Overseas Filipino Workers

Next NBA Superstar Stephen Curry hails from the sea




If you’re a die-hard fan of Cavaliers, I think you’ll have second thoughts to read this blog post. Hey, I myself is a fan of LeBron James! (Sorry the title wasn’t the one you expect it to be. I just like the rhyme of words ‘Curry’ and ‘sea’.)

But if you’re a Golden State Warrior warrior or GSWw (pun intended), Common’ you hang-around with me here for whether you root for James or Curry, I would like you to know that one day their predecessors might come from the sea!

So, playball, basketball!…shall we?


©Mark Palestra

Mark Palestra, a Second Officer of Stolt Tankers, shared to me some photos of their basketball tournament held onboard. In addition, he cited some benefits seafarers get when playing basketball. “This kind of activity onboard helps us to fight boredom at sea. It also fosters camaraderie among actively participating crew,” the 26 year-old navigator said.

On how challenging it is to live and work in an ocean-going ship, he attested, “Life onboard is not easy. In order to have a bigger salary, we should be away from our families. We need to leave the comfort of our homes, change our lifestyle, and maybe worst of all, you seldom see and guide your growing children,”

To ease the difficulties seafarers like him endure at sea, the crews’ welfare is being fostered. On his ship for example, the management upholds a kind of lifestyle comfortable to the group. “In order for us not to get bored easily, the officers, especially the SMT bring the comfort of our homes onboard. It may not be exactly like what we used to have on land but it’s better than having nothing at all.”



Columnist Joaquin M. Henson of Philstar says that to Filipinos, basketball is a way of life.

READ: Pinoy seafarers bring more fun at work through basketball

And did you know that Filipinos ranked next to the Americans and Chinese as the largest market of giant sports apparel Nike? Yes, we are!


©Mark Palestra

The interest of seafarers to play basketball is quite remarkable. Hence, let’s not be surprised that one day, some sailors dribble their career to NBA and are taking big shots, perhaps bigger than what our idols LeBron James and Stephen Curry have had ever achieved!


I would like to hear from you! Share your thoughts about Filipino people’s love for basketball by writing a comment below!?

Categories: Inspiring, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten stunning ‘Wonder Woman’ seafarers who can teach us how to fight tooth and nail

Before my eyes, these girls are all Diana Prince.


According to Madame Eleanor Roosevelt however, they’re tea bags!?
Here’s why, “A woman is like a teabag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water!” the icon quoted. “Mom, bring me the water cooker, please?” Joke only. 🙂

Kidding aside, smooth seas don’t make skilful sailors. A stormy sea is literally boiling and well, a clay-hearted person would be likely imperilled, unless otherwise he becomes his own man of steel. If such kind of metamorphosis happens, hear Wonder Woman (when she ate ice cream for the first time, and loving the taste of it in the blockbuster movie) chiming in, “It’s wonderful, You should be very proud!”

She’s right, it’s really something to be proud of! But have you figured out how to become the better version of yourself yet? If you’re still looking for an inspiration, don’t stop reading.

On this point, let me present notable women who have ‘wonder’ attitude to survive the high seas, fight boredom, homesickness, isolation and even sexism at sea. Lucky enough, no storm has stopped them to go great lengths. Their hard-earned experiences both at sea and ashore are worth sharing hence, take time to read their compelling stories.

1. Jasmin Labarda
– A seafarer’s daughter who followed his father’s footsteps at sea and later became the first ever Filipina Ship Captain. An alumna of MAAP, Capt. Labarda reached the pinnacle of her career when she was just 27 years old. Read more.

2. Maria Kristina Javellana
– Filipina Master Mariner Maria Kristina Javellana is ‘Beauty and Best’ Captain. She said she aspired to be a Captain not just because it will be her status but rather, she wants to handle people and give them what is just and right. Read more.

3. Nina Sue da Silva
– Engr. Nina Sue da Silva is the pioneering licensed Filipina Marine Chief Engineer. On one Inquirer article, Engr. da Silva showed us how to boldly fight sexists at sea. Read more.

4. Rachelle Marie Alvariño
– Rachelle Marie Alvariño is now a third officer sailing with Teekay. While studying in college, she actively volunteered to do community services, peer facilitating and peer mentoring.

5. Jovelyn Sosa
– Third Officer Jovelyn Sosa is a classmate of Rachelle Alvariño. They both work in the same company. Jovelyn is an artist and enjoys serving the community too!

6. Lourdes Arce
– Third officer Lourdes Arce sailed with TSM before. A graduate of University of Cebu – LM campus, she happily married a fellow seafarer and now a proud mother to their son.

7. Maike Fritz Ligan
– Maike Fritz Ligan is one unrestrained beautiful soul. A Planned Maintenance System (PMS) engineer of Teekay, she boldly showed us jaw-dropping ways on how the sea can literally set someone free. Check her awesome adventures here.

8. Arlene Geli Chua
– Geli Chua is a versatile seawoman who serves the maritime industry both at sea and ashore. A graduate of University of Cebu-LM, she’s a 3rd Assistant Engineer working in Teekay today.

9. Fairy Lyn Guillem
– PMS Engineer Guillem graduated from John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Molo Campus and now connected with Teekay. In one of our interviews, Engr. Guillem said she act ‘boyish’ to shoo male crewmates who likely have flowery words and sweet promises to win her heart.

10. Prey Ponceja
– When Prey Ponceja’s images surfaced online, she wowed netizens of her face that could launch thousands of ships. A daughter of a seafarer, we dig deeper why she became an instant internet sensation. Eventually, we found out that she’s ‘Miss Universe’ material. Here’s my blog about her unique personality.

Becoming a better person is not an overnight success. Learn to believe in yourself, face your fears and never stop trying, no matter what kind of ‘war’ tears your spirit into shattered pieces now.


I’m sure my ‘Wonder Woman’ Filipina seafarers list is not complete. If you know someone else who can be a source of pride and inspiration to many people, share her story and your healthy thoughts by writing a comment below.
Let’s be wonderful men, women and children of the world, shall we?

She’s Fairer as a Seafarer (#SFAS) is a worldwide campaign of i-Pinoy Circle which started in 2013 and fosters the welfare of women serving the maritime industry, particularly in a male-dominated profession called seafaring.

Categories: Inspiring, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

FREE to download PDF Guides for OFWs


If you are an OFW bound to work in one of these countries, learn the country’s custom, culture, law and religion.

The guide you can get here is handy since it’s PDF. Once downloaded, you may store it in your computer or smart phones and read anytime you want and anywhere safe you go!

Guides source: OWWA Management Information System Division

Categories: Overseas Filipino Workers, Overseas Filipino Workers Advisories | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Better Safe Than Sorry: 10 Do’s and Don’ts Overseas Filipinos should bear in mind



If you’re leaving the country soon or you’re already working abroad, don’t compromise your health, safety and security.

Below are significant tips I got from OWWA’s PDOS and which I’m fervently encouraging you to read and learn by heart:

1.  DO learn and understand the host country’s language.

2.  DO respect the culture, traditions and practices of your host country.

3.  DO follow your work contract.

4.  DO abide by laws, rules and regulations of your host country.

5.  DON’T carry, use or sell drugs, substances, compounds and chemicals classified as illegal in the host country.

6.  DON’T accept any hand-carried package from anyone unless you first see what is inside.  Many people have been arrested and jailed for carrying firearms and drugs without their knowledge.

7.  DON’T engage in activities which are considered illegal in your host country (gambling/lotto, liquor/alcohol use, cybersex, possession and/or sale of pirated video materials and/or obscene materials/articles).

8.  DON’T lend your laptops to friends and acquaintances who may use them for illegal purposes.

9.  DON’T live beyond your means.  Avoid falling into a debt trap.

10.  DON’T believe in get-rich-quick scams.  Examples are text messages that you have won in an electronic lottery, e-mail offering to transfer huge amount of money to your bank account.

This post originally appeared in OWWA’s website. Minor edits applied.


Categories: Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Report ‘supacash’ and other abusive medical practitioners to DOH



Since I blogged ‘Supacare, Supacash and Supafear: A seafarers medical dilemma‘, many had shared to me their thoughts about some medical practitioners’ negligence during the conduct of their respective medical examinations, while some desperately echoed their own bad experiences.

By the way, if you haven’t read Marco’s bloody medical exam story yet, I encourage you to discover what happened to him and what I mean of terms ‘supacash’ and ‘supa fear’ here.

I reiterate, I’m writing a blog post like this not to degrade a certain medical institution but mainly to encourage OFWs, particularly seafarers and seafarer aspirants to be vigilant and take a stand against tricksters (unfortunately a lot are licensed professionals) during the conduct of their Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME).

To be fair with one concerned clinic, we gave 101% support to this comment, written by someone named Greg.

Hi. Seaman po ang tatay ko. Diyan din sya nagpapa-medical. Hindi naman din siguro tama ang akusasyon ng karamihan tungkol sa clinic na yan. Hindi lahat ng empleyado ay ganyan ang turing sa mga pasyente, katulad ng tatay ko. Medyo natagalan din bago ma-fit, pero sinigurado nila na “FIT” talaga ang tatay ko bago sya sumakay. Nai-explain ng maayos to ng isang nurse kung bakit at kung ano ang kailangan gawin para lang maiwasan ang anumang pangyayari na hindi natin masasabi na pedeng mangyari sa barko.
Concern lang ako kasi masyado na mapang-husga ang mga seaman na hindi nila inaalam ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pre-employment medical examination. Naiintindihan ko din naman ang mga hinaing ng bawat isa sainyo.
Napapagastos kayo, nahihirapan kayo, at sa hindi inaasahan minsan ay naa-unfit. Kung ikaw tatanungin. Malalaman mo ba kung may sakit ka? Alam mo ba gagawin mo? Diba puro tanong ka din? Nagbabago ang katawan ng tao, at malamang di mo yun alam kasi nga “wala ka namang nararamdaman”, kaya sa pagkakaalam mo ay wala kang sakit.
Ang maipapayo ko lang sainyo, ay alagaan ang sarili, ang kalusugan. Kasi una sa lahat katawan nyo naman ang puhunan nyo. Kung di nyo aalagaan sarili nyo, malamang magkakaron kayo ng findings. At para maiwasan ang ma-supa cash, panatilihing maganda ang kalagayan ng sarili, umiwas sa hindi magandang gawain.

On the other hand, these wrecked voices deserves to be heard.

Joyce commented in May 2:

hi goodpm po s lht,gus2 ko lng pong ishare ang nging experience ko dyn s super cash n yn.s 22o lng po 7x n po akong sumasakay at ngppmedical pero itong taon lng po last feb.ngpamedical po ako dyn s clinic n yan at sbi po nla my gallbladder stone po ako at recommended is for removal,ngpunta po ako s agency ko pra manghingi ng advice pro wla dw po clang mggwa kung gus2 ko dw pong umalis kailangan ko pong mgpaopera..dahil po s kagus2han kong mkaalis agd dhl kailangan kailangan po kc single mom po ako at naubos lht ng savings ko ng mamatay nanay ko last year 2016 wla po akong ngwa kundi mgpaopera siningil po ako ng di aabot s 70k pesos at after 1wk po clear nmn nla ako pro mskit po nito ngpaopera ako at pumayag s supercash n mgpaopera kht npkamahal na sna pra s pangastos n lng nmn magiina hbng d p ako nkakaalis eh npunta dun operation n sbi ng superc**** eh kailangan2 n tanggalin,pro po s ngayon naubos n pera ko dhl dyn s supercash n yan eh matagal p pla alis ko..kung alam ko lng d n sna ako pumayag s supercash n yan n magpaopera…sna ipasara n lmg yang clinic n yan n sobra mangikil s mga seafarer tpos ibang mga staff mayayabang p at msusungit…

Rosa replied to Joyce the following day;

Leave it all to GOD ALMIGHTY, SIYA lng ang magbibigay ng matinding aksyon sa mga ganyang klaseng tao. Mga walang respeto sa mga PAGHIHIRAP,PAGSISIKAP AT SAKRIPISYO ng mga OFW. Sa halip na magmalasakit , INGGIT pa nanaig sa kanila dahil sila hindi makaalis ng bansa o baka pinagiipunan na nila pr makapagabroad din sila o mga BIGTIME INGGETERA’T INGGETERO sa mga sweldo ng OFW lalo na ng mga SEAFARERS.
Sana may magseryosong Ahensya ng Gobyerno na TUMULONG sa mga OFW natin at masusing imbestigahan ang lahat ng Medical Clinic na mapagsamantala.

While an unknown person posted another comment:

Everything is true about this super cash.. I’ve experience it several times.. Every medical ko lagi na lng sa findingz nila may UTI ako.. Pero before and after ng medical ko nagpapacheck up ako sa personal doctor ko and OB..negative nman results.. I tried the 3rd time n pinabalik nila ko bcoz of that said UTI I have them the result of my examination conducted by my personal doctor saying that wala nmn tlaga ako UTI.. but they would’nt accept it. But to my surprise bigla na lng clear n ko… O di ba?? Kaya nga Hwag tayo basta papayag sa sinasabi nila kapag sinabi nila na may sakit ka try mo magpasecond opinion sa ibang doctor na hindi nila nirefer.

And 3 more comments were posted on the same day;


hi good day share ko lang din experience ng cousin at husband ko sa superc**** manila. Yung cousin ko nag pa sched sa kanila for physial exam dahil di pa naman siya mag rerenew ng medical pero pinatagal pa nila yung result bago nila irelease paalis nalang yung pinsan ko pero ayaw pa nila irelease yung result kung di pa sila aawayin hindi nila ibibigay. And now yung husband ko naman nag pa medical nung march 6, 2017 fit ang result pero nakita nila yung tuyong sugat sa kamay ng husband ko which is yung allergy niya na nakuha sa barko kaya nirequest nila ng “patch test” nirefer nila kami sa Manila doctors. Nagbayad kami ng 6,500 sa madocs para sa test at pag labas ng result after 1 week pinasa agad ng husband ko sa superc**** ang unang nakalagay sa onlne transmittal ” waiting for recommendation ℅ RCCL” ” Temporarily Unfit” then nung april 18, 2017 nakalagay na ” To send update ℅ RCCL” after ilang days ang nakalagay nanaman ” Waiting for mrf certificate” tumawag kami agad sa kanila since nag update yung online nila pero ang sabi ng kausap ko waiting parin daw ng approval ng principal tinanong ko siya bakit nag update yung online kung waiting parin ng approval sabi niya wait maam palitan ko lang po then pinalitan niya ang nilagay niya “Awaiting approval from principal” sabay sabi yan maam napalitan ko na po. Pero bago niya gawin yun Hinold niya yung phone for a minute may kinausap siyang nag tanong siya kung may update na yung medical ng husband ko then sabi wala daw tinawag niyang sir gino yung kausap niya. always kami nag fofollow up sa kanila pero walang update lagi ang sinasabi nila. Dapat Joining date ng husband ko nung april 29 pero di siya nakaalis dahil wala pa yung medical niya, Nagtataka lang kami dahil nung april 16, 2017 may email kaming na receive, contract na pinipirmahan ng husband ko kapag naka onboard siya at sabi ng co workers niya onbord naka line up siya dun sa barko and expected siya na darating nung april 29. Hanggang ngayon walang update ang superc****, dapat siguro mag kaisa ang mga Seafarer na nagka problema sa superc**** dapat nirereport sila since hindi lang isang tao ang nagrereklamo sa ginagawa nila para matigil na yung mga pang hohold nila sa tao.


Just this morning nalaman kong ganyan din ang findings sakin sa superc****. Nakakalungkot kasi sa batch ko sa upl pang ilan na kong binigyan nila ng ganyang findings. Most of them ang findings sa cbc daw. Imbis na nakakaasikaso na ko ng ibang papeles ko kelangan ko pa silang balik balikan para jan. Wala naman akong choice kundi sumunod sa kagustuhan para para mafit to work na ko. Nakakapanghina ng loob.
same story sakin yung seafarer sa post na ‘to. Just this morning nalaman kong may pulmo scar ako kuno. Like wtf?? Lahat ng test na ginawa sakin sa superc**** maayos. Wala akong history ng ganyang sakit tapos biglang may pulmo scar daw ako. Joke ba ‘to? Then the staff told me to come back to their clinic on monday para sa sputum test at para sa clearnance. Grabe. Imbis na makakapag visa na ko kelangan ko pang bumalik balik sa superc*** para mafit lang ako.

Otetszki selabu:

Haaaaaaysss… Hindi lang pala ako. It is my first time to renew my medical in supac****. 1st day 15th of december 2016, i was so happy to finished my medical examination from 6am till 11am during the same day. I was surprised kasi hindi ko ini-expect na magiging mabilis lng pala. Then they told me to check online for the status of my medical examination for approval. Confident ako kasi wala po ako bisyo. Even on my previous medical examination from different clinic na wala akong findings. Eto na, confident ako na walang findings sa akin kasi po health conscious ako. So january 8,2017 ko chineck online ang status ko sa supac**** to spend my 1st ever christmas and newyear with my family. Suddenly, my triglyciride was elevated ang findings. So went back to supac**** then they just told me to buy some medicine from them and take those for 1 month. Once i showed them the meds, ok na daw po yun. Pero after a week pinapabalik na naman ako kasi daw kailangan ako kausapin. Meron daw akong grade 1 varicocoele. Its a very long story po, i end up having surgery even thou my surgeon doesnt want me to do the surgery kasi nga daw po its unnecessary and asymptomatic. Sa kagustuhan ko makasakay at matupad ang munting pangarap sa pamilya ko ay bigla po unti-ubting nawawala dahil sa findings na hindi naman na tama. Nalaman ko nalang mismo sa principal ko itong supac*** ay hindi nagpa-followup sa principal ko kahit na ang agency ko ay madaming beses na ngemail sa supac**** para sa sagot ng principal ko. Until now, temporary unfit ako kahit na fit to work na ang mga documents ko galing pa mismo sa surgeons ko. From 12/15/16 to present,wala pa din progress. Nakakawalan ng pagasa…

While their claims are unverified, the experiences shared all sound too good to be true.

Let’s make a stand against any form of malpractices.Biting the bullet should be stopped.

Did you know that the Department of Health has strong mandates to medical screening clinics with regards to mandatory pre-employment medical examination (PEME) basic package price? In fact, it shall only cost 2,000-2,500 pesos!

To know more how a medical clinic should ‘behave’ during the conduct of your medical exam, read this blogpost.

Medical practitioners/institutions who are behaving badly to its clients should be reported to the Department of Health.

For inquiries or concerns, contact the Department of Health – Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau at 651-7800 locals 2512 (Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division) or 2528 (Quality Assurance and Monitoring Division) while for complains, call 651-7800 local 2527 (Complaints Management and Action Unit).


Categories: Health, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Basic OFW Pre-employment Medical Exam price shall be within 2,000-2,500 pesos only – DOH



I received some concerns recently from people who had their mandatory pre-employment medical examination (PEME). They were aim to work abroad, almost complete with what their respective agencies require them to comply. One is to pass the rigid medical screening examination. I’m sad to note though that their medical exam cost an arm and a leg!

RELATED READING: Supacare, Supacash and Supafear: A seafarer’s medical dilemma

To give at least an idea of how much a PEME basic package costs, here’s what the Department of Health has mandated medical screening clinics.

1. The allowed price for PEME basic package shall be within 2,000 – 2,500 Philippine pesos only. Any clinic charging more or less than the said range should be reported to DOH.
2. The price of the individual test, DOH’s statement verbatim, shall be reasonable and just, and based on the actual costs of the services rendered.
3. Prices of basic DOH PEME and other health examination packages shall be posted in all conspicuous areas of the clinic. In fact, DOH said that these prices shall be printed on a 2×3 feet tarpaulin and people can read it up to 20 feet away. Such poster shall also include DOH’s help & complaints hotline, a statement exactly written like this:
“For any inquiries or concerns, you may contact the Department of Health – Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau at 651-7800 locals 2512 (Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division) or 2528 (Quality Assurance and Monitoring Division). For complains, call 651-7800 local 2527 (Complaints Management and Action Unit).”

Here’s another disclosure – did you know that an accredited medical screening clinic has to update the Department of Health of its applicable medical services fees?
Through the Online OFW Health Exam Price Monitoring System (OFWHEPMS), the clinic’s prices of medical exams shall be updated semi-annual or every 6 months. Now we can countercheck with DOH if the clinic’s offered price is the same as the officially reported price.

I tried to access the OFWHEPMS’ website to know if anyone, anytime can check the uploaded prices but it seems like it’s exclusive only for authorized medical institutions.
Nevertheless, I am encouraging all to take a stand against abusive medical clinics. If you happen to smell something fishy and those 3 mandates above are taken for granted, report it immediately to DOH!

Remember, for any inquiries or concerns, you may contact the Department of Health – Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau at 651-7800 locals 2512 (Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division) or 2528 (Quality Assurance and Monitoring Division). For complaints, call 651-7800 local 2527 (Complaints Management and Action Unit).

Related Reading: Report ‘supacash’ and other abusive medical practitioners/clinics to DOH

Please be reminded that if you fairly failed one or more tests covered by the basic DOH PEME package, the affordable 2,000 -2,500 price range doesn’t apply.

To know what these tests are, read my other blogpost entitled “NO BODY NO BODY BUT MINE IN PEME: Which body parts are normally being scrutinized?”

DOH Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau, A.O. No. 2013-0006


Let me hear your voice!

Share your thoughts about PEME by writing a comment below.

Categories: Health, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

NO BODY NO BODY BUT MINE IN PEME: Which of my body parts are normally being scrutinized?



For first timers, the usual question would be likely, “What part of my body will be touched inside the medical screening clinic? I need to know ‘coz only Belo touches my skin?”LOL

Kidding aside, one must have a sound knowledge of DOH’s PEME basic package. To be medically fit for work is consequential. Time and again, preparation is key to pass a rigid health screening so here’s what I want to share:

In reference to A.O. No. 2013 – 0006 of the Department of Health’s Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) basic pre-employment medical examination (PEME) covers, but shall not limited to, the following mandatory health examinations:
1. Complete and Thorough Medical History and Physical Examination (P.E.)
2. Dental Examination
3. Visual Acuity
4. Color Perception
5. Audiometry
6. Chest X-ray
7. ECG
8. Blood Typing
9. CBC
10. Test for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)/Syphilis Test
11. Pregnancy Tests (for females)
12. Urinalysis
13. Stool Examination
14. Psychological Assessment
15. Basic Blood Chemistries
16. Blood borne diseases
17. Other clinical laboratory and diagnostic procedures

On how medical practitioners shall handle the tests, here’s a handy PDF guide you may want to download for free.

Related Reading: Basic OFW Pre-employment Medical Exam Price shall be 2,000-2,500 pesos only


Categories: Health, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Cash aids and free medical services for displaced Saudi OFWs


©Pixabay, ©DOH

The Saudi government recently gave a 3-months leeway for some Filipinos who are unwarrantedly staying and working inside the ‘kingdom’. They should clear their coasts and be well-documented migrant workers on or before June 29.

Those who can’t make it were eventually encouraged to go back to Philippines.

If you’re returning to the country soon or has arrived home already, here’s good news – the Department of Health (DOH) offers financial support and free health care services for repatriated OFWs like you!

In one newspaper report, Secretary Paulyn Ubial said that you can get financial aid and have your health condition checked in our government facilities.

In addition, should you wish to avail any medical, surgical and dental service,worry less for it will be all free of charge!

Enjoy DOH’s support and welcome back to Philippines, kabayan!




Categories: Health & Safety, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Landbank offers 2 Million Pesos for business-minded OFWs


©Pixabay, ©Landbank

If you have the heart for entrepreneurship, and is highly interested to venture so you won’t drag your feet to fly and work overseas again in the future, you better grab this golden opportunity.

Through the OFW Reintegration Program (OFW-RP), Landbank helps an OFW grow a bigger business.

As per Landbank, an OFW who is a certified OWWA member and has attended a particular ‘capacity building program’ is eligible to borrow an amount of money within the range of Php 300,000 – Php 2,000,000.00.

The loan’s purpose is a ‘working capital’ and/or money for ‘fixed asset acquisition’. A responsible OFW borrower then pays Landbank based on his business’ cashflow. The payment should not exceed 7 years (inclusive of 2 years grace period) from the day it was released.

For more information about this loan, download this PDF brochure.


What can you say about this opportunity, kabayan?

Share your thoughts by writing a comment below.

Categories: INVEST, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six strong Filipino Captains you probably don’t know who are real life heroes.



Now and then, Marvel-ous heroes fly on big screens and they even never stop smashing box office records. I bet you recently fell in love with Wonder Woman? Well, Gal Gadot’s portrayal was truly remarkable. In fact, her ‘wonder’ character had inspired me to write “Ten stunning ‘Wonder Woman’ Seafarers who can teach us how to fight tooth and nail.

On the other hand, if we speak of male heroes, the names of Superman, Batman, and Iron man, among others, may pop in our minds quickly. Hardly ever can you hear a child says his Pa is his superhero or a father of a father says that his father’s father was a ‘power ranger’, being the family’s ultimate ‘walang magugutom’(no one’s getting hungry) defender!

Sigh. The struggle of knowing real life heroes is real?

Hopefully, through this blog post, we’ll realize that real life heroes are more fantastic than the ones we see on cinemas. Below Master Mariners, being Overseas Filipino Workers, are already modern heroes of the Philippines. But what made them different among others, are their heroic acts you’re about to discover.

1.Captain Autonomo Amano, Sr.

Capt. AMANO has been sailing for the past 31 years, 26 years of which has been with Höegh Fleet Services Phils., Inc.  He started with the company as a ship rating in 1980 onboard a HUAL vessel and went to become a Third Officer in 1983, in a short span of time owing to his talent, skills and exemplary work attitude, he then rose from the ranks, occupying different positions of responsibilities until his promotion in 1998 to Master, a position he says took him so long to achieve due to the presence of pioneering foreign officers reigning over the Höegh vessels at that time.

As a Höegh seafarer and officer, he is an exemplary performer, leader, mentor, and friend. He is one of the Company’s outstanding seafarers getting all accolades from all levels during his entire service years with the company. He easily earned the highest respect and admiration when he remained unfazed in the midst of the industry-wide labor shortage and financial crisis which hit the Company starting in 2008.

During his stint with Höegh Fleet, he also had figured in a rescue operation in August 2005 while serving as Master on board Hual Tramper. Together with the crew they were instrumental in saving the life of a Frenchman whose vessel was distressed in the Atlantic Ocean.

2.Capt. Silvestre Notorio, Jr.

On the night of February 27, 2010, Chile experienced a devastating earthquake measuring over 8 on the Richter’s Scale. Alongside in San Antonio was the “STAR JUVENTAS” with CAPT SILVESTRE G. NOTORIO, JR., as Master of the vessel. The vessel had just commenced unloading her cargo of wheat when nature took command of the situation. With CAPT. NOTORIO’s expertise onboard, he managed to keep all officers and crew calm and safe. Furthermore, through his excellent leadership, he kept the crew focused on the tasks that had to be done, at the same time transmitting timely and relevant information to the Contingency Group to update interested parties. He manifested exemplary ability in evaluating the emergency situation, deciding on what to do and carrying it out having in mind the safety of his men and protection for the ship and its cargo. Grieg Shipping AS shall always be grateful for his decisive action in San Antonio and for undertaking continuous efforts during the aftermath of the earthquake to restore the vessel to its seaworthy condition.

3.Capt. Leopoldo Gromio

CAPT. LEOPOLDO MONTE GROMIO, the Master of MV Hanjin Mimitsu, led the successful rescue of nine (9) passengers of a wooden pleasure boat that sank while sailing the rough seas in Paranagua, Brazil on January 18, 2014

The wooden pleasure boat was tossed heavily in the water due to the rough waters and substantial swells of the sea condition, apparently breaking the boat into two. MV Hanjin Mimitsu which at that time was in the proximity sighted passengers of the boat in the water without flotation devices.

As quick response to the situation, CAPT. GROMIO reported the incident to the nearest rescue station and directed his crew to throw the life rings to the passengers and lower the lifeboat at once. He also controlled and maneuvered the lifeboats himself.

4.Capt. Cuadrato Gaspi

Braving the troubled high seas of the Atlantic brought about by a stormy weather, Capt. Gaspi led his crew onboard MV Sandviken, to rescue three Dutch nationals whose sailboat sank off the coast of Portugal in June 2007. Owing to this skipper’s exemplary seamanship, he had braved the perilously rough seas off the coast Portugal to take over the rescue operation where another cargo vessel had given up.

Part of his heroic act is twenty six (26) brave Filipino officers and crew members of MV Sandviken. Once again, Capt. Gaspi’s group has proven that the Filipino seafarers are the best in the world.

5.Capt. Paulino Belen

Captain Belen has been a seafarer for thirty (30) years. His decisiveness and readiness to take action when duty calls has brought him to where he is today.

This was exhibited on the 24th of December 2015 when Captain Belen led a rescue operation of two European crew onboard a race yacht whose lives at that time were threatened by huge waves and rough winds while sailing. His vessel MV Star Isfjor was on its way to The Netherlands from the USA when the call to assist was received. He immediately led his team to battle ten-meter waves and strong winds without any hesitation on the imminent danger that lies ahead. Despite extreme weather conditions and several unsuccessful attempts, Capt. Belen did not waver in his strong determination until he was able to save the precious lives of the two sailors.

This heroic feat and that of his crew was recognized in various media platforms in Europe, once again proving the Filipino Seafarers’ gallantry.

The leadership, excellent seamanship and heroism of Captain Belen make him truly worthy for the Bagong Bayani Outstanding Employee Award.

6.Capt. Jonathan Sison

A native of Cebu, Captain Sison has been a seafarer for more than thirty (30) years having obtained his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation at the Philippine Merchant Maritime School-Manila in the 80’s. The formative years he spent at the University of San Carlos in Cebu has greatly influenced his desire to help the needy early on in his life.

Captain Sison is a Bagong Bayani Outstanding Employee Awardee for saving the lives of nine (9) Algerian refugees who experienced being aimlessly adrift for days in the Mediterranean Sea without food and water.

On the 24th of August 2015, Captain Sison and his crew, while on their way to Spain onboard MV Star Herdia spotted these helpless refugees who have been refused entry by the European countries. He immediately contacted the Algerian authorities to report about the plight of their fellow nationals but was refused help.

While fully aware that he will get the ire of the Spanish authorities, his fortitude to save precious lives prevailed upon him to rescue the beleaguered refugees. With the help of his crew, he provided them with food and temporary shelter. Capt. Sison never regretted his decision and will continue to risk his life and limb to help others in distress.

This makes him truly commendable as a Bagong Bayani Awardee.

Related Reading: How to be a global “Bagong Bayani”

*Photos & text courtesy of Bagong Bayani Awards Foundation, Inc.


What can you say about our Filipino Captains being real life heroes?

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Categories: OFW TALENTS, Overseas Filipino Workers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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