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August 23, 2017

We often hear that old Filipino proverb "Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga". However, for OFW Gina Balagot Nesperos, we must not only be patient and hard working in many things in order to have "nilaga". Life has many delicious Filipino foods to offer, it has afritada, menudo, sinigang, adobo, and who wouldn’t crave for lechon?


The following story is neither about a successful Filipino Chef nor an elaboration of a wide Filipino selection of palatable foods and condiments. This is a success story of an OFW-recipient of OWWA’s 2B OFW Reintegration Program who tasted the various flavors of life. This is how her story begun.


OFW Ma. Gina Balagot Nesperos was blessed with dedicated and hardworking parents. Her childhood life in Baranggay New Pangasinan, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat had been very memorable because unlike any other children in their community they never experienced hunger and poverty. Her parents were able to raise all six of them in a life abundantly blessed with love, compassion and respect for one another.


After she graduated in college, she found the love of her life in her childhood best friend, Samuel Nesperos.  A year after they got married, they decided to go to Metropolitan Manila hoping to find the fortune they dreamt for their starting family. Her husband worked as a Security Guard in small company while OFW Gina decided to work as a Supervisor in a shopping center rather than teaching in school.


Unfortunately, their combined income was not enough to sustain the needs of their growing family. OFW Gina being the braver and more adventurous decided to work as a caregiver in Taiwan for four years. Similar to most overseas Filipino workers all over the world, Gina is blessed to have a very nice employer.


For four (4) long years since 1994, she never experienced maltreatment and other unfortunate events. However, her greatest struggle was her desire to be with her family again. She seldom contacts her husband and two children that time due to communication constraints in their community in Isulan. She then directed her attention in joining various Filipino communities in Taiwan that aim to give emotional support to OFWs.


In 1998, after they were able to raise the amount they dreamt to start their own business, OFW Gina decided to go back to the Philippines and be with her family.


They started their Buy & Sell of Agricultural Products with only P 20,000.00 capital. At first, it was very difficult because they only have a very minimal capital and it was so hard to get the trust of farmers in their community. But their dreams as a couple truly prevailed. The hard work, patience, and their dedication bore more than

OFW Gina and her husband were able to acquire properties because of their hard work and dedication.
When she was still an OFW, she was also an active member of various OFW cricles in Taiwan. (OFW in red jacket)

what they expected. Ten years after their opening, they were able to make their business grow, and acquire vehicles and various equipment for it.


Life, however, has its own mechanism of challenging us. In the year 2010, while their business continued to grow, Samuel after he got involved to vehicular accident suffered a mysterious disease that even doctors cannot diagnose. One by one, piece by piece, their investments went nowhere.


Gina at this point, asked for guidance from the Father Almighty. She considered this as her life’s greatest trial. Fortunately, her prayers were answered but all their investments were now just part of history.


In order to rise from the depths of these downfalls and bankruptcy, she sought assistance from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines in 2012 and applied to its 2B OFW Reintegration Program. A year after she applied, her application was approved. She used this as a capital to support their buy & sell business which, by then, was still recovering.


OFW Gina and Samuel took the lead and personally managed their business the second time around. They prayed heartily and worked hard, they used the money they loaned out from OWWA-LBP as their working capital and parcel of it to purchase another vehicle for delivery.


OWWA and Land Bank serve as answered prayer for them. Both agencies continue to support and guide them every step of the way. According to Samuel, without the support of these two agencies, all their efforts surely faded away.


As of today, their buy & sell business is one of Isulan’s most promising business. They were able to acquire almost seven vehicles, farm lands, a personal vehicle, a house, provide employment to at least five families and donate huge amount of money to churches and various charitable institutions.


They are also active members of OFW New Pangasinan Isulan Sector OFW Association, an award-winning OFC in Region XII. They also sponsor various community outreach programs and provide scholarships to poor but deserving students in their community.


In an interview, OFW Ma. Gina B. Nesperos, said that the secret to success is actually not a secret. For her, sharing what God has given you is the best way to thank Him for all the blessings that he gave. This is also her family’s best way to manifest their faith.


"Alagaan mo ang tiwala na ibibigay ng ibang tao sa iyo. Huwag mong sirain ito sapagkat isa ito sa mga bagay na maaaring magdulot sa iyo ng mas marami pang pagkakataon." Gina said. She also emphasized the importance of believing in the beauty of your dream for nothing is impossible if we work for it.


Indeed, her story is a living proof that we must dream beyond our dreams. We dream more than enough not for our own sake but for all the people that count on us. It is okay to be contented with what we already have but it is far better to continue dreaming while we live.

OFW Gina considers her family as her inspiration in achieving all of her dreams in life. Her first born (in blue) is also an OFW working at Taiwan. Her second child is a businessman in their locality while her two boys (center and rightmost) are still in High School.
As a former OFW, she believes that it is important to help and assist OFW families. OFW Gina is an active officer of OFW New Pangasinan Isulan Sector; an OFC formed by OWWA XII in the year 2004.