Find Out How You Can Claim Your PAG-IBIG Contributions

You are convinced that PAG-IBIG could help you in boosting your savings, which is why you made sure you diligently paid your contributions every month. After years of paying, you felt that you deserve to get your investment back.

The question is how.

Don’t worry. This post will tell you everything you need to know about how to claim your PAG-IBIG contributions.

But first, can you just withdraw your contributions anytime you like? 

The answer is no. In fact, there are conditions that will allow you to withdraw. These conditions include:

1. Maturity

This means you made contributions for at least 20 years or an equivalent of 240 monthly contributions.

In case you are still under the PAG-IBIG Overseas Program (POP), which is different from the present PAG-IBIG savings, you may withdraw your money on the 10th, 15th, or 20th year, depending on what you chose during your registration. Simply present your POP passbook to make a claim.

2. Permanent Departure from the Philippines

In case you plan to leave the country and live abroad permanently, then you may opt to withdraw your contributions even without meeting the 240 monthly contributions requirement.

Still, PAG-IBIG needs proof that you are not coming back and that the country you plan to live in allowed you to stay there. Therefore, you must submit:

  • Notarized Sworn Declaration of Intention to Depart from the Philippines Permanently. You can get a copy of the form here.
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Residence visa, immigrant visa, settlement visa, or any other equivalent documents

3. Retirement

As long as you reach 65 years of age, also known as the compulsory retirement, you may opt to claim your contributions from PAG-IBIG. In case you retire early, say 60 years old, then you can also claim for your contributions as long as you are at least 45 years old. 

You need to submit the following documents to make a claim:

  • NSO-issued birth certificate
  • SSS or GSIS retirement voucher
  • At least two valid IDs with photo, birthdate, and signature
  • Notarized Certificate of Early Retirement for private employees above 45 years of age
  • Order of Retirement, Updated Statement of Service, and Statement of Last Payment for AFP, Philippine Army, and Navy members

4. Separation from Service due to Health Reasons 

PAG-IBIG also allows you to claim your contributions in case you can no longer work due to severe health condition. To claim, you must submit:

  • Statement of Certification from a doctor indicating such condition
  • Notarized sworn employer’s Certification of member’s employment termination due to health reasons
  • Latest SSS Disability voucher in case you are a private employee

5. Permanent Total Disability or Insanity

PAG-IBIG members may also claim contributions in case of physical or mental disability as a result of illness or injury. Said condition must render the claimant unable to work or run a business.

The claimant must submit the following documents:

  • Certification or statement from physician indicating such condition
  • SSS Total Disability Voucher for private employees
  • Updated Statement of Service, Statement of Last Payment, and Compulsory Disability Discharge (CDD) Order for AFP, Philippine Army, and Navy members

6. Death

For deceased PAG-IBIG members, their heirs, authorized representatives, or appointed court administrator or executor may file for a claim. In doing so, the following documents must be submitted:

  • NSO-issued death certificate
  • Notarized Proof of Surviving Legal Heirs (you can get a copy of the form here)
  • In case the deceased member has children, NSO-issued birth certificate/s or baptismal / confirmation certificate for ALL the children
  • In case the deceased member has minor children or children with PWD, submit a notarized Affidavit of Guardianship. You can get a copy of the form here.

PAG-IBIG will need proof of relationship between the deceased member and the person processing the claim (claimant). Therefore, the following documents must be submitted:

  • NSO-issued birth certificate for both the deceased member and claimant
  • Non-availability of Birth Record from NSO and notarized Joint Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons in case birth certificates cannot be presented.
  • Certified True Copy of the claimant’s and deceased member’s baptismal or confirmation certificate
  • Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) for single members
  • NSO-issued Marriage Certificate and Advisory on Marriage for married members

Basic Requirements Needed to File for a Claim

  • Completely filled out Application for Provident Benefits (APB) Claim form. You can get a copy here.
  • PAG-IBIG Loyalty Card (in the absence of the loyalty card, two valid IDs will do)
  • Original and photocopy of one valid ID of the member
  • Special Power of Attorney (get a copy here) in case the member cannot claim personally

Now that your documents are ready, here’s how you can file and claim for PAG-IBIG contributions:

1. Visit the PAG-IBIG branch where your membership records are found.

2. Submit basic requirements and corresponding documents.

3. Once verified, PAG-IBIG representative will issue Provident Benefits Acknowledgement Receipt. The receipt indicates when you can claim your check.

Take note that you also have the option to have the amount credited to your bank account.

Tips to Remember when Filing a Claim 

  • Make sure you have no unpaid, existing loans with PAG-IBIG such as Housing Loan, Calamity Loan, or Multi-Purpose Loan. Any unpaid loans will affect the status of your claim.
  • Check if you have records in other PAG-IBIG branches. Records in multiple branches could slow down the processing time.
  • Make it a habit to check your contribution payments regularly. This is to ensure that payments were made by YOU and no contributions were withdrawn without your consent. This will avoid issues in the future in case you decide to claim.
  • If you opt to claim the proceeds of your contributions via check payment, then don’t forget to bring two valid IDs to prove identity.

5 Tips to Maximize Your PAG-IBIG Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, OFW life is not easy. Yes, you earn in dollars and yes, you earn more than what you can earn in the Philippines. Still, you are shouldering tons of responsibilities and you have to endure a lot of sacrifices in exchange of a better life and future for your family.

Does “better life and future for the family” includes savings?

Admit it. No matter how hard you try to save, you always end up using the funds because of “emergencies” back home. Thankfully, PAG-IBIG is there to help you by offering a savings with dividends scheme that will make it difficult for you to withdraw money. After all, you are only allowed to claim your contributions after 20 years. This could be helpful because you know that no matter what happens, you have savings to back you up.

In a previous post, we shared about how to be a PAG-IBIG member, including steps for registration, ways to contribute money even while overseas, and how much you can contribute among others. In this post, we will tell you variety of ways on how you can maximize your contributions so you could claim a higher amount when your 20th year as a member comes.

Here’s what you can do:

Tip 1: PAG-IBIG contribution is equal to part of your assets. 

Mindset plays an important role when it comes to financial security. Therefore, don’t think of your contributions as something you have to do because it’s mandatory, rather make it a part of your assets.

Keep in mind that your savings earn dividends every year, which will be added to your total savings. Also, the agency has Modified PAG-IBIG II (MP2) facility wherein members can opt for additional and voluntary savings option for five years, which could be helpful in growing your money.

This leads to tip number 2.

Tip 2: Apply for the MP2 savings facility. 

Apart from the monthly, mandatory contribution of P100, PAG-IBIG also offered the MP2 program wherein you can contribute P500 per month for five years. The good thing about this facility is that you get to earn higher interest rate compared to what was offered in banks’ savings and time deposit facilities.

In case you want to renew for another five years, then you can do so.

Here comes the best part: this savings scheme is tax-free. This means unlike your regular savings account, your savings in MP2 facility will not be charged with 20 percent withholding tax. How cool is that?

Tip No. 3: Keep your contributions up-to-date. 

PAG-IBIG wants to help every Filipino, including OFWs, to have a secured future. In fact, this is the reason why the agency was established. Nonetheless, all of the benefits won’t be possible if you don’t contribute regularly.

Keep in mind that one of the important requirements in claiming your contributions is that you made 240 monthly contributions. Meeting this requirement is crucial, otherwise, you won’t be allowed to withdraw.

Therefore, make sure that your contributions are updated. PAG-IBIG desks are available in Philippine embassies or consulates where you can deposit directly. There are also PAG-IBIG-accredited banks and remittance agencies where you can remit your contribution.

In other words, there is no excuse for you to skip payments.

Tip No. 4: Increase your contribution. 

Yes, you are mandated to contribute P100 every month, but did you know that you can contribute higher than that?

When you contribute more than P100, this means you earn higher dividends, which will be added to your total savings. In case you plan to apply for a PAG-IBIG loan in the future, there is higher chances of approval because of the higher contributions you made.

Tip No. 5: Contribute in lumpsum. 

Being a PAG-IBIG member allows you to enjoy certain benefits and access to various loan facilities. Before you apply, you need to make contributions for at least two years to become eligible for their loan.

You can skip that process by paying in lumpsum the amount of P2,400, or the monetary value of 24-months contribution, upfront. This way, you can get access to PAG-IBIG facilities.

What are you waiting for? Be a PAG-IBIG member now and remember these tips to enjoy higher benefits.

PAG-IBIG Membership for Overseas Filipino Workers

On June 11, 1978 and by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1530, Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan: Ikaw, Bangko, Industriya, at Gobyerno or PAG-IBIG Fund was established.

Presently known as Home Development Mutual Fund, the purpose of this government agency is to provide national savings program and affordable shelter financing for Filipino workers with the help of these four sectors.

Back in the day and due to certain events in history, being a PAG-IBIG member was voluntary. In 1994, then President Ramos declared the membership mandatory through Republic Act 7742.

In 2009, then President Arroyo signed into law R.A. 9679 or the Home Development Mutual Fund Law, which made PAG-IBIG membership mandatory for all Filipinos, including those who are overseas Filipino workers like you.

Keep reading to know more about your PAG-IBIG membership, including how to register, how to make payments while overseas, and the benefits you can get from being a member.

On mandatory membership – 

  • Filipino seafarer upon signing of the standard contract of employment between seafarer and manning agency.
  • Filipinos employed by foreign-based employers, whether deployed in the Philippines or overseas, or combination.

On membership registration – 

There are several ways you can register as a PAG-IBIG member. You can submit your Membership Registration Form (MRF) together with valid ID in:

  • In case you’re overseas,  in PAG-IBIG desks located in Philippine Embassy or Consulate
  • Pag-IBIG Fund International Operations Group, 6th Floor, Justine Bldg., Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
  • Any PAG-IBIG branch nationwide
  • PAG-IBIG satellite office in the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA)
  • Accredited banks and remittance centers like Metrobank, PNB, and iRemit Global Remittances, Inc.

You can also get a copy of the MRF here.

You can also register online through PAG-IBIG website.

On membership contribution –

Filipinos working overseas and whose employer is not subject to mandatory coverage shall contribute two percent of his/her monthly compensation. The Filipino worker may also opt to pay for the employer’s counterpart of two percent.

Take note that the maximum monthly compensation to be used in computing membership savings shall not be more than P5,000.00

As of this writing, the standard contribution is at P100. You may opt for higher contribution so you could get higher savings.

On duration of PAG-IBIG membership – 

Membership shall be maximum of 20 years with total of 240 monthly membership savings or upon the occurrence of any of the following:

  • Retirement
  • Permanent Total Disability or Insanity
  • Termination of service due to health reasons
  • Permanent departure from the country
  • Death
  • Other reasons provided for by the Board of Trustees

You also have the option to withdraw after 15 years of contribution, provided  at least 180 monthly membership contributions were made and there is no existing PAG-IBIG loan.

On paying for monthly contribution – 

The good news is you can pay your monthly contribution anywhere you are. PAG-IBIG has representatives based in the Philippine Embassy or Consulate where you can pay to them directly. There are also PAG-IBIG-accredited banks and remittance partners where you can pay your contributions.

You can check this link for a complete list of accredited banks and remittance partners of PAG-IBIG around the world.

Take note that when paying for your monthly contribution, prepare your PAG-IBIG membership ID number (PAG-IBIG MID) since this will be used to track the payments you made. In case you don’t have PAG-IBIG MID yet, you can now register so you will be given Registration Tracking Number (RTN) in the meantime.

On benefits of being a PAG-IBIG member – 

  • Tax-free savings, guaranteed by the government.
  • Savings are earning yearly dividends, which will be added to your savings.
  • Access to short-term loans like Multi-Purpose Loan and Calamity Loan, which you can use to, say, pay your child’s tuition fee, minor repairs at home, or starting capital for your business.
  • Access to Housing Loan wherein the funds can be used to buy your dream house, home renovation and improvement, or refinance existing housing loan from other lending institutions.

What are you waiting for? Become a PAG-IBIG member now to not only enjoy the benefits mentioned but also to earn higher savings.

Philhealth Membership for Overseas Filipino Workers

Being an Overseas Filipino Worker is not easy. You need to make sure that you will be able to provide a better and secure future for your family. At the same time, you need to ensure that your family is well taken cared of and that their everyday needs are met.

What about you? Who could take care of you in case you get sick?

Your employer overseas may provide you with health benefits but you are limited there. Once you go back to the Philippines, you are no longer part of the employer’s responsibility.

This is where Philhealth comes in. In fact, the agency can be your “Partner in Health” in case of medical emergencies.

How do you become a member? How can you make contributions? What are the benefits of being a member of Philhealth even if you are working overseas?

Read on to find out.

Who are Overseas Filipino members? 

1. Land-based Overseas Filipino workers

2. Seafarers or individuals employed or engaged in any capacity onboard a seagoing ship that is navigating foreign seas other than a government ship used for military or non-commercial purposes.

3. Filipinos with dual citizenship

What are the advantages of being a Philhealth member? 

1. Philhealth can pay for OFW or his/her dependents’ hospital confinement and out-patient surgeries in the Philippines through the All Case Rate payment scheme.

2. Reimbursement of fees upon the overseas worker’s confinement overseas. The OFW is given 180 days upon discharge to submit claim documents to any Philhealth offices in the Philippines.

3. Overseas worker’s benefits can be extended to his/her qualified dependents.

4. OFWs are entitled to Lifetime membership, provided that they reach their age of retirement and have paid at least 120 monthly contributions.

5. Easier availment of benefits in case of confinement since most of the accredited healthcare institutions are connected to the Health Care Institution Portal.

6. Coverage of more than 4,000 medical and surgical procedures, including cancer and dialysis procedures.

What are the benefits of Overseas Filipino Workers? 

Aside from Philippine healthcare institutions, you can still avail of Philhealth benefits even if you were confined overseas. Consequently, your qualified dependents could enjoy the same benefits you are entitled to.

Nonetheless, below are the specific benefits afforded to OFWs:

Inpatient Benefits 

This is available to all confinements in accredited Health Care Institutions (HCIs) through All Case Rate. The case rate includes hospital charges and physician’s professional fees, the total of which will be deducted from the total bill.

To avail of Inpatient benefits, OFW-member must have six months contribution preceding the three months qualifying contribution within the 12-month period before the first day of confinement. Submit a copy of Member Data Record and duly accomplished Philhealth Claim Form 1.

You can get a copy of the form here.

Outpatient Benefits 

This includes day surgeries that could include minor to major surgeries, radiotherapy, hemodialysis, outpatient blood transfusion, and primary care benefits.

Primary care benefits include preventive services, diagnostic examinations recommended by the doctor, and drugs and medication.

Z Benefits

This coverage includes medical conditions such as leukemia, prostate cancer, breast cancer, renal disease, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, tetralogy of fallot in children, ventricular septal defect in children, cervical cancer, prosthesis help and rehabilitation, orthopedic implants, colon and rectum cancer, and children with developmental disabilities.

SDG Related 

This coverage includes voluntary surgical contraception procedure, malaria packages, HIV-AIDS package, anti-tuberculosis treatment, and animal bite treatment package.

Check out this link for a complete list of Philhealth benefits for OFWs as well the corresponding requirements when making a claim.

To avail of any of the benefits, make sure that:

1. Availment period falls within the validity period of the OFW-member’s coverage.

2. You have not yet consumed the 45-day annual benefit limit for hospital room and board allowance.

3. The healthcare institution and the health care professional are accredited by the Philhealth.

What if you want to claim while you are overseas? 

The following documents must be sent to any Philhealth office (main or regional office) or Local Health Insurance Office nearest your Philippine address within 180 days from the date of discharge:

1. Medical abstract or record written in English OR medical certificate stating the final diagnosis, number of days of confinement, and medical services conducted.

2. If an operation was performed, a copy of the operative record written in English.

3. Statement of account

4. Official receipt issued by the hospital or doctor

5. Completely filled out Phillealth Claim Form 1.

How to Register for Philhealth membership:

If you are in the Philippines, visit the nearest Philhealth office, Local Health Insurance office, Philhealth Business Center, or Philhealth Express, whichever is nearest to you. Fill out the Member Registration Form (you can get a copy here) and submit it.

If you are overseas and a landbased OFW, visit any branch of iRemit and Ventaja Corporation. Access the Electronic Registration facility, and follow the procedure. Aldo, download the membership registration form, fill it out, and email the form at

If you are a seafarer, submit a completely filled out membership registration form to the Human Resource department of your manning agency. Your manning agency will process your application and give you permanent Philhealth Identification Number (PIN).

How much should I contribute? 

The annual contribution rate is P2,400.00, which can be paid in advance for two to five years OR depending on the duration of the employment contract with the overseas employer.

Click here for premium contribution schedule.

Where can I make contributions? 

You can pay for your contributions through any of the Philhealth-accredited collecting agents in the Philippines and overseas. POEA also has Philhealth counter where you can pay premiums.

You can also check out this link for a list of tie-ups overseas.

What are you waiting for? Make sure you are a member of Philhealth to avail of these benefits. You’ll never know what could happen so it is best to know that there is someone you can lean on.

7 Money Tips to Remember During the Christmas Season

It’s almost Christmas. Are you counting the days already? Surely you do, especially if you’re coming home for the holidays. Aside from the balikbayan boxes filled with tons of pasalubong for your loved ones, there are tons of reunions and parties you have to attend to because hey, people missed you. Plus, this is a perfect opportunity to go shopping. You feel that goods are cheaper here in the Philippines and you wouldn’t even notice since you are earning in dollars.

Indeed, going home this Christmas season is a grand celebration. Sadly, it’s an expensive one. Worse, you will realize how much you’ve lost once you head back to the country where you are working.

Does it really have to be that way? Of course not. Yes, you missed your family but there are certain things you need to remember to ensure that you won’t compromise your financial future just for the sake of having Pasko sa Pilipinas. This includes:

1. Set a Christmas budget before going back home. 

This is the first thing you need to do before you head home. Having a budget is necessary to guide you on your spending and avoid unnecessary expenses. You need to set a limit on your spending because you might be surprised to find out that there’s no job waiting for you.

What you can do is to allocate money for Christmas shopping, dining out, presents, etc. Set aside a portion for last-minute emergencies because you’ll never know what could happen while you’re back home.

2. Buy presents that increase in value. 

Sure, your kids will appreciate a new iPad or gaming console, but is it worth spending? The problem with giving material things is that they don’t appreciate in value. By the following year, a new model will be released, which improves the older version. Selling it won’t help because by the time you decide to sell the gadget, the value is way lower than what you hoped for.

What can you do? Give your family something that they will like and something to open this Christmas BUT make sure it is affordable. Also, use your money to buy your kids’ educational fund or invest in stocks or mutual funds. This allows your money to grow more instead of spending it on something that doesn’t appreciate in value.

Surely your family may not appreciate it now, but they sure will once they get older.

3. Limit your gift-giving. 

You’re not running for public office, so don’t feel pressured to give everyone something. Yes, it’s the season if giving, but do you have to share everything you have to the entire barangay? 

The answer is no – and it’s okay.

The point is limit your gift-giving to immediate family members and people who truly matters to you. This will help you save more money.

4. Once Christmas celebration is enough. 

So your former colleagues at work found out that you’re in the Philippines and they wanted to ask you out. Your college buddies also wanted to see you and asked you to meet them for dinner and drinks after. Your family wants to eat out.

The question now is do you really need to say yes to all the invites just so people will see you? The answer is no.

One of the ways to cut your spending while you’re home for the holidays is by scheduling just ONE (read: ONE) Christmas party. Schedule a party, preferably weekend, and invite people to come over. You can spend on food, but don’t hesitate to ask people to bring some of their specialties over. This way, you get to meet everyone while minimizing your spending.

5. Do not boast. 

One of the common misconceptions surrounding OFWs is that they are rich and money comes easy. Some do experience a leap, but there are still many others who are doing what they can to make ends meet. Yet, there are OFWs who act like they are living a life by showing off material things they own.

Don’t be one of them. Show the people that you are living a simple lifestyle instead of trying to make yourself look “bigtime.” You don’t need people to see that you have a new phone and your kids have up-to-date gadgets. People will less likely borrow money from you if they see that you are living a frugal life.

6. You’re not an ATM. 

It is part of Filipino culture to give something. Since you’re back home, this could be an opportunity for people to ask if they could borrow money from you.

No matter how close you are, the answer is no. You’re not an ATM machine and you have your own needs too. Don’t give in to their demands because you shouldn’t be the one they’re running to in case they are having financial issue. Learn how to say no and be firm about it.

7. Update and manage your accounts. 

Now that you’re back home, take this opportunity to check and manage your accounts. See how much money you have and don’t forget to enroll in an online facility so you can easily see and be updated with your account. If you plan to get an investment account or insurance policy, then use this opportunity as well.

It’s more complicated if you ask someone to do this on your behalf (through SPA, of course), so make sure you make the most out of your stay.

Are you ready to go back home?

Find Out Where Balikbayad Added Two More Branches

Are you an OFW who is currently in need of funds to put up your business? Do you need additional working capital for your inventory needs? Don’t worry. Balikbayad is here to help.

Balikbayad was launched with one thing in mind: YOU. 

Banks could provide you a lending hand in case you need to borrow money for your business. Apparently, this could mean sending tons of documents to prove your earning capacity and potential to pay the loan. We want to make this easier for you by providing you with options sans the hassle of coming up with a lot of documents.

Because of that need, we are happy to announce that aside from the Adriatico office, Balikbayad launched two more branches to better equip your growing needs and demands in the business.

Below are the addresses and contact details of our two more branches:

Makati Balikbayad - Makati5/F Salustiana T. Dy Tower, Paseo de Roxas Legaspi Village, Makati City (near Greenbelt 1).

You can contact us at 0977-7796594 or 0949-5777040. 

Kalaw 9/F TM Kalaw Center, 667 TM Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila

You can also contact us at 0977-7796594 or 0949-5777040. 

To our OFW friends in Cebu and nearby provinces in Visayas region, our Cebu branch is still ready to serve you. Don’t hesitate to call or visit in case you of your financial needs.

Keep in mind that Balikbayad wants to see every OFW succeed in life. We are here and more than ready to provide you and help you with your financial needs. We’ll be waiting for you.

“Penge Pamasko” – How to Handle Relatives and Friends Who Ask for Christmas

After two or so years working overseas, you were finally allowed to go home, even just for the holidays. Are you excited?

Sure you do.

Apparently, going home could take a toll on your wallet. To begin with, people think of OFWs or balikbayans as “big time.” You’re earning in dollars and surely, you are earning more than what majority of your relatives earn even if combined. Because of this, it’s not surprising when people ask you for “pamasko.” Plus, it’s a cultural thing. It is common for Filipino families to share their blessings to everyone, including friends, relatives, and inaanaks.

Don’t worry. You can avoid this. In fact, you can still share your blessings without draining everything in your wallet – and leaving debt behind. Here’s how you can do it:

Tip No. 1: Be honest about your situation. 

Yes, you earn in dollars, but you are not a millionaire – yet. There are tons of expenses you need to pay like your monthly amortization for the house and car, your kids’ or siblings’ tuition fee, Emergency Fund, and the list goes on.

That being said, be honest about your situation. Even if you earn more than what you can earn here, working overseas is not easy. Most of the time, you have to juggle two or more jobs just to make ends meet. Lower their expectations about you and make sure they know how hard your life is back there.

Tip No. 2: Buy items in bulk. 

Let’s say you have extra cash to spare and you insist on giving something to people back home, even just small items. If you prefer that, then we suggest you buy items in bulk.

Duty free stores sell items like chocolates and other food items in big portions. You can also find novelty items like ref magnets or key chains in affordable prices – and you can even try to ask for a discount when you buy in bulk. Souvenir shops that sell items like shirts or caps are also a good place to buy because it gives your relatives and friends an idea about what it’s like in the country you are working. You can portions those goods and give those items away in case someone asks for pasalubong when you get back.

These items may be cheap, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Tip No. 3: It’s okay to say no. 

Sometimes, all it takes is this two-letter word: NO.

Surely, you want to share your blessings to other people. Still, are you willing to sacrifice your financial future just to please other people? Definitely not.

Don’t give in to all their demands just because you owe them utang na loob. Again, this is why it is important that you make them understand your situation and how hard it is to earn money. Be honest about how much you’re earning and the gazillion expenses you have to say.

Consequently, don’t make promises such as buying them gadgets or sending them money when you get back overseas just to appease them. It is not your obligation and responsibility to give. Worry about your family first.

Tip No. 4: Spend time with people who matter to you most. 

Christmas season is that time of the year where parties are everywhere. Sure, you missed your relatives and friends, but if they are those type who will jokingly force you to pay the bill since you’re earning in dollars, then it is best to stay away from them. It is best to spend time and make the most out of it with people who truly matter to you most – your family.

5 Christmas Gift Giving Tips to Remember for OFWs

Christmas is fast approaching. Are you done with your Christmas list? Even if you are miles away, the reality is you will always feel responsible to give something to your family (and extended family!) back home.

Unfortunately, gift giving means you need to prepare your pocket because this will surely eat up a big chunk in your salary. You always feel the urge to make up for the lost time that you should’ve spent with your family. Still, does this mean you should go bankrupt just to send something back home?

The answer is no. It will take you a lot of discipline and strict budgeting skill, but you can still make everyone happy during Christmas without compromising your financial future – or that of your family’s.

Here’s what you need to do and remember when it comes to gift giving:

Tip No. 1: Make a list. 

This is the first thing you need to do when it comes to gift-giving. OFWs are always obliged to give the entire barangay something, even if it’s just one bar of chocolates per family. Before you shop for Christmas gifts, make sure you know who to give gifts to – and the best way to do this is by making a list. This will serve as your guide during the holidays.

Tip No. 2: Set up a budget. 

Aside from making a list, you also need to set up a budget.

Christmas is a season of giving, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend every centavo you have. Set up a budget for each recipient to guide you on your spending. This way, you can check the amount of money you are willing to spend (preferably not all of your income and savings, combined) versus how much you can save.

If the gift is below your intended project, then good. Still, don’t use the extra amount of money you have to buy something that won’t last.

Tip No. 3: It’s not always about the material things. 

New shoes, clothes, perfume, and gadgets – these are the usual contents of your balikbayan boxes. Does your family really need all of them when you just bought them the same items months ago?

Keep in mind that gift-giving is not always about material things. We understand that this is your way of showing how much you love them because you cannot be physically present in their lives, but this doesn’t mean spoiling everyone with things that don’t last. Focus more on intentional gift giving.

READ: Meaningful Gift Ideas to Give this Christmas 

Tip No. 4: Stick to people who truly matters. 

Again, don’t feel obligated to give gifts to everyone. You’re not Santa Claus and you only have so much money to spend because you will need it for more important things.

Therefore, give gifts to those who truly matters to you – family, closest friends who helped you get through life overseas, relatives who genuinely helped you and your family while you’re away, and an understanding boss who knows what you’re going through. Unless you want to run for office or a position in an organization, only give gifts you are genuinely closest to.

Tip No. 5: Always start early. 

Christmas season can be overwhelming. Prices tend to be higher during the holiday because people are willing to pay regardless of the price. Before all the rush happens, make sure you start early. Plan your shopping trips ahead instead of wrestling your way with people in the malls.

Are you ready to go Christmas shopping?

6 Meaningful Gift Ideas You Can Give this Christmas

They say that in giving gifts, it’s the thought that counts. That’s true. The fact that you gave – and received – a gift from someone means you care about that person and you are willing to spend on something out of your hard-earned money.

Still, don’t you think it is best if that person will truly appreciate what you gave them?

This is where intentional gift-giving comes in. It’s about giving something meaningful to someone even if you are miles away from them. To save you from the hassle and stress and thinking what to give your loved ones back home, we listed gift ideas you might want to give them on this season of giving:

Staycation Trip 

This is ideal if you are allowed to go back home during the Christmas season. A staycation trip with the family allows you to spend time together and makeup for the time lost even just for a few days.

The staycation trip doesn’t have to be in five-star hotels. There are tons of hotels in the metro that gives you a five-star experience that still fits your budget. Make sure you book as early as now because Christmas season means most hotels are fully-booked.


This one is for your spouse – and she deserves it. As long as budget permits, consider giving pearl jewelry to your spouse. It is more affordable than diamonds, but still provide a certain class to those who wear it.

Something Handmade

Is there anything more meaningful than something you actually made?

If you want to give gifts to your closest friends who helped you get through life abroad or your boss who is nothing but understanding of your situation, then give them something you personally made. It could be painting, personalized card, woodwork, or anything you are good at. You will only spend on the materials and more importantly, you won’t go over your designated budget.

Savings Account 

This is an ideal gift to give to your kids or younger siblings. 

Working overseas means you get to earn in dollars – and more. Take advantage of that opportunity by opening a savings account for them. The good thing about giving this gift is that it helps start build a better financial future for your kids. You can open a bank account with as little as P500.00 and get to earn interest as you make deposits.

Savings account with ATM is more convenient, but if you want to make saving work, opt for the one with passbook. You can also check out this post for banks with savings account specifically for OFWs.


If you prefer something that earns more than the savings account, then getting an investment for your family is a good idea. There are variety of options to choose from – mutual fund, UITF, government or corporate bonds, or stocks. Choose an investment option that suits your family most to start growing your money.

Don’t worry. Investment is not only for the rich. In fact, you can start your investment portfolio with as little as P5,000.

Startup Business

Even if you are the one earning more, this doesn’t mean expenses back home should solely be your responsibility.  In fact, it should be a collective effort of the family.

To ensure that, why not give your family a business they can manage? Franchising is a good start, but if you don’t have enough funds to cover for the fee, then there are affordable business ideas your family can try. Talk about this with your family and make sure that everyone will take part to ensure the business’ success.

Still, don’t force yourself to give gifts if your wallet can’t afford it. What’s the point of gift-giving if you’ll end up with nothing by the end of the year, right? More than anything else, set up a budget and give gifts to those who truly matter. 

Negotiate Your Salary with the Help of These 7 Tips

Salary or Compensation.

Admit it. This is your biggest consideration on why you want to work overseas. Although your job here in the Philippines is “sufficient” to cover for your daily needs, working overseas means you get to earn in dollars; hence bigger.

Let me tell you a secret: you can negotiate for a higher salary. 

In fact, this is among the things you need to do especially during job interview. This will allow you to earn more and get more benefits – provided that you have experience and skills to back up your request for higher pay.

Before you sign the contract, here’s what you need to do to get a better salary package:

1. Know the company first. 

They say never face your battles unprepared. Before you negotiate for better salary, make sure you know who you’re talking to first. Learn everything about the company so you know what you’re getting yourself into and whether or not you are a perfect fit to join them. Don’t forget to research about employee benefits as well the company’s owners or officers.

2. Don’t agree right away. 

$1,000 every month might be enough for your family, but are you willing to settle for that amount? What if your employer could offer more but because you agreed on the initial offer, you also lost your negotiating power?

The point is don’t settle right away. Always negotiate for a better salary amount or package. If you can’t get a raise, then at least bargain for allowances or employee benefits such as insurance, flight tickets, or overtime pay. Believe it or not, this will help you a lot in the future.

3. Highlight your strengths and skills. 

An increase in salary or the grant of additional benefits doesn’t come easy. You need to justify this by highlighting your strengths and skills that will be useful for the job. Inform your potential employer about additional trainings you went to in order to improve your skills. This would make it easier for your employer to give in because he is able to set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Be careful. You might over-sell yourself or sound too arrogant, so learn to hit the brakes when needed.

4. Do not convert right away. 

This is a common mistake among Filipinos, especially first-time OFWs. When negotiating for a better salary package, do not convert the salary into peso right away. Conversion rate changes regularly, plus you might not receive your salary in US dollars.

Once you agreed on the amount and salary package, make an estimate as to how much your expenses will be to give you an idea on how to budget your money.

5. Be flexible when negotiating. 

Yes, you want to earn as much as you can, but at the end of the interview, the employer still has the last say. Listen to your employer’s salary offer and employee benefits provided. Make sure you look like you are seriously considering the offer, but leave them hanging. Don’t immediately inform him that you want this much because you will only give away your bargaining power.

Then and if negotiation is allowed, make a counter-proposal. You might want a higher pay or additional benefits based on your experience and skills. Inform your potential employer that this is what you offer on the table but you are still willing to compromise to ensure that both parties are happy.

6. Always ask nicely. 

This is a must. Some foreign employers are not willing to bend but because you asked nicely and negotiated while showing respect, you could get the last laugh after the interview.

Therefore, ask nicely and politely whether the salary is negotiable or if there are any add-ons. If the employer is firm about sticking to only what was advertised, then don’t immediately look so disappointed or start being disrespectful. This will only ruin your chances of getting hired.

7. Never bluff about other job offers. 

This is a big no-no.

Sure, you want the employer to go after you because you feel you deserve the job based on what you can do. If things didn’t go your way, then don’t lie about job offers from other employers just to get a higher salary. This could backfire and you might end up not getting the job.

Are you ready to start the negotiation process?