“Ubos Oras” and “Ubos Pera” join Xoom’s Award-winning Filipino Commercial Lineup
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 18, 2013 –Xoom Corporation (NASDAQ: XOOM), a leading digital money transfer provider, has introduced its latest advertising campaign for the Philippines with two new television commercials.
The first commercial, entitled “Ubos Oras” (“Time Wasted”), introduces the new Xoom Money Transfer App for Android and iOS devices. “Ubos Oras” shows a frustrated husband who is trying to send money but is faced with long lines and traffic. Fortunately, his wife comes to his rescue and shows him how to use the Xoom app, with the slide-to-send technique that allows Xoom customers to quickly send money transfers in just minutes. She concludes by telling him “now you have time for… me” as they head to a nice dinner at an elegant restaurant.
The second commercial, “Ubos Pera” (“Money Wasted”), features Filipino star Ai Ai delas Alas who shows the same husband and all the “hidden costs” of sending money in person. Xoom saves customers time and money with fees as low as $4.99 to send up to $2,999.
Both ads end with the tagline “Stop waiting in line – Xoom it online.”
“The Xoom experience is truly magical and transformative,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “Xoom offers senders a service that is safe, convenient, fast and fairly priced, and people can send money to their loved ones any time, anywhere from their desktop, smartphone or tablet device. With these two new ads, we are able to deliver these messages with likeable characters that resonate with consumers.” The ads are running on TFC and GMA through the end of the year.
Xoom’s Filipino advertising has won back-to-back Bronze Award prizes in the 2012 and 2013 Telly Awards under the Regional TV and Multi-Market Category for TV commercials. The Telly Awards honors the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. For over a quarter century, the Telly has been a symbol of creative excellence.
Xoom is a digital money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using a smartphone, tablet or computer. During the 12 month period ended June 30, 2013, Xoom’s more than 915,000 active customers sent more than $4.3 billion to family and friends in 30 countries. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at Xoom.com.
The Filipino economy is expected to continue its strong growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. While some of Southeast Asia is experiencing a reduced rate of growth, the Philippines could be headed in the opposite direction.
A growing economy in the Philippines
According to the Philippine Star, projections are high for the country. This can be good news for many people who send money to friends and family there, and a revitalized economy can have a positive effect for a large number of citizens. The numbers indicate a faster growth rate than the previous two years, which saw an increase of 6 percent and 5.5 percent.
"The economic growth momentum here is higher," said Shanaka Peiris, of the IMF. "The region has been softer than expected. Most countries' (forecasts) were reduced but the Philippines is an outlier."
He added that growth for the Philippines could reach 7 percent this year, but might eventually slow down to only 6 percent in 2014.
The rate of growth is positive for several other regions of Southeast Asia, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – in addition to the Philippines – potentially experiencing positive gains of 5.6 percent in 2013, with an increase to 5.7 percent for 2014. While these numbers are slightly less than expected, they are still indicative of a strengthening economy in the region.
One major reason for the strong Filipino economy is good state spending, on items like the country's infrastructure, according to the IMF. This can help the boost growth in the short term, but steps need to be taken to ensure that the future isn't bleak.
"We can't sustain growth without doing anything… so structural reforms are very important…," said Peiris. "Looking at other countries, what we found is that for this growth take off to be sustained, what you need is growth in investments."
Domestic demand is another key reason for the increased strength, which contributed to gross domestic product growth of 7.8 percent in 2013, according to the Philippine Star. The IMF also reported that the rate of money transfers in the Philippines rose by 5 percent.
A booming industry, and an increase of jobs
One large company in the Philippines is using the strengthening economy to grow as well. Bosch Philippines expects double-digit growth in 2013, and its numbers are rising alongside IMF predictions for the country as a whole.
According to GMA News, the multinational engineering and electronics company is predicting the increase in sales and production because of an introduction of several new products and services, as well as a new facility in Cebu.
Joseph Hong, managing director of Bosch Philippines, mentioned that another reason for its growth has been the strong Filipino economy, and the positive statistics overall are helping his company thrive.
"The economy is quite strong, all economic indicators are positive," said Hong. "Based on this backdrop and internal activities, such as introduction of innovative products and services going forward, these are the key drivers for our growth."
The Cebu location is the first for Bosch Philippines outside of Manila, and the company saw a 30 percent increase in sales in 2012, up to $28.8 million. The executives still intend to expand further into the country, with the goal of adding more service centers for their booming automotive industry. That business grew by 11 percent in the last year.
"We're still expanding this service workshop concept," said Sangjo Park. "We are targeting nine more across the country this year."
Bosch Philippines also wants to expand its security system and thermotechnology sections as well, according to GMA News. Thanks to the overall Filipino economy strengthening, there is little reason to doubt that growth will continue. This is a positive sign for everyone who sends money to the Philippines.
The month of July is Philippines-Japan friendship month, and many locations across the Philippines are celebrating in various, unique ways.
One of them involves the Eiga Sai film festival, which began at the beginning of the month, and is being held at cinemas in different parts of the Philippines. Sponsored in conjunction with The Japan Foundation, the Embassy of Japan, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the festival was the jumping off point for a month-long celebration of improved Japan and Philippines relations. An online money transfer to the Philippines is a great way to support loved ones, and watching one of the twelve films shown at Eiga Sai can be a fun way to take a break from daily life.
According to the Embassy of Japan, the film festival is a way of celebrating the 56 years of friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Philippines, and while Eiga Sai started the fun, there will be great festivities and cultural celebrations for the remainder of July. July 23 was named Philippines-Japan Friendship Day in 2006. Starting in 2012, the month-long events were expanded to other provinces in the Philippines, including Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.
The Eiga Sai film festival
As the starting point for the month, Eiga Sai featured 12 Japanese films, made between 2005 and 2012. This year marked the 15th year for the festival, and each time it provides a unique glimpse into Japanese culture for many citizens of the Philippines.
"With a wide variety of genres from action, to animation, family drama, to mystery, we want Filipinos to understand the current situation in Japan through this select Japanese cinema," said Shuji Takatori, director of the Japan Foundation. "Most of the festival films tackle current pressing issues that confront the Japanese people and society, both in the cities and rural areas."
Held at the Shrangri-La Plaza Mall, the festival is scheduled to run from July 4 to July 14, and the films are shown with English subtitles. Each movie is open to the public on a first-come first-serve basis.
In addition to films, Eiga Sai will have other events, like photography, cultural exhibits and music concerts.
2013 is the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and the month-long celebration helps commemorate the milestone. Many cinemas are showing films for Eiga Sai, including the Shang Cineplex Cinema at the start of July, then the FDCP Cinematheque in Davao City July 19 to the 28, Ayala Center Cinema 4 in Cebu City in August, and the UP Film Institute in Quezon City in late August.
The films being showcased
Out of the 12 films shown for Eiga Sai, the highlight will be the trilogy Always Sunset on Third Street, by director Takashi Yamazaki. The films are comedy-dramas, and revolve around the daily lives of residents of a working-class Tokyo neighborhood. Part one takes place in 1958, the second film in 1959, and the final installment is set in 1964. The films have resonated with audiences because of the hope of better times, according to Takatori.
"There is nothing like the shared experience of watching a film that unites people together," he added. "Cinema has the capability to connect us, to push the creativity and the capacity of our human spirit, to move us continuously to strive and to do better – to be better."
The first film shown at Eiga Sai was (About Her Brother) Otuoto, by famous filmmaker Yoji Yamada. The themes of the movie are unconditional love and family tensions, and the film was featured at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival as well.
Many people send money to the Philippines, and engaging in some of the Philippines-Japan friendship month activities can be a unique way to experience some culture and heritage of both countries.
In the Philippines, bananas are not only tasty treats for many residents, but these fruits also provide significant support to the local economy. In fact, banana plantations around the Philippines have noticeably impacted the republic for years and will continue to deliver substantial assistance to several of its businesses and residents.
According to BusinessWorld Online, AgriNurture, an importer of various fruits, will invest up to $24 million in Filipino banana plantations. AgriNurture’s announcement came at the International Food Expo Philippines in May 2013, and the investment could help the company increase its profits. Additionally, AgriNurture president Antonio Tiu said that his firm takes an aggressive approach in its operations and expects a significant return on its Filipino banana plantation investment.
More Filipino banana shipments are coming to the U.S.
Filipino residents who live in the U.S. and send money to family members back home may soon have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Filipino bananas. BusinessMirror reports that more Cavendish bananas are expected to be shipped to the U.S. in 2013, which could significantly impact the Philippines and its citizens. By sending more bananas overseas, the Philippines may increase its revenue and attract additional investors from around the globe.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) representatives noted that sending Cavendish bananas to the U.S. may help the republic’s economy for the next few years. Emmanuel Esguerra, NEDA deputy director general, stated that Filipino officials are also exploring opportunities to export sugar to more nations as well.
Overall, Filipino exports totaled $343.9 million in February 2013, up 43.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Filipino leaders consider myriad ways to manage expenses
Esguerra told Malaya that new processes and policies are necessary to help the Filipino economy, particularly for banana and sugar exporters.
“Exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso,” Esguerra told the news source. “This can be overcome by better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business.”
The Philippines Bureau of Plant Industry noted that 3 million kilograms of bananas were scheduled to be shipped to the U.S. in April. Between February 2012 and February 2013, Filipino banana exports rose 96 percent, and refined sugar exports also increased 27 percent. By providing new exports to the U.S., the Filipino economy could further boost its profits.
The Philippines' economy is on the rise, and several financial experts have recognized the republic's recovery from the economic downturn of the late 2000s. According to Bloomberg, Philippine stocks recently earned an investment grade from Standard & Poor's, a positive sign for the republic's economy.
S&P officials said that the Philippines' economy appears stable, which bodes well for the republic over the next several years. As many Filipinos accept jobs in the United States and send money to their families back home, the republic could watch its economy grow in the near future.
Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that republic leaders are frequently searching for ways to improve the area's economy. S&P's investment grade could have long-term effects on the Philippines, and Purisima noted that numerous opportunities are being explored to further assist the republic and its residents.
"We're continuing to address constraints to growth," Purisima told the news source. "We're fast tracking our infrastructure projects. We're looking at areas we can open up to foreign investors."
Benigno Aquino, the Philippines' President, has significantly assisted many republic citizens by launching a variety of economic improvement campaigns in the past. With S&P's investment grade, Philippine officials could lay the foundation for future economic growth that may help the republic enhance its global reputation.
"For the Philippines, this is yet another confirmation that Aquino's reforms have borne fruit, which would help in attracting not just short-term flows, but long-term direct investments," Santitarn Sathirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, told the news source.
Philippine leaders help reduce the republic's total debt
While economic recovery from the global downturn has been slow in many areas of the world, ambitious initiatives from Aquino and other Philippine leaders have helped the republic's economy improve in a short period of time.
BusinessWorld Online reports that Philippine officials have lowered the republic's total debt by 14 percent over the past 10 years. However, Philippine administrators stated that plenty of work lies ahead, and these leaders will review various options to help republic residents.
Purisima said that S&P's investment grade is a vote of confidence for the republic, but there are many areas where the republic could improve. Thankfully, Philippine officials are dedicated to supporting the local economy and will invest the necessary resources to help citizens.
For many years, people who send money to the Philippines were transferring funds to a country whose economic engine was largely represented by farmers. But as a recent article published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reveals, farmers in the country aren't nearly as prevalent as they once were.
According to the UN's news and analysis source IRIN, fewer Filipino people who are still in their younger ages or choosing to enter the agricultural market, opting instead to seek out education for jobs in the city, working in an office or in an industrial setting.
Asterio Saliot, director of the agriculture department at the Agricultural Training Institute, told the news source that the farming industry could be in a predicament over the next decade or so, mainly because so few Filipinos are choosing a career path of tending to the fields.
"The average age of the Filipino farmer is 57," said Saliot. "Assuming an average lifespan of 70, we might reach a critical [shortage] of farmers in just 15 years."
Kala Pulido-Constantino, who serves as the communications coordinator in the Philippines with the international confederation Oxfam, indicated that the dearth of farmers in the country may be a self-inflicted wound.
"We didn't pay enough attention to the agricultural sector because we thought that we could always import our food if we couldn't grow it ourselves," Pulido-Constantino told IRIN.
This may stem from the government putting fewer resources toward buoying the agricultural industry in the Philippines. IRIN points out that based on statistics from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, more than one-tenth of the Philippines' gross domestic product derives from farming. But in 2011, less than 5 percent of government investment went toward this sector.
Something else that's had an impact on the Philippines agricultural sector is the pace at which young people are leaving parts of the country where farming is common. IRIN notes that because certain industries bring in more money than others – such as commercial and industrial – some families are choosing to move to more urban locations where these opportunities are more available, such as in Manila.
Benefits of farming need to be emphasized
Jose Rene Gayo, president of the non-governmental organization Foundation for People Development, noted that what the Filipino people and the government need to do is make farming an industry worthy of pursuing.
"We must now change the mindset of the younger generation and make farming appealing for them," said Gayo.
This may come through promoting the fringe benefits of farm life, such as being able to work in the outdoors and generate a larger profit margin by advertising to businesses in need of fresh produce.
IRIN's report shouldn't necessarily suggest that farming is a dying industry in the Philippines. According to the Philippines' BAS, the agricultural sector expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2012, led by poultry, livestock and crop farmers. In addition, overall crop production increased by more than 4 percent last year, accounting for more than half of total agricultural yield. Some of the biggest crop yields were corn and palay producing 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, more than in 2011. Palay is what rice is before it's been husked.
In addition to palay, some of the main crops the Philippines produce for the country and for other parts of the world include corn, sugarcane, coconut, bananas, pineapple, coffee beans and mangoes.
When the temperatures are below freezing and the snow is falling, fun in the sun may not be on the typical American's list of things to do for the day. But it's at the top of to-do lists for many vacationing and native Filipinos, especially those who are particularly skilled at surfing the open waves.
On the first weekend in February, several surfing organizations launched the Philippines' first-ever "Single and Unattached Longboard Invitational," holding the event in the Ilocano province of La Union. Described as the "surfing capital of Northern Luzon," organizers said the event went off without a hitch and was a smashing success.
"As part of the traditional longboard resurgence that took place in California during the early 1990's, it's feels really great to be a part of a similar movement in the Philippines," said Carla Rowland, owner of The Surf Institute, one of the organizations that helped sponsor and fund what's expected to be a yearly event.
He added that individuals who are familiar with surfing were hopefully reminded of the glory days of past surfing success stories, such as Miki Dora, Lance Carson and Dewey Webber.
"The event was a blast," said Jay Sueno, an entrant in the contest who indicated he's been surfing for less than a year. "To be surrounded by surfers who embody the classic and cool style of single fin longboarding was inspiring and filled with good vibes."
Officials with the Single and Unattached Longboard Invitational say that all surfers were invited to compete, which included people from all corners of the earth, including California, Japan and Korea, but participation was dominated by Filipinos.
While the large waves and seasonable temperatures no doubt made the three-day competition eminently enjoyable, Rowland indicated that the best part was how many Filipinos embraced the event and made it their own.
"We are just so happy that Filipinos are falling in love with the classic style of traditional longboarding," said Rowland. "This year was a great success and we have high hopes that next year will be even bigger and better."
A worldwide leisure pursuit
While surfing may seem like a sport that only a select few take up as a hobby, it may be surprising just how many people ride the waves whenever they can, many of whom send money to their families so they can learn how it's done. According to the International Surfing Association, there are approximately 23 million surfers worldwide, 1.7 million living in the U.S.
If surfers are good enough, they may be able to make it a career. For example, professional surfer Kelly Slater made as much as $3 million in a single year in 2009, all of which derived from the proceeds he earned in competitions.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of surfing is being able to stay on the board for a long time. And the higher the wave is, the harder it can be. However, some have been able to stay on their boards for long periods. ISA data indicates that one surfer spent nearly 40 minutes riding a wave without losing his balance – the longest time ever recorded.
Surfers are similarly upping the ante on how large of a wave they can ride. Recently, professional surfer Garrett McNamara broke his own world record by successfully surfing a 100-foot wave off the coast of Portugal. His previous best was a 78-foot wave, which he conquered in 2011.
While virtually every industrialized nation has a rich history of famous artists who helped put their respective country on the art industry's radar screen, some parts of the world are sending shock signals today. This appears to be the case in the Philippines, as a motley crew of contemporary artists are bringing Filipino works to the forefront that are getting international recognition.
According to the Philippine Star, some of the art world's newest heavyweights include people like Ronald Ventura and Winner Jumalon, who have been able to successfully sell their pieces for prices in the high six-figures. The recognition of their names has not only caused some people to send money to the Philippines to invest in these pieces, but more people are flocking to the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.
For more than 37 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila – or "the Met," as it's called for short – has played host to a variety of arts and artifacts from yesteryear. But the pace at which new artists are coming onto the scene has the museum devoting much of its real estate to contemporary works of art.
One of the latest is known as "The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Possible," which was developed by Patrick Flores from the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines. The exhibition has garnered so much attention that its earned a permanent spot in the museum's interior, the paper reports.
As the success of Ventura and Jumalon has shown, Filipino art is piquing the interest of a number of artistic enthusiasts around the world. The Philippines Star recently spoke with some of the leaders of the Met, asking them what's driven so many people toward this segment of the art world.
Colayco: Level of international intrigue 'remarkable'
"It has really been remarkable, the rise of the young artists in the international art stage," said Tina Colayco, who now serves as the Met's director. "I think it's due to a lot of things. Even our curators are being recognized."
She added that they are being given so much attention mainly because they are supremely talented but also because of who they are and the ability with which they're able to express themselves with a paintbrush and canvas.
"They are creating an identity that is distinctly Filipino," Colayco told the paper.
Art educator and publisher Colayco said that she has a lot to be grateful for when it comes to these artists, as museums and art institutions in the Philippines have gained a new life among the art-going public as more people are "willing to cultivate a more in-depth experience" when they go to museums like the Met.
Also displaying an assortment of art pieces that were created recently is the Ayala Museum as part of its Art Fair Philippines event. Inquirer Lifestyle reports that the event was held February 7 through February 10 and featured many of the artists that are on display at the Met.
"We're so excited about the inroads Philippine art has achieved within the worldwide contemporary arts community," said Lisa Ongpin Periquet when the AFP was first announced.
Depending on how successful organizers deem the event was, it may become an annual occasion that art enthusiasts can take part in.
Other famous Filipinos who have made inroads in the international art stage include Fabian de la Rosa, Ang Kiukok, Maningning Milat and Luis Eduardo Aute and Fernando Amorsolo. The 30-year-old Amorsolo graduated from the University of the Philippines and has a degree in Fine Arts.