Dave Almarinez of Binan, Laguna, was a former overseas Filipino worker whose father was also an overseas worker. His mother, Saturnina and late father, Teodoro, believed in hard work and perseverance. As a little boy, Dave would wake up at dawn to join his parents in driving to the local market to purchase items that they can sell to their neighbors. “I remember my father at 4 o’clock in the morning, pushing our owner jeep away from the gate so I wouldn’t wake up to the noise of the engine running. Just the same, I’d be there running after them, wanting to board the jeep.”
The Almarinez family lived within their means which meant a simple life for Dave and his elder sister, Geraldine. His mother was very prudent about money, he said. “She knew how to save so that when we really need to spend for something, the money was always there.” Dave’s father left the country to work at the Lufthansa company headquarters in Brunei. From elementary grade to high school, Dave would receive flight magazines from his father which fueled his ambition to become an Air Force fighter pilot. He never did learn to fly a plane, but that did not prevent him from reaching for the sky.
The OFW’s son became an OFW himself when he applied for and was accepted as an employee of the Wise Group of Companies in Singapore. As an OFW, he learned to look out for himself. He adapted to a multi-racial environment. He soon moved to Malaysia where he worked as chief consultant with six employees under his supervision. Not bad for someone who was still in his 20s.
One day, while visiting his high school friend, Rodelio Ancheta, in Singapore, Dave misplaced his passport. It must have dropped from his pocket while he and Rodelio were walking around. Luckily, a Singaporean named Christopher Foo, had noticed the passport and made arrangements to return it to Dave. The Singaporean handed the passport to Dave and the two got to talking. Dave not only got his passport back, he also learned about multi-level marketing (MLM) from his new Singaporean friend. Serendipity brought them together. Dave returned to his work, restless and excited. Though he had only P56,000 in savings back in the Philippines, he decided to go back home and say yes to a new life where he was both his own boss and employee.
That choice to leave a migrant’s life of predictable returns as a salaried employee was not an easy one to make. But Dave committed himself to it, and even enticed his own friends back home to join him in putting up a multi-level marketing company. They hedged and hawed, and finally looked the other way, while Dave kept selling food supplements manufactured by a well-known international MLM company.
The most difficult decision he had to make was telling his mother that he had quit his job. His mother was furious. How reckless, she said. Why, oh why, did you leave such a good job behind? Undaunted, Dave built his own network and became a force to reckon with in the multi-level marketing business.
One morning, Dave decided to his ancestral home in Binan, Laguna. He was 27 years old, no longer an OFW but a full-fledged entrepreneur. Dave parked his car, a brand new BMW, in front of his parents’ house. His mother’s eyes grew wide. Smiling, Saturnina told her son with such pride in her voice: “Oh, I’m so happy that you quit your job!”
Today, Dave Almarinez, an OFW’s son and himself a former OFW, is a successful businessman who manages his own multi-level marketing company in Makati. “I now have my own products to promote and sell. He advises Filipinos to pursue their dreams and be bold about it. “As we age, our capacity to dream diminishes. We need to search for that sparkplug that can create the passion needed to dream again. When I set a goal, I do everything possible to achieve it. I don’t settle for less.”
At 37 years old, Dave Almarinez continues to set higher goals for himself and for his company.
“The Agel family continues to expand with more dealers and outlets across the Philippines. When I was just starting out, I was on my own, setting my own boundaries, meeting so many challenges as an entrepreneur. But giving up never crossed my mind. I’d always remember how my parents woke up at the crack of dawn just to be able to buy cheap items that can be resold for a small profit. I learned from them that there no shortcuts to success. Because I really wanted to succeed, I taught myself how to succeed.”
Today, Dave has decided to devote more time in sharing his secrets of success with others. At 37 years old, this OFW’s son is an example of how one need not be pedigreed in order to walk with the swagger of success. Take it from Dave – If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? (Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)