It’s the start of a brand new year! How do we make this year even more abundant than the past years?

Let me share a lesson from some very interesting friends I met a few weeks ago. Let’s call my newfound friends Diana Makabenta and Didi Dimagiba. First let me tell you about what I found amazing about Ms. Makabenta and Ms. Dimagiba. Second, I’ll tell you about their advocacy for OFWs.

Diana Makabenta is an UKAY-UKAY QUEEN. She’s a fashionista who buys clothes at the best Ukay-ukay stores in the metro. Then she sells them over at or at a markup of 300% to 500% or more. Her clients are from the provinces – fashionistas who do not have ready access to Manila’s malls. She’s highly trusted by her loyal repeat buyers.

One more thing about Ms. Makabenta – she’s a super thrifty lady! As we chatted one evening for around 4 hours, I watched in awe at the tons of tips she has compiled relating to thriftyness. The Super Tipid Tips includes

  • pagtitipid using cellphone promos – if you’re making a short phone call less than a minute long, use this promo, if you’re buying load, use this denomination, it gives you the most text for your money
  • pagtitipid ng kuryente – hwag nang mag-aircon, bababa ng husto ang kuryente mo.  
  • pagtitipid sa restaurants – she knows which restos do not have service charge, she knows which restos have good food for good value
  • pagtitipid sa beauty products – best way to keep your skin smooth: Virgin Coconut Oil. “Mag-aamoy ka ngang biko sa pag-tulog, pero super soft ang skin mo sa pag-gising!”

It was absolutely amazing talking to Diana Makabenta.

Didi Dimagiba is a more silent type. But boy was she impressive! Didi was an OFW in Korea. On January 2009, she decided to go into a business. She started with P5,000 and bought her first set of Korean cosmetics. She sold them to friends and relatives. Soon, she started selling over the internet through forums and especially via Multiply. As of last word, she has more than P275,000 worth of inventory that she’s able to turn-around in just 6 weeks! That is phenomenal!

They have an advocacy which is simple and straightforward: Learn Something New Every Year.

It can be a simple additional skill such as writing, typing or shoe shining. Or it can be something like cooking, art, electronics, personal finance, book keeping, marketing, sales, blogging, photography.

Anything, just learn something new every year. This is their message to OFWs. As long as you continue to improve yourself, then you improve your chances of coming back to your family in the Philippines “for good” and making good for yourself.

It’s the start of a new year 2010. What do you aim to learn this year?

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