Photo Contest: What Makes You Say Hay Pinas


We all have our own reasons why we left and why we want to go back home in Pinas again. 


We'd love to know the things you like and don't like -- in pictures! Visit our Facebook page and share with us the best Hay Pinas Memes you've got! 


You also get the chance to win our awesome prize so you won't ever have to worry about baggage weight limit for your back-to-Pinas flights (pretty practical, right?).


So, hurry, contest ends on June 30, 2012.

How to Join:

1. Like our Facebook page.
2. Post your image and a short caption on our wall.
3. Qualified entries will be added to the "Hay Pinas Memes" Facebook folder.
4. The photo with the most number of Facebook likes wins! 

    See prize details here.


Before you submit your entry, please carefully read the terms and conditions of the Hay Pinas Memes contest:

Hay Pinas! Overseas Filipino Channel will not be liable for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from the use of your photo submissions by any party for whatever purpose.

Contestants retain the copyright to their photos. By joining the Hay Pinas Memes contest, contestants agree to have their submitted photos displayed on the Hay Pinas! Overseas Filipino Channel website and Facebook page without any fee or other form of compensation.

Photos submitted to Hay Pinas Memes photo contest will never be sold. Hay Pinas! Overseas Filipino Channel will never claim to own the photos.

OFW Moms: What Makes Them Super


BY ANNE QUINTOS

Our parish priest in Taoyuan asked all mothers to come to the altar for his Mother's day blessing. To my surprise, more than half of the people inside the church stood up and crowded in front of Fr. Allan.

Up to this day as an OFW, there's nothing more depressing to me than witnessing about 50 mothers, away from their children, line up right before my eyes.

While seeing OFW moms from afar made my heart drown in sadness, getting to know some of them closely wrapped me in thought that motherhood, especially long-distance motherhood, isn't for the fainthearted.

And here are five extraordinary qualities I've learned about moms through my overseas experience:

They follow their uncanny intuition.

I swear, uncanny is the right word. After I left the Philippines, my mom never fails to send me a warm text message or give me a call every time I'm sad and missing home. Without me telling her anything.

OFW moms here also have that same amazing power. Oftentimes I'd hear them worry about their bunso being bullied at school. Or the Kuya who might be having the wrong set of friends. Even miles away, these moms feel the emotions and sometimes detect impending problems of their children.

They have awesome 'reality distortion field'.

During my first few months abroad, a good friend invited me  to a lunch gathering with her other Filipino friends at the backwall of a university near the St. Christopher's Church in Taipei.

At that time, you can say I was drawn into a different reality. All of them were laughing and enjoying the yummy Adobo while discussing all their hardships and problems at work. Mind you, they weren't loathing or feeling sunken. Although some of them only get to have one day-off every month, I believed for a moment that OFW life is fun.

I remember Ate D telling us her story of her five balikbayan boxes for Christmas. She said, "akala nila ganun kadali ang buhay dito, hindi nila alam...naku...ang hirap magpuno ng mga kahon!" She then took a handful of rice to her mouth. All of them again laughed in agreement.

The lack of Maalaala-Mo-Kaya moments even extends to their conversations with their families over long distance calls. The rose-tinted overseas reality somehow creates a negative effect on the families left behind -- with most of them thinking everything is easy. It is just natural for OFW moms, however, to tell the best stories so their kids would sleep well at night. And for them, to make things bearable.

They can see the future.

It's what keeps them going: the future of their family. OFW moms envision themselves sitting at their kids' graduation ceremony someday. Or holding the keys to their new home.

The problem is, seeing the future isn't the same as building it. It also isn't a one-way street. Most of them find themselves disappointed, because while they were dreaming, their families eventually grew apart.

They are women of steel, with hearts of gold.

Ate L, a seamstress we met near our home, endures the physical strain of longer work hours to fend for her newly-born grandchild. Her son-in-law wasted the money she sent as placement fee, because the boy felt stuck in an overseas job he didn't like.

She is just one of the thousands of OFW mothers who painfully tend to the needs of their families (even to the point of being abused).

They give more than what they get.

OFW moms keep on giving selflessly.

They sacrifice their precious time with their kids to give them a better future. The full balikbayan boxes they send home speak of how much they emptied themselves up.

What do most of them get in return? Aloof hearts, overspent household budgets, and if they're lucky, a viral Coke commercial.

While our country may have been blessed with amazing OFW moms, they are mere mortals too who can't carry the world on their shoulders for long.

Think about it: Behind their laughter and stories, they may be lonely. Despite the gifts they give, they may be tired. And, all of them, like everyone else, definitely yearns to feel loved.

Going Mobile: Android Apps for Overseas Filipinos


BY MERLISA BISCOCHO

Years ago, we used phones to make a call, send a text message, or take a grainy photo. Fast forward to 2012 and phones—with “smart” now added to its name--have evolved to multi-tasking beasts that let us share photos on Facebook, keep us updated with the latest news around the world, or entertain us with a game, a movie, or a  song.

Half the fun of owning a smartphone is selecting which apps to install. There’s even one created especially for OFWs. Looking for new apps? We’ve scoured Google’s Play Store for free apps that deserve RAM-space in every OFW’s  smartphone.

Chikka Messenger

Send free text messages to any subscriber of a network in Pinas. You only need a Chikka account and an internet connection. Friends back home can reply using their feature phones for only Php2.00-2.50/text. To exchange texts completely free, have friends and family install this app on their smartphones or computers.

Because Chikka is a calling service that depends on internet connection, emergency or important messages should still be coursed through mobile networks.

Time2Remit

As OFWs, one of the most important figures in our lives is the exchange rate. We try to get as much bang for our hard-earned bucks.

Time2Remit saves Singapore-based OFWs the effort of having to visit several remittance centers to ask about the rate. This app claims to publish exchange rates every day, but developers do this manually (meaning, there might be a chance for human error). Future enhancements include automatic publishing of exchange rates and support for more countries.

tfsRadio – Radio Philippines

This app streams live content from AM and FM stations in the Philippines. Streaming content consumes a lot of bandwidth, so be sure that you use this app only when you’re connected to  a Wi-Fi network. There’s a nifty option on tfsRadio to help you do just that.

Want the breaking news in the Philippines? You can tune in to DZBB or DZRH or to provincials stations such as Aksyon Radyo Ilo-Ilo. Missing your favorite DJs back home? There’s RX Monster Radio or Love Radio. The list of stations could be more comprehensive, though (there’s no DZMM or there are very few provincial stations, for example).

Simba

For some OFWs, Sunday is a working day or churches are few and far in between.

Hearing mass has no substitute, but if doing so is unlikely for Catholic OFWs, they may like Simba’s Sunday mass readings, guide for praying the rosary, and other Catholic prayers.  The text is in Tagalog, and we wish that this app will have translations for other major languages in the Philippines (like Cebuano, Hiligaynon, or Kapampangan).

Regalo App

Hay Pinas advocates planning for expenses, especially gift-giving.

Regalo is a very basic app that lets you keep track of pasalubongs. You can group recipients, create a list of gifts for a person, and track how much you’ve spent. When you’ve bought the gift, simply go to my Regalo screen and tap the item. This is a nice tool to help you stay within your budget as the app computes your total spending. Using this app is confusing at first because of the interface, but it certainly gets the job done.

What app would you recommend for OFWs? What do you like about this app? What improvements do you want to see?

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