A Kabayan Story: Investing a Thousand Miles from Home
Written by: Peter Simon, Golden Haven Memorial Park Bauan
For many years now, OFWs have been hailed as modern-day heroes. The reasons for which are most glaringly obvious especially on the economic side of things. OFW remittances contribute massively to the country’s half-century-long debt alleviation efforts. But what makes them real heroes is not the money, it never was that.
This is why Golden Haven, driven by our belief that the efforts of our kababayans abroad should not only be honored but celebrated as well, launched a month-wide campaign for OFW’s this July, a campaign that aims to give them the perfect avenue to nurture the fruits from their years of sacrifice.
On Episode 3 of our Golden Morning Podcast, a podcast made to inform Filipinos about trending ofw investment opportunities, we invited Ms. Elsa Belleza, an OFW from Dubai and a certified financial advisor. She and her husband have a wide portfolio of investments, most of which are real estate in the Philippines acquired from their combined salaries over the years.
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Ms. Elsa is a proud investor of Golden Haven Sariaya who initially acquired for herself a total of ten combined properties on her very first purchase. Not only is this a testament to both the profitability and sustainability of Golden Haven Memorial Parks but to the faith of our investors with us as well.
During our talk with Ms. Elsa, we learned a great deal not only about the struggles faced by our fellow Filipinos striving abroad but also about the inspirations behind their actions. To say that it was motivational is a complete understatement.
We asked her five questions throughout the podcast that beautifully summarized her struggles and rewarding experiences in Dubai.
1. What encouraged you to be an OFW and be away from your family?
When asked about the reasons behind her relocation to a foreign country, it is unsurprising that one of the major factors which contributed to her decision was the significant difference between the salaries here in the Philippines and in Dubai.
“Sabi ng tita ko na parang yung kikitain ko sa Pilipinas will be times three, times four. So that’s the reason na I said yes. Kasi parang what’s the purpose why I’m working. Noon gusto ko lang ay tumulong sa pamilya. Yung typical tayo na mga anak an kailangan nating raise yung level ng buhay ng ating mga pamilya.”
Like many OFW’s toiling abroad, Ms. Elsa wishes above all else to improve the living quality of her family here in the Philippines. So when the opportunity presented itself, she did not hesitate to grab the chance and take the leap. Little did she know that her decision to go abroad 15 years ago will change her future for the better.
2. As one of the Overseas Filipino Workers, what struggles and obstacles did you face?
Ms. Elsa shared three difficulties she had to overcome particularly during the earlier days of her being a balikbayan. The first of which was the drastic change in climate. Dubai being in the Middle East, the temperature was scorching hot even on moderate days.
“Grabe ang init as in sobrang init na ‘di mo sya nararamdaman sa atin. Para kang nasa pugon. Wala pa yung init sa atin, wala pa.”
She also had to overcome the challenges imposed by the two country’s differences in their respective cultures. Some would say that of the many difficulties people experience on their relocation, this is the hardest hurdle to deal with, and for very good reasons.
On Ms. Elsa’s arrival at her place of residence, she was caught by surprise that she had to share a room with a male resident. Given her conservative upbringing, it was really uncomfortable and awkward to say the least.
And of course, there was the language barrier. Even if English was the primary mode of discourse at her workplace, the pacing and pronunciation were very different. She had to employ various techniques, combined with a tremendous amount of patience and focus, to make sense of the things people were telling her.
3. In spite of all the difficulties you experienced, what made you persevere?
To know that your family and the people you love are in a good place, may it be physically and financially, is the ultimate reward and the only satisfaction she needed to move forward. She was overwhelmed with happiness and pride knowing that she can provide a better future for her relatives, especially her parents, more so when they are of retiring age.
“Iba pag yung malayo ka sa family. Yan din yung reason why we keep our children here. Kasi mahalaga ang makikita naming ang mga anak naming na lumalaki. Yan din yung reason na umuuwikami taon-taon. Mahal umuwi pero umuuwi kami because of the family, lalo na yung parents na umeedad na.”
4. How many times did it cross your mind to invest your hard-earned money in real estate properties?
Ms. Elsa admitted that she and her husband, initially, were not financially literate, and it was a blessing in disguise for her when she became a part of a financial institution in Dubai. Her learnings about savings and investments, in particular, were life-changing. She also shared that a huge bulk of her portfolio is real estate properties.
When they were on vacation in the Philippines two years ago, she already has her sights locked on Golden Haven Sariaya, but due to scheduling conflicts, she did not manage to visit our office. To her surprise, the price and interest rates already soared in value a few years later when we kept in touch. Without hesitation, she acquired ten properties right there and then.
5. What is your advice to your fellow OFW’s?
She iterated the importance when it comes to proper management of one’s finances.
“Meron kaming finofollow na rule. 10-20-70. So 10% is pay to God, which is tithes, kung kaya naman ng 10%. 20 percent is savings/investment. And the 70% is expenses. Yun lang ang lagi kong sinasabi na magtabi para sa sarili, magtabi para sa investment. For example, with Golden Haven. Golden Haven is giving us the opportunity for as low as 3,000 pesos, makakapagstart ka na with your investment. In a month, kayang kayanila yan.”
Moreover, she also emphasized the importance of preparing for your retirement, and it all begins from proper planning where to invest your money during the prime years of your life.
The stories of our modern-day heroes are not just heartwarming but filled to the brim with vital knowledge and valuable lessons. Not only are they worthy of our praises for the sacrifices they are willing to go through for the sake of their loved ones, but they are also the embodiment and living testaments of the virtues the Filipinos as the nation value above all else: family-oriented, persistent, and hardworking.
May it be real estate, investment in the stock market, mutual fund, life insurance, or any other options, we should always look for other ways to grow our wealth and be with our families in our home country as soon as possible.
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About Golden Haven
Golden Haven Memorial Park is a subsidiary company of publicly listed Villar-owned Golden MV Holdings Inc. Currently positioned as one of the largest real estate companies in the country. Golden Haven offers premium death care services and prime memorial lots. It is dubbed as the most lucrative real estate investment with an average of 20% annual value appreciation.
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