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Crisis amongst Filipino Overseas Workers


By: Gemma Lagasca


OFWOverseas Filipino Workers are the Philippine’s current “living heroes” as they say. Generally, they leave their families to work very hard abroad – as “strangers and pilgrims” in a foreign land to earn money. This is to secure their family’s financial future. Based on the government data, there were estimated about 1.4 million Filipinos legally working abroad as migrant workers and continuously increasing each day. Their remittances are continuously boosting the economy for the national treasury.  At the same time, they are the key for improving the living condition of their families.

Unfortunately, not all overseas workers have happy endings. It’s really heartbreaking to hear certain stories about hardworking Filipinos aiming to provide a comfortable life for the family but woke up empty-handed one day. The worst, some even lose their lives leaving their survivors picking up the broken pieces tearfully – to start all over again without the main provider.  Despite the odds, many responsible workers will still push themselves to continue their journey abroad. It is not easy to survive in a foreign land but this article intended to remind those who are still going for greener pasture to learn from the mistakes of others. Here are the common issues with OFWs:

Family Issues

Marital problems top the list of OFW woes. The distance is the biggest threat in tearing apart a good relationship. Some overseas workers think that as long as their family is provided for, their duty ends up there. They probably forgot that the spouse who is left behind is assuming the responsibility of a father and a mother at the same time. The toughest situation is when they are neglected driving the affected to have an affair outside the marriage. If there are more than two children, it’s more likely that some of them will not be guided properly.

Open communication is vital for a long distance relationship. Make sure to set a constant schedule to reach out to your family and listen to their stories and experiences every day.  We should be thankful enough that we are now in the technology era wherein we can talk, cry, laugh or giggle with our loved ones anytime we wanted through Skype or video call. For couples, texting simple messages sealed with love every day will keep help keeping their relationship intact.

Financial Matters

Improper money management and having not enough financial knowledge are few reasons why OFWs go home with nothing. Here are some of the common money-related mistakes:

1.    Uncontrolled spending. The family gets carried away with the concept of having a “dollar provider”. The lifestyle will suddenly change – having more leisure activities, updated gadgets, dining out and fabulous vacations out of town.

To avoid all of these, exercise a good discipline in spending. Don’t think that you’re earning big that your lifestyle will go along with it. Do not let your income catch up with your wants—it will gradually pull you down into a hole of depth if you will allow this to happen.

2.    Depositing all your income to the family. Sending all the money will not be a problem at all if you have a budgeted plan with your partner. It should be clear to both where all these money will go.  However, this is not the case for most families. It should have been better if you have your own savings account to set as aside at least 20% of your monthly pay or more if you can. Send the family’s regular budget but set aside a certain amount for emergency fund.

3.    No long-term financial plans. Many OFWs and their families are enjoying life to the maximum level. They forget about the future especially when the contract ends. Take note that the future will not take care of itself alone. Don’t delay. Start preparing for it now! Set your dream for your family and begin saving and invest in mutual funds or retirement plans.

4.    Involve and teach your family members in managing your finances. OFWs tend to compensate the loneliness of their loved ones with material things. The kids can possibly grow like spoiled brats without any sense of responsibility. This approach is definitely wrong. Proper budgeting goes to every family member. This way, they will realize the value of your hard work.
Remember that the money you are earning now is the time you spent away from your family – so make sure to have enough to live comfortably when you are back.

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10 Ways to Hit the Bottom line – Profits

By: Gynn Flores


ProfitWhen you are in business, you need to have a clever mind to come up with effective marketing strategies to gain a good market share. You need enough capital to finance the operation of your business and of course a good product line that can capture the buying public. The bottom line is to make profits. Achieving this entails a lot of efforts.  Here are some valuable inputs:

1.    Join exhibits and trade shows that are related to your product line or industry. Give out brochures and if applicable, do sampling or actual demonstration of how to use your product. Do not forget to give your business cards to make your contact details accessible to your prospective clients.

2.    Position your location where your prospective clients are. Making yourself accessible will give a better chance for your business to prosper. Proximity is very important especially when time is scarce for many consumers. Offer delivery service to accommodate people who are not so near your outlet. Service oriented businesses should offer home service at a higher rate to cover transportation and extra labor.

3.    Advertise through every available media like television, commercial magazines or newspapers, banners or billboards and plug in radio programs. Be visible to your prospective clients as easy recall is very important when they need your products or services already.

4.    As the internet becomes a more accessible media, create a website for your company or product line, be an e-zine publisher yourself or blog with other publishers’ websites. You can invite people to link to your site’s content also.

5.    Do e-mail marketing offering free consultations to your clients. Make it interactive by encouraging your clients to ask questions about your products. In the process of interacting with them, include a small ad of your products which they might need or want to try out.

6.    Establish a good after sales support team responsible to take care of your clients’ complaints, suggestions or further inquiries. Encourage positive responses and stories they have while using your product. Word of mouth is the best advertisement for almost any product or service.

7.    Always be aware of your competitor’s strategies and don’t be left behind.

8.    Make your rates competitive at all times. Be flexible in terms of giving discounts or freebies for volume purchases to encourage more volume sales.

9.    Make sure that the merchandise or services you are selling are of good quality as it speaks for itself.

10.    Be patient when a strategy you launched did not work. Try other campaigns based on actual statistics and be more creative to capture the target market’s interest and attention.

Having known these ideas to make your business gain more profits will further empower you to acquire a bigger market share. This would mean more profits for you. After all, gaining some money is the main reason why we engage in business.

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The Best Sports Car


By: Gene Carla Chua


KoenigseggEvery time I hear the words “sports car”, I think of a Bugatti, or a Ferrari, but I’ve heard of something else, something better. I am not really what you call a “car person”, but when I heard of this car, it certainly caught my attention. It is called Koenigsegg (cone-ig-seg). The name does sound profound, but that’s because it is a Swedish company based in Angelholm.

Koenigsegg is not just any other sports car. It is involved in green technology. The car runs both on gas and on ethanol. The company has also been active in some development programs, especially when it comes to plug in electric cars. The Koenigsegg is very durable. The body of the car is made wholly out of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a material containing strong crystalline filaments of carbon, and it is indestructible. Other than carbon fiber, the said car is also coated in six layers of paint. It is made sure that the car could make it through the most extreme conditions when running at 400km/h.

The car is very beautiful to the eye. This exterior design is not all for beauty though. The Koenigsegg is wind tunnel tested. “A Koenigsegg is sculpted by aerodynamic efficiency”. Other than its aerodynamic design, it is also sculpted to accommodate the powertrain, and the comfort that riders require.

Carbon fiber is an extremely light material and with its aerodynamic design, the Koenigsegg is definitely a speedy car. It could go from 0 to 186 mph in just 14.53 seconds and 0 to 200 mph in just 17.68 seconds. The Koenigsegg could no doubt beat Bugatti’s record. With that in mind, safety is a must. Again, it is built with lightweight material but balanced weight wise. These qualities will make the car more stable, predictable, and agile. The Koenigsegg, of course is equipped with all modern safety features that every driver would expect. It is unthinkable to try to break a car that is as beautiful and as expensive as a Koenigsegg, but this car has went through 18 different crash tests during the development stage.

The Koenigsegg is definitely a beautiful work of art and an amazing technology, but could you believe that it came from one man’s idea, or should I say a child’s idea. The company was founded in 1994 in Sweden by Christian von Koenigsegg. He got an idea to create a world class supercar since he was 5 years old. Christian was inspired by a stop motion video of a bicycle repairman who built his own race car.

This left an impression in him and as he grew up, Christian kept on dreaming to create the perfect sports car. At the young age of 22 years old, Christian turned his dream into reality. He explored the limits of technology and innovation to build the car of his dream. The first manifestation of his dream is the Koenigsegg CC. This car gave him the courage to continue creating more sports cars, in the quest to achieve perfection.

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Love your Heart

By: Gynn Flores


HeartIt is alarming to note that more and more people suffering from heart ailments are from the below 50 age bracket. In the good old days, it was usually 60 years old and above. This may be because of the food we eat, stressful lifestyle or simply the lack of discipline. It is our heart that keeps us going. Can you imagine when your heart suddenly stops beating? It simply means the end of our existence. Therefore love your heart. Here’s how:

I.    Indulge in heart saving foods like the following:

•    Fresh herbs to replace salt, sugar and Trans fats.  Your food remains flavorful without the guilt. Examples would be rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme that contain anti-oxidants.
•    Black beans contain foliate, anti-oxidants, magnesium and fiber that control high cholesterol and high sugar levels. Make soup or a stew with it.
•    A glass of red wine for women and two for men a day will do well for your heart. Red wine contains rasveratrol and catechins that are good antioxidants that can protect your artery walls. Alcohol itself boosts the formation of good cholesterol (HDL). However, be cautious – too much alcohol can harm your heart.
•    Salmon is rich in omega-3s EPA and DHA.  This lowers the risk of rhythm disorders and reduces blood pressure. It also lowers blood triglycerides and reduces inflammation. Two servings a week is recommended and tuna is a suitable replacement.
•    Extra virgin olive oil contains heart healthy antioxidants called polyphenols that protects your blood vessels and lowers cholesterol. Use this for your salads and cooked vegetables.
•    A handful of walnuts or almonds a day can lower your cholesterol level and reduce inflammation in the arteries of your heart. Walnuts contain monounsaturated fats, omega-3s and fiber. Munch on this instead of chips and sugar-rich snacks. Almonds reduce the risk of diabetes.
•    Green soybeans are rich in soy protein which can lower blood triglyceride levels. Make this an appetizer like in Japanese restaurants.
•    Tofu is rich in soy protein. Make this a replacement for red meat which is bombarded with artery-clogging fats.
•    Have sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes as the former is fiber-filled, have lots of vitamin A and lycopene and do not cause quick spike on your blood sugar.
•    Oranges contain the cholesterol-fighting fiber called pectin and potassium which helps control blood pressure. Have some slices of these or make it your refreshing juice.
•    Carrots are top cholesterol fighting food and help control blood sugar level because of their ample amount of soluble fibers. Include some chopped carrots on your spaghetti sauce or salads.
•    Lower your LDL level which is the bad cholesterol by having some oatmeal in any form. Make it your breakfast in a bowl with some slices of fruit or make a cookie out of it.
•    Low fat yogurt can help control high blood pressure. It is rich in calcium and potassium.
•    Coffee and tea can be helpful in warding off type 2 diabetes. Although they are not advisable for those who already have the condition because they can cause complications.

II.    Indulge in regular exercise ideally 3 to 5 times a week.

Choose from the following:
•    Walking
•    Swimming
•    Any sports activity
•    Aerobic exercises
•    Hit the gym

III.    Avoid having a very stressful lifestyle

It may be easier said than done, but if possible, do not over spend. There is no point in living an expensive lifestyle if you have to work almost most of your waking hours. A simple but healthy lifestyle is ideal.

Will you start loving your heart now?

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