Getting to know The Cristobals

OFW life is not the easiest. Even for OFW blogger family, The Cristobal, life with their family living apart in two countries can be taxing and requires a lot of compromise. The patriarch of the family Tristan works as an auditor in Saudi Arabia for almost four years, while wife Carmi and their daughter are based in the Philippines. As a family, they have weathered through these 4 years with resilience and came up with tactics on how to deal with the different trials and tribulations that everyday OFWs face such as financial problems, family life and relationships abroad. With the expertise that they’ve gained from their experiences, they gave blogging a go as a platform to give their two cents on the different issues faced by every OFW.

To get inside their heads and learn more about why they started their blog, the OFW Guru had a Skype chat with The Cristobals.

How was life in general living in a family with an OFW?

OFW life has never been easy especially for couples like us who are in a long distance relationship. As a family, we have our own challenges in every aspect of our relationship such as in love, faith, and money. We just have to accept the reality that life will never be stress free so we have to find ways. We had to be ingenious in how we went about communication. It was especially hard for the first few years because I wasn’t able to be there for my daughter 24/7, like most dads.

What got you started writing your blog? Was it any certain experience?

We’ve been sharing ideas or information within our circle and in our Facebook Groups – OFW Usapang Piso and Angat Pilipinas Coalition. We came into a point when we felt like we have to reach out to more OFWs through blogging, which will serve as a vessel to further share ideas/information we have. Actually, my wife had an article published online at Marvin Germo (a popular Pinoy blog) about how a wife can help her husband come back home. She wrote this for our 4th anniversary. She received great comments and feedback online so then we realized that our thoughts and experiences do have an impact on others.

We don’t have any experience in blogging but thank God, we are getting good results and appreciation from our readers and subscribers. We went about writing our blog as if we were sharing stories and advice to friends and family. Our blog actually brought our family closer together as we communicate more often, share in the milestones of our blog and get to have new avenues of communication.

Why is it especially important for you to get the word out there for financial saving for OFWs?

Can we tell you a story?

“May isang ina na nagdecide na magtrabaho abroad. She work hard, sent her only child to school and was able to invest house and lot. After 20 years of working abroad, she returned to the Philippines for retirement. May naipon siya kaso hindi nakapag-tapus ang kanyang anak sa pag-aaral.

At the end, ang perang pinag-ipunan niya for 20 years ay naubus lang in less than five years.

Anong nangyari after maubus ng ipon? Wala nang source of funds kaya umaasa sa mga kapatid at sa anak na nakapagtrabaho naman…A sad ending na nangyayari at posibleng mangyari sa isang OFW… “

We know and have first hand experience as to what OFW life is.

We are reaching out because we want to remind our fellow OFWs that we don’t want to have the same ending story. The sacrifices that include being away from your family, leaving the country na kinalakhan mo, time lost with your kids/love ones, and million reasons of working abroad. These sacrifices need good results and hopefully, happy endings.

We don’t want these sacrifices to get wasted and be included in the countless of other sad ending stories that face many OFWs who aren’t finance-savvy.

And to further reach out to our fellow OFWs, we authored two e-books:

“How to Understand and Help OFWs Go Back Home” which is for FREE and “Discover the Five Year Plan of an OFW”

What are your two books about?

Our books, we believe, resonate with readers. “How to Understand and Help OFWs Go Back Home” gives the family and friends of an OFW a rich understanding of how the life of an OFW is, the difficulties and even the triumphs they face. We retrieved experiences not only from our family but from our network of OFW friends so it’s from a 360 degree point of view. This book will advise the family of an OFW on how to assure the return of their loved one. “Discover the Five Year Plan of an OFW,” on the other hand, is our self-developed plan for how an OFW can save, make the most of their income, and come back home after five years. It’s a must read, that can be downloaded from our blog.

With major problems in remittances cost for OFWs, what would your advice be for them to deal with this situation?

Before sending money, one can compare the exchange rates of different remittance centers by obtaining them from the Internet then consider the location of the remittance center. Taxi fare and one’s time could be more costly then the money saved from the exchange rate of a farther remittance center.

Remittance fee is also a consideration because different remittance centers have different fees.

And the major consideration is that the money you send will be received by your dependents. If not, this is the most costly remittance for an OFW because using an untrusted remittance center could lead to lost funds. For that reason, banks are the safest medium of transfer that we know of.

For personal finance, what would your tips for fellow OFWs be?

Firstly, we – OFWs should have reasonable financial plan from the time we become overseas worker up to retirement period.

Secondly, an OFW should have an escape plan as well for being an OFW because we will not be OFWs for life.

Thirdly, start your financial plan from the famous saving formula which is: Income – Savings/Investments = Expenses.

Lastly, if you feel like your finances are not improving, don’t be depressed but rather focus on something that you know can help you achieve your financial goal.

Where do you think it’s best for OFWs to invest in?

We can say that all kinds of investment, as long they are legitimate, are best for OFWs to invest in. The reason is that investments have the potential to grow one’s money and help one achieve its financial goal. OFWs can invest on the following:

Business Investment,

Stock Investments,

Mutual Funds/UITFs,

Cash Equivalents (Time Deposits),

Protection (Variable Unit-Linked),


Other legit investments

One can further read here: Saan magandang mag-invest?

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