Enrolment 2017

Testimonials

Testimonials

During our graduation ceremonies, outstanding students were selected to deliver testimonials on how the ASKI Global programmes have helped them transform into better individuals. Below are the reproduced testimonials.

Jinky Monares Amador

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
Personality Development & Communication graduate
Citi-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2014)

To our honoured guests, our beloved employers, fellow migrant worker graduates, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant afternoon!

First of all, I would like to thank my friends who introduced me to be part of this very wonderful program designed for migrant workers like me. For without them, I won’t be able to experience what ASKI Global is offering so we can become well-rounded and well-grounded individuals.

For three months, spending my time productively in school instead of hanging out at parks and entertainment spots, have indeed, made its mark. I have not only improved on my communication and business writing skills but also, it boosted my confidence on how to interact to different types of people.

As a domestic helper here in Singapore, it never crossed my mind that one day, I will be able to study and start my dream business venture.

This opportunity became a stepping stone, not just for me but for all of my Personality Development and Communication classmates. We now believe that we can become successful entrepreneurs in the near future.

A big thank you to ASKI Global Limited, our teachers – Ms. Irma Cosico, Mr. Mervyn Chan, Mr. and Mrs. Tim and Robin White and to all the team teachers and volunteers. To some, you may just be a teacher or a resource speaker, but for us you are our heroes. There is a saying that goes “Anything that you learn becomes your wealth, a wealth that cannot be taken away from you; whether you learn it in a building called school or in the school of life. To learn something new is a timeless pleasure and a valuable treasure. I and my classmates will surely treasure the life lessons you have imparted on us.

Today's achievement may fade or even be forgotten. The applause may become a distant memory and our certificates and awards may gather dust on a shelf or in a drawer. But, the people behind ASKI Global Limited will always be remembered for caring enough, for helping, assisting and molding us, for making us feel special and appreciated, and for believing in our capabilities. This is not the end, but only the beginning. Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins. I believe in that miracle. We all believe in miracles.

Thank you very much ASKI Global Limited. Mabuhay!

Maynard John Antonio

Information Technology Specialist (Singapore)
MetroGold Personality Development and Communication graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

To our guests, The Board of Trustees of the ASKI Philippines, Board of Directors of ASKI Global Limited, equally competent professors, proud employers and mentors, my fellow graduates of class 2013, and to all the reasons why we are gathered here as one congregation, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

A simple handshake can turn up our lives upside down; a simple glide of our lips can build up a business empire, and every simple punch of our words can win someone’s “I do”, yet these simple things in reality especially in the business realm do not necessarily mean EASY.

As a bachelor who has been trained up in the school with the knowledge and skills which I knew have brought me into a cutting edge of merits to get in to the corporate world, I had the ample confidence that I could carry all those accrued pieces of trainings through the years. But the corners of the world which offered me different tests have reversed my expectation that the things I used to do and I used to achieve in the school are all ever-existing. Those skills as time passed by have been shattered, and little did I know I was going back to the stone-age. Intimidation has then bent me down to ignorance. And even dreams which for the kids are evidently imaginable have become blurred.

This is the big reason why I made a step to get out from self-made imprisonment of weaknesses as I understood that life is a continuous process of learning and improving. This makes me more realize that with the rapid change of time, personal innovation becomes an intense need to survive, thrive, and to stand out in the society especially for us who are engaged in the business industry.

The personality and business communication development program of ASKI Global has given me a push to perceive my real being, to act, do, and think of myself of who and what I want to become. This for me is the core duty of this program that every professional has to attend to. This has helped me shake off all the clinging rusts which were brought by time and indolence.

My fellow classmates, it is again this period that we get a picture series of our life’s significant points to spell on a clearer view our future’s brighter days. We were former cats but now are lions chasing every golden opportunity. We are already the hunters armored with might to succeed in our planned businesses. We were some time chickens but now behaving as eagles, groomed with the confidence to soar higher. ASKI has brought each and every one of us here to rekindle in us the higher honor that we deserve, that we are no longer the same; we are improved and are ready to figure out the best days in store for us.

My high appreciation and respect to ASKI Global and the pool of speakers as I am so grateful to be one of the privileged recipients of your advocacy in reaching out migrant workers to fulfill our dreams, though somebody asked me before of why I should be taking the course, and I answered, why shouldn’t I? I have confidence that the communication skills exercises, the wisdom in making decisions, personality and intelligence orientation, and of course the practical application would be my building blocks to establish strong ABCs to prosper in my business as well as in my profession.

I move unto my classmates, though I am the only thorn among all the roses, the sessions would not be so memorable without your wittiness. This unique experience I had and the stories you have shared will surely be remembered and your company will remind me of joy, faith, contentment, and love. Thank you.

Together, as a batch, we endured many crises and always found a way to emerge. We’ve taken tough life’s tests. But let us keep in mind that we are yet to enjoy the best things in life. Let’s never stop learning and improving. No matter where life takes us, let’s go forward and make our families and communities in our life proud. And along our way, never let anyone tell us that we’re not good enough. We’re more than ready! Each and every one of us, let’s make our dreams come true.

Maribel Maramag Ariola

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
MetroGold Personality Development and Communication graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

ASKI Global board directors, headed by its chairman, Mr Rolando Victoria, ASKI Philippines board of trustees headed by its president, Ms Alice Caliwag, Professor Albert Teo of NUS, our hard working ambassador Her Excellency Minda Cruz, Metrobank Foundation representative, employers, friends, and fellow graduates’ a pleasant afternoon to all of you.

My name is Maribel Maramag Ariola and I represent one of the many voices of this graduating class, the sixth batch. Today, I know my fellow graduates would like to join me in saying how much we appreciate all those who have helped make this day possible. To our families, employers and friends who gave constant support and encouragement, to our teachers at ASKI Global and external trainers who have shared their precious time and knowledge, we are all grateful. From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you very much.

The author Frederick Douglass said that: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” And I am sure that we can all attest to the validity of this statement, weather it was struggling being away from home or the problem we face in life. As the result of the various challenges we faced, we all have become stronger, wiser, more refined and more intelligent versions of our old selves.

I have an ambition, and I am sure everyone does.  I wanted   to manage and put up my food enterprise  one day, so first, I decided to take the financial education course to be able to manage wisely my finances so I can save up for this plan.  And to further enhance my entrepreneurial skills, I attended and completed the Basic Entrepreneurship Course.  And I thought, I am all set and ready to hit the road.  But, something was hindering me from going to the next level to pursue my dreams. And I realized that there was a missing gap.  But it wasn’t until I enrolled myself in another ASKI Global course that I realized what was missing.

I attended the Personality Development and Communication program. This course enriched and groomed the outer and inner self of my well-being in order to bring positive changes in my life. I believe that each individual has a distinct personality and  that this can be developed and refined by building one’s confidence, improving communication skills  and  public speaking abilities. The PDC course helped me a lot in learning fine etiquette and manners, adopting style and grace appropriate to a budding entrepreneur like me. But I am still a work in process.

Personality cannot be developed in a day; this process takes a long period of time, having a positive attitude towards life is essential so that difficult situations can be handled in an easy way. I am standing before you today, to share with you what I have learned, and what I have discovered as a person while attending this course and that is, we need other people to guide and assess us to become better individuals. Thank you ASKI global limited. As I navigate through the rest of my life, I should be open to collaboration with other people, which often times are instrumental in shaping my future.  Let us embrace change, because change would help us move forward. Aside from that, creativity is also important! And by thinking out of the box, we can be assured to get better results.

Fellow graduates, I encourage you to surround yourself with motivated, energized, and highly positive people, who will challenge and inspire you. I got mine, and these are the people from ASKI global limited. Just follow your dreams and follow your passion.  I believe we must always, look for better ways of doing things, and all of us must be optimistic that we will create, navigate and innovate a future we could only imagine. Yes! It’s important to do something you love, because if you love it, you’ll be good at it.  So I strongly encourage all of you to follow your heart. As Dr. Tuminez, our last speaker said: “Life is an art,” so we must make it beautiful and meaningful for ourselves and for others.

Congratulations fellow graduates – WE DID IT!

Thank you very much.

Cherry Ann Cabanero Balita-On

Assistant Retail Supervisor (Singapore)
Citi-ASKI Overseas Workers Financial Stability Program graduate
Citi-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2016)

To our distinguished guests, friends, trainers, our beloved CEO Ms. Irma Cosico, my fellow graduates and friends. A pleasant afternoon.

My name is Cherry Ann Balita-on, and first of all, congratulations to my fellow graduates. It is an honour for me to speak to you.

Just last year, I was so sceptical about ASKI. My friend enrolled in ASKI’s Financial Education course, and I asked her, “Why are you wasting your money on that course? You might not even apply your learnings when you go back to Philippines.” Even though I said that, but you could see me browsing through Facebook and looking at all the photos posted on the ASKI Facebook page. And to be honest, I was jealous, because the people in the photos seem so full of happiness and excitement. I finally brought myself to call up the office to enquire about registration, and I remember that it was Ma’am May who answered my call.

I remember on the first day of lesson, I only had 60 in my wallet: $50 for my registration fees, and $10 for my food allowance for the week. Worse, that $50 was borrowed from my friend, and I needed to return her during my next pay day. I knew how bad my situation was. I am a management graduate and I hold a managerial position in my job, yet I didn’t know how to budget. I was always spending my money frivolously not caring about the future, as long as I am happy today. My financial situation was really troubling.

But after the course, I am proud to say that I am strictly implementing the lessons that I learnt within that 4 weeks of Financial Education. I have a separate savings account which is untouchable, and I pay my bills on time. As part of our Financial Education recital, we have to come up with our 5 year financial plan. I told myself that in 5 years, I will be financially free. But you know what, my fellow graduates? We don’t need to wait 5 years to be financially free, we can start today! We can do it today! We always say that we want to change our lives, but when do we ever start? We cannot depend on others to make us change our lives; we have to have our own self-determination. Others can only guide you, but changes can only happen if you yourself decide to.

I used to budget $100-$150 for shopping. There is always 50-70% discount, free membership, high tech gadgets, foods, rentals… those were my greatest enemies. I always ended up with zero balance in my bank account. But, I changed. I didn’t want to beg for help just to support my daily needs, I didn’t want to find myself becoming an auntie and still working in Singapore. Now, I have reduced my shopping expenses to $20-$30 (and I’m trying to cut down more).

My ambition is to bring my family out from poverty. My mother has been working so hard her whole life just to give me and my siblings a good life. Now that she is getting older, it is my turn to give her the comfortable life that she deserves.

Being an OFW is not easy, but it has made me stronger. The saying "Pinanganak tayong mahirap eh mamatay taong mahirap" doesn’t only apply to those who don’t have ambitions in life. It’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself up again, and aim higher. Believe in yourself and don’t underestimate your abilities, nobody can determine your future but yourself.

So today I am proud to graduate in the 10th batch in ASKI Global, and I am happy that I can celebrate our successes together with my batch mates.

Congratulations to all of us, and thank you.

Angelica Atwil Barraca

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
MetroGold Financial Education graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

To our honourable guests, fellow graduates, teachers, supportive employers, friends and relatives, good afternoon.

To be an OFW is a difficult decision and there are many sacrifices to make. You'll leave your loved ones, you'll miss your family gatherings and you'll miss every moment being with your children and see them growing up. Being a Domestic Helper is more difficult. Many of us are underestimated and discriminated. Most of us are experiencing these. But to me being a domestic helper is a noble job. We are performing an important role in the family that we work with. If you are lucky, the families you work with will treat you as part of them. But, if you are not as fortunate, you will experience the opposite. This is our life. This is reality.

I have experienced the good and the bad, but the bad experiences motivated me to become better. When ASKI GLOBAL was introduced to me by a friend, I did not hesitate and I immediately enrolled in the Financial Education Program. From my experience, it is worth coming to class every Sunday even though I needed to sacrifice the time being with my sister. As I go on with the program, I became more cautious and realistic in managing my finances and as a result, I was slowly transformed into a disciplined person. It’s like seeing a different ANGELICA. Aside from learning the principles and concepts of Financial Management, like the value of money, savings, investment and learning how to be financially stable, ASKI Global, and with the help of our teachers, the volunteers and staff, I realized that I need to fulfill my dreams and goals that I have set for myself. And to dream even bigger!

Listening to my teachers and hearing the inspiring stories of my classmates, are the biggest inspiration to me because it gave me hope. Hope that I will become better, that I can reach my dreams. Hope that one day, I can be reunited with my family because I no longer need to work overseas.

I may not be there yet but I believe I have taken a giant leap to reach my goals because ASKI Global taught me how to do it.

On behalf of my fellow graduates, I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to ASKI Global Limited and Metrobank Foundation for coming up with a program like this to help us become better individuals. Thank you very much!

Melanie Demetillo Barrameda

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
MetroGold Basic Entrepreneurship and Financial Education graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

To our distinguished guests, Board Directors of ASKI Global Limited & Board of Trustees of ASKI Philippines Philippines, Her Excellency Ambassador Minda Cruz, Key officers of Metrobank, employers and fellow graduates, a pleasant afternoon.

I am Melanie Barrameda, one of the graduates of the Basic Entrepreneurship Programme.

If you would ask a student how he or she got acquainted to ASKI Global, many would say through friends who have attended their program in the past.  My story is completely different.

December 16, 2012 is a date that I will never forget. I was heading back home to the Philippines for my Christmas vacation when I chanced upon a fellow passenger, who was giving his business card to an elderly woman seated at the back of the plane. Little did I know that this chance encounter would be the start of a meaningful and productive life for me as an Overseas Filipino Worker. Excited to see my family again, I couldn’t sleep on the plane, instead of playing Candy Crush on my phone, I started a conversation with this fellow, and he introduced himself as a staff of ASKI Global Limited. His name is Ian Arcebal. And as they say, the rest is history.

Back in Singapore after a three week vacation, I enrolled myself in the Basic Entrepreneurship Program. I am very grateful to the opportunity extended by ASKI Global and Metrobank, as I was lucky to receive a scholarship subsidy from them. The twelve week course helped me acquire not only an entrepreneurial mindset but also it made me appreciate to love the things that I love doing, my passion and my inherent capabilities because this can be a source of a possible business in the future. The programme brought out the best in me. I am more positive now that I can reach my ambitions, my goals that I have set for myself.

Coming from a small community in Midsayap, Cotabato, where the indigenous tribe, Tboli, are originally from, I wanted to have my own brand of bags using pandan leaves, bamboo and buri palm, all endemic materials in my community,  that are designed by unemployed yet skilful and experienced Tboli people.  This way, I can also provide employment to the IPs who have been marginalized for the longest time. As what our Social Entrepreneurship Professor Albert Teo  said, Social Entrepreneurship is about establishing an income-generating enterprise that will offer training and job opportunities to marginalized like the needy and disadvantaged individuals. Thank you Professor Teo for opening my eyes and my heart, this is what I intend to do but I cannot seem to get my acts together. Thank you for showing me the way to build on this dream. This will not remain a dream, as I have taken concrete steps to jumpstart this social enterprise.

Thank you to our other lecturers, Ms Irma, Ms May, Sir Ian and Sir Sufyan for moulding us to become better, for highlighting the values of creativity, compassion and empathy.  Our hearts are more compassionate, kind and understanding to others through your life changing programs. Now, my heart and my eyes can see my future through the vision that I have set forth.

I maybe just a household service worker but I have become an extraordinary person, ready to conquer the world through my bayong bag business.

Until this day, I thank the stars and the gods for that fateful day when I was introduced to ASKI Global Limited. Rest assured that I will continue to spread the word about the good deeds your organization is doing not just here in Singapore but also in the Philippines.

Thank you ASKI GLOBAL Limited, you are an extraordinary organization, producing extraordinary students like us. Maraming salamat po!

Alvie John Sabado Bautista

Office Staff, Fujitsu Private Limited (Singapore)
Basic Entrepreneurship and Financial Education graduate
BPI-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2014)

To our honoured guests, our beloved employers, fellow migrant worker graduates, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant afternoon. I want to thank all the ASKI Global teachers and staff for their hard work, their brilliance, their compassion, their patience, their motivation and their good sense of humor. I thank also the energetic volunteers who shared their precious knowledge and time.

A big thank you too to BPI Foundation for supporting meaningful programs like this, for supporting the migrant workers here in Singapore. Mabuhay po kayo!

It’s been more than a year since I started attending courses with ASKI and I can say that it was worth spending my time than going to parties and other non-productive activities because I've learned more than enough to look for meaningful ways of reaching my goals in a shorter period of time.

Time flies too fast. I have been working in Singapore for 5 years now as an office staff for Fujitsu Private Limited.  Being an OFW has its pros and cons; obviously, having an assured income is one of them so we can send remittances back home. As to the cons, they are a lot – Seeing our babies walk for the first time, hearing their first word, first birthday, sending them on the first day of their school and many other things that we missed because we are too busy trying to make a living overseas.

Finding another source of income for me and for my family has been the most important lesson I have learned at ASKI Global Limited. With the courses on entrepreneurship and financial management combined with lessons on value formation, business development and social leadership, I have found the key. The key to make me come home for good and experienced the ‘many firsts with my family’ I have mentioned a while ago.

And what is this key? The answer is BES TEA! Together with my beautiful wife, we will be establishing Bes Tea, a one stop shop that will serve delightful tea drinks in our home town of La Union. I intend to start this business very soon.  Never have I imagined myself being an entrepreneur, I just want to provide for my family. Period. But now, things have changed. I have dreams now, and I am bent on achieving it ‘come-hell or high-water’. I want to be with my family while at the same time giving them the comforts of life. But this time I will be there with them to enjoy and savour every moment of it.

I am now working on this plan. I hope all of my classmates and fellow graduates are doing the same thing. Our certificate is just a piece of paper.  It’s how we apply the lessons we have learned that will make the journey worthwhile. We are now one step closer to our dreams and goals, let’s keep it up, stay focus and never quit. This is not the end, but only the beginning. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins. We all believe in miracles. I believe in that miracle. And I will make that miracle a reality!

Thank you very much!

Narcisa Gonzales Butay

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
MetroGold Financial Education graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

Good afternoon everyone! I am Narcisa Butay, household service worker of Ms. Sanna Massala. When I learned that my employer will be speaking today, I asked clearance from ASKI Global to share with the audience how priviledged I am to have you as my boss. Thank you ASKI Global for granting this simple request. First and foremost, I would like to thank ASKI Global Limited and Metrobank Foundation for the learning opportunity that they have provided to us. It was an enriching experience.

Our success can be attributed to what we have learned from our professors and classmates but the encouragement, support and unconditional love given to us by our employers have helped and motivated us to better improve ourselves.

To Madam Sanna, Sir Otso and your wonderful kids, Ollie and Sampo, I share this recognition with you. For without you, this once in a lifetime opportunity would never happen. Thank you for the financial support that you have extended so I can attend my weekly classes at ASKI Global Limited. Thank you for the patience and understanding, during the times when I was preparing for my business plan recital, you encouraged and pushed me to come up with a comprehensive plan. Thank you for the reading materials you bought for me, so I can learn more when I start my food business back in the Philippines.

Words are not enough to say how thankful I am. There is a saying that goes, "Other things may change, but we start and end with the family". Even if my real family is in the Philippines and I need to wait for 1 more year before I finally go home for good and be with them,  I have considered your family as my own family. Thank you very much for making me part of it. Thank you for the 9 years that you have provided for me and for my real family's needs.  

I will treasure this for the rest of my life. As they say in Finland, "KIITOS JA RAKASTAN SINUA" meaning thank you and I love you! Maraming salamat po.

Criselda Astraquillo Cafirma

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
Personality Development & Communication graduate
Citi-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2016)

Good afternoon distinguished guests, our supportive employers, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Criselda Astraquillo and I am humbled to be chosen to give a testimony on behalf of my PDC Graduating Batch 10.

I am so glad to be here today...thank You God! ASKIans...are you happy to be here?! It is an honour to stand before you today to share about my journey at ASKI, and I would like to thank the staff for giving me this opportunity. Since I joined ASKI, I can say with confidence that ASKI Global is the best school for OFWs. Why do I say that?

ASKI has really impacted my life, from financial education to Personality Development and Communication. When I first heard about PDC, I was not sure whether it will change me. But after having taken this course, I have to say that it is amazing because it helped me gain confidence, and now I am able to voice out my opinions without feeling shy. I learnt how to be braver, and overcome my fears. It helped me to be a more understanding person, and it taught me on how to deal and negotiate with other people in an appropriate and suitable manner.

I will never forget the quote that Ma’am Astrid shared with us during our last PDC session: “God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I think this is really true. I now have a better idea on how to deal with different situations in life, work and relationships. We all have difficult situations at various stages of our lives, and it is important for us to face it head on and not to run away from it. We don’t always get to choose what life will serve to us. I learnt to let go of the things that were not meant to be. And when I let go, God put something better in my palm. When we face disappointments, we are given the choice to allow it to affect us or not, and that is when our character develops.

I thank God that I found ASKI Global through my friend, and I am thankful to our teachers, for being there with us to guide us and teach us, on how to be strong confident women with dignity. If it weren’t for your compassionate teaching, I will not be who I am today.

I would like to end with my favorite verse in the Bible, from Philippians chapter 4 verse 13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.

We Askians can do more, create more, love more, because we are confident to face more. Thank you and

God bless us all!

Arlene Llanes Calapati

Material Planner (Singapore)
Basic Entrepreneurship graduate
Citi-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2016)

To my fellow graduates, distinguished guests, ASKI Management, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant afternoon. My name is Arlene Calapati, but everyone knows me as Yumi.

Today, we celebrate another milestone in our journey here in Singapore. Who’d have imagined that we will go this far. We are all blessed that despite working in another country, we never gave up in pursuing our dreams. For that, I am truly grateful to ASKI Global for being the key instrument in achieving this milestone.

We should really congratulate ourselves. Because we proved that education doesn’t just stop after graduating from college or school.  I think we all deserve a pat on the back. Please tap your neighbour on the shoulder and tell them “good job”.

As Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, said, “Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not just something you do to advance in life. You’re not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn after you leave here.” 

I found out about ASKI Global through my friend who happens to be with us today as well. She invited me to enrol in Financial Education first, then we agreed to enrol in BE after that. At first, I was hesitant to enrol due to my hectic schedule; at that time I needed to work on Sundays as well. But I told myself that I can do this. I WILL make it happen. I was determined to do it because I really wanted to know how to set up my own business. And now, here I am at the finishing line 🙂 Before I had a lot of questions on how to invest and how I can manage my money properly. But through ASKI, I learned all of these. I am proud to say that I am now a certified investor.

In this journey, I learned that we should never stop believing in ourselves, and never stop learning. Now I have a clear picture of money management, I have knowledge in the right way of starting and managing a business. I have been taught not so much on what to think, but HOW to think.

ASKI was also where I met my hard-working co-officers of Investment Club. I really enjoy all the seminars by our speakers, and I’m sure that it will benefit anyone who will join us every Sunday. Anyone who joins ASKI won’t regret it, because we are really like one big ASKI family.

I encourage you all to dream and don’t be afraid of failing in your aspirations. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory but defeat.”

If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make your dreams a reality.

To my fellow graduates and ASKIans, this is just the beginning. Life has a lot to offer to us. The Bible says, “You will always harvest what you plant.” Always remember also, “Our dreams is what our hearts make.”

My sincerest thanks again to everyone here for supporting our dreams, and helping us make them become a reality.

May God continue to grant all the desires in our heart according to his will. God bless us. Congratulations, and thank you!

Fatima Bonifacio Paches

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
Basic Entrepreneurship and Financial Education graduate
Citi-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2014)

A pleasant afternoon to each and everyone!

My name is Fatima Bonifacio Paches and I come from a very small town in Barbaza, Antique. I am a household service worker for 9 years now in Singapore. As most of my classmates and friends here would say, OFW life is never easy. Coming from a poor family back in the Philippines, my choices then were very limited. But not after I enrolled at ASKI Global. The fire, passion and the willingness to change my destiny were rekindled.

I learned a lot in the 20 weeks of our training on Basic Entrepreneurship and Financial Education. ASKI Global was like my second home. Even if I didn’t have a class, I would still go to the campus at Tanglin. It opened my eyes that education is a potent tool in life. It gave me the respect and dignity to make me believe in myself. But most of all my education at ASKI made me fulfil a dream.

After bagging the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award last year, my life turned 180 degrees. My abaca and native bags business is doing pretty okay. My family back home is managing this business for me. But that is not enough to make me come home.

Social media, specifically Facebook, has played a big role in what I would be soon embarking on.

It all started when I posted on Facebook a photo and a short caption of my award, that’s how proud I was when my business plan was chosen among the 137 plans submitted to ASKI Global Limited during the recital. A good friend of mine in the Philippines shared Facebook post to his Australian friend, Mr Greg Hutchinson, a social entrepreneur, who owns 4 world-class resorts in Palawan. He was looking for someone who can help him run his business. Mr. Hutchinson has a heart for the poor. Being a social entrepreneur he wanted to help the marginalized. At first, I said to myself, this might just be a scam or this for real? We spoke briefly on the phone and little did I know that he was already interviewing me for the Sales and Booking Manager position in his resorts. A second call came days later, this time from Mr. Hutchinson’s Singaporean friend, Mr Lim, validating what I have learned from the training courses at ASKI. Again, little did I know that was my second job interview.

Many of you might think that I was just fortunate and lucky that that resort owner chanced upon my post. But there is saying that goes “Luck will only get you so far, but faith will take you all the way.” Right from Day 1 at ASKI Global, I knew my destiny would change. I knew that I wouldn’t be a maid forever. I held on to that thought. I really wanted to change how things are going for me and for my family.

As to the job offer in Palawan, I accepted it. And I will be starting work early next year. Just like what Ms Rebecca said, poverty is not a hindrance to be successful. What will hinder us from reaching our dreams is if we do not take bold steps in improving ourselves, if we will just continue to procrastinate and if we do not dare to go out of our comfort zones. After listening to Ms. Rebecca, I want to be like her. Hopefully, I can be another Ms. Rebecca Bustamante in the near future.

Lastly, all of these wouldn’t be really possible if not for the commitment and dedication of the ASKI Global Limited staff, their hardworking volunteers and their generous partners like BPI Foundation, National University of Singapore and ASKI Philippines to name a few. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.

Again, let me introduce myself to you, I am Fatima Bonifacio Paches,  a domestic worker now, but by February 2015 Manager of PalawanSandcastles Resort.

Maraming salamat po.

Shiena Joye Leono Padrones

Household Service Worker (Singapore)
Financial Education and Personality Development & Communication graduate
BPI-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2014)

A pleasant afternoon to each and every one!

My name is Shiena Joye Padrones. If I could sum up my experience here at ASKI Global in one word for the past three months, it would be REWARDING. It was indeed a very rewarding experience.

In our Personality Development and Communication class we are taught to act, speak and even dress the part - how to communicate effectively both in written and oral. We were made to do public speaking in front of the whole class - a first not only for me but also for my fellow classmates. It was nerve wracking, but here I am now addressing all of you.

When Professor Neil Bearden came to our class one day, he warned us that he has crappy hand writing and even crappier drawings before he even started scribbling on the board. True to his words, we can't figure out if the drawing was a duck or a rabbit. But what's amazing is, it is both a duck and a rabbit. We were given simple hacks to make the wisest decision. We were enlightened on how to understand other people’s perspective – the Principle of Charity. We were challenged to be the bearer of light to spread this principle.

We also had a personality check test... Not only to know if we had gone crazy, but to understand why people act strangely – meaning different from us - why we do things in a certain way.  The results gave us a chance to boost and continue what we do best and hopefully to quit our negative and bad habits.

But the best lesson that we had is the power to believe in ourselves - the power that we can change our lives, the power to influence others. Our self-confidence was zooming to new heights.  Without this, we barely can do anything. To accomplish the task no matter the odds, no matter the difficulties, no matter the adversities. We were trained on how to improve on this aspect.  At the ASKI Global PDC class, we were asked to do things repetitively. Yes, repetitively. You will never know unless you try again.  Dr. Astrid said “The power of doing things and succeeding has always been in your hands. You just need to discover it. Nurture it and perfect it. We are given different avenues to overcome failures that hinder our success”.

In Ms. Irma’s last class, I really liked what she shared with us – “BEAUTY GETS THE ATTENTION BUT PERSONALITY GETS THE HEART. Looking back, during Day 1 and up to this day, I truly believe that all 33 students under the PDC class have enhanced not only our physical appearances, but also on how we deal with other people. We are changed individuals. Thank you very much ASKI Global Limited and BPI Foundation for supporting programs like this.

Lastly, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the instructors, staff, and volunteers for the great amount of knowledge you have imparted on us, for the dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement and for opening a new channel to help us realized our dreams.

Once again, thank you very much and Mabuhay!

Christine Angela De La Rosa Salanga

Administrative Staff (Singapore)
Financial Education graduate
BPI-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2014)

Good afternoon to everyone.

It is a privilege to speak in front of you today as we celebrate our graduation. I feel blessed and grateful for having been part of ASKI Global’s Financial Education class Batch 8! For the past 2 months I have been on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and mindset as I took one module at a time. Even after classes are over, the lessons would leave me thinking more and more about how it seems so easy and yet so difficult to handle my finances. I have not taken any other Financial Education classes before ASKI Global. And right now I’m working as an Administrative staff in an Oil and Gas company, and my work rarely involves money matters. But before I enrolled in ASKI Global, I honestly thought that I knew how to budget my own money. I thought that even without formal schooling on finances, I know the important things to note when it comes to budgeting. But looking back now, I realized that this course has been an eye-opener. It humbled me enough to finally accept that I am not the “expert” that I thought I was.

My course has taught me to think differently about my plans, habits, behaviour and feelings about money, or even my financial goals. Now I know that “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail”. Now, I put my plans in writing, so that I get more motivated each day to pursue my plans to financial freedom.

The more I get motivated, the more that I get a clearer picture of myself living my dream in the future. But of course it should not stop there. We dream, but we also do something to achieve that dream. It is not easy, because every day gives us different situations, and each situation offers a challenge and a lesson. So after our Financial Education course, it is now up to us to continue to be consistent, to have the discipline in saving up, and planning ahead for the future.

On behalf of my classmates and fellow Financial Education graduates, I would sincerely thank ASKI Global for the opportunity of making us to become better persons in many ways. Thank you BPI Foundation, the Philippine Embassy, ASKI Philippines for believing in ASKI Global’s Vision and Mission to promote a more meaningful and productive overseas work experience for us OFWs. I thank the Lord above for all of these organizations that have contributed to make our dreams easier to reach. You all have truly lived up to ASKI Global’s slogan of “Creating Opportunities, Serving OFW Communities”.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.

Kathrina Jean Santos Velasco

Officer – Passporting Section, Philippine Embassy (Singapore)
MetroGold Financial Education graduate
Metrobank-ASKI Commencement Exercise (2013)

Her Excellency Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz, Ms. Irma Cosico, Chief Executive Officer and other Officials of ASKI Global Limited, Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, friends, ladies and gentlemen.

I am both honored and happy to represent this year’s batch of graduates of the “Financial Education and Basic Entrepreneurship Program” of ASKI Global Limited in today’s commencement exercises. My task is to characterize the program in a nutshell and say a few words on what it means for all of us.

Early on, we discovered that enrolling in a program while working is a bit of a challenge primarily due to the need to balance the demand of work and studies. It was already challenging during high school and college, I would say.

For most of us, the inspiration to be a part of the program was generally “personal” in nature with the added inspiration of the need to acquire the skills and competence for good business and financial management for the future.

I must say, however, that the program of ASKI Global Limited is far beyond inculcating to us financial and business management skills. I note its holistic approach to learning.

In general, the program opened new windows of opportunities for us to change for a better future. We were taught how to set goals in life and mentored how to conduct critical introspection that allowed us to look at the mirror and see what need to be changed or retained in our lives to achieve our objectives.

Acquiring new set of skills and the ability to prepare a sound and sustainable financial management plan or budget, as we call it, would sum up what the program has given us. For instance: wherein the past my colleagues and I would have indulged in “knee-jerk” purchases, now we think first before buying. More importantly, the program taught us the value of saving for the future and identifying what constitute as good investments.

Obviously, what we learn in theory could only prove its utility at the practical level as there is a need to apply it in real-life situations. With the program, I could personally say that I am more confident now in handling my finances than before.

I would like to conclude by saying thanks to all who have been instrumental in enabling us to succeed in this endeavor. The Philippine Embassy headed by Ambassador Minda Cruz, for the time given to us and to the people of ASKI Global Limited, for introducing to us the program.

As it is, we are also overseas Filipino workers, with needs similar to those of other Filipinos in Singapore.We find inspiration with the Filipino household staff who have also enrolled in skills program while working in Singapore. They also succeeded despite the challenges.

This is why completing this program brings to us an even bigger reason for elation and personal satisfaction.

Thank you and good afternoon.