I think it’s unfair that I only get to interview women entrepreneurs in my blog, so I have decided that for the SME Interviews section, I will start interviewing and featuring stories of men, as well. Today’s interviewee is Albert Salvador. He is the General Manager of Sarap Mag Biyahe (SMB) Travel and Tours. He has been married for 3 years now but they have been together for more than a decade because they are childhood sweethearts. He is a father of two sweet and lovable kids.
Albert Salvador and Family

He used to work at a pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, as a Product Manager. Four years ago, he put up my own travel agency while working full time. A year after, he decided to be a hands-on entrepreneur because he has seen the huge potential of the business. “I am glad that I made the right choice because now I can spend more time with my family,” says Albert.

Albert Salvador and Wife 2

Albert Salvador and Wife

“My wife and I really love to travel, the ultimate reason why we ventured into the travel industry. We also enjoy bringing our kids with us whenever we explore different places. At the same time, we gain more knowledge about a certain destination, which is very beneficial to our business,” adds Albert.

One of his goals in life is to make traveling affordable to almost everyone so that Filipinos can experience the joy of traveling. They would also like to promote Philippine culture, that’s why they make it a point to visit different places in the country to familiarize themselves with different traditions and to immerse themselves with our culture so they can offer nice tour packages to their clients. “Recently, I have started mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs to put up their own travel agency, it’s our way of giving back and help aspiring entrepreneurs jumpstart their own business” says Albert.

Interview with General Manager of Sarap Mag Biyahe or SMB Travels and Tours, Albert Salvador

Ginger: Hi Albert! Do you know that this is the first time I’m interviewing a gentleman? All of the people I have interviewed are ladies, so I’m really excited to hear your story! So first of all, can you tell us more about your brand/business?

Albert: Our travel agency offers both local and Asian packages which include hotel accommodation, air and land transfers as well as sightseeing tours. We have been in the business for four (4) years already. We also offer seminars and trainings on “how to put up your own travel agency” for aspiring travel entrepreneurs.

Ginger: That’s great, Albert! You may want to offer those trainings in ManilaWorkshops.com, too! Just let me know. But I’m curious about how you came up with this idea. Can you tell me more about it, please?

Albert: My wife and I are very much into traveling. Before we started this business, both of us are working full time. My wife used to work at the Philippine Senate while I was busy working in a multinational company. At some point, we realized we needed to take control of our decisions and find our own work/life balance because we do not want to spend the rest of our lives working for anyone else. Another motivating factor is the fact that we are starting a family and our earnings as employees may not be sufficient to support their education and daily needs given the inflation rate and other economic factors. That’s the time when we decided to invest a portion of our savings on starting a business. Before we knew it, we have turned our passion, traveling, into a profitable venture.

Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?

Albert: We cater to both the young professionals and budget travelers. We believe that traveling is not just for the rich and retirees. Everyone, whether be it a student or an ordinary employee, has the right to enjoy life and to take a breather once in a while.

Ginger: Albert, what are ways that you can do to raise capital for those who want or are interested to start a business?

Albert: For me, Teaching / sharing my knowledge is our best way to raise capital / investments. Currently, we have helped a total of 200 new travel agencies in starting their own business.

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Albert: I market my services through social media like Facebook and Instagram. We also make it a point to keep our clients in the loop about promos, etc through email or SMS.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Albert: We use the latest ticketing systems from INDIA capable of booking both domestic and international airlines. We also invest of specialized systems like AMADEUS E-POWER which makes our booking a lot easier.

Ginger: Seems like you have got all your bases covered, but were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Albert: There’s always a risk in running your own business and we have prepared ourselves for failure and challenges because it’s a game of probability. There’s a 50-50 chance of either failing or succeeding. Just like any budding entrepreneurs, we have encountered challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. Some of these obstacles were hiring the wrong person, committing errors in booking, giving credit lines, among others.

Sarap Mag Biyahe Package

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?

Albert: a. He/she must be emotionally prepared (one should be good in managing risks); b. Focus and diligence and c. Innovative mind (competition is tough that’s why we need to constantly innovate and offer something new to our clients so that we won’t be left behind) d. Hard working (we usually cater inquiries until 1:00am)

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?

Albert: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that failures are part of the business operation because that’s how you will learn and gain more knowledge. What you have to do is to not commit the same mistakes again. Therefore, you have to avoid the things that will pull you down. Like for instance, I made the mistake of trusting too much. A high school classmate booked their tickets and land arrangements with us. Since I know the person, I allowed her to settle the payment after the booking has been made. To make it short, I spent more than Php100,000 for their booking and I did not get any payment from them. She cut her ties with us and her parents flew to the States already. Trust is really important in the business but be extra cautious in dealing with other people. Make sure to put your policies in place.

Albert of Sarap Mag Biyahe Travels and Tours

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Albert: Engage with your customers, get feedbacks from your clients, get the right people, be adaptable to change, continuous learning is very important (because we Filipinos were not raised as entrepreneurs so I always read books to supplement my knowledge), do not spend beyond your means (eg. investing too much on a fancy office is not necessary in a start-up phase); take risks and do you best to overcome obstacles.

Ginger: For my last question, Albert, do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Albert: I believe everyone should be self-employed either as business owners or consultants in their respective fields. I believe you’re missing a lot of opportunities if you’re confined in a box.

Ginger: Thank you very much, Albert! I wish you more success in your business. For those who want to travel and who want to see the many gorgeous places in the Philippines, check out Sarap Mag Biyahe Travels and Tours contact details below.
Sarap Mag Biyahe Contact Information
Website: sarapmagbiyahe.com / smbtravel.com.ph (soon)
Email address: sarapmagbiyahe@hotmail.com
Mobile Number: 0999-9981535
Facebook Page: smbtravel
Instagram acount: @smbtravel

 

I’m in my 30’s and I admit that I don’t have a super model or even just an ordinary model’s figure. I have a few stretch marks on my tummy and I have this dark scar of my C-section that will always remind me that I bore a child. I have a body mass index or BMI that is normal, but of course, it could be better if I didn’t have any cravings for Lechon Kawali or Crispy Pata. I dream of having the waist line of Marian and the fabulous abs of Gisele Bundchen (http://www.shape.com/celebrities/celebrity-photos/25-female-celebrities-awesomely-toned-abs/) but I don’t know if it is still achievable. I think it still is, but women our age need to be more disciplined and more patient. Plus, we will need all the help we can get to have an amazing Mommy Tummy!

Beach Time

My Mommy Tummy now — Let’s see if I can do better in two months!

I got to talk to a few women on how they plan to achieve amazing mommy tummies and here are some of their tips:

1) Drink lots and lots of water!
One tactic of a friend is to drink a lot of water. Drinking a lot of water can help make you feel full. If you feel full, you avoid eating junk food. There are times at night, I don’t know if this is true with you, too, when you lay down on your bed and you feel like you finally have time for yourself. You look around and for some reason, you want to open a bag of chips! This has happened to me several times. Why not try to get a bottle of water and drink up!

2) Be conscious of having good posture.
When I underwent yoga teacher training, one of the things that I love doing is to instruct my students to feel the sides of their waist being pulled inside and upward. If you try to feel this, you will see that you are actually sitting up and standing up straighter. Also, people who have good postures tend to look thinner in pictures!

3) Avoid unwanted Stretch marks by realizing that prevention is better than cure!
I have this loose flab of fat around my tummy area and I know that when I drop three- five sizes smaller (yes, I am being optimistic about it already!), I know that I will have Stretch Marks if I don’t take care as early as now. As early as now, I am using Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch marks. Palmers also has Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch marks, Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter, Cocoa Butter Formula Soothing Oil for Dry Itchy Skin, Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter, Cocoa Butter Formula Post Natal Firming Lotion and Rose Hip Skin Therapy Oil (60mL). I love Palmer’s products because these are super effective and they have a lovely, yummy scent! The products also contain 100% pure Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E which all help in the process of skin repair, deep hydration and reduces the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

Here are the different products that I mentioned and a description of each:

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch marks
– Helps improve the appearance of stretch marks with a special combination of Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E, Collagen, Elastin, and Shea Butter.
– It keeps the skin moisturized and relieves the dryness associated with stretched skin due to pregnancy and water loss.
SRP: P475

Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch marks
– A cream perfect for targeted problem areas such as the belly, buttocks and breasts.
– Formulated to improve elasticity and moisture content of the skin.
SRP: P495

Tummy Butter form Palmer's

Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter
– Contains Bio C-Elaste which is widely recommended for stretch marks during and after pregnancy and weight loss.
– Bio C-Elaste is a powerful combination of Collagen, Elastin, Centella Asiatica, Sweet Almond Oil and Argan Oil.
– The addition of Lavender creates a soothing and relaxing night time treatment.
SRP: P595

Cocoa Butter Formula Soothing Oil for Dry Itchy Skin
– Moisturizes and softens dry, itchy skin associated with pregnancy.
– Maintains the skin’s elasticity and firmness.
– Comes in a convenient pump spray.
SRP: P475

Cocoa Butter Formula Post Natal Firming Lotion
– Helps firm and tone the skin
– Replenishes moisture loss in the skin, contains Collagen to help firm and tone and Elastin to give skin suppleness.
– Contain anti-oxidant properties such as Vitamin E smooth the skin.
SRP: P495

Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter
– Specifically designed to restore the body to its natural, original firmness any time, even after pregnancy or weight loss.
– Helps soothe and relieve the body.
SRP: P495

Rose Hip Skin Therapy Oil (60mL)
– Contains Rose Hip, Sesame & Canola oil.
– Rose Hip contains antioxidants that is good for dark spots and scars.
– Sesame & Canola oil: fatty acids that help protect and hydrate the skin.
– Helps combat scars, marks, dry and aging skin.
SRP: P495

So, how do you use these products?
Palmer's planogram
2-3 Months – Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretchmark (I actually use this as the lotion that I use on a dialy basis when I know that I’m planning to lose weight!)
4-5 Months – Cocoa Butter Massage Cream & Tummy Butter
6-7 Months – Cocoa Butter Soothing Oil for dry, itchy skin
Post pregnancy – Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter & Post Natal Firming Lotion

Lovely ladies, I have great news for you! Palmer’s and I have partners to help you achieve that Amazing Mommy Tummy! You will win the following products by just joining this giveaway.

This giveaway is open to participants from Metro Manila 🙂 I will choose one lucky winner on July 27, 2015 via Randomizer.org 🙂

Amazing Mommy Tummy with Palmer's

All you need to do to earn a raffle entry are these three simple steps:

1) Follow these two accounts on Instagram: @rustansthebeautysource and @mommyginj

2) Share the poster above using #AmazingMommyTummy on Facebook and tag Rustan’s The Beauty Source Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RustansTheBeautySource) and Mommy Ginger (https://www.facebook.com/mommyginger) Be sure to set your status for public viewing so we can check your post.

3) Leave a comment in this blog post telling me more about your Mommy Tummy! It can be another tip that you would like to share, your struggles in achieving an amazing mommy tummy or just giving a shout-out or encouragement to other moms who want to achieve Amazing Mommy Tummies! Then leave your Full Name, email address (so that we can contact you), your Instagram account and your link to the shared poster 🙂

Good luck, Ladies! One winner will get to take home these amazing prizes from Palmer’s! Again, I will choose the winner on July 27, 2015.

I can’t wait to hear more from you about your #AmazingMommyTummy Journey!

It’s so tragic to see in the news that this Motel mogul and his pilot died yesterday. I hate seeing these kinds of things in the news, because I automatically think that they must be dear fathers to daughters and sons, and that their wives might be grieving or that they might have had some unfinished business to take care of. I continue to pray for the families of these two gentlemen and I continue to pray for those injured. I will also pray for their families, that they may stay strong.

News of this in this link: http://cnnphilippines.com/regional/2015/07/05/2-die-6-injured-in-helicopter-crash-in-Batangas.html

When you pass away, I know it’s a morbid topic, but oftentimes, these are the things that we fail to think about. These are even the things that will possibly and probably make us better individuals. A lot of us are content with what we have right now — but are these the things that you really want given this precious life? In my business coaching sessions, I ask people to list down dreams and wishes that they want to achieve within three years, and a lot of them have a hard time even listing them down. Have we become so jaded that even dreaming has become way too mechanical?

Does Your Life Have Meaning

I love contemplating. It sometimes becomes a bad habit that I tend to defocus from what I am supposed to do for the day (case in point, I was about to go through my daily tasks, but the sad news made me deviate from it and now I’m writing this blog). Today, at this very minute, I decided to focus on writing a list of what I should ask myself if I feel like my life is losing meaning.

1. Are you genuinely happy with what’s going on in your life?
This question may be vague, but I should start by asking myself this. We can be fooled as to what “genuinely happy” means because of what society dictates. If society dictates that we should be happy if we have a mom and a dad, we automatically believe that you can’t be happy with having a single parent. We are then considered “broken”. If society dictates that we should be happy if we have a huge house with a swimming pool, we automatically believe that we can’t be happy when live in a rented apartment with water coming in once in a blue moon. If society dictates that we should only be happy if we had a waist line as small as Marian Rivera’s (Did you know that she had a 19-inch waist line?), we couldn’t be happy if ours was at 30 inches and beyond.

But looking at those scenarios, why do we let society dictate and tell us when and what should make us happy? I have a lot of friends who were raised or who are raising children by themselves and their families are genuinely happy. They have the sweetest kids and their relationships are amazing! Contemplating on what will make us genuinely happy is something that we need to do. Personally, the main thing that will make me genuinely happy is to see that my daughter grows up to me God-fearing, independent and a compassionate person. Nothing will make me prouder.

2. If you were a student preparing for an exam, what is your reason for procrastinating? It may be something that you need to do.
I got this idea from one of the students of the Win in Life Program . I asked the 11 year old boy what he wanted to be when he grows up and he said that we wanted to be a game developer. He said, “If it’s something that you do when you procrastinate, then it must be something that you should do.” Wise words from such a young lad! He did have a point. What we should do every day is something that excites us. It should be something that we are always willing to spend hours on; no questions asked. Our friends and family will have a hard time stopping us from doing this thing since they will see that we are so passionate about it.

People often tell me that I tire myself too much with all of the things that I’m doing, but most of the things that I do is something that excites me. These are things that keep me awake at night, because I’m raring and daring to go at it first thing in the morning.

3. Are you making the world a better place? How would you make it a better place?
In one of the trips that we had as a family recently, I got teary-eyed while looking at the different magnificent places in the Philippines. If there are so many undiscovered place in the country that I live in, I bet there are even more undiscovered places in the entire world. I got teary eyed because I was thinking that each one of us, if we just realize that we could actually change the world in our own little way, we will live in a better, safer and healthier world. And yet, it saddened me to see that we don’t see that.

We are all superheroes, and my wish for us all is that we see that. Maybe identifying what we can do for the world is jumping too far ahead, but I really wish that after reading this article is that you get to see that we can change the world by contributing a little “something” every day. Be it following garbage disposal rules in the village or the condo where we stay in, or just by picking up trash that we see on the street, or by just being kind to a stranger, we can be an important asset to our community and to the world.

Those are the three questions that I will always and consistently ask myself when I feel lost and confused. Feel free to follow me and ask yourself the same questions. Does your life have meaning? What do you do every day that will make this world a better place? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Good morning! Today is the first day of my Love the Leap Entrepreneurship Program and I am excited to meet these people who will, I know, be successful entrepreneurs in the future! It’s nice to see that there are a lot of young entrepreneurs who are going into business. What I like about these young people is that they have a lot of great, new and fresh ideas.

In this interview today, this young lass experienced how it was in the corporate world, but early on realized that she wanted to start her own business. Here is the story of Sheryl Kiong, the Proprietor of Curtsy.

Curtsy logo-1

I’m Sheryl, 25, graduated from De La Salle, College of Saint Benilde AB Production Design. After graduation, I took short courses in the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP) then worked in the corporate world the following year. After leaving the corporate life, I started to build Curtsy. I started by making baby headbands, but then eventually, I created ladies apparel. I hope to make it a lifestyle brand in the future. Every year, before the school starts, a portion of my sales buys school supplies for the the children in Payatas. This is my way in giving back and a reminder that I am blessed that I was able to study in a good school and now I’m chasing my own dreams.

Interview with Sheryl Kiong of Curtsy

Ginger: Good morning, Sheryl! Can you tell me more about what your brand is, what is it about and how long have you been in business?

Sheryl: Curtsy is a phonological change from “courtesy” which means a gesture marked by polished manners. Inspired by whimsical-romantic aesthetics with a strong influence of Japanese and Korean fashion. It is an online boutique that tells a contemporary fairytale. It caters to modern girls who are naturally feminine and confident yet retains a delicate innocence. Fresh and classic styles that symbolizes a romantic and playful world where anything is possible.

The business started on July 2013 selling handmade baby headbands and made to order hair accessories then eventually evolved to clothing for ladies. Our merchandise are personally hand picked by me through various suppliers around the world.

Curtsy Denim

Ginger: Thank you for this information, Sheryl! And really, that’s true. Sometimes, we start a business as something and then we eventually evolve and change it into something else, and I think this is a pretty normal occurrence. So with these new products, who is your market and why did you choose this market?

Sheryl: My market is from 16-35 years old who loves classic and trendy fashion. Since I have a wide range of selection of apparel and novelties. This age bracket starts from self explorations and discovery of their style reference.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Sheryl: E-commerce needs good photos to attract customer visually.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Sheryl: It’s my dream to have my own clothing line. Just like any other girls, I love to shop. I have my spurge and save moments when it comes to shopping but most of the time I’m on the “save” side. That’s why Curtsy serves premium quality clothes at an afforable price.

IMG_20150212_191306

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Sheryl: Yes of course. After working for corporate companies, I decided to venture my own business. Since I’m just a newbie, I was very overwhelmed with everything that I forgot to focus. I did a lot of trial and error and the true identity of Curtsy as a brand starts to grow.

Curtsy Pink Dress

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Sheryl: Hardworking, Positive and Focus.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Sheryl: Everyday is a new learning experiece for me because I get to experience the entire process. From branding to marketing to finance and so on. And of course the people you meet along the way in this business.

Curtsy Skirt

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Sheryl: Everything is possible but it depends on the person if he/she wants to be a team leader or just a role player.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other young Entrepreneurs?
Sheryl: Don’t lose hope when you feel like it’s not working out. Everything has its own perfect timing. Be open minded about other people’s advice and other entrepreneurs successful and downfall stories. Most of all, never stop yourself from learning.

Ginger: Thank you so much for your time, Sheryl! 🙂 For those who want to check out the products of Curtsy, the contact details are indicated below!

Curtsy Contact Information:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/curtsyph
Email address: curtsy.hq@gmail.com
Mobile Number: +639273475511
Twitter account: @curtsyprgirl
Instagram acount: @curtsyprgirl