Despite the hours I spent under the sun waiting to be registered, it was a day well spent at the 4th OFW and Family Summit. I do not think anyone who were there minded the multitude of crowds, or the hours having to stand up because all seats were taken, or the long waiting lines. After all, need I say again that the event was for free?
Going into Business 101
The talks focused on four business options for overseas Filipinos: Direct selling, franchising, financial investing, and agribusiness. This was a good eye-opener for anyone who did not yet have any idea where to put his or her money. In other words, let us call this Going Into Business 101.
What better way to prove that success is within anyone’s reach than by the testimonies of former OFWs. Among the guest speakers were Zarah de Jesus-Juan, a former flight attendance turned business owner and green environment advocate; Fe Mejia-Vidal, who had worked as recreation aide overseas, returned home and grew her now-successful bangus business from a P500 capital; and Rebecca Bustamante, a former domestic helper in Singapore and now CEO of her own company.
Quotable Quotes from Former OFWs
True to the event’s title, some lessons were directed at family members of OFWs. Consider these quotable quotes:
- “With the ASEAN Integration in the horizon, you have two options before you: Either be foreigners’ employees, or be someone else’s employer.”
- “Why is it that when we need money as placement fee, we can move heaven and earth to source the amount, but once called upon to start a business, we readily say, ‘I don’t have the money’?”
- “We have this belief that we cannot earn much unless we go abroad. Let’s start changing that. One can succeed at home: All it takes are sipag at tiyaga (diligence and perseverance).”
- On moving from employee to employer: “Which one would you rather do: To fulfill other people’s dream (as employee) or to fulfill your own dreams (as employer)?”
- “An OFW’s heroism does not end once he returns to the country. Let’s redefine the concept by saying that a hero is one who opts to return to the Philippines and courageous enough to start a business for oneself and others.”
But my favorite quote came from one of the speakers, DZMM host and motivational speaker Carl Balita, who addressed this advice toward the family members of overseas workers: “Do your share. Tubusin mo and iyong kapamilya sa kanilang kalungkutan sa ibang bansa (Deliver your family members abroad from their loneliness.)”
Well said. Those working overseas have been taking on much of the burden of the family for years. It is about time those at home take their cue and find a way to make it easier for their members to come home.
The call to action requires family members to use part of the remittance to fund their local businesses so that one day, the income generated could at least match their OFW-relative’s salaries.