The worst thing that could happen to a Pinoy abroad is to be cut off from communication with loved ones. It will be like you are in a cave and it is very dark and you have no way out and there is no one to hear you. Can you imagine how it was many years ago? If I remember right, even just 15-20 years ago, before the information age, when communicating with loved ones was not that easy? When we had to wait for a couple of weeks or even more (depending on the reliability of the post office system in our country) to hear from them, and vice-versa? When we had to go to a phone booth at the city center, through an operator, to connect to our loved ones back home? And they also had to go to the city center to receive our call? Oh the trouble we had to go through to get connected. Added to that the concern and the worries of a few days when we had to wait for news about something urgent that we needed to relay to them or hear from them.
Well, those agonizing days vis-à-vis communications are over. In fact, things are getting better. With all the progress in information technology and the like, there is no limit to how we can communicate with our loved ones back home. The opportunities are endless. And with communication leaders such as Smart Communications (through Smart Pinoy and international roaming services) and Nokia (through their wonderful handsets), each day is an exciting day of connecting with loved ones, friends, colleagues, and others beyond this circle.
How can Smart Pinoy keep our relationship with our loved ones more exciting?
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Continue with the affordable and easy way to connect with loved ones. If they can make it cheaper and easier, then the better. Sometimes it is because of the cost that prevents people from intimately communicating. There are just feelings and thoughts that need time to be communicated. But if you are worried about how much a call would cost you, then there will just be so many things left unsaid.
2. Expand loading centers/points in different countries so those abroad will not run around looking for load, especially during emergencies. Some people do not have access or means to buy phone load online. Or even if they can access the internet, they do not have a credit card to use.
3. Expand promos to those abroad – that will be fun to have some games with real prizes such as more load or free text/call if one has used the service within a certain period or amount.
4. Regularly featuring outstanding or exemplary overseas pinoys with their families, for e.g. during Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, birthdays, or some other special occasions.
5. Encouraging children of OFWs to study harder by giving them scholarships, i.e. for every amount used, a certain amount is contributed to a scholarship fund.
6. Photo contests based on themes and the winning entry can be featured in advertising or promoting better communication with loved ones or some other beneficial social values.
7. Expand social networking (Like Smart Communications in Facebook) and provide some short inspirational messages so those reading will always remember to communicate with their loved ones.
These are just a few things that I think will help in making the relationship with our loved ones exciting through Smart Pinoy. I for one am using a Smart sim for roaming and it is working ok. My loved ones back home always send text to me as it just costs them 1 peso per text. It is very affordable. Except that now I only have one cell phone and I take turns to use it for my local sim and Smart sim. So I am looking for another one to be able to use my Smart sim all the time. Hope to get the Nokia 2220 so I can use it just for my Smart sim!
It is also good to continue to support efforts of other organizations such as PEBA in strengthening families of Pinoy Expats/OFW so our society will become better and the quality of life of all Pinoys will be greatly improved.