye to my parents, lola, and friends. It was painful, hard, and dramatic. A month after, I landed my first job to oversee the marketing and fundraising programs of a Singaporean NGO. I drew a salary more than 5 times my take home pay in the Philippines.

There were many things I learned while working overseas from cooking, washing of clothes, moving flats, and even dealing with abusive landlords (that’s a different story). But the most important is sending cash remittances back home and its enormous repercussions if not planned wisely. I could just imagine how much more I’d saved and invested if BeamAndGo was already available with its digital gift certificates on supermarkets, medicine, and other basic needs. If you don’t have an idea how it works, just watch this video below:

From my own personal experience and from the testimonies of dozens of OFWs whom I’ve personally met, many of us choose to work overseas because of better employment opportunities and lower taxes.

I will emphasize this because I want our next President to focus on the immediate welfare of middle class Filipinos. You can be assured, just like the millions of Filipinos who left their families, I will be watching your first State of the Nation Address! All of you promised to reduce taxes.  I will be taking down notes and I will hold you accountable. Tandaan niyo, sinabi ninyong lahat na babawasan niyo ang taxes. We are not endorsing any candidate but what we want is for the President to walk the talk, make the biggest sacrifices, and lead by example.  Don’t we all deserve this?

While OFW remittances has been widely acknowledged as the driver of the Philippine Economy (USD 29.7 Billion in 2015), the high costs of absentee parents, loneliness, and risks to life on both physical and mental are enormous. That subject cannot be brushed aside because their are serious concerns. Just read the story of a domestic helper who took her life a few days ago here.

We invite our fellow OFWs to become a member of the Beamer family. It’s a community for OFWs where we freely share stories and provide advice on a range of topics from saving, budgeting, and money allocation, to healthy nutrition.

Not long ago, my blood pressure went up to 160 / 100 in Singapore, when I gorged on chicken rice almost everyday. That was before I noticed that all of my Singaporean friends were eating vegetables and fish soup. Did you know that the mortality age in the  Philippines is 68.5 years as opposed to Singapore at 84.5 years? Stop the chicken rice,  friends!  If you want to learn practical tips on how to live longer, sign up at BeamAndGo now.

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I was in Laoag, Ilocos Norte last Saturday delivering a workshop with Vanessa Cartera, our director of sales, to retired OFWs on the keys to claiming victory in both health and finances. One of the highlights was the subject on 8 dimensions of Wellness. I will discuss more on our findings and also learnings from the participants in my next blog. We will give you tips from Dr. Raymond Escalona, a lifestyle nutrition specialist, on how you can reduce the risk of cancer and live a healthy lifestyle. We thank the Laoag City LGU and its Community Affairs Division for inviting their OFW associations to attend.

But right now, since we only have less than 30 days before we elect a new Chief Executive, let’s  watch the debates attentively and cast our vote according to our conscience, wisdom, and knowledge on what is best for our country. There are more issues from poverty alleviation, crime, drugs, women’s rights, contractualization, and K-12.

We have less than 30 days before we elect a new President. Let’s move away from personality politics and focus on knowing how our presidential candidates will solve our nation’s issues.

I believe it’s time to lower income taxes. There are 1.3 M of us OFWs that can cast a vote and make a difference. We will never forget all the days when we thought about quitting, when we reluctantly left our families, and when we almost lost hope in life. But we can always choose to change the game. We may find the ideal president who can walk the talk.

If you are an OFW and you like what you read, join the Beamer Support Community now. We’re now helping 80,000 Filipinos and you could easily be one of them. Together, let’s cast our votes and be heard by our government.

Kwento natin bilang OFW: Hindi tayo nag-iisa Vol. 2

Handa na ba kayo sa isa pang set ng mga kwento ng mga kagila-gilalas na pakikipagsapalaran ng ating mga Beamer? Mga nanay silang lahat at hindi tayo sobrang naiiba sa kanila. Maririninig mo kaya ang sarili mo sa mga kwento nila?

Di mo pa nakikita yung ating Unang Yugto? Click ka lang dito.

Experiencing the most of life: Karen Jaque

Kilala natin ang kwento ni Karen ng Iloilo: Pumunta Karen Jaque.jpgsiya ng Hong Kong para sa pamilya. Ang hindi natin masyadong naririnig ay ito: Gusto rin niya ng bagong karanasan.

Para sa marami nating kababayan, halos buong buhay nila, doon lang sila sa lugar nila. Maaari itong sa probinsiya nila o, para sa iba, sa mismong barrio pa nga. Si Karen, ngayon ay gumagala na sa malilinis at malalawak ng kalye at building ng Hong Kong.

Matindi ang ligaya na nabibigyan mo ng mas magandang buhay ang pamilya mo pero may halong lungkot pa rin, siyempre.

“Sobrang nami-miss ko ang mga anak ko, si Brian at si Sandy. Sana ma-appreciate at maintindihan nila kung bakit wala ako sa tabi nila while they’re growing up. Nandito ako sa Hong Kong para sa edukasyon nila. Hindi lahat ng gusto nila ay maibibigay ko. Yung best na makakaya ko lang.”

Mula sa malayo, kayang-kayang ibigay ang best sa tulong ng BeamAndGo. Nasubukan mo na?

Halina at maging miyembro na ng BeamAndGo. Mag register na para masimulan na namin matulungan kayo sa pagbigay ng mga advice sa mga usual na isyu at problema.

Every centavo counts: Judie Anne Lauron

Wala nang asawa si Judie Anne at bagong salta lang Judie Lauron.jpgsa Hong Kong at ang layo na nga naman nitong buhay niya sa Hong Kong sa kanyang buhay sa Mindanao. Para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak ang kanyang paghihirap at pagtitiyaga.

Hindi biro sa bagong salta ang mawalay sa mga anak lalo pa’t sa kanila na lang umiinog ang buhay niya. Buti na lang at tunay na mabait ang amo niya at pinapauwi-uwi naman siya. Kaso nga lang, naisip ni Judie Anne na ipagpapaliban na lang ang pag-uwi dahil magastos nga naman. “Yung ipapauwi sa akin, I-pera ko na lang pag umuwi na talaga ako.”

Ganoon dapat mag-isip ang isang Beamer. Oo nga’t malungkot minsan pero para sa higit na ikabubuti ng mga anak natin, dapat kaunti pang tiis. Plus, andito naman nga ang BeamAndGo para tumulong na hindi mapunta sa mali ang perang ipinadadala mo.

Precilla Anares.jpgSi Darna: Precilla Anares

Parati siyang sinasabihan ng anim na anak na umuwi na sa Iloilo pero bilang nanay, alam niyang hindi pa siguro panahon. Mahirap ang buhay sa lugar nila sa Iloilo at malaking tulong ang pagpupursige niya sa Hong Kong para makapag-aral nang maayos ang mga anak niya.

Sila ang D-family. Si Dario ang asawa nitong si “Darna” at ang kanilang mga supling? Sina Darwin, Dariel, Dianne, DJ Diet, at Daylin.

Siyempre, hindi naman puro ligaya ang bunga ng kanyang pagpunta sa HK. Pag wala ang magulang, wala ang magulang. Sabi nga niya, “Mahirap ding wala ako doon sa amin kasi ang mga anak ko hindi makapag-aral nang maayos. Nagbabarkada, siyempre walang nagdi-disiplina nang maayos sa kanila.”

Ano ang gusto niyang ipaabot sa mga anak? “Mag-aral kayo nang mabuti dahil mahirap talaga maghanap ng pera. Ang pinaghirapan ko ay dapat ginagastos n’yo sa mabuting mga bagay.”

Kaya nga siguro Beamer na ngayon si Darna.

Genalyn Magaso.jpgPara sa pangarap sa mga anak: Genalyn Magaso

Labintatlong-taon na sa Hong Kong si Genalyn. Beteranong-beterano na kung tutuusin.

Dating midwife si Genalyn pero hindi nga naman ganoon kalaki ang kinikita ng isang midwife sa Pilipinas at hindi talaga magkasya sa mga pangangailangan nila. Tubong Davao siya at naisipan niyang pumunta na lang ng Hong Kong.

“Umuuwi ako every two years pero mahirap. Nilalabanan ko na lang (ang lungkot) kasi pangarap ko talaga sana na gaganda ang buhay nila t sana matupad ang mga pangarap nila.”

Para sa mga tulad ni Genalyn at ng marami sa atin, ang pagkatupad ng pangarap ng mga anak ay siyang mismong pagkatupad ng sarili niyang pangarap.

Habang nasa malayo, alagaan natin sila sa tulong ng BeamAndGo. Sa pagtutulong-tulong natin, makakaya iyan.

Ano ang kwento mo?

Sigurado kaming may sarili ka ring kwento. Sa Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Middle East, o saan ka man, gusto naming marinig ang kwento mo. Share mo naman sa amin. Huwag ring magpahuli sa pagiging isang Beamer. Sign up ka na sa www.beamandgo.com!

The Best Kind of Summer Planning for OFWs!

Dahil summer na, happy-happy na ang lahat ng mga estudyante. Siyempre pahinga muna sila pero ang mga butihing magulang, hero mode pa rin. Such is life sa magulang, di ba? At happy naman tayo na ganoon nga. Wala na ring mas gaganda pa para sa atin kundi ang magandang buhay ng ating mga minamahal.

Panahon na para magpadala sa Pilipinas galing sa BeamAndGo! Siyempre pa, happy graduation at happy summer sa ating buong pamilya!

Sigurado tayong patuloy na magtatrabaho ang lahat pero dahil oras ng pahinga (nang kaunti lang!) pwede natin ngayong pag-isipan kung (*dandararan*) paano mas mapapabuti pa ang pagpapadala natin sa ating pamilya. We gotta have a plan.

Hindi naman ito iba sa ginagawa ng isang kumpanya pagkatapos ng isang taon. Tinitignan nila ang lahat ng ginawa nila sa buong taon tapos iniisa-isa nilang tignan kung alin ba doon ang mabuting nagawa (Good job!) at alin ang hindi na dapat maulit pa (Let’s try something else!). Kung ganoon sila at patuloy silang successful, siguro mabuting gayahin din natin.

Una: BUDGET!!!

Since sigurado ka naman sa tatanggapin mo

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Limitado ang pera. Kailangang magplano!

buwan-buwan, alam natin ang pera mo pagkatapos ng isang buwan. Susumahin din natin ang pera sa buong taon. Wag na muna nating isama diyan ang pera sa bangko. Kahit na ano pa iyon, savings for a rainy day na iyon. Sa madaling salita: Emergency money. Wag gagalawin.

Ilista na ang pangangailangan ng pamilya – tuition, pagkain, gamot, upa, insurance, property tax (wag kalilimutan!), rehistro ng sasakyan, atbp. Iba-iba iyan sa bawat tao kaya kailangang pag-isipan nang maayos. No copying ika nga.

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.

Ngayon, tignan natin kung gaano kalaki ang kukunin nito sa ating sweldo. Gaano pa ang natitira?

Tapos, kailangan na nating ilista ang mga maasahang gastusin – graduation season na ba para sa inyo? May JS prom ba? May bibinyagan ba? May panlalaking binyag na ba? May plano bang party for this year? Tulad sa unang bahagi ng ating budget, ikaw lang ang makapagsasabi kung ano dapat ang kasama dito. Kausapin ang lahat ng mga tao sa pamilya para mas maganda at kumpleto ang iyong listahan. Again, titignan natin kung magkano ang kakainin nito sa natitira nating pera.

May hindi ka ba maililista? Sigurado iyon. Kaya nga naririyan dapat, pagkatapos itabla sa ating dalawang nagawa nang listahan sa ating kabuunang salapi, ang isasantabi nating “contingency fund.” Ganda ng pangalan no? Parang emergency fund lang iyan pero for the year lang. Yung emergency fund na nasa bangko na, hindi pa kasama dito iyan.

Alam namin na medyo mahirap isipin lahat iyan. Tignan mo itong aming video.

Ikalawa: Ipasa natin ang plano sa ating pamilya

Sinadya talaga namin dito sa BeamAndGo na maging tulong sa inyong lahat kaya nga kami nandito. Dito, katulong din natin ang I-Remit.

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Baka naman ngayon mo lang narinig ito. Basa na!

Dapat nakabudget na ang isa sa pinakamahalagang item sa ating budget – food! Mas madali na ito ngayong gawin dahil hindi mo na nga kailangan pa ng computer! Punta ka lang sa branch ng I-Remit para mapakinabangan ang BeamAndGo Mobile Padala Groceries at, ito na, gagawin mo ang mga sumusunod:

1) Sisiguraduhin mong member ka na ng BeamAndGo.

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Pili, pili, pili.

Syempre naman, gusto namin na parte ka ng aming community. Pagkakataon mo rin ito para makita ang iba’t ibang pwede mapadala sa iyong pamilya. Sign up ka na. Name, email address at mobile number mo lang naman ang kailangan.

Kung miyembro ka na dati pa, good job! At least, updated ka sa mga balita namin.

2) Punta ka sa kahit alin na I-Remit branch sa mundo at mag-fill up ng Remittance Application Form o RAF.

Para maging secure ang gagawin na transaction, syempre kailangan ng I-Remit ang iyong mga detalye: pangalan mo, email address mo, mobile number mo, at tamang mobile number ng padadalhan mo sa Pilipinas.

3) Pipili ka ng supermarket merchant.

Bibigyan ka nila ng aming BeamAndGo “menu” o “clearbook” para makita mo kung anu-anong supermarket ang pwede pati ang mga lokasyon niyo. Sa kasalakuyan, ang merchants namin ay ang mga sumusunod: G Mall, Super 8, Iloilo Supermart, Gaisano Capital, Prince Hypermart, San Roque Supermarket, at malapit narin ang LCC Supermarket.

4) Sasabihin mo kung magkano ang gusto mong ipadala (mula Php 1,000, Php 2,000, o hanggang bahala ka na kung magkano. Basta’t ang denominasyon ay Php 1,000)

5) Bayad na!

Pag nakabayad ka na, may SMS na ipapadala sa iyong recipient. Yung SMS na iyon ang mismong gift certificate ng BeamAndGo na magagamit na nila sa pagbili ng groceries sa pinili mong supermarket. How easy, di ba?

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Oh, di ba? Happy na si Ate.

Ang maganda dito, dahil nga andiyan ang I-Remit hindi mo na kailangang bunuin ang pagpapadala mag-isa. May menu pa ng BeamAndGo. Saan ka pa?

Iremit Mobile Groceries

Aba’y saan nga ba sila? Eto, tignan mo ang website nila para makita mo ang iba’t ibang branches ng I-Remit na maaring puntahan.

http://www.myiremit.com/foreign_offices.php

Ano pa ang hinihintay mo? Punta na sa BeamAndGo website para tignan ang mga pwede  mong ipadala sa Pilipinas tapos diretso na rin sa I-Remit para sa walang kaabog-abog na pagbabayad.

Happy sending, Beamers!

 

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.

Easter: Time again to Share God’s gifts

Filipinos are known for truly valuing their faith and living it in their daily lives. This is probably why one of the first orders of business when a Filipino goes abroad, or anywhere for that matter, is the search for a church.

It is also quite the order of business to find ways to help

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Kain po!

people in need. That seems part of being Filipino as well. Ondoy, Yolanda, at iba pa, parating nagkukumahog tumulong ang mga Pilipino sa ibang bansa kahit hindi nila kilala ang mga natamaan ng kalamidad. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. There’s no such thing as helping only people from your church or subgroup. When there’s a disaster, a true Filipino will help whoever needs it.

But what about those times when there is no disaster? Some people seem to forget that help is also needed and appreciated even if times are relatively safe and peaceful.

This is the case with Pastor Jun Sibuma’s church. Just like many churches, this one relies heavily on the support of the immediate community and those who go there to worship. As you can expect, there are times when things can get tough and celebrating God’s blessings can be in danger of being compromised.

Lahat naman tayo naranasan natin ito kahit papaano. Birthday na walang handa. Pista na walang lechon pero okay lang. At least may spaghetti o pansit. Wag na lang Pan de Amerikano. Pan de Sal na lang.

Familiar situation?

Fortunately for Jun Sibuma of the Glorious Church of the Nazarene in Dasmariñas, Cavite, he had a good classmate in his elementary years with whom he has kept in touch. Tonet Ramos is a Resolution Specialist based in Sacramento, California. Pastor Jun says of Tonet: “We chat often that’s why every time she has a plan to give anything, she always sends a message (first). Basta sinabi nya gagawin nya. Kilalang-kilala ko s’ya napakabait n’yan.”

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Church members getting the goodies using their BeamAndGo gift certificates

Tonet thought of looking for people who could give her some help in passing on some goodies to her friend and his church. It was in this way that she learned of BeamAndGo CEO, Jonathan Chua. She was impressed not only by what Jon was doing, she was also quite impressed with the platform to make things easier and safer for OFWs to send support back home – BeamAndGo. Tonet mentioned her concerns to Jon who helped her set up her account and making sure she didn’t have any problems. Later on though, browsing the site on her own, Tonet saw how easy it was to get things done with the BeamAndGo site.

This case was rather unique for BeamAndGo since this was not a case of an OFW sending support to a family member. It was someone who wanted to ensure that her help and expression of the Christian spirit of giving was sure to get through. Times of giving can both be a wonderful yet emotionally draining experience for an OFW who learns that the well-packed boxes of goodies for their loved ones can get to the family home opened and lacking contents.

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Siyempre hindi kumpleto ang party pag walang candy!

Buti na lang kay Pastor Jun, walang ganoon dahil sa BeamAndGo.

“Iyong transaction napakadali at walang kahirap-hirap. Basta sinabi mo gift check sa BeamAndGo, aasikasuhin agad.”

They got all the stuff conveniently in Super 8 in Dasmariñas, Cavite and when he was asked to describe how he and his church members reacted upon getting the gift certificates from BeamAndGo and when they finally were able to claim all the goods, his response was simply, “Happing-happy. Masayang-masaya.”

Jun adds that, “Mga ilang taon na rin s’yang nagbibigay sa amin. Basta mayroon si Tonet. Hindi madamot at sobrang bait ‘yan kaya maganda ang ugnayan ng church kay Tonet. Kumare ko, classmate ko, at friend kong super generous yan at marami syang tinulungan.”

Jun sent his classmate a message as soon as he received the GCs, which was a very short time after Tonet sent them, and also after his group was able to get the goods from their neighborhood Super 8. He also praised the excellent all-around service given to him from the beginning to the end of the transaction.

The spirit of sharing throughout the year

The Filipino is a person who shares and this is easily seen in this story. Tonet is a person who has been blessed and she shares these blessings with friends like Pastor Jun.

While many of us do send our loved ones back home material expressions of our love in every grocery bag, medicine, insurance plan, etc., perhaps it’s time that we go beyond the family. There are others who also need our help and BeamAndGo will make sure that your help gets to them in the best possible way.

Now that we’re in the Easter season, we commemorate  Christ’s suffering and celebrate His resurrection. With something this special, isn’t it time to send your loved ones and those who need it most something they can truly enjoy together?

Punta na sa BeamAndGo website and let the sharing begin!

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Kain na!

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If you want to give BeamAndGo a try, don’t forget to sign up for your free account at www.beamandgo.com. Avail of a 7% discount on your first transaction by using the promo code: BNG7 on the payment page.

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Have a solemn Holy Week, Beamers!

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!)

Kwentong Beamer: Kanya-kanyang kwento

Unang Yugto

Nagsimula tayo nitong nakaraang buwan sa ating Kwentong Beamer. Nakita natin ang kanilang mga adhikain, mga alalahanin, at ang kanilang dahilan para ng pag-alis ng Pilipinas. Sino nga ba naman ang gustong iwan ang kanyang pamilya?

Ngayon, babalikan natin sila. Sabi nga ng ating pamahalaan, sila ang mga bagong bayani ng ating bayan. Kayong lahat actually. Sa susunod, baka ikaw naman ang maipakita natin sa lahat. Payag ka ba? Sabi ka lang. Gusto naming marining ang kwento mo.

Ang baguhan: Lotlot Jardin

Kaya mo bang hindi makauwi sa mga magulang mo ng Lotlot Jardin (resize)tatlong taon? Hindi biro-biro iyon. Ganyan nga ang naging pagtitiis ni Lotlot Jardin na tubong Quezon.

Good thing for her, she’ll be coming home this month and will be staying for two whole weeks. “Excited na ako makita (ang) pamilya ko.”

Single pa rin si Lotlot; walang asawa’t anak pero sinusuportahan ang magulang pati na ang isang pamangkin na ulila na sa magulang. Sila ang mga dahilan niya para pumunta ng Hong Kong at doon makipagsapalaran. Pero, awa naman ng Diyos, marami siyang nakilalang mga kaibigan kaya masaya naman siya. Things have been really good for her in Hong Kong.

Right now, she’s really looking forward to seeing her parents and her siblings: “Sa aking mga mababait na kapatid, magkikita tayo sa March 2016. Wag kayo mag-alala, maganda parin ako walang kupas. Okay lang ako dito kahit malamig. Miss na miss ko na kayo.”

Apat nang taon: Si Laarni Gonzales

Laarni Gonzales (resized)Kung tutuusin, baguhan pa lang si Laarni sa Hong Kong. Apat na taon pa lang siya doon. Dalawang beses na siyang nakakauwi mula nang dumating at nagsimulang magtrabaho. Yun nga lang, parang parating bitin ang pagbisita sa Pilipinas kasi tig-isang linggo lang parati. Parang kulang no?

Pero malinaw naman din kasi sa kanya ang kanyang pag-alis parati: “Bumabalik agad at kumakayod para sa pamilya. Nag-Hong Kong ako to secure my family’s future at tsaka para matulungan ko ang pamilya ko.”

Mahirap pa rin pero mas napapagaan ang pakiramdam kung alam mo kung para saan ang paghihirap mo.


Ang Negrense na 20 nang taon sa HK: si Melinda

Apat na taong pagitan bago mo makita ang anak mo. Wow. That is not easy, right?

Melinda (resized)Pero sa tulad ni Melinda, isa ito sa mga kailangang gawin. Dalawampung taon na siyang nagtatrabaho sa Hong Kong at tulad ng maraming nagtatrabaho doon, pumunta siya doon para sa kapakanan ng kanyang mga anak na sina Princess at Zania.

“Namimiss ko na sila pero wala akong magagawa kasi kailangan ko maghanap ng pera. Dati every year ako ummuwi pero ngayon mas strict na.”

Fortunately for Melinda, the less frequent trips back home was also rewarded – She now gets to go to different countries like the US, Japan Korea, and others because she’s working with a famous actress and model. For this month, she’ll be going to the US and Australia. How’s that for luck? Swerte no? Siguradong mas maraming magiging pasalubong sina Princess at Zania.

Masipag na Masbateño: Merlinda Gallares

Anim na taon na sa Hong Kong itong Masbateñong ito. Mahirap ang buhay sa Masbate at Merlinda Gallares (resized)kahit mismo sa Maynila, marami pa ring mga pagsubok. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit siya lumipad patungong Hong Kong. Mahirap sa isang ina ang iwan ang kanyang mga anak at parati ang turok ng katotohanang ito sa puso ni Merlinda sa bawat sandaling makakausap niya sa chat ang apat na anak na sina Kaye, Kim, Kean, at Karen – ang kanyang 4Ks. Kung maging malungkot man o magkasakit ang isang anak, hindi niya ito maaaring bigyang aliw o ginhawa.

Pangarap niyang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang mga anak at patuloy niyang pinagsisikapan ito. Dahil dito, tinitiis niya ang pag-uwi ng minsan lang sa isang taon para mas makaipon para sa pangangailangan ng mga anak.

Ewan na lang sa lahat ng mga sinasabing naglilingkod sa bayan ngayon, ang mga tulad ni Merlinda ang mga tunay na bayani.

Ano ang kwento mo?

Sigurado kaming may sarili ka ring kwento. Sa Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East, o saan ka man, gusto naming marinig ang kwento mo. Share mo naman sa amin.

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.