For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), this question is something they live with every day. Every day, they answer it by spending time away from their families, working in a different world. Every day they choose to help, often at the cost of their own comfort.
Working abroad requires big changes. It means going out of comfort zones and taking chances far from the convenience of the place they call home. Bringing their talents abroad for the sake of uplifting loved ones back in the country involves dedication, a strong will, and unarguably, a big heart.
For actor and TV personality Robin Padilla, calling these people “modern day heroes” is not enough for the amount of glory and sacrifice they give to the country. The actor, who is an avid advocate of OFWs, can very much relate to the stories these people tell.
“Hindi ako bago sa kanila. Baliktad lang siguro ang sitwasyon ko dahil ako kumikita ako dito at pinapadala ko sa Australia. Pero alam ko ang pakiramdam ng malayo sa mga anak ko. (I’m not new to their situation. Maybe it’s the opposite because in my case I earn money here and send it to Australia. But I know the feeling of being away from my children.),” Robin added.
The drive of these modern heroes and their dedication towards their loved ones are aspects that have always resonated with him. He shares the facets that make him admire these people succinctly and emphatically. “Kung sakripisyo lang, lahat naman tayo nagsasakripisyo eh. Yung tibay talaga. Kapag andun ka sa ibang bansa at solo ka, iba yun. (If it’s just about sacrifice, we all make them. It is really the strength of these people. It is different when you are in a different country alone.).”
Touching the hearts of OFWs
The actor’s innate compassion for these individuals is the reason why he was chosen by a leading global money remittance service to serve as its face--and heart. Alex Chan Lim, Country Manager of MoneyGram International, Inc., Philippines praises the man for his sincere stand towards OFWs.
“There was a meeting of the minds. When we first talked to him, we saw how he keeps true to his word. All the things that he says, they come from the heart.”
He elaborates, “He isn’t the type of person who would just go out there for the sake of his job as an endorser. He has genuine care that touches the hearts of these people. And once you touch the softness of their heart, the rest will follow.”
The actor, who has represented MoneyGram since 2012, has been an effective conduit that connects Filipinos abroad to the culture they have temporarily left behind in the country. With the help of the brand, the TV personality has actively reached out to OFWs through a series of performances to bring joy to these modern heroes.
MoneyGram has been participating and at some cases, mounting its own shows for free as part of their efforts for the OFWs. Padilla religiously participates in them to gamely entertain the OFW communities across the sea.
Lim shares one particular experience they had abroad. “There was a time when we went to Saudi Arabia and we met an OFW who works at the hotel we checked in. When he saw us, he naturally got awestruck with Robin. He returned three times just to talk to us. We talked for hours and not once did I see Robin show signs that he was tired.”
He continues, “What really surprised me is that he gave something that is really personal to him. That is out of his responsibilities as a brand endorser but he did it.”
Robin gave one of the shirts he uses for his prayer sessions. “Sabi ko sa kanya, etong pangdasal ko na to, ang daming humihingi. Hindi ko to binigay pero ibibigay ko ito sayo. (I told him, there are so many people who asked me for this. I didn’t give it to them but I am giving this to you.)”
A progressive approach
Lim and Padilla pride their approach towards OFWs as progressive.
“Nagsimula kami sa malasakit. Pero progressive kami sa approach. Sa mga performances, yung mga nagawa na namin, hindi na namin inuulit. (We started with compassion. But we are progressive with our approach. When it comes to performances, we do not repeat what we have done already.),” Robin explains.
This kind of approach is what MoneyGram also applies to their business. “It’s a very transparent service. MoneyGram doesn’t have hidden charges. Whatever amount the OFW sends, it is the exact same amount that their family in the Philippines receives*,” says Lim. “Of course we are improving on other services. It is progressive.”
These are just some of the ways that MoneyGram brings families closer. The brand has been to Japan, Singapore, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon to name a few out of over 200 countries and territories. For this year, the company has laid out more plans to touch the lives of more Filipinos with Robin actively pitching in for ideas.
Lim enthuses, “Getting someone to represent your brand is easy. But how to effectively use him, you use him to grow the business and touch the hearts of the people. For us, there is equal importance to these two. Robin touches the heart of each and every Filipino outside this country. This is how business should be about.”
“Yung samin, gusto na lang naming iparamdam sa mga OFWs na andito ako para paligayahin kayo. Kahit isa, dalawang oras. Hindi mo na mabibili yun. (For us, we just want to make OFWs feel that I am here to make you happy even if it’s just for an hour or two. There is no price to that happiness.),” says the actor.
He closes, “Ang pagsabi ng bayani, hindi sa salita yan kundi sa gawa. Ang mapangiti mo ang mga taong ito, ito na yung pinakasimpleng pwede nating gawin para pasalamatan sila. (You shouldn’t only call them heroes, you should act on it. Making these people smile is the least we can do to thank them.)
Endorsements from top caliber celebrities are indeed, one of the great tools that companies nowadays employ to find that "hook" among its consumers. MoneyGram, with its dealings with Robin Padilla, was able to strike that goldmine of connecting with its market. However, what simply sets them apart is the genuine love and compassion of their endorser, to the strong mass of OFWs across the globe that the company serves. A truly unique, and a heartwarming relationship between MoneyGram and its endorser. Aptly put, quoting Alex Lim and Robin on what sets them apart, "being with MoneyGram, you look beyond business. For us, it's all about service, na "Galing Sa Puso" (service from the heart).
* MoneyGram and its agent will not apply any processing fee or any other fee to the recipients of money transfer service in the Philippines. However other fees may be charged to a recipient by a competent local authority in the Philippines.
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