OUR CHARTER INVESTORS

Aura Myra Santos, Registered Nurse, Kaiser Permanente

California, United States of America

1. How did you learn about OPM?

- I saw it on my newsfeed on FB, it really got my attention because at that time I was new to investing (mutual funds and the like). I read the website linked to OPM and it caught my interest and so I inquired with Luchie.

 

2. Why do you think investing in OPM and Cacao  is a good idea?

- It is investing/investment with a cause. It is not merely focused on the financial gain but it is a social enterprise. It is a way of being involved in your home country and helping your countrymen. It also promotes what kind of products or resources our country can be good at or be known for in an international scale. 

 

3. As an OFW what convinced you to invest in OPM?

- Like what I said earlier, it is a social enterprise. It’s not the traditional investment people are used to hear and see. Although, OPM is not a charitable institution it is deeply involved in educating the people involved in this project. Earning and getting your money’s worth is also good but what better way to see the fruits of your investment extend to educating our countrymen, earning a good living and promoting our country's products. That’s a good package deal for me. 

 

4. What do you expect from your investment in OPM? How do you feel about the future of Cacao?

- As with any investment, there’s a risk. It will experience some challenges along the way but as long as we, together with other investors in this endeavor , continue to live out the mission and goal of OPM it will be a sweet success! I also expect my investment in OPM to continue to tap other projects related to cacao.

 

-The future of Cacao is something to look forward to to say the least. It’s in the news that cacao supply is decreasing and will definitely become more expensive. If everything goes as planned, our country will definitely make its mark in the international scene for good reasons and more.

 

5. Would you recommend OPM to a friend and why?

- It’s neither a yes or no for me. Not pertaining to OPM itself. As with any investment, there are risks involved. The OPM has a great backstory to it and I will definitely promote it but will not actively force it to other people to join.  It depends on the future investor or interested party if they believe in the goal of the investment. Also, they have to be aware of the risks and challenges involved in the project. So with that people have to decide on their own.

 

6. Message to our OFWs

- To my fellow OFWs, I know how hard it is to earn good money. It is more than hard work but it is literally blood, sweat and tears along with the sacrifice of being away from our beloved families and beloved country. I would like all of you to be financially educated and financially independent and to invest in your future while you can. Choose the right investment portfolio, start small and within your means. If you are interested, please take time and understand what OPM is all about. Godbless everyone! 

Joan Baes, Financial Risk Analyst, Barclays Bank

Singapore, Singapore

1. How did you learn about OPM (ofw para sa magsasaka) ?

I learned about OPM through Iman, or Milot, on Facebook, we were classmates back in High School. I’ve known her for more than 25 years now. We lost touch after graduation but thanks to FB we reconnected. I’ve known her to be a good leader, I’ve always admired her for her assertiveness, for her tenacity and for being a woman of vision, and most importantly she’s a woman of action, I know she follows through with her vision until they become a reality.

 

Look at what she did with Ahsant, and with OPM I know she has a vision and this is her way of following through.

 

2.  Why do you think investing in OPM and in Cacao is a good idea? 

For me investing in OPM is a good step, as I always wanted to participate in a social enterprise.

Helping farmers improve their lives is actually a very good cause. Investing in cacao is a good move because for one there is a rising demand for chocolates and coffee all over the world, which are the by-products of cacao.

 

Our country is in a very good location to produce good quality cacao, so that presents a very good investment.

 

3. As an OFW what convinced you to invest in OPM ? 

What got me on board is the fact that OPM is a social enterprise.  I like the idea that the investors and farmers are actually partners. I think that is a very good model. I think the farmers are one of the most marginalized sectors in the country and if they are given the right tools, if they are empowered, they can actually be instruments of sustainable growth and of change for the country, after all, we do still have an agricultural-based economy.

4. What do you expect from your investment in OPM ? How do you feel about the future of Cacao? 

I hope the returns are actually better than we predicted, but before anything else I expect to make a positive impact on the lives of farmers whom we have partnered with. I think that in itself, if it happens is a success for OPM , because we are not only able to earn for ourselves , but we are also able to help others earn and improve their lives.

 

5. Would you recommend OPM to a friend? Why?

Of course I would recommend OPM to my friends, because it is specially catered to OFWs like us. The investment amount is manageable for most OFWs. I know its hard sometimes to actually save and allot money for personal investment, we always want to send our money and give our family comfortable lives in the Philippines, but OPM is a good investment because you let your money work for you while you work for your families. Of course you have to think of it as a long-term investment. Trees don’t’ grow overnight, so my advise is just to save for the minimum investment and then let it work for you.

 

6. Message to other OFWs 

I think investing in OPM is one way of giving back to the country, to the people who feed us literally, the farmers. We can make an impact to the lives of other Filipinos by working abroad. We know that we are making a difference, so invest in OPM!

Carlette Utanes and Ton Utanes, Aircraft Avionics Technician, Etihad Engineering

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

1.  How long have you been Filipino expats and what do you do for a living?

Carlette: I’ve been an expat through my expat parents - having lived in Iran, Bahrain and the UAE.

Ton: I’ve lived in Singapore in 1996 and then moved to Abu Dhabi in 2002.

 

Carlette used to work as a Purchasing Specialist at Al Fahim group, I on the other hand works as an Aircraft Avionics Technician in Etihad Engineering.

 

2.  What are your hobbies?

Ton: I like to bake and cook, whilst Carlette is into home decoration.We both like watching movies in the house.

Kuya Miguel: I like playing soccer, table tennis, video games, bowling, basket ball and tennis.  At school my favorite subjects are Math, Science, and Computer.

Ate Mica: I like to play badminton, soccer and basketball.  At school I like the subjects Science, MAPEH, English, CE and Social Studies.

3.  What do the kids know about cacao farming and OPM? Are they aware that you have invested in a social enterprise? (if yes, why did you choose to tell them when they are still young)?

We have told the kids about the cacao farming and that we had invested in it. We told them that this investment will help the farmers and their families. We do this so that at an early age they have an understanding about investing and helping.As to whether they do it when they grow older is purely up to them.

 

4.  Why did you decide to invest on OPM last year?

We decided to participate in OPM , mostly because we knew that we will be helping other people specifically the farmers and their families.

5.  Have you attended a chocolate-tasting session in the past?

Ton:  Although we tasted a lot of different types of chocolates and brands for our own leisure chocolate indulgence, we have not attended any chocolate tasting session before and this was our first time.The chocolate tasting session is different.

 

We enjoyed it especially when we have tasted the chocolates made from OPM Cacao farms and it inspiring, I would say. I learnt from this experience that you cannot really tell what you get unless you had a prior information – a pleasant surprise to know that the chocolates from the OPM Cacao Farms fared well!

 

We liked it and we’re very happy! 

Ate Mica Utanes: My parents told me we were going to taste chocolates, so I say of course I love to eat chocolate!  But we tasted so many chocolates that day the I felt like I do not want to eat chocolates.  We love chocolate but I"m full cause I ate chocolate so much.  After the chocolate tasting, I did not eat chocolate for a long time.

Kuya Miguel Utanes:  I rate the chocolate tasting 8/10 because there were so many chocolates and I am a fan of nuts.   I felt nauseous after eating so much that I did not each chocolates anymore. 

Kristine Abante, Public Relations Consultant and Writer

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

1. How did you learn about OPM (ofw para sa magsasaka) ?

I met Iman and her sister Luchie when I was a newbie in Dubai through a common friend. I’ve been here for about 8 years and I maintained my friendship with them through the years. We share a lot of things in common, and a lot of ideals, such as our common love for the country and a desire to help in nation building in our own capacities as OFWs. The Suguitan sisters are among the women in the UAE that I consider as my role models, they inspire and empower other Pinays to reach out for their goals.

 

2.  Why do you think investing in OPM and in Cacao is a good idea? 

I once visited Belgium and found out that despite the fact that they have some of the best chocolates in the world, they do not have the resources for it, they can’t grow cacao. What they have is the technology to process it, so when I found out that Iman and Luchie are planning to support Cacao farms in the Philippines, I knew it was something I wanted to get into.

 

Also the Idea of partnering with farmers and not simply hiring for a token fee was the clincher. The plight of our farmers in the Philippines is a long-standing human rights issue that I always wish we can do something about. OPM give us that opportunity to work with farmers, upgrade their knowledge and skills, and include them in our success. I believe we have so much potential in our agriculture with the right support.

 

3. As an OFW what convinced you to invest in OPM ? 

I think it’s a great opportunity for our OFWs to invest in. I mean, if you’re going to invest your hard-earned money, it has to be in something solid, something long-term and something you believe in.

We’re not going to be working abroad forever, someday a lot of us plan to go home, and by that time we are hoping we would be going home to better conditions in the country, and I think OPM is a step in the right direction.

4. What do you expect from your investment in OPM ? How do you feel about the future of Cacao? 

First off, I am hoping we would be having positive impact on the lives of the farmers and their families. By supporting them with the right tools, and proper training, I have faith that we can really make a difference. The shortfall in the global for demand for cacao also makes me positive about investing in Cacao farms. I’ve seen first hand from our Chocolate testing sessions that the quality of our cacao from Agusan can really compete with the best in the world.

 

5. Would you recommend OPM to a friend? Why?

YES! As a PR manager, I’ve been doing all I can to share the OPM story with every one I know, with every channel or publication we can get into. Our kabayans, our OFWs are some the most generous, most socially-aware, and a lot of us now are positive about the future, so I believe it is the right time to invest in a social enterprise like OPM.

 

6. Message to other OFWs 

If you love Chocolates, if you love the Philippines, if you want to help out our farmers and you believe in growing together, invest in OPM.

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“…I always wanted to participate in a social enterprise. 

The farmers are one of the most marginalized sectors in the country and if they are given the right tools, if they are empowered, they can actually be instruments of sustainable growth and of change for the country, after all, we do still have an agricultural-based economy.”

JOAN BAES, FINANCIAL RISK ANALYST, BARCLAYS BANK

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE

“I once visited Belgium and found out that despite the fact that they have some of the best chocolates in the world, they do not have the resources for it, they can’t grow cacao. What they have is the technology to process it, so when I found out that Iman and Luchie are planning to support Cacao farms in the Philippines, I knew it was something I wanted to get into.”

KRISTINE ABANTE, PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT AND WRITER

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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In the coming weeks we will be featuring our Charter Investors, the people who made OPM possible.

INTERVIEW WITH OPM'S CHARTER INVESTORS

"With the dedication of our OPM founders, the sheer hardwork of the backbones of our country, the Filipino farmers, and the OFWs' presence worldwide, we can claim that it's done!  There is definitely a huge market who would be more than willing to get their hands on our world-class beans!"

RUZETTE CASINO, SENIOR FINANCE OFFICER AND JONELLE CASINO, MARINE OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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"We have told the kids about the cacao farming and that we had invested in it. We told them that this investment will help the farmers and their families. We do this so that at an early age they have an understanding about investing and helping. As to whether they do it when they grow older is purely up to them."

CARLETTE & TON UTANES, AIRCRAFT AVIONICS TECHNICIAN, ETIHAD ENGINEERING

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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“…It’s not the traditional investment people are used to hear and see. Although, OPM is not a charitable institution it is deeply involved in educating the people involved in this project. Earning and getting your money’s worth is also good but what better way to see the fruits of your investment extend to educating our countrymen, earning a good living and promoting our country's products. That’s a good package deal for me.”

AURA MYRA SANTOS, REGISTERED NURSE, KAISER PERMANENTE

CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

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