Nag-diet, inalis ang bisyo: This OFW saves PHP1M in 3 years

by Justine Punzalan
Feb 28, 2020
"Lagi kong iniisip, unang-una, ang naranasan kong hirap sa Pinas. At hanggang ngayon, takot pa din ako bumalik sa nakaraan," says OFW Neil Ryan Lorenzo.
PHOTO/S: Neil Ryan Lorenzo on Facebook

Neil Ryan Lorenzo never thought he would one day become a millionaire using only his alkansiya or what others call the "Peso Sense Challenge."

The 37-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is a forklift operator in Saudi Arabia, earning 1,700 Saudi Riyal (SAR) or more or less PHP23,000 a month.

On November 13, 2019, he proudly announced on Facebook that his savings have reached SAR75,400 and PHP2,700 totaling PHP1 million.

Neil posted, "Alam niyo ba ano ginawa ko para dumami ipon ko po?

"Inalis ko po yosi ko, nag-diet, pati [online] games ko inalis ko.

"Sobrang laki pala ng nagagastos ko sa yosi, pagkain ko, pati na din games ko.

"Inalis ko lahat. Daming nagbago sa kalusugan ko... Nakaipon na ako, naalis ko pa bisyo ko."

In his interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on February 17, 2020, via Facebook Messenger, Neil narrated his hard-luck story.

His father, a tricycle driver, and mother, an employee of Intel Corporation, raised him and his five siblings in a rented house in Pateros, Metro Manila.

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He finished his secondary education at the Pateros National High School at the age of 21.

In the Facebook Messenger chat, he recalled, "Tatlong beses po ako nag-first year kasi tamad talaga ako mag-aral at takot ako mapahiya sa school.

"Dahil sa totoo lang, kahit anong pag-aaral gawin ko, 'di kaya ng utak ko mag-aral, lalo na ng English.

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"Kapag English na, tumatakas na ako sa school."

Neil also admitted he was a hot-tempered teenager getting into fights and all sorts of mischiefs almost daily.

"Lagi akong pinapatawag sa principal office dahil lagi akong napapaaway.

"Mahilig ako pumunta sa mall kahit sarado pa at doon, nakikipag-away kami sa ibang school.

"Nahuli pa nga ako sa mall na nagnanakaw ng chocolate.

"Hanggang natuto ako magyosi at uminom.

"Tumagal rin ako sa marijuana kasi, ayun, nagpapasaya sa akin dati."

Neil was 19 when he began to change his ways.

He recounted, "Kinapalan ko nalang mukha ko makatapos lang ng pag-aaral.

"Ayaw ko dumating ang araw, baka hindi ako makapag-apply sa work dahil wala akong pinagaralan.

"Kaya kahit mahirap, tinapos ko. Kaya average ko noong fourth year, 75—pasang-awa."

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NEIL BECOMES A FATHER

But after graduating from high school, Neil became addicted to playing the online game Philippines MU.

It got to the point when he would steal money from his parents to pay for his game at the computer shop.

It went from bad to worse for Neil when he got his 15-year-old girlfriend pregnant. He was 23.

He remembered, "Doon ko naramdaman ang hirap ng walang pera at walang nagtitiwala sayo pati magulang mo.

"Isang beses, lumapit sa akin girlfriend ko, humihingi siya ng pera pangpa-check-up niya.

"Dahil hindi naniwala magulang ko sa akin, hindi ako binigyan ng pera.

"Sobra ako depressed sa sarili ko."

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A year later, Neil had another child with another woman, who had leukemia and died.

Desperate to feed his two children, Neil turned to indecent means of earning easy money.

He detailed, "Iyong isang anak ko, humihingi sa akin ang nanay niya ng pambili ng gatas pero wala akong maibigay.

"Kaya ginagawa ko, umiikot ako sa Pateros. Naglalakad ako ng madaling araw at 'pag meron akong nakitang mga gay sa labas, linalapitan ko.

"Dumidskarte ako ng pera sa kanila, mabigyan ko lang pang gatas ang anak ko."

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NEIL BECOMES AN OFW

In the middle of his despair, Neil got a call from his brother inviting him to apply for a job in Saudi Arabia.

He related, "Hanggang biglang tumawag kapatid kong nasa abroad... kung gusto ko daw ba mag-abroad.

"Pero sabi niya, sahod SAR750 lang. Katumbas sa pera natin, PHP8,000 lang.

"Tinaggap ko pa rin dahil dito sa Pinas, sobrang hirap maghanap ng work.

"Mahina ako sa English at baldado kamay ko. Lagi akong baksak sa interview at test."

But with luck and persistence, Neil found an employer who overlooked his condition.

Neil was set to work abroad when the mother of his ex-girlfriend delivered a haughty sendoff.

"Merong sinabi sa akin biyenan ko—hindi na daw nila ako kailangan. Kaya na daw nila buhayin anak ko.

"Umalis ako na tumatak sa isip ko na pagsisikapin ko mag-work kahit alam kong maliit lang sahod ko."

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Neil had all his hopes up when he flew to Saudi Arabia in 2007 to work as a construction worker.

But he was disappointed when he received his pay, "Unang sahod ko para sa isang buwan, nakatanggap lang ako ng SAR100—sa pera natin, PHP1,300.

"'Di ko kasi alam ano pinipirmahan namin dahil arabic ang nakasulat. Kaya wala na akong nagawa.

"Dahil sa sobrang liit ng sahod ko, ginagawa ko, ipon muna ng three months na sahod bago ako magpadala ng pera sa Pilipinas."

After two years in Saudi, Neil planned to come home for a vacation in July 2009.

But in June he got the painful news that his father had just died, "Kaya need ko umuwi. Dahil emergency, wala akong naiuwi na pera."

That got him thinking hard about his life situation. He was 26 when he began making plans to improve his lot.

With a bit of luck, he had a good start, "Pagbalik ko ng Saudi, nakuha ko benefits ko at bonus.

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"Doon ako start na mag-isip na mag-business dahil ako iyong taong hindi kuntento sa sahod.

"Gusto ko gumawa ng paraan paano madagdagan income ko."

Neil sold various goods, "Nagtinda ako ng load at isda, at nagpahulugan ng gadget at gold."

He also changed his line of work, "After five years, naging forklift operator ako. Doon tinaasan sahod ko, naging SAR1,700—mahigit PHP20,000 sa pera natin."


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NEIL STARTS THE PESO SENSE CHALLENGE

The Peso Sense Challenge is a saving method wherein you set aside a certain amount of money for a period of time.

The money set aside must be stored in a closed container and opened only when the targeted amount of savings is achieved.

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Neil had heard of people finding wealth in their piggy banks, and he got interested.

He related, "Naiinggit ako noon dahil ang dami nilang naiipon at nakikita kong madaming natutuwa kapag ino-open nila ang ipon nila.

"Kaya sabi ko, gagayahin ko sila. Pero sabi ko, paano ako makakaipon ng mas malaki?

"Ang ginawa ko, kwinenta ko magkano nagagastos ko sa yosi ko. Ang isang kaha ay SAR21. Sa pera natin, PHP280."

A smoker for 20 years, he did the near impossible, "Inalis ko ang yosi ko at nag-gym na lang ako.

"Kaya sa loob ng three years, makakaipon ako PHP200,000 [dahil sa sigarilyo]."

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He stayed the course, reminding himself over and over again, "Lagi kong iniisip, unang-una, ang naranasan kong hirap sa Pinas.

"Sumunod, gusto ko ang nanay ko, maibigay ko lahat ng ginhawa na hindi niya naranasan noong bata pa siya at syempre para sa mga nagawa niyang sakripisyo para sa amin.

"Sumunod, tumatanda na ako. Kailangan talaga ng disiplina sa sarili at ito ang paraan para maalagaan ko sarili ko."

He never looked back since then, "Hanggang ngayon, takot pa din ako bumalik sa nakaraan."

Besides weighing 10 kilograms less from dieting, Neil had the gratifying feeling of holding oodles of cold cash for the first time.

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On his next visit to the Philippines, Neil came home a rich man.

"Hindi ko akalain makakapaguwi ako ng isang milyon..

"Sabi ko, kesa maubos ko, bili ko nalang ng bahay nanay ko.

"Kaso dahil kulang ang pera dahil ang bahay na nakita ko ay PHP2.3 milllion, nagusap-usap kami ng mga kapatid ko.

"Halos lahat kasi kami nasa abroad—lahat kami nagtulong-tulong mabilihan namin ng bahay ang nanay ko."

"Nakabili na rin kaming lahat na magkakapatid ng bahay."

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"Lagi kong iniisip, unang-una, ang naranasan kong hirap sa Pinas. At hanggang ngayon, takot pa din ako bumalik sa nakaraan," says OFW Neil Ryan Lorenzo.
PHOTO/S: Neil Ryan Lorenzo on Facebook
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
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