5 Tips on How to Choose the Best Name for Your Business

Starting a business is not a walk in the park. You need to make sure that your business is profitable in order to survive. Then, there are marketing strategies you have to think about to make the people know your product exist. You also have to deal with customers who may or may not like your product. Then, you also need to think about adding new products on your line or possible expansion to make your business grow.

Before everything, you need to think about this important factor: your business name. 

Don’t underestimate a business name. The name of your business reflects not just what you’re offering but also who are the people behind that business and what are the values you represent. This is why it is important to make it right because this is how people will remember you. In other words, your business name is a reflection of your business’ identity.

That being said, here are tips and things to remember when choosing a business name:

Tip No. 1: Make it unique and unforgettable. 

There are a LOT of entrepreneurs in the market offering the same products. In this digital world, you need to make sure that yours is something that stands out and something that people will remember.

Therefore, go for something catchy and could easily stick to the people’s mind. Avoid nonsense mix-up of names or something that is hard to spell or pronounce. Otherwise, you won’t be able to maximize the power of name recall, which could help you a lot in this business.

Tip No. 2: It should reflect your business. 

Let’s say you want to sell sausages. Your business name should tell people that you are selling sausages. Avoid using terms like “technology” or “solutions” because it does not reflect what you’re actually selling.

In choosing a business name, make sure it is a reflection of the product or service that you are actually selling. Do not deceive people by adding popular terms just for the sake of being remembered.

Going back to sausages, you should include the term “sausage” or “food” so people will know that you are selling something of that sort. This will make it easier for people to remember you as well.

Tip No. 3: Simplicity is key. 

Do not create long business names. Believe it or not, your potential customers won’t care that much. Stick to one or two business names and you’re good to go.

Since we’re talking about simplicity, avoid adding special characters to your name, except for ‘s. Remember that name recall is important, so keep it simple as much as possible.

Tip No. 4: Ensure that the name is available. 

This is important. Even if you finally came up with the most brilliant and eye-catching names, you need to check that nobody owns it yet. Trademark infringement is a serious issue, so choose something that nobody has thought of yet.

If you came up with a name that is owned by no one, then register it as soon as you can. This way, you got the first dibs and you are the rightful owner of that particular name.

Tip No. 5: Don’t rush. 

We understand how important it is for you to start your business. Without a name, you won’t be able to start because your social media pages will depend on it.

Still, relax and give it some time. A business name is important in ensuring the success of your business. If you can’t think of a name now, then perhaps tomorrow or two days from now could help in squeezing your brain for the perfect business name. Ask help from family and friends by having a brainstorming session. There are also name generators available online so take advantage of those as well.

9 Business Ideas Worth Trying this 2019

Brand new year means brand new opportunities. At this point, you know that OFW life is not forever and applying for a new job overseas may take time. This is why you vowed to do something to ensure continuity of funds in the family.

How will you do that? You consider opening a new business.

The truth is there are tons of opportunities available to help you jumpstart your entrepreneurial career. If you’re unsure as to what type of business you should start, then let this list help you.

Here are business ideas you can try this 2019:

1. Online Business – The online market is flourishing. Many Filipinos spend a lot of time glued on their mobile phones and, yes, shopping or at least browsing for items. Take advantage of that by putting up an online store. You could sell anything you like but to set you apart from the rest, offer the people something that is not readily available in the market. It could be one-of-a-kind products from the country where you’re working or a product that you make.

2. Cleaning Services –  Most households are unable or have difficulty finding a reliable house help. If you worked in a hotel or as a household service worker overseas, then put those skills to use and start your own general cleaning services company. All you need are cleaning tools and equipment and eye for perfection, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you get equally reliable and trustworthy cleaning ladies because reputation is key in this type of business.

3. Food Delivery – Does anyone in the family love to cook? If yes, then try offering those to die for meals to people. Instead of renting a space or putting up your own restaurant, try food delivery services first. You can start cooking at your own kitchen first and commission a third-party to deliver the food to your customers. Keep in mind that the appearance of your food matters a lot, so take good, enticing pictures. Who knows, this could be a start of something bigger, say your own restaurant in the future?

4. Food Cart – If cooking is not your family’s thing but you still would love to get into the food business, then consider franchising a food cart. The good thing about food carts is that there is already an existing business model that you can adapt. Plus, the franchised food cart already made a name in the market, thereby making marketing easier for you. You can check this post for affordable food carts you can franchise.

5. Laundry Service – Apart from general cleaning, laundry is something Filipinos are willing to pay for. You can open your own laundromat and give people some convenience. Self-service laundry centers are also in demand these days, so you might want to invest your hard-earned money on that.

6. Gift Boxes – This type of business is in demand these days. Take advantage of that by putting up your own subscription service. Every month, subscribers will receive specially designed gift boxes that contains items based on a particular monthly theme. You can have monthly themes like “Toys and Games,” “Goodies from Overseas,” or “For the Coffee Lovers.” Items can be easily sourced so this won’t be a big issue for you.

7. Party Supplies –  The party industry is booming these days. People are willing to spend money to make their parties Instagram-worthy. You can take advantage of that by putting up your party supplies store. The good thing about this business is that items are available on wholesale, which means you can get items at cheaper prices.

8. Tutorial Services – Are you good at a particular subject, preferably English or Math? Put those knowledge into good use and offer tutorial services. Many working parents these days are willing to pay for tutors since they could have a hard time squeezing study time as soon as they get home. If you can’t offer tutorial services, then at least anyone in the family can do for extra income.

9. Personal Grooming Home Service – Did you work as a barber, hair stylist, makeup artist, or spa personnel abroad? Use those skills by offering home service facilities. Compare the prices of said services in the malls and offer a competitive rate. Don’t worry. People are more willing to pay for convenience.

6 Tips to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s a brand new year. Surely, before 2018 ended, you made a list of things to accomplish as well as plans and resolutions for 2019. You are also proud of yourself for aiming for those goals and promised to do whatever it takes to make sure these resolutions will come to life. After all, at the end of the day, all you want is a better future for you and your family that is why you outlined those goals.

The first week has been great and so far, you’re on the right track. The question now is whether or not you can sustain this until December 31, 2019.

Of course you can! Here are tips that will ensure that you can stick to your 2019 goals and resolutions before 2020:

Write your 2019 resolutions. 

Yes, it is old school, but it still an effective ways to make sure that you’ll make it before the clock strikes at 12 midnight on December 31. As odd as it sounds, writing your resolutions for the year has higher effectiveness rate than just relying on your mind.

Keep those resolutions simple and attainable.

One of the reasons why New Year’s resolutions are not sustained is because you set unrealistic and impossible to attain goals. Forget that.

What you need to do is to keep your resolutions simple and attainable. Instead of aiming for a complete overhaul of your lifestyle, target one to two habits first and then move on to the next. Instead of aiming to reach one million by the end of the year when you don’t have savings yet, keep it realistic and target at least P100K.

The point is the simpler and more attainable your goals are, the easier for you to make these happen.

Daily action is key. 

You can’t attain something without putting 100 percent effort to it. This means you need to outline steps you need to take everyday to make sure that by the end of the year, you will stick to those goals and resolutions.

What you can do is schedule your activities for the week to help you attain those resolutions. For instance, you promised to save P100K by the end of the year. Before the week starts, finalize your raket/s (apart from your main job, of course) and the amount you are expecting that could help add up to your savings.

Breakdown your one big goal to smaller goals. 

Let’s go back to P100k savings for 2019. It’s easy to say you want to save that much but how do you plan on achieving that goal?

This is why it is important to make manageable action chunks from that one big goal. It is easier to make those resolutions happen because you are more focused and at the same time, there is a higher chance that you will achieve it.

So how do you plan on achieving the P100k savings? You could start by looking for sidelines. To get a sideline, you set aside one day to look for part-time jobs or ask friends around if they know someone who could find your skills useful.

The bottom line is start small to help you supplement that one big goal.

Track your progress. 

This is important. You’ll never know whether or not you are making progress if you don’t track it, right?

Establish a system that will help you record the progress you’re making or check whether or not you’re done with this particular daily action. This way, you can easily see what areas you need to work on and whether you could make those resolutions happen.

Always focus on the positive.

We understand. There are days when you won’t be able to stick to your daily goals and it will make you feel bad. That’s fine.

Instead of worrying about those missed days, focus on the positive side, say the fact that you are making progress with your savings or the sideline you just booked this coming weekend. If you look at the negative side, your perception towards your 2019 goals could change and may compromise the things you want to achieve.

At the end of the day, it’s also about discipline, mindset, and your willingness to make your 2019 resolutions happen. When you establish that, then you are set for the rest of the year – and beyond.

What You Should Know about SSS for OFWs

In separate posts, we discussed about OFW’s membership with Philhealth and PAG-IBIG. These two agencies provide additional benefits and services apart from what you can get from OWWA. Aside from these two government agencies, there is another agency that Overseas Filipino Workers like you could apply for – Social Security System or SSS. 

SSS is a state-run social insurance program catering to all Filipinos, regardless of the form of employment, except for those employed by the government. It was established in 1954 by virtue of RA 1164 or the Social Security Act of 1954. Later on, the said law was amended in 1997 upon passage of RA 8282. 

That being said, the question now is how can SSS help you to encourage you to continue your membership? Read on to find out. 

How to Register

For first-time members, you need to submit the following documents at the SSS branch nearest you:

  • Duly accomplished Overseas Worker Record (SS-Form OW-1). You can get a copy here
  • Original or certified true copy of Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, or Passport. 
  • In the absence of these three documents, you may submit Driver’s License, Record of Employment, or Voter’s Identification Card among others. 

For convenience, you may also register online through the agency’s My.SSS portal. Simply visit the SSS’ online registration page and fill out necessary information to register. 

In case you have an existing SSS, then no worries. Your SS number will be used every time you make transactions. Nonetheless, make sure you check Overseas Worker in the SS Form RS-5 when you make a payment to update and change your status as OFW. 

Membership Contribution 

As of January 1, 2004, the Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) was increased from P1,000 to P5,000. This equates to minimum of P550 contribution every month. If you want more convenience, you may opt to pay for your contribution for the entire year. 

You can check out this link from SSS website for a complete schedule of contributions. 

In case you’re wondering if you can make payments from overseas, the answer is yes. SSS has branches in Asia, Middle East, and Europe where you can remit your contribution directly to the agency. Check out this link for specific areas where SSS representatives can be found. 

Benefits of Being a Member

You might say that this is just another way for the government to extort money. Still, being a member of SSS comes with perks. 

Here are some of the benefits of being a member:

  • Access to Loan Facilities- You might need extra cash for the purchase of your home or to pay an emergency expense. SSS offers various loan programs to its members that could fit your needs. If you are regularly and religiously paying your contributions, you can apply for Housing Loan, Salary Loan, or get benefits upon retirement. The best part is interest rate is usually lower compared to borrowing from banks. 
  • SSS Flexi Fund Program- This program is exclusive to SSS-OFW members. It invests the members’ funds into stable, low-risk fixed income securities, thereby allowing you to earn more than what ordinary savings account can give. Even if you are no longer working overseas, you can still continue with this program. Interest rates are based on either SSS’ short-term peso placement or 91-day Treasury Bills rate, whichever is higher. You can download the application form here and submit it in SSS branch near you.  
  • Social Benefits- SSS has an array of benefits like retirement, disability, death, and funeral. It may not seem a lot at first, but these social benefits could come in handy in case something happened. 

The bottom line is this: don’t underestimate these government agencies. They may not be of value for you now, but you’ll never know what could happen. Be a member and give yourself a peace of mind wherever you may be. 

5 Things to Remember for OFWs Spending Holidays in the Philippines

It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year, especially now that you are allowed to go back home even for a few weeks. We also know how excited you are to spend the holidays with your family. 

Before you get too excited, there are certain things you need to remember as you prepare your trip back home. These are:

1. Make an Itinerary 

You are heading back home, so you need to make plans on where to go, what to do, and things you need to accomplish. If you plan to open an account, update records, or apply for a loan, then make sure include this in your itinerary.. This will give you an idea on how to set your budget and make necessary preparation for possible expenses. 

Why not just go with the flow? Spontaneity is fun, but you give yourself more room for temptation, at least when it comes to spending.

Therefore, make an itinerary. Having one allows you to make the most out of your stay in the country. 

2. Rethink about Balikbayan Boxes

One of the things your family always looks forward to is your pasalubong.You’ve been away for some time and you want to bring home every possible thing you could to share to your family, relatives, and friends. Plus, it is a Filipino tradition to do this and share your blessings to others.

Before you fill those balikbayan boxes, think again. 

To begin with, declaring international goods at Customs could be hassle. If you plan to send it in the Philippines, it will take a month or two before it arrives. 

Instead, bring only a handful of gifts to people who matters. You can still bring pasalubong items like chocolates and food, but place these inside your luggage instead. If you insist on giving something for everyone, shop at Duty Free. This way, you don’t have to worry about baggage allowance since you’re back home. Just make sure you allot a specific budget for that. 

3. AirBnB over Hotel Accommodation 

Let’s say part of your itinerary is to have a staycation with the family. That’s fine. The question is where will you stay? 

Hotel accommodation is tempting, but have you considered AirBnB? 

The good thing about AirBnB is that it offers more affordable staying options for you and your family. You can get an entire house that could accommodate your entire family without paying too much. Plus, you can bring and cook food, thereby helping you save extra instead of eating out. 

If you insist on trying out hotels for convenience, then that’s fine. There are hotels that offer affordable rooms. 

4. Apply for OEC Online 

OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate is among the most important documents you need to secure as proof that you are a legitimate OFW. The good news is returning workers will take easier path. 

Instead of lining up in POEA, you can get an OEC online through Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System or BM Online. If you are staying in the country for five days or less, you can already get your OEC at the Labor Assistance Counter in the airport. 

You can also read more about OEC for Balik Manggagawa here

5. Take it Easy on Spending

Yes, you are earning in dollars and you are earning more compared to your old job in the Philippines. Still, this is not an excuse to splurge and give in to everyone’s demands. 

This is why it is important to plan your stay in the Philippines. The itinerary will serve as your guide on how you will spend your vacation here. Also, learn when to say no to people, especially when money is involved. It’s not easy to earn money and surely, they have no idea about the sacrifices you went through just to provide a better future for your family. 

Above all, enjoy and have fun while it lasts. Christmas is that one occasion you want to spend with your family. Make the most out of your stay. 

Types of Insurance OFWs Should Consider for Their Family

Not many people believe in insurance – and we don’t blame you. The idea of paying premiums every month could be heavy on the pocket, especially when you have other expenses on the table.

Still, there are variety of reasons why you need to get an insurance. For starters, you’ll never know what will happen either to you or any member of the family. Also, savings is not enough to cover sudden expenses (especially if it involves six to seven digits). This is why it is important to start preparing for the uncertain and having an insurance could help you with that.

The question now is what type of insurance should you get for your family? Below are your options:

Life Insurance

This type of insurance pays lumpsum to the surviving family in case of death of the insured person or after a certain period.

There are three types:

  • Term Life Insurance – This provides death benefit payment after a certain period, usually within one to 30 years. It is also the most affordable type of life insurance in the market.  The issue with this is that in case death didn’t happen within the given period, the insured will get nothing.
  • Whole Life Insurance – This offers lifelong coverage plus death benefit and investment. The good thing about this type of policy is that you get to earn dividends, which you can withdraw whenever you need it.
  • Variable Universal Life (VUL) Insurance – This insurance type comes with disability, living, and death benefits as well as insurance component. The difference of VUL with whole life insurance is that you can choose where to invest your money.

Among the insurance types in the market, having a life insurance should be your priority. It offers financial support in case something happens to you plus the investment component could be helpful in growing your money and possibly covering expenses back home.

Health Insurance

This type of insurance reduces, if not cover all costs of healthcare services. This could be emergency, inpatient, outpatient, and preventive services. Healthcare insurance may be used not just by the policyholder but also by the qualified dependents.

Why should you get a health insurance? The answer is simple: healthcare is expensive in the Philippines. Getting an insurance will help you cover medical expenses without depleting your savings account and Emergency Fund (which we assume you have!)

Tip: Ask about including critical illness insurance coverage. This coverage includes serious illnesses like stroke, heart attack, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and cerebral palsy among others. You might have to pay for additional premium, but this could be useful especially if critical illnesses run in the family.

Education Insurance 

Education can be expensive in the Philippines, especially if you want to send your children in the best universities in the country.

If your budget can accommodate it, then get an educational insurance for them. Consider this as a form of investment to ensure your child’s future. This is better than borrowing money when it’s time for your kids to go to college.

Education is something you could leave to your child and it is worth investing.

Home Insurance 

The purpose of insurance is to help you prepare for the inevitable. When you invested in a home, you need to make sure that it is protected against all possible loss or damage like fire, typhoon, or burglary. Your home might be affected of disaster caused by someone in the community, thereby losing everything you invested in that home.

Having a home insurance offers emotional and financial security and peace of mind. Nobody wants to experience disaster but in case it happens, at least you have something to turn to. Plus, it could help you reimburse expenses like medical, rental, and relocation so you don’t have to worry about getting these paid.

Car Insurance

Do you have a car? Then you need to have an insurance to make sure that expenses related to vehicular accident (medical bills and repairs among others) or theft will be covered.

It may be the least of your concern, but having a car insurance could give you peace of mind in case something happens.

Do you really need to get all of these insurance policies? Not really. Nonetheless, it is important to get at least one since this will give you financial security and peace of mind in case something happens.

The key here is to know your needs and find out which one should you prioritize. You can start with life insurance or health insurance since this will come in handy.

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 ofp@philhealth.gov.ph

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.