Women Leaders Who Will Inspire You to Be the Best Version of Yourself

While the Philippines is often at the listed as one of the countries that score well in equality in the workplace among its Asian neighbors, this doesn’t mean that gender discrimination doesn’t happen anymore. In fact, benevolent sexism—which is inherent bias wrapped in supposed gestures of good faith—is still quite rampant, and is present when a woman is asked to handle a male client “kasi mas mabait sa ‘yo,” or when a woman is assigned to do a pitch “kasi maganda ka.

The nine fierce bosses below prove that a woman’s seat is at the head of the boardroom. Shining in their own industries, they continue to break the glass ceiling, holding the torch high so that others may find their way through mazes of discrimination and misogyny to take their rightful positions as leaders.

This post was originally published here:

Margot Torres

Margot Torres is one of the people at the helm of Ingat Angat, which is “the country’s biggest consumer confidence campaign” for Task Force T3, a collaborative consortium of private companies helping the government fight COVID-19. Aside from this, she works on other projects that help address hunger and malnutrition, while overseeing operations in fast-food chain McDonald’s as its Managing Director.

“It is not enough to look at just the projects that gain media exposure because the more compelling work of women at McDonald’s happens every day, in the kitchens of all our restaurants in the Philippines,” she says in a release. “Each day I am inspired by the skill and tenacity of our restaurant managers and crew, whom I believe, through their unique strengths, are pivotal for the success that has brought McDonald’s to where it is today and in the future.”

Irene Jose

From becoming the VP for Finance of the Araneta Group, Irene was assigned as the Chief Operations Officer of Uniprom Inc., the conglomerate’s arm that manages Smart Araneta Colisuem, New Frontier Theater, and the Gateway and Ali Mall Cineplex, which flourished under er leadership.

But while she has a lot of accomplishments under her belt (such as re-aquiring hosting rights for the NCAA and offering their stage to many K-Pop acts), Irene has always attributed her group’s success to her officemates. “I would say that I have been very fortunate to have worked with supportive colleagues and superiors who have really empowered and fully entrusted me with my craft.”

Chacha Juinio

As the Chief Operating Officer of PPI Holdings, Chacha oversees the operations of exclusive franchises such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Dairy Queen; but she admits that it wasn’t always a smooth journey for her. “The most significant barrier I faced is bias,” she shares. “Early on in my career, the general consensus on women managers is we would give up our job as soon as we had children, or worse, we became unreliable when we have kids.”

Despite this, Chacha has forged on, leading the company through the COVID-19 crisis. “Women need to believe in their innate intelligence, their skills, and more importantly, their voice.”

Angela Cretu 

For over 21 years, Angela Cretuhas been working with Avon. She held several sales positions and worked her way up the corporate ladder until she recently took on the role of Global CEO.  

Like everyone else, what drives her to get up and work each day is her purpose. “Beauty goes beyond transacting makeup, fragrance, and skincare,” she shares with Female Network. “For her to really feel beautiful, she needs to feel that has the freedom of choice, that she has financial independence, that she’s well. Empowering women really has a ripple effect in the society.”

For decades, Avon has been enabling women to become entrepreneurs with their business model of direct selling. This allows them to have flexible work options, too—especially during the pandemic.  

“Women have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic with additional huge pressure coming from financial stress and being isolated. This has been excruciatingly painful for women… so we had to do something,” said Angela. 

“In my own experience, [after] working in Russia, Middle East, Africa, and U.S., I’ve heard thousands of life stories that are guiding me until now. These are stories of women just like myself. I found strength in those. So I said, why don’t we create a global movement of really showing women around the world that they’re not alone?” 

Maria Manlulu-Garcia

Maria has been a hotelier before she joined Novotel Manila, opening four international hotels and rebranding three in the span of her 28-year career. Her rise through the ranks has made her the first Filipina General Manager of an international Accor hotel brand locally, and with her influence, she chairs the RiseAsOne program, which aims to promote diversity in the workplace.

“More companies and management need to have the awareness to fully understand what diversity and inclusion are all about,” she say. “It is no longer about women but embracing all genders. No one wants to have special treatment; we all just want to have the same and equal opportunities.”

Lorna Fabian

With tough competition and even a tougher pandemic environment, Lorna Fabian unwaveringly heads the Araneta Group’s leasing department, bringing the company to acquire over 600,000 square meters of leasable spaces.  

She attributes her success and her resilience to having a positive outlook in life, and she also believes that leadership should always be merged with compassion: “I always desire to develop my team to be better than me.”

Melissa Henson

With the belief that “marketing changes with people,” Melissa Henson continues to add a touch of compassion in all her communications as Manulife’s Chief Marketing Officer. A veteran in the field, she admits that her current role still continues to be her dream job as it gives her satisfaction to listen to and address the needs of their customers.

“Courage helps in advancing your career because you need to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, both in personal development, as well as in exploring new projects and initiatives,” she notes. “Asking questions and striving to learn helps in becoming better professionals and leaders, because you’ll find different ways to deliver solutions.

Diane Romero

Diane Romero joined the Araneta Group as a fresh college graduate in 2004, and more than a decade later, she is now its AVP for Business Development. The company has helped her find right balance between her passion and her career—staying on top of special projects and spearheading the company’s CSR under the J. Amando Araneta Foundation, which supports hundreds of scholars, provides housing for vulnerable individuals, and manages a public museum, among others.

“I am blessed to have my passion, vocation, profession and mission converging and leading me to where I am now. But everything was not handed on a silver platter. Trust was built and maintained over time, starting from the smallest, the simplest tasks.”

Marjorie Go

Marjorie Go is behind rebranding “Araneta Center” into “Araneta City” to run with the major developments in the area. As AVP for Marketing and Promotions, and the youngest member of the Araneta Group management, she and her team have already mounted several large-scale events, including homecoming parades for Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray.

Despite her many achievements, Marjorie continues to seek guidance from her mentors—her former and her current bosses. “They continue to inspire me to become a better leader. Both are generous to share their knowledge, gave their full trust to me… Sometimes, when I decide on something, I would ask myself, ‘What would these two do?’”

As a leader, she believes that it is a must to constantly learn and evolve in all aspects. “The constant balance to continuously reinvent yourself and inspire and train the people under our wing is challenging. I constantly remind myself to have that growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, to embrace challenges and accept criticism, and to focus on learning.”

Pia Wurtzbach Recalls a Point in Her Life When She Had Only 100 Pesos in Her Wallet

This was originally published here.

“Wala akong pera. Wala akong trabaho. As in wala lahat.”

by Marj Ramos Clemente for Preview.ph|2 DAYS AGO

Pia Wurtzbach is no doubt one of today’s most successful career women, having worked hard to achieve all of her dreams, including being crowned as Miss Universe 2015. But just like the rest of us, the 31-year-old model, actress, and beauty queen has had her fair share of struggles that made her question herself. In fact, she recently recalled a grim point in her life when she only had a measly one-hundred pesos in her wallet after going through a crazy breakup.

In a podcast episode of Between Us Queens last March 12 wherein they were asked to share their “crazy breakup story,” Pia talked about how she once went through a regrettable relationship that made her give up her career, family, and friends. 

“Before this whole pageant thing, before Miss Universe, before Binibini, I was a very different person. Under ako noon sa lalakiYung parang kung ano yung sabihin niya‘yon ang masusunodHindi ako lalaban kahit alam kong mali. I didn’t really have a voice. So, I was that kind of girl. I was very submissive,” Pia opened up. “Mas pinili ko siya kesa hanging out with friends. Mas pinili ko siya kesa sa spending time with family. I gave up my career, I stopped doing the jobs that I was doing, which also meant I didn’t have an income. So, I had nothing.”

While she didn’t name the ex-boyfriend in her story, Pia recalled feeling so lost in the relationship to the point that she had no sense of her identity anymore. Thankfully, reality struck and she realized that she needed to earn back her own voice and take back control in her life. “One day, I just woke up and I realized I didn’t want this anymore,” said the beauty queen.

Pia, who was then staying with her boyfriend, packed up her bags and left. Having no money and nowhere to go, she asked a close friend if she could sleep over for a few weeks until she’s back on her feet.

“I just remember packing whatever I could, getting into my friend’s car, and just having only 100 pesos in my wallet,” she recalled. “Wala akong pera. Wala akong trabaho. As in wala lahat. And I had to rebuild myself again from zero.”

Not letting this curveball dishearten her, Pia took it as a valuable lesson on self-love and the courage to start again from scratch, which eventually became a turning point in her life. “May mali din ako for sure kasi I let it happen,” she admitted. “After that, that was a big learning experience for me, na hindi pwedeng Yes Girl tayo palagi.”

We all know what happened after that—Pia bounced back, trained for Binibining Pilipinas, and competed three times before eventually taking home the Miss Universe crown. She is now happily coupled with Scottish travel entrepreneur Jeremy Jauncey.

True enough, it takes an empowered woman to take control of her own destiny and let go of toxic relationships. Keep inspiring, Queen P!

Watch TV on the go with ‘GMA Now’

For only P649 with no monthly fees, watch TV on-the-go for free and enjoy interactive features with GMA Now!

Philippine media giant GMA Network is innovating Filipinos’ TV viewing experience anew as it officially unveils its mobile digital terrestrial television (DTT) receiver ‘GMA Now’ – a plug-and-play dongle that allows users to watch TV on the go for free and enjoy exclusive interactive features.

“As the country’s leading broadcast network, it is only fitting that we continue to improve our content and innovate our digital TV products. This is our way of expressing gratitude to our loyal Kapuso for their unceasing support. We are proud to say that GMA Now is the first mobile DTT receiver to combine traditional TV with the advantages of interactivity via the internet. This product was developed by our digital media and technology arm GMA New Media, Inc. with the Filipino viewers in mind as we adapt to their evolving needs and interests,” shared by GMA Network, Inc. Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon.

GMA Now enables Android smartphones to receive clear and live digital TV broadcast of the Kapuso channels GMA, GMA News TV, Heart of Asia, Hallypop, and soon, DepEd TV, as well as other free-to-air channels available in their area.

Aside from this, the Kapuso Network’s newest digital TV product also has the following bonus interactive features that GMA Now users can get to enjoy while connected to the internet.

Through the GMA Videos-On-Demand tab, GMA Now users can likewise get access to exclusive Kapuso content whenever they want.

GMA Now’s exclusive messaging service Groupee Chat allows viewers to create groups and chat with family and friends while watching GMA programs. And soon, they can also get the latest updates on their favorite Kapuso shows via this feature.

Bringing entertainment to a whole new level are GMA Now’s Interactive Promos where users can join fun quizzes and polls for a chance to win prizes.

“We are very proud of this opportunity given to us by GMA to evolve the business further and use technology as a way to navigate ever-changing viewing preferences. With GMA Now, viewers can watch their favorite programs, and more importantly, engage more fully with the shows. It is a new experience that we are happy to have helped create,” GMA New Media, Inc. President and COO Dennis Augusto L. Caharian said.

GMA Now is available in portions of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Baguio City, Pangasinan, Batangas, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.

It works with any Android smartphone that runs on Android OS Marshmallow (Android 6.0) or higher, Dual Core 1Ghz CPU, and USB OTG support. GMA Now is also set to be available soon for iPhone users.

Simply download the GMA Now app from the Google Play Store to register for free and attach the GMA Now dongle on the smartphone.

Viewers can also catch GMA Now’s grand launch slated on ‘All-Out Sundays’ this February 7.

For only P649 with no monthly fees, watch TV on-the-go for free and enjoy interactive features with GMA Now, available online via the official GMA Store on Lazada and Shopee or visit your nearest tech and gadget stores. For the list of stores and other details, visit www.gmanetwork.com/gmanow or its official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Iza Calzado on Why People Stay in Toxic Relationships: ‘It is a question of your self-worth’

Is it the love? Or is it the drama?

This article was originally published here.

by Ysa Singson for Cosmo.ph|

If you’ve ever been in love, you know how consuming it can feel like—especially when it’s a new relationship. And even more so when it’s a toxic one. In a new recent of Paano Ba ‘ToBianca Gonzalez asked Iza Calzado for her opinion on why some people decide to stay in “bad” or “toxic” relationships. 

“It is a question of your self-worth,” the actress said. Iza shared that she’s been in a “bad” relationship and she’s been the bad one ’cause “tao lang tayo, ‘di ba?” She said that the more toxic it was, the more attached she became. It felt like a “challenge” at some point because she was eager to prove people wrong when they were noticing the red flags. 

Now she’s able to ask herself, “What was I attached to? Was I attached to the love, really? Or was I attached to the drama? You have to figure that out for yourself. For me, that drama was familiar. That is what I grew up with. There was drama in our home.”

Iza continued, “It made me feel alive. It made me feel good. And even during the painful moments, I was so alive, and siguro that’s the artist in me.” She and Bianca also touch on the idea of someone else filling a void in your heart (Read: “You complete me”). 

Romantic as it may seem, it’s a dangerous way to approach love because you shouldn’t look to other people to feel whole. Bianca brought up the fact that the content we consume plays a role in the way we view love. For example, many of the movies and teleseryes we enjoy have characters who “change” once they fall for someone. This convinces people that they can change someone-like a player-for the better. 

So what are some signs that love isn’t enough to sustain your relationship?

Iza quickly replied, “Lagi kang umiiyak.” This usually means the cons outweigh the pros. You have to ask yourself: Why am I staying? Am I still happy? What makes me happy?

For Bianca, one of the clearest signs is if you are not being listened to: “In a relationship, both of you have a voice. And if it comes to the point na feeling mo wala ka ng boses, sign na ‘yun.” Another one is that both of “you have to be committed to growing individually and together. And if you feel your partner does not support you in either of those, mahirap.”

Hear more from Iza Calzado in this episode of Paano Ba ‘To with Bianca Gonzalez:

University of Santo Tomas : Thomasian Film Society – March 2021

Aside from being the editor-in-chief of the university publication, I really had fun putting up the first and only film organization in PLM. I do not know where I got the time, energy and enthusiasm to do a lot of things all at once!

I co-founded PLM Film Society with one of my editors in the school paper. We were what you call movie buffs. From Intramuros, we used to go to EDSA Shang to watch the movies in the French Film Festival. We also spent weekends watching free films at the nearby Spanish cultural center in Kalaw called Instituto Cervantes. Of course, there was #Cinemalaya!

Fast forward 2021 and a member of the UST Thomasian Film Society invited me to speak at their general assembly. I just had a wonderful time sharing my experience and insights. I was once like them – young, ambitious and wanted to just churn out a lot of content. What a great weekend!

Thank you #UniversityofSantoTomas for having me!

I wanted to name my talk “Reel to Real: A Career in Filmmaking” because these students want to know more about the local film industry. Questions like “how to be a filmmaker?”, “Where do I start”, etc were things they wanted to know more about.

Are you also looking for someone to share with you her experience about the TV and film industry in the Philippines? Slide a DM or email me at info@florencerosini.com! Would love to share my experience and insights!

#contentproducer #filmmaking #moviefan #writer #production #content

Why You Shouldn’t Hide Money, Purchases from Your Significant Other

This post was initially published here.

You may have already heard family or friends saying “Huwag sasabihin kay misis/mister” when it comes to buying expensive items or indulging in hobbies. While this is often said in jest (since many couples actually discuss money honestly), there are people who keep purchases—and in extension, finances—from their partners. It is a habit that hurts relationships, as it shakes the foundations of trust.

This is called “financial infidelity.” Medium journalist Kristin Wong writes, “Keeping financial secrets is an abuse of the trust the relationship is built on,” and it’s true—if you can’t trust your partner to level with you when it comes finances, how can you trust him or her with anything else?

Most people who hide purchases and accounts from their significant others often already have deep-seated relationship issues. A Huffington Post article features several reasons, including not trusting one party to handle money, or thinking that the relationship won’t last and they need cash to fall back on, or even not wanting the other to know that they’ve incurred a huge debt for fear that they’ll leave.

“In essence, a healthy relationship generally supports a fully transparent relationship between partners,” clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly tells Huffington Post. “If a relationship is built on a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect, there is generally no need to ever hide money or finances.”

How to deal with finances as a couple

There’s no clear-cut rule on how to manage finances as a couple, especially if you’re already in a long-term relationship, are living together, or are married. There are those who put in their savings in just one bank account and pull expenses from there, while others go for separate accounts that they can use as they please while having a common one they pitch into for household payables.

It’s really about what works for you, but the most important thing is that you’re both on the same page. If you or your partner feel the need to hide your finances from each other, then that means that you’re not, and that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Kristin Wong goes on to write, “Financially speaking, if you’re sharing a life together, you should be sharing money in some way, too—if not in joint accounts, then by being transparent about how much each of you has and working together to tackle expenses.”

When is it okay to hide your finances from your partner?

All of that being said, there’s one extreme case when it’s okay to hide money from your partner, and that’s when in you’re in an abusive relationship. In fact, it’s a must that you hide your resources from abusers, as they tend to manipulate and gaslight you into thinking that you can’t live without them. Having money of your own can help you escape this situation and start anew.

Bottomline: Honesty

Remember that the basis of a good relationship is trust, and as much as possible, money should never be something that should put a chip between the two of you. Open communication is key to finding a system that works for you both; one that doesn’t leave any party feeling as if he or she is getting the short end of the stick. Allow each other financial freedom, because in the end, money is just a tool—it shouldn’t be at the forefront of your companionship.

How This Teacher Saved P106k in a Year With Her Ipon Challenge

This post was originally published here.

Having a “financial management system” is key.

Let’s face it. Although most of us have been working from home for the past year, it’s still hard to get through a month without depleting our suweldo

It’s no wonder Cathlyn Mariano, a 27-year-old public school teacher, got netizens saying “sana all” when she uploaded a Facebook post about her savings amounting to P106,155 that she completed in just one year. 

Cathlyn, or Cath to her friends, achieved it through anipon challenge that she carried through beginning January 2020 up until January this year. 

In an interview with Female Network, Cath revealed that her initial target was only P60,000, which she would accumulate by stashing 50 pieces of 20-peso, 50-peso, and 100-peso bills, as well as 45 pieces of 200’s, 35 of 500’s, and 25 of 1,000’s inside her pink piggy bank. 

Noong una talaga, P60,000 lang ang target amount ko sa ipon chart na ginawa ko. Pero tinuloy-tuloy ko lang siya at umabot siya ng P106,155 sa loob ng one year,” Cath said. “Gumawa po ako ng ipon challenge chart wherein I will earn P60,000 if I complete the challenge.” 

The Nueva Ecija-based iponarya understands, taking on anipon challenge (or saving in general) may seem difficult. So, she shared other tried-and-tested tips on doing it with ease. 

Tip #1: Teach yourself about money 

While being financially literate is not a pre-requisite to saving up, educating yourself even on the basics would put you on right track. Cath said it matters, especially for people like her who used to struggle financially.   

Gusto ko talaga magkaroon ng sariling bank account na ang pera ay galing sa pinaghirapan ko. Ayoko na maranasan ‘yung hirap ng buhay ng pamilya ko noon na kailangan pang mangutang pang-tuition at baon,” she revealed to Female Network.  

Cath then began beefing up her knowledge with tips from financial experts like Chinkee Tan and “Facebook groups ng mga iponaryo.” She continued, “‘Yung learnings from the books of Coach Chinkee Tan inspired me a lot para magiponAng daming learnings doon na nai-apply ko sa buhay ko at naging financially responsible ako na dati hindi ko nagagawa.” 

Tip #2: Allocate a specific amount for your savings  

The first thing that Cath does upon receiving her salary is to write down a budget list. Having a “financial management system” is important “para ‘di ka nagtataka kung saan ba napunta ang pera mo,” she said. 

For that, she follows the formula “salary-savings=expenses” wherein her savings amounts to 10% of her salary. “Binubukod ko na ‘yun at hindi ko siya dapat gastusin. P1,500 lang ‘yun monthly na diretso na sa alkansya,” she said. 

After that, Cath splits up the remaining amount between her parents’ allowance and other expenses, then puts the cash inside a “budget wallet organizer.” 

Kung may matitira pang pera bago ang payday, ise-save ko pa din,” she added.  

Tip #3: Live within your means  

All goals require sacrifice and for Cath, that means prioritizing her necessities over luxuries. “Dapat alam mo ang pinagkaiba sa kailangan mo at gusto mo lang. Unahin ang mga needs over wants. Isantabi ang mga bagay na kaya mo naman mabuhay kahit wala ‘yun kasiluho now, luha later,” she wrote on her Facebook post on January 2, 2020.  

This involves fighting the urge to splurge on a new gadget or “adding to cart” again and again whenever there’s a sale online. Cath explained, “‘Di bali nang walang iPhone basta may ipon. Hindi ako nagu-upgrade ng cellphone basta nakaka-text, nakaka-call, nakaka-FB, at nakaka-selfie. Iwasan mo din ‘yung mga dobledobleng number tulad ng 11:11 at 12:12. Learn to live within your means.” 

Cath also lessened her daily expenses by choosing home-cooked meals over fast food and driving to school with her own electric bike instead of taking public transportation. 

Isang taon akong nagbabaon ng lunch saschool kung ano ulam sa bahay, ‘yun din ang ulam ko. Free ang meryenda saschool pagteaching staff kaya less gastos,” she said on her post. “Bumili din ako ng school service na e-bike at nakakatipid ako ng P1,500 a month sa pamasahe. I-charge ko lang ng eight hours, nagagamit ko na siya ng one and a half week tapos P200 lang ang approximate na konsumo niya sa kuryente sa loob ng isang buwan. O ‘di ba, bongga. Bawi ko na ang pinambili sa laki ng natipid ko.” 

Tip #4: Be a wise spender 

While Cath made it a point to spend only on things that she needs, the iponarya also knows the value of treating yourself to little luxuries.  

Hindi ako maluho na tao. Inuuna ko muna ‘yung mga needs bago ang wants, simpleng pamumuhay, pero syempre, hindi ko kinakalimutan i-treat at bigyan ng reward ang sarili ko big or small accomplishment man ang nagagawa ko,” she told Female Network.  

The key, she said, is to do it in limitation. “Just be a kuripot (wise spender) dahil ang pera mo ay hindi pinupulot at syempre,  kapag wala kang bisyo, sigurado ang inyong pag-asenso,” she added. 

Tip #5: Find other sources of income 

Some people would think that stretching one’s paycheck beyond ‘petsa de piligro’ is close to impossible, more so saving up. The answer to that, according to Cath, is finding other sources of income.  

In addition to her salary, the money-smart teacher drew her savings from several side jobs: “May e-loading business ako, printing services sa bahayat nago-online selling din ako ng pre-loved clothes namin ng hipag ko ‘pag may free time ako. Nag-invest din ako safruits business ng sister-in-law ko na kumikita naman kahit paano.” 

Although engaging in all these tasks may require you to modify a thing or two about yourself, Cath assured that it will all be worth it.  

Inalis ko ang pagiging mahiyain dahil nahihiya ako noon mag-online selling. Nagingflexible ako at nagkaroon ng time managementsa work at sa mgaextra sideline ko. Kailangan lang talaga ng dedication para mareach yung ipon goal mo,” she said. 

Other popular ipon challenges 

Aside from Cath’s P60,000 ipon challenge, another easy way to start your savings is through the “Invisible 50 challenge” wherein you put away every 50-peso bill that you get in a day inside your coin bank for a year. 

If your budget is tight, you can opt for the “Loose coin challenge.” Similar to the “Invisible P50,” this would require you to set aside every coin that you have—no matter if it’s P1, P5, or P10—for your savings. 

Another would be the “52-week ipon challenge” that works by increasing your weekly input in a span of 52 weeks. If you saved P50 for this week, you must shove P100 into your piggy bank the following week, and so on. 

What’s important, as Cath said, is to turn saving into a habit. “Keep on saving. It doesn’t matter how much. Just save kahit piso-piso pa ‘yan kasi walang1 million kung walang piso,” she advised. “Tiwala lang sa sarili na magagawa mo dahil if others can do it, you can do it also.” 

Bea Alonzo Shares Why One of Her Best Investments Is a Farm in Zambales

This post was originally published here.

Bea named the farm “Beati Firma” or “Blessed Farm.”

by FM Ganal for Pep.ph|6 DAYS AGO

One of her best investments says Bea Alonzo is her farm in Zambales.

She bought the land in 2011, and her mother Mary Anne oversaw its development.

She said in a virtual session with PEP.ph on February 11, 2021, that the farm has become a safe haven for her small family, especially now during the pandemic. “Medyo mahirap lang siya at first, at sa totoo lang magastos, pero now it’s okay, it’s self-sustaining.

Sina Mama doon na nakatira talaga. Dati kasi fifty percent at the time doon sila farm and then fifty percent of the time, nandito sila sa bahay dito sa Pasig. But then, ever since the pandemic hit, definitely nandoon na talaga sila. My brother also decided to live there, so he built his own house there.

May baby na kasi siya ngayon… they’re so afraid to go back to Manila. Ako din parang mas at ease ako na nandoon sila. Right now, I’m just very happy na nung 2011, I decided to invest sa Zambales.”

Would Bea consider living in the farm at some point?

Her answer seemed to hint she has more in her mind than just the farm, “Definitely… hindi lalaki mga anak ko na hindi close sa lola.”

“Beati Firma”

Bea has named the 16-hectare farm “Beati Firma,” which is Latin for “Blessed Farm.”

The name refers to her screen name as well. She told PEP.ph, “True to its name naging blessing sa akin iyong name na iyon. It really changed my life when I became Bea.”

Bea, whose real name is Phylbert Angellie, was the screen name chosen for her by Johnny Manahan, the founder of ABS-CBN’s talent management arm Star Magic.

She said the veteran actress Isabel Rivas, her former co-star in the 2011 ABS-CBN series Guns and Roses, cued her in on a possible location for a farm.

It happened quite ordinarily during a taping of the series as Bea recalled, “Nagpunta si Mama noon sa set, nakilala niya si Tita Isabel… chumika-chika kami, ganyan.

Na-chika niya na meron siyang farm in Zambales. In-invite niya kami na punta kami and, at that time, may ino-offer siyang lupa sa amin na malapit sa farm nila.”

They found the offer enticing for the reason Mary Anne has been a city girl all her life, and so their family does not have a home province to speak of.

Bea began thinking forward such as, maybe, growing livestock on the land and starting a poultry business. But when they eventually purchased the land, Bea and Mary Anne changed plans. 

The actress recounted, “Naisip namin na baka maganda kung mango orchard na lang at mahogany farm. It was a raw land. Walang nakatanim na mga puno. Pinag-bulldozed namin, pina-flatten namin iyong land. It was a lot of work. Actually, my mom had to do a lot of hard work for that to the point na tumira siya doon.

“Since walang bahay pa po, ‘tapos wala pa talaga kaming budget magpatayo ng malaking bahay… alam mo iyong kubo na nabibili lang? Doon lang siya tumira for six months, nagpatayo lang siya ng konkreto na CR na simple. Doon siya for six months. Ganoon iyong effort niya sa farm na iyon.

Walang aircon. Iyong kubo lang talaga. ‘Tapos walang mga puno, so mainit... Very proud kami kasi ang laki-laki ng development nung farm.”

9 Pinays Share the Side Hustles and Small Businesses They Started During the Pandemic

This post was originally published here.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, we all had to make major changes in our lives. A lot of industries were greatly affected, meaning a lot of careers and jobs were lost. We talked to nine Pinays who had to do career shifts or start side hustles and small businesses to help them during these hard times, and let us tell you, they’re all so inspiring. If you’re planning to start your dream small business at this time to help with your finances, check out their stories below: 

Nicole Ceballos, Makeup Artist

Business: Nyala’s Homemade Cookies

Instagram: @nyalashomemade

Why she started her business: “Even before the pandemic, I’ve been selling cookies on the side to a small network of customers and two establishments. At the time, it was for extra funds for my dogs’ veterinary care (surgeries, cancer, general maintenance), and a productive break from the rigors of being a makeup artist.”

How different is it from your job as a makeup artist? “It’s a lot more quiet than being a makeup artist. In my regular job, I had to be face to face with my clients and other people, constantly in conversation. Baking cookies gets a little lonely with just the sound of music, clinking of the steel bowls, and the alarm of the oven. I also definitely miss the free aircon during shoots and gigs! The kitchen gets seriously hot when the oven is on for hours even with  four electric fans.”

What were the challenges you faced when you opened this new business venture? “We had zero social media presence because we focused more on our expansion as a supplier for coffee shops and co-working spaces, and we were scheduled to sample to multi-branch and popular cafes right when the quarantine started. We had to learn using social media for business, properly communicating with customers that were 100 percent strangers, creating content, and at the same doing all the baking from scratch, sourcing ingredients from new suppliers because our regulars were also shorthanded with the crisis, scheduling and booking deliveries at the height of quarantine. While we were lucky the industry we went into is considered essential and able to operate, the logistics of every move we made was an absolute NIGHTMARE. Because our cookies are freshly baked, they need to be sent out within the day no matter what. Lots of riders also took advantage of the low supply and high demand of delivery that they would charge a lot higher, so it was extra difficult to find riders who would take it for the price based on the delivery apps since that’s what we charge our customers. We incurred a lot of additional charges just so we could get the orders out within the day, which hurt our profit margins. 

There were many days during ECQ that we had to allot five to six hours just for booking delivery riders, and if there weren’t any, we personally delivered them, racing against time to be home by curfew. The panic and anxiety of being caught in checkpoints even with a quarantine pass and delivering essential goods forced us to rework our entire schedule. We would make dough from 9 p.m. until 12-2 a.m. (it was just too hot any earlier in the day), bake from 4 a.m.-8 a.m. so we can send them out as early as possible, because riders were more likely to accept bookings for regular prices in the morning.”

What was the best thing you got from opening your business? “It’s definitely this unique learning experience I wouldn’t have gotten as a makeup artist. I don’t do well with numbers but I had to learn how to do costing, profits and losses. I’m used to talking to strangers with my original job, but when talking to our customers, I realize I’ve adapted a certain tone and manner of speaking: mas pang-customer service, bubbly and sweet to match the homemade branding. This was a challenge because I’m neither sweet nor bubbly in real life. Haha! Adapt to survive indeed. I had to relearn everything I knew about photography, and scour my brain for memories of watching my friends do product and digital content shoots because wala naman kaming budget to hire a photographer or food stylist. Now, I use the same tricks to produce content for beauty!

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to start side hustles and small businesses now? Huwag mahiyang rumaket. There’s this stigma na pag rumaraket, gipit or nangangailangan, like it’s a bad thing. You should be proud that if you need extra money, you’re willing to work for it. When my dogs were sick, I had the money and people knew that, but it would seriously leave a dent on my finances. I literally got asked, ‘Mayaman ka naman bakit ka nagbebenta ng cookies?’ My parents would’ve been more than willing to split the veterinary expenses with me, but I didn’t want to ask. If I didn’t do that side hustle then, I wouldn’t have known my cookies were good enough to be sold to strangers that didn’t buy for charity, but because they really liked it. I never would’ve known it was worthy to be put on display in a coffee shop, and little did I know it would save me from unemployment and its mental and emotional repercussions during this pandemic. I was open to my friends, family and followers that I was struggling with the loss of work and they were the first to support me in my new venture. I was anxious, but never ashamed, that this crisis forced me into unemployment and needed to find other ways to make a living. Whether or not you need the money, if you want to add a side hustle, go for it. Keep it for a rainy day, buy stocks while prices are low, buy your parents gifts, donate it to frontliners—huwag mong ikahiya, pinaghirapan mo yan!

Nicole Tejano, PR Executive and Janelle Inojales, Civil Servant

Business: Emilia’s Home

Instagram: @emilias.home

Website: www.emiliashome.com

Why they decided to open their business: “I think it was our way of dealing with the quarantine. We all have different ways of coping, while some people are into cooking, exercising, and binge-watching Netflix, we are into decorating our rooms! And we really went into overdrive on redecorating when the pandemic hit so it’s not really surprising that our quarantine baby is Emilia.” – Nicole 

“Emilia really did help us to cope with feelings of anxiety and disenfranchisement. Plus, Emilia also helps feed my cats! Since I work for the public sector and decided early only to donate my salary to those in need.” – Janelle

How different is running Emilia’s Home from your regular jobs? “All I’ve ever known is nonprofit work. This is my first time doing anything business-wise!” – Janelle 

“I work for the beauty industry for my day job. So it’s a really different world and we both don’t have any experience in home furnishings. It’s just something that we appreciate from the onset.” – Nicole  

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “I have no business experience or background. I’m a solid introvert so it’s quite difficult for me to constantly have to talk to people. I almost quit Emilia because it was taking a toll on my mental health but Nicole swooped in and saved the day. That’s why she and I make such a great team.” – Janelle

“It really works for us that we are total opposites! Another challenge that we are constantly facing is being always available to our customers. Since it’s only the two of us and we both have our day jobs, we really can’t give all of our time to Emilia. It’s still a work in progress for us. Hopefully, we’ll find our balance soon!” – Nicole 

What’s the best thing about opening your new business?

“We get to learn about this new industry and we get to share beautiful designs that resonate with our clients’ unique experiences.” – Nicole

“For me, it’s our partnership with #TaraTulongTayo of @tara.baraha! We’re happy that Emilia gets to help our kababayans deeply affected by the pandemic even just in a small way.” – Janelle  

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to start side hustles and small businesses now? “Just go for it! Trust me, we didn’t know what we were doing and we don’t know what we got ourselves into but it’s worth it!” – Nicole 

“And don’t forget, mental health over everything. So find the right partner to be with you on this. It can get crazy!” – Janelle

Army Villapando, Marketing Manager

Business: BARE

Instagram: @barebyarmy

Why she started her business: “Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were so many changes that happened at work (and around the world, of course), so this business was my way of keeping sane. This was always something I wanted to do again. I actually launched BARE back in 2017, but I wasn’t able to sustain and grow the business then because I was doing it alone. When COVID-19 happened and working from home became the norm, I decided to relaunch it with the help of my boyfriend. We decided that I would be in charge of design and production while he took over creatives and marketing.”

How different is this business from your day job? “I’ve been in working in corporate since I graduated, so starting a business is a totally different ball game. As an employee, your KPI’s, targets, etc. are all set for you. However, when you’re running a business, you have to set those things all on your own and create a systematic way of working so that the business functions properly and grows at the same time. And of course, you’re working with a much smaller budget! Haha!”

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “It was challenging to find a unique selling point in a sea of so many other great brands out there. ‘What would make BARE stand out?’ Another one was navigating through this pandemic. We needed to make sure that we put our message out there but also, be sensitive of so many issues that needed just as much attention.”

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “I definitely gained a new perspective about myself and of course, life. Before, I would hustle just to find ways to treat myself while not compromising my obligations. Living in abundance was always the goal, but with everything that’s been happening, it made me see the importance of being satisfied and content with what I have. I realized how blessed I am to still be employed and to have the capacity to start my passion project. It also made me realize the importance of giving back, which is what we will do for our next collection. A percentage of the profit we earn from it will be given to those most affected by the pandemic, like Tatay Alberto and his fellow jeepney drivers who have little to no way of earning money.

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to start side hustles and small businesses now? “All I can say is, just do it. You have an idea? Build on it! If you’re spiritual, pray about it… A LOT. You’ll honestly never be 100 percent ready. Yes prepare but also, don’t overthink it.”

Nikki Uson, Marketing Copywriter

Business: Minikkins

Instagram: @minikkins 

Why she started her business: “Baking has always been my passion and people have always pushed me to sell my cookies. When lockdown started, I realized I had a lot of free time on my hands-more than I’ve ever had to be honest—so I figured it was now or never!”

How different is this business from your day job? “A complete 180! The only writing I do for Minikkins is writing the captions for IG and FB. Haha!”

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “When I first launched Minikkins, it was right when lockdown started, so everyone was still panic-buying. Sourcing ingredients was so difficult! None of the suppliers were replying, stores still hadn’t figured out their SOP for online orders yet, so it was really such a hassle to find everything I needed. On top of that, it was also still so difficult to book couriers for the deliveries. Now that Minikkins has grown, the new challenge I’m facing now is managing my time. My mom helps me a lot by baking the cookies before she goes to work and I prepare the pandesal before I clock in, but with the number of orders I’ve been getting, it’s become really tiring na. So we’ve decided to hire someone to help me with the orders. I still prepare all the cookie dough and pandesal dough before I clock in for work. She cuts all the dough balls, stuffs them, shapes them, bakes all the orders, and dispatches them. It’s been a good investment because now I can take in more orders!

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “Learning how to handle a business all on my own and using the money I’ve made from it to help other people. I’ve partnered so far with Tugon Ateneo, an organization from Ateneo that helps survivors of child sexual abuse and abandonment. For July, I’m partnering with Bake Sale for Better PH which brings together several bakers for one giant bake sale so we can pool together funds for several causes, and Candid Clothing, an ethical clothing brand that gives the Taytay seamstresses who’ve been out of work a job. Candid Clothing is supplying me with cloth face masks made from upcycled fabric which I will then be donating to the jeepney and tricycle drivers, basureros, and street dwellers in my area.”

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to start side hustles and small businesses now? “If you have an idea, just go for it! Look for groups on Facebook and Viber for supplies, materials, ingredients, and even couriers. Grab and Angkas also have promos for merchants so check those out. And most importantly, support your friends who also have businesses! If you have a friend who has a packaging business, consider teaming up with her so you can both benefit from your venture.”

Chezca Dayrit, Social Media Manager

Business: Virtual Assistant Services and Social Media Management

Instagram: @virtualasstph

Why she started her business: “It was actually pretty random! I had a hard time finding a job since I’m moving into a new town soon, and then I slowly started applying for remote work. Then when the ECQ happened, I decided to just do it and shift! Best decision ever.”

How different is this business from your old job? “It was a 9-5 marketing stint, wherein I had to travel 2-3 hours to get to the office! It was so tiring. With this, I have my own time. I can work at my own pace, and I am at the comfort of my own home. Bonus points that I don’t commute or spend money eating out!”

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “It was a bit hard communicating with my clients at first. Since I’m used to in-person meetings. But when I got the hang of it, it’s actually really nice.”

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “I can work at my own pace. I think most of us would feel the same: There are certain days that we feel down, and need a break. So I’m really glad about that one. It actually makes me more productive whenever I take breaks. Also I get to spend more time with my loved ones since I’m just at home.”

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to shift careers or start side hustles and small businesses now? “The best time to start is NOW. Take time to learn your passion and skills, and make money from it! Nothing beats doing what you love, and earning from it!”

Alex Natividad, Marketing Director

Business: CelebrityGreetings.PH, a celebrity video shoutout booking website for local celebs

Instagram: @celebritygreetingsph

Website: www.celebritygreetings.ph

Why she started her business: “We’ve always wanted to try this business out for years already, but we didn’t have the guts and the time to start it. We were always saying that we should do it, but it never materialized, until our bridal fair scheduled for May got postponed. We don’t really know when the wedding industry will be back, so we managed to launch the website in June.”

“We know mall shows, meet and greets, and live events are all paused now, so we thought it would be a good time to launch an avenue where personalities and their supporters can create more personal connections online.”

How different is this business from your old job? “My pre-pandemic job is in the wedding industry, we do fairs and we sell wedding accessories. One of my main responsibilities there is the fair, so it’s mostly managing the event and marketing. When I joined, it was already set up as a company.”

“But for the new business, we really had to build it from the ground up, do cold calls, present the idea and convince partners. It’s a website, so mostly it’s digital-focused in terms of marketing and components.”

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “It’s not a common concept here in the PH and we could only present and send proposals online so I think a lot of people thought it was a scam at first, haha! Since we’re also a new business, our team is only small so we work day and night to get everything done. At the start of quarantine, I also get jealous because a lot of my friends had steady salaries and they could watch Netflix, or bake or sell food online, while we were just setting up the website.”

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “I like going out, trying new activities and traveling, so personally, I think this new business really helped me get through the quarantine. My wedding industry job is at an all time low and all my hobbies require going out so this project motivates me everyday to get up, work hard and stop feeling down despite the difficult situation we’re in. “

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to shift careers or start side hustles and small businesses now? “I say go for it! If you’re planning to start a business or raket, it should be something you’re passionate about so you won’t feel like you’re working every day. Starting a new business or a side hustle can be really time-consuming and stressful, but if it’s something you like doing already then it won’t feel like work. Also, invest your time and money wisely so you can reap something great in the future.”

Toni Ann Nebreja, Flight Attendant

Business: Lash Party, a brand of premium hand-crafted faux eyelashes

Instagram: @lashpartyph

Why she started her business: “The aviation industry was one of the first major industries that was hit by the global pandemic. I was forced to make the decision to take an indefinite leave and this has honestly put me over the edge a bit. The lockdown, however, gave me the chance to push through with my long overdue passion project: My cosmetic lash line. Like everybody else facing financial uncertainties, I had to come up with a plan since I won’t be flying anytime soon. I made use of my available resources in order to make ends meet and fulfill my plans for Lash Party.”

How different is this business from your day job?  “My beauty business has allowed me to express more of my artistic side that I don’t really get to maximize in-flight. For someone whose work life has been all about flying in and out of countries and always being on the move, the shift to becoming an active online seller from home lets me focus more on researching trends, planning my content, and executing my ideas. Before I had to go on leave, I barely had time to explore my other interests. So the change of pace also gave my body time to rest and recuperate from my usual daily grind. It sure made my life slow down a bit and appreciate so many things that life has to offer aside from flying while still getting to interact with customers.”

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business? “Logistics and self-doubt.  I thought giving my suppliers the go signal for production pre-lockdown was enough for everything to run smoothly. Most of them promised that they could deliver by mid-January but COVID-19 started spreading so fast. The couriers stopped shipping goods and delays were experienced at the customs. I was starting to feel discouraged. I didn’t even know where to start with little to zero resources at that time. Part of the constant challenge I had to face while building my business was overcoming my own doubts. I started second-guessing if now is still a good time to sell my products and whether there would even be a market to engage. But I continued to work on my vision. With the help of my family and friends I composed myself and started with baby steps. Little by little I would receive inquiries on Instagram even prior to announcing that I can finally start accepting orders. I could feel the excitement around my brand’s following and got inspired even more to power through.

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “With my new cosmetic business, I love how I can use it as a platform to make people feel more confident and free to express themselves. The best part of being an online beauty seller is that I get to interact with people who I can share my passion with. I’m also an aspiring makeup artist and I love how Lash Party lets me discover and connect with a lot of amazing artists and creatives. The little things like giving tips on how to apply false eyelashes or recommending which type of falsies enhances my client’s beauty make me tick and hopeful for my brand. I love the relationship that I am building with my consumers and I think helping them explore their self-expression through makeup and my products has made my career shift meaningful.”

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to shift careers or start side hustles and small businesses now? “Believe in yourself and honor your own pace. The first step to success is to believe in your capabilities. The process is never easy, you will be tested in all ways possible and you will only have yourself most days so believe that you can and you will. There will be days when you feel like you can’t keep up in this fast-changing world and that is okay. Rest when you need to but don’t give up. Honouring your own pace is the greatest form of self-love that would set you up and sustain you for success.”

Ella Esguerra, Marketing Assistant

Business: Cloud Period Panties

Instagram: @cloudperiodpanties

Why she started her business: “I have always wanted my own business and be a boss for as long as I could remember. Working at a fashion brand, then eventually going to fashion school pushed me to start a fashion-related business that I’ve believed in for such a long time, which was period underwear. Growing up, I’ve had a difficult time with my period as well. I had to put an extra mattress on my bed every time I was on my period to make sure I don’t stain my bed. I would also wear extra cycling shorts or refrain from any light bottoms. On top of my personal experience, I also heard different stories from other women about their period problems. Those stories were what pushed me to find a solution for myself and others.”

“After a long time of researching and developing the product, I just told myself to go for it since it felt right and I also felt ready. The bonus was everyone was doing it anyway: Online businesses were popping out here and there.”

How different is this business from your day job?  “I was a Marketing Assistant at a children’s fashion brand. My role there was mainly focused on digital marketing, as well as picking and packing orders. I had training on what it was like to be very hands-on in running a fashion brand. I also learned how to do the labor-intensive tasks such as organizing the clothes in the warehouse and shipping out orders.”

“In a way, what I am doing now is similar to what I did in my corporate job. The main difference is the motivation and the drive to hustle is much greater now because it’s my own brand. Another difference is of course, the time. Back in my corporate job, I had to work from 8-6, from Monday to Saturday. Now, I get to be more flexible with my time and enjoy a work-life balance.” 

What were some of the challenges you had to face when you opened your business?  “The discernment process on whether I’d do it or not was a big challenge at the start. I had to really believe in myself and my reasons for doing it in the first place. It was an internal challenge of figuring out what I wanted then eventually how to make it happen.”

What’s the best thing about opening your new business? “Definitely positive feedback from other women. I always grounded myself with the belief that I started my brand of period panties, not to merely sell a product, but to sell a comfortable and confident experience for women out there.”

What’s your advice for Pinays who want to shift careers or start side hustles and small businesses now? “If it feels right, go for it and listen to your gut feeling. Life truly happens outside of your comfort zone. It’s scary at first, but what isn’t?”