Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Investment Perspective – Ideas and existing business operations by OFWs based in Doha, Qatar

The high profile thinking of being rich is associated with Overseas Foreign Workers in their own community, this belief will only be true when one invests and benefits from these investments.

For years, continued government assisted trainings through OFW related government agencies such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA on-line program), Commission on Filipino Overseas and the Philippine Embassies abroad with the active participation of various Filipino community organizations have been offering trainings purposely meant for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families. Topics usually discussed include insights and tips on basic entrepreneurship including business planning, financing procedures, franchising, stock acquisitions, and Real Estate Investing.

How many times have we heard sad stories of OFWs who returned to the country without any savings?” Hard-earned money sometimes sadly amounts to nothing in the end. Training modules and financial literacy programs will have no bearing unless OFWs are willing to equip themselves with knowhow, skills and act decisively so they can use or invest their hard-earned money wisely.

However, not all OFW stories end up miserably, participants from the latest business forum the author attended a few days ago shared their entrepreneurial stories and kept him and all the attendees stay-put in their seats.

The business forum was attended by his Excellency the Philippine Ambassador of Qatar, Cresente Relacion who gave his congratulatory message and commendations to the member of the group behind the organizing of the Philippine Business Council. It was held at the Crown Plaza Business Park & Hotel on February 09, 2015. The good Ambassador gave an inside scoop about the Philippine economy and how it would stand-high amongst Southeast Asian countries in the near future. Despite the fact that the good Ambassador would be leaving the country at the end of his term, his service to his fellow countrymen especially the help and benefits he extended to the Filipino community in Qatar will always be remembered.

Photo credit to Balitang Q

One advantage of doing business in the Philippines is that it gives OFWs a buffer to any uncertainty in their place of work abroad. However, the author thinks that budding entrepreneurs have to consider the present outlook of the prime movers and shakers of the economy such as the present decline of prices of oil & gas derivatives worldwide which has quite an enormous effect on the financial operations of the oil & gas sectors (producers, operators, engineering service providers, materials & equipment suppliers, shipping & land transport industries, and the banking sector who finance their projects).  With all these uncertain developments, the job security of OFWs worldwide will surely have a domino effect if worst comes to worst. This particular input thrown by the author received mixed reactions from the panelist as well as from the audience but the situation feel like it is a worthwhile point to consider when doing business. 

The council's Attorney General, Atty. Cheryl Grace Montealegre was tasked to moderate the panel discussion which was composed of the council's Chairman, Mr. Gregorio Loayan, the council's Director of Finance, Mr. Derrick Tusi, the President of PICPA Qatar and the council's Vice Chairman, Mr. Lyndon Magsino. Mr. Magsino guided attendees on how to do business in the Philippines and talked about the operations of his clothing and accessories business. He gave tips on how to run a profitable real estate business, the likes of his Bakasyonista Hostel which offers accommodation to foreigners as well as local tourists. 

During the Q&A, Qatar-based OFW, Engineer Fidel Escurel asked about the possibility of franchising a business in the Philippines. Mr. Derrick Tusi responded by giving attendees an idea about how it works, adding that it is more affordable and buyable because of the fact that the operational procedures are already in place, modules are already tested and proven and it gives revenue to the franchisee over time. The franchisee will run the business on a day-to-day operation while the franchisor supplies all the materials such as products, produce, etc. whilst monitoring procedures and the quality of the services offered. 

Engineer Escurel who invested his hard-earned money into the hospitality industry of Boracay Island also shared about his business operations. His business venture, one of the leading accommodation providers in Boracay Island, Escurel Inn, offers affordable rates but their services offered can rival that of big and well known hotel brands situated in the island. Moreover, his condo-rental business in Metro Manila equally gives him decent revenues and unlimited source of passive income for his family in the Philippines. 

Photo credit to Balitang Q

The network tables were abuzz when participants grouped themselves in order to discuss their own upcoming business and plans on how to upgrade their current business ventures into the next level. Some newbie participants ventured from one table to another to get ideas about their subject projects and collated various ideas to serve as guides to what business is suited for them. 

One highlighted topic during the network table discussions is when Ms. Jehan Daud Gandamra, an employee of one of the healthcare providers in Qatar shared her own study about her plans of putting up a legit “halal” compliant business in the Philippines. Her research on the business already took her to Malaysia in search of suited technologies and procedures associated to the business she envisioned, accordingly she already discussed her plan to some Qatari business persons whom she said that a possible partnership is now underway. 

A lot of people were probably thinking “How come it took so long for someone to organize something like this (Philippine Business Council?)”.  But in the end, the business forum went well as planned and as a parting note, the organizing team said: “This forum was really conceptualized for our OFWs compatriots and their families. So we really ensured that every aspect of the event - from the program to the network table, is focused on them. We want the forum to be really worthwhile, educational and inspirational for all of us,” said Mr. Gregorio Loayan, the Chairman of the Philippine Business Council, who is also an OFW himself and a staunch supporter of the program.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My former student is now a Real Estate Investor

By: Evelyn L. Aguinaldo

As a founding parent/teacher at the Philippine School Doha, I am blessed to see my former students succeed in their chosen careers. The solid foundation through education that we teachers have imparted gives a lot of meaning when we see our students become accomplished. Though some are already married and have their own families, some still choose to invest in order to secure a good life ahead of them.

After my joyous stay at the Philippine School Doha I opted to venture out in the Real Estate industry and became an investor, eventually I also became a full-time representative to major real estate developers in the Philippines. I highly encourage parents and my co-teachers to invest in the real estate industry particularly in condominium acquisitions – in fact one particular condominium situated in Manila’s University belt is being referred to as “the Philippine School Doha condo” because twenty-one (21) Qatar-based parents opted to buy unit(s) from me one-after-the other. Many of my clients use their condominium unit(s) as a transit home while vacationing in the Philippines but primarily occupied by their children while studying in different universities. Some clients opt to rent-out their acquired units in order to generate passive income for their family whilst keeping their day job abroad.

To date, a lot of my former students has already finished their studies in the Philippines and has begun to come back to Qatar in order to secure better employment opportunities.

This week there is something that truly makes me happy. One of my former students, Mikki Morales, whom I still have contact through social networking decided to once again listen to my teachings. Now that she and her older sister are working and eager to have a clearer direction in life they wanted to control their finances and  I encouraged them to invest “sa isang investment vehicle na may basehan” which is of course, through real estate investing.

Why real estate? “Sa Pilipinas, ang pinaka-magandang negosyo ay ‘yung kumikita ka na mayroong asset na base sa real estate”.

With the help of my colleague Abe Malicdem of Vistaland International group, we were able to showcase a variety of presentations to the Morales siblings. Today, the Morales’ eldest, Karen, decided to acquire a condominium unit at the Vista Residences Taft (near De La Salle University) while her younger sister Mikki choose a condominium unit at the newly-launched Vista GL Taft (across UP-PGH campus).

Young & beauteous entrepreneur - the Morales sibling

If my former student is already taking control of their financial life through various investment vehicles at such a young age, particularly in the Real Estate investing, there’s no reason why you can’t.

Signing of reservation agreement (November 07, 2014)

This article is intended to inspire budding entrepreneurs especially those in the real estate industry. I believe that the best way to acquire skills in this field is to learn to get the right information. You are encouraged to share this article to everyone in your circle or share a quote or your views by simply participating in the forum. Let us join hands in promoting real estate investing as a major source of passive income for everyone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Financial literacy - a positive approach in gaining wealth for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)

Fredolin P. Aguinaldo – Doha, State of Qatar

Courtesy of Jessie Gabiola Ako Pinoy president 
Philippine embassy officials in Qatar recently lauded leaders of Filipino community organizations who are gaining recognition through their financial advocacy program that encourages their compatriot Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and their family to go into business.

Their latest training program is in line with the vision of the Philippine Ambassador to Qatar, H.E. Crescente Relacion in equipping OFWs with the knowledge to save.

The training was first offered to the leaders of different Filipino organizations in Qatar who then prepared their own training syllabus and modules to be used and implemented by their respective members.

The training was conducted by several Filipino financial advocate members from Overseas Filipino Investors and Entrepreneurs Movement (OFIE-M) and – Pinoy WISE Movement (Pinoy Worldwide Initiative on Savings and Investment and Entrepreneurship) in partnership with the Philippine Embassy. It was held at the premises of the new Philippine Embassy in Jalaih area, Doha, Qatar on September 25, 2013.

About ten (10) community leaders representing their organization attended the training program.  Attendees were compromised of engineers, financial analysts, well respected educators, technical staff, health care professionals and government institution representatives – the like of the Social Security System (SSS) and Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-ibig.

Filipino community leaders first batch attendees

The program kick started with Mr. Jun Villena – United Filipino Organization in Qatar Advocacy & Training member and moderator of the day, who introduced Engineer Danilo de la Torre – pastor, Pinoy WISE Movement member who leads the invocation.

United Filipino Organization in Qatar or UFOQ Ways and Means Committee officer Mr. Edd Alcantara gave a brief summary about the chosen speakers and the topics to be discussed during the training as part of his opening address. The crowd was eager for more so when Mr. Villena asked everyone to introduce themselves and speak out, the participants were more than willing.

The author, who was also present, started the ball rolling with a “Gusto kung yumaman, papaanu ko gagawin yun?” (I want to be rich, how can I make it possible). Another attendee, Mr. Pol said, ”Wala akong ka-ide-ideya kung papaano ako mag-sisimula” (I don’t have that slightest idea how to start).

De la Torre took these questions into consideration and started off with these words: My friends, you are not alone – there are thousands and thousands of OFWs out there who are in the same shoes as you are now, it is a good thing that I am now rich",  he laughed as he started his discussion.

Contents of his presentation depicted the way of life by most Filipinos working abroad: that OFWs are easily being exploited, that they tend to change their lifestyle easily because money sources are easily available now and how they end up returning home with little or no savings and sadly, easily being attracted to others tending to forget his/her family values – a typical story of OFWs abroad.

With this in mind, de la Torre discussed about the impact of social reasons regarding Filipinos migration and investments. Aided by impressive technical knowledge clearly seen via his presentation, that is seemed to surpass those being used by prominent speakers worldwide and his expertise on his topic he was well received by the public.

During coffee break, the writer had the chance to ask a lady volunteer on how they acquire funds for learning materials, freebies that are given and food that are served during trainings. It is indeed a classic example of volunteerism, simply because it is being financed mostly from the group's budget wherein a huge chunk comes from generous Filipino entrepreneurs who believes in their financial literacy training program. This well mannered and very accommodating lady was none other than Atty. Daisy Tingson who acts in her capacity as adviser of OFIE-M.

The writer also got to talk with a very important person whom he believed to be one of the pillars of the on-going advocacy program. He is an engineer by profession and later talked about his group's on-going training program at POLO/OWWA office at Bin Omran held every Monday evening.

“OFIE-M has been continuously providing training to our college OFW for the past year dubbed as “Seminar on Financial Literacy” together with various related topics until participants acquire enough knowledge to go into business when they plan to go back home for good,". He was revealed to be Engineer Julius Espina – founding member of OFIE-M who steers their group into helping others to succeed.

The next speaker claimed to be very gentle – in fact, they always addressed him as “Ginoong Billedo”.  His vast experiences in foreign affairs gave him all the right to tackle some of the key issues regarding the social cause of migration. His presentations was aided by factual data gathered from different government posts so that the agencies tasked to oversee the welfare of Filipinos abroad have clear idea on how they can best serve the needs of OFWs. Richard T. Billedo is the present Philippine Embassy Consular Assistant, Cultural Officer and Attaché in Qatar.

In a nutshell, the training program’s main topic was that of issues regarding the social causes of migration and how to cope with problems during their stay abroad. "Financial literacy is another key topic that the organizing committees tackled during the training program - just as more-and-more OFWs are now beginning to realize their best options to handle their finances productively, Filipinos in Qatar have to take advantage of this kind of training program", Billedo said. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pinoy Ads Qatar (PAQ) Grand Eyeball Party

By: Fredolin P. Aguinaldo – Doha, State of Qatar

Nowadays sharing experiences with friends near or far can be done by a mere click of a button. For people abroad, the gap between them and their loved ones back home are now linked by modern technology. In Qatar, virtual friends had a chance to see each other and come together in a Grand EB party as what Pinoy Ads Qatar (PAQ) did for their online members.

Held at the picturesque beach of Wakrah City in July 05, 2013, Pinoy Ads Qatar (PAQ) - the first and No.1 Filipino on-line virtual market place in Qatar – hosted their 1st grand eyeball party with their active online members and friends to celebrate with them the growth and success of their group.

Spearhead by the webpage creator Ms. Minda S. Obeidat along with her fellow administrators, revelry started at around 6:00 AM and lasted until the wee hours of the next morning. Coupled with good food brought by the members, good times were shared by each and everyone while getting to know more about each other. When karaoke time came, the stage suddenly became a showdown amongst fellow members who completely ignored the sun’s heat and the scorching sand alongside the beach.

The event was generously sponsored by some of its members, who gave away prizes as well. The merrymaking was also covered by ABS-CBN Global Ltd. correspondent through admin Delfin Montenegro and Jen Pacleb respectively who happens to be active members of the group.  

The party was meant as a thanksgiving occasion for the dynamic on-line entrepreneurs of Qatar and a way of solidifying the relationship between members and supporters who share their time, views and effort towards the continued development of the group with their combined passion in entrepreneurship and love for social networking.

Evelyn L. Aguinaldo, an active Real Estate property seller paid tribute to the community members and said: “When Ms. Minda S. Obeidat started the group through FB, she had no idea that it would become this big and that it would be a venue for budding entrepreneurs like us to sell and offer services”. She was also quick to note that she enjoys the group because everyone shares their opinions regarding different issues, from personal problems like love life to views about current events in politics.

Pinoy Ads Qatar (PAQ) was created on September 05, 2011 by Ms. Minda S. Obeidat It is a place of trading in Facebook. You can sell, buy or swap your products and offer services with any interested members. To date, 13,406 active members are listed and hundreds of new members are added on a daily basis. In recent admin discussions, by-laws have been amended and to keep track of the activities of its members, additional administrators has been pre-drafted who are hoping to be of service to other members very soon.

For PAQ EYEball Video CLICK Image

For More Pictures CLICK Image

Friday, May 10, 2013

Green Architecture: The in-thing in Real Estate Investments in the Philippines

With Elements Eco-Efficient building in mind, the developer’s perspective in urban eco-living will be envisioned on their up-coming project at the Nerou Tower and the Aire Tower which is tragically located at the heart of Metropolis along Shaw Boulevard, Kapitolyo, in Pasig City.

Elements Eco-Efficient Residences Invites all kind of conveniences and amenities to complement your modern unban living. Resort -style swimming/lap pools, child-safe indoor playground, theater room, a spa and wellness center, fully equipped gym, Wi-fi lounge, business center and boutique mall with cozy restaurant and quaint shops are just step away from your elements.

In order to see and hear the features and award winning specs of the above project themselves despite everyone’s busy schedule shifting from work and social activities including that of OFW’s right to choose and vote for their bet in National and Local post trough the absentee voting in various locations in Qatar, a sizable crowd of fifty (50) prospective investors gathered for the grand launch of the newest landmark in Shaw Boulevard was held last night at Emerald Function Room at Holiday Villa Hotel & Residences Doha, Qatar.
The organizing head of the event Ms. Evangeline A. Yia thanks everyone who participated in the preparations including those logistics made by the sales team of Qatar and further, welcomes all visitors.

Ms. Doreen L. Carlos talks about the art of investing and found that her exemplary professionalism on how she managed to keep the crowd alive and on fire and to further amuse those heckling questions from the crowd makes her very successful in her chosen field.  To top it all - She further says, as OFWs one has to learn to manage their finances well and channel their extra income trough Real Estate investing.

Charmaine addressing the crowd
The beauteous Ms. Charmaine Ibanez from the Elements Eco-friendly Residences said that due to the project buyability, the zoning requirements in the area has been slightly altered to accommodate the futuristic twin-building design that has been up-graded to 28 floors iconic green architecture who then expertly explains all the technical aspect and building details of the project.
Prices ranges from P2.0 million to P8.3 million with livable areas from 23 square meters to 90 square meters. 

The site preparations are now in full-swing according to her and buyers is set to move-in by December 2015 she continues.

International food menu was served to the delight of everyone attending the presentation – and while everybody is busy having dinner; Ms. Ibanez gladly announces buyers who confirms their interest on the project.

The presentations last past 10:00 P.M, Doha time and by gauging Filipinos interest in Real Estate investments – there is still a lot of room for Real Estate investments by our own OFW’s in Qatar to whom I recon – will be a delight to those more than hundred-fifty (150) home-grown property developers in the Philippines.

Friday, March 29, 2013

PAQ members donate blood

By: Fredolin P. Aguinaldo – Doha, State of Qatar

Courtesy of Jen Pacleb - ABS-CBN correspondent, Doha, Qatar

In order to achieve optimum stock level of blood - Hamad Medical Corporation mobilized their resources after various campaigns urging Qatar residents to donate blood.

To serve the request of different organizations, Hamad Medical Corporation deployed mobile blood donation centers at strategic locations in order for Qatar residents to have easy access in joining the bloodletting program.

Today (still going on at this writing) through the initiative of Ms. Minda S. Obeidat, creator of Pinoy Ads Qatar along with PAQ administrators, the Filipino Workers Cultural and Development Center at Bin Omran, Doha, State of Qatar was swarmed by eager Filipino volunteers to donate blood. Seventy (70) registered individuals, comprises mostly of PAQ members along with fifty-one (51) members of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc.,  passed the initial screening and donated the greatest gift another human can receive, life.  

Ms. Minda S. Obeidat said that as a health professional who works and has lived in Qatar for most of her life, it is her vision to help everyone especially our “kabayans” (fellow Filipinos) to have access to the best medical care offered by the State that is almost free-of-charge and subsidized payments for most of the medicines given to its residents trough various government health care facilities in Qatar.

Also in attendance was the resident officer of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), OWWA-Officer in Charge & Project Director Mr. Philip T. Alano who assured that donors and volunteers had a pleasant stay at the center.

By giving blood – one is regenerating a healthy supply of blood in his/her own system. Sharing a little bit of one’s time, a single blood donation can make the difference between life and death. This just proves that not only superheroes have the ability to save lives. 

The author is a big ”C” survivor since 2010 who spent his medical treatments at leading health care providers of St. Luke’s Medical Center, Philippines and National Center for Cancer Care and Research, State of Qatar and still productively working at Qatar Petroleum since 1985. 

CLICK Image for ABS-CBN Report

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pinoy Pop (P-Pop) Love Songs: Mga awit at Kuwento ng Pusong Pilipino - Featuring Fred & Bellen Love Story

By: Fredolin Pagdilao Aguinaldo – Doha, Qatar

CLICK Image to see the VIDEO

As part of "Himig Handog" song writing competition who produced a handful of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) hits that are still heard on radio today, like "hindi na Bale", "Kung Ako na Lang Sana", Hanggan", and "This Guy's in Love with You. Pare. "ABS-CBN and Star Records has re-launched the project, with the theme "Pinoy Pop (P-Pop) Love Songs: Mga awit at Kuwento ng Pusong Pilipino. " The competition also encouraged viewers all over the world to share their Love Stories and have a chance to be featured at ABS-CBN Valentine's Special.

This year - Aiza Segerra's interpretation of " Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa" is adjusted as the Best P-Pop Love Song.

Our 25th year wedding videos was part of the ABS-CBN's Himig Handog 2013 feature and was also shown on TFC as their Valentine's Plug.

Song: This Song Is For You (Himig Handog 2013)
Performed by: Erik Santos
Composed by: Jude Thaddeus Gitamondoc
Wedding video courtesy of Zoombox Wedding Videos
Video Provided by: Cath Recio
Special thanks to our daughter Rea Lynne Lopez Aguinaldo who narrated our Story.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My wife’s dream wedding becomes a reality: A tribute to our 25th year’s married life.

By: Fredolin Pagdilao Aguinaldo – Doha, Qatar

Because of my wife Evelyn’s dream to be blessed in a church wedding ceremony, my eldest daughter Rea Lynne together with my son Fredolin II and youngest daughter Anna Mae planned six (6) month ago supposedly surprise wedding and celebration to our 25th year of marriage life.

However our plan wasn't the surprise we hoped it would be because we had to reveal it a few weeks earlier for some Roman Catholic Church requirements that needs the bride’s personal appearance. Nevertheless we still managed to prepare all the necessary arrangements without her knowing. We managed to ask her to dress-up for a supposedly photo shot for Fredolin II school project but ended up bringing her to the Basilica De San Sebastian in Quiapo, Manila for a needed pre-wedding seminar and other paper requirements.

A twist of event nearly ruined all our efforts and plans when I had a misunderstanding with our only son Fredolin II the night of Pagdilao’s clan yearly reunion on the 30th of December 2012. Thank God we were able to sort-out our differences before the year ended despite missing out on the opportunity to be with my extended family and friends.

Two (2) weeks ago, Evelyn and I finally shared our vows in a church wedding together with our family, old and new friends minus a very important figure – my father Anton who passed-away early last year. The effort of our event coordinator daughter Rea Lynne to bring the best for our wedding anniversary celebrations paid-off when she saw that everyone was having fun. Every detail was masterminded by her up to the tiniest detail.

I felt like a stranger when we had our civil wedding rites twenty-five (25) years ago (because I went to General Santos City all alone) – but the adrenalin that ran through my whole body during that time still lingers as of today. Evelyn is still gorgeous as she used to be despite having three (3) kids taking a toll on her once slim body. I on the other hand survived four (4) chemo therapy sessions due to cancer which made my body really frail. Twenty-five (25) years has passed and after treatment a brand-new and better me is all I can offer and share with my wife.

Celebrating our love along with our two lovely girls Rea Lynne and Anna Mae including our only son Fredolin II made it a memorable occasion. I always tell my siblings that this might be my last “hurrah” but they always ignore my jokes and say: “masamang damo-mahirap ma-matay” – how I wish it is true.

After so many disagreements in life throughout those twenty-five (25) years of living together, I think we are still in love. No - we are still in love. My siblings, close friends and family members think that NGO’s and Women’s advocates should give my wife “matiisin or martyrdom” award because of my temperamental attitude. I still remember when I was bedridden for 6-months I would say “wiwi” (I want to pee) and my wife was always there to assist me. I fully agree that the “matiisin” award is best fitted for her; no one can surpass my wife Evelyn - because of that I love her more than my life.

Marriages is not an easy journey, but with our faith to each other were able to weather it all. We have each other to cling on and those three (3) beautiful children; they are the reason for living. Every negative incident we encounter should be forgotten and replaced with love and affection.

I have found happiness with Eve and never have I planned to let her go. I know I have shortcomings but I will always try to find ways to make up for them. I always treasure her love and as a result hope to be together with her until the very end.

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