To call this man outstanding and inspiring Pinoy is an understatement. He is, after all, a nominee for Huwarang OFW 2019 by GMA 700 Club Asia and contributor of finance articles to leading newspapers and online magazine in the Philippines and abroad.
In addition, he is also a finance motivational speaker to various international conferences in Thailand, The Philippines and other parts of the world.
To top it all, he is a published author of not just one but three books including his recently published dissertation for his doctorate degree in educational management.
But despite all his accomplishments, Dr. Jun Amparo remains humble and as just as accommodating as the first time I met him in person.
Coming to Thailand
Jun Amparo arrived in Thailand in 2006. But his OFW journey to the kingdom began in 2004 when he and his friends became victims of illegal recruiters for a job in Hongkong.
“My pre-departure experience before I came to Thailand was an unpleasant one and difficult to swallow,” Jun shares in his blog. “The recruitment agency was not licensed and the people we were dealing with were not authorized by the POEA,” he claims.
With faith and determination, Jun has come a long way from that “unpleasant and difficult to swallow” experience to being in Thailand for 15 years and still counting.
Early years as OFW in Thailand
Amparo shares that his early years in Thailand didn’t go as smoothly as expected.
“It was quite challenging because we are not native speakers of English language,” he says. “The competition was so high during that time and we need to compete with native speakers,” he adds.
Like all other OFWs in Thailand, Amparo also struggled with language barrier and culture shock. Furthermore, his finances were also limited which made it even more difficult for him and his wife, who was still his girlfriend back then.
Currently, Jun Amparo is working as a University Counselor and Instructor at Asia Pacific International University. It is a far cry from his first job teaching English to kindergarten kids until junior high school (Mattayom 3) students.
“I have been here for 15 years and this is my third school. I remember teaching “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to little kids in a Catholic School,” he fondly recalls. “I’m very thankful because the sisters who were running the school were very supportive and kind,” he says.
From teaching kindergarten kids, elementary and junior high school students, Jun Amparo moved to Saint John Mary International School. There he assumed the position of School Counselor. On the sides, Amparo writes about personal finance, relationship and spiritual reflection on his blog Richly Blessed Today.
From blogging, Jun Amparo elevated his writing career by contributing articles in different online blogs, magazines and newsletters. He has works published in Smart Parenting, Health and Home, The Filipino Times (UAE), Loan Solutions Philippines, Inquirer, GMA News Online Pinoy Abroad and many others.
Meanwhile, Amparo has also written articles about OFW finances, parenting and spiritual reflections for GMA News, Inquirer.net, Adventist Review and Seventh-day Adventist Educators.
OMG! OFW’ Money is Gone!
Having been in Thailand for several years, Amparo saw the struggles of many OFWs when it comes to personal finances.
“Many OFW have no savings and they don’t know where to put their hard-earned money. They just survived at the end of every month because they live like “rich now, debt later,” he claims.
Hoping to create financial awareness and make a positive impact to many Filipino workers based abroad, he began to write a book entitled OFW’s Money is Gone (OMG), which was published in 2018.
In an interview with Pinoy Legacy, he shares the “book is about the typical financial challenge or struggle that many OFW have faced: managing hard-earned money.
“Through this book, I mentioned about the importance of having the right mindset and proper financial education,” he says.
The OMG book provides useful advice about saving and investing. An OFW, for example, is advised to pay himself first or save for his future rather than transferring all of his money to the Philippines.
The book also educates OFWs how to set up an emergency fund and get comprehensive insurance to ensure that they are sufficiently covered, especially if they are the family’s breadwinner.
Moreover, the book strongly pushes OFWs to invest in financial education on the investment side.
“It means that before he engages in genuine investment prospects, he must study and conduct research in order to make an informed financial decision,” Amparo stresses. “Financial knowledge, in my opinion, is the most effective approach to combat investment fraud,” he adds.
OFWs in Thailand and other parts of the world can still get a print copy or an eBook through Lulu Press. It’s a print-on-demand, self-publishing, and distribution platform available online.
The NECKTIE Approach
The OMG book garnered positive reception from numerous OFWs around the globe. This gave him the inspiration to take his writing career further by publishing his second book about marriage entitled The NECKTIE Approach.
NECKTIE in the title is an acronym for:
Never Stop Courting and Dating Your Wife; Ensure You Are Proactive in Managing Finances; Compliment and Uplift Her Spirit; Kiss and Hug Your Spouse; Think of Resolving Conflict Soon; Improve Your Listening Skills; Enhance Your Spiritual Leadership.
The book, according to Amparo, gives husbands practical advice on how to improve their marriage and make it more alive and healthy.
“Being a better husband requires commitment and dedication. If you’re committed to navigate your role as a husband, you need to redefine your purpose and reflect how you can improve your role as a husband,” he says.
“When you feel like being choked and your marriage is slowly shutting down, especially when you are financially pressured because of Covid-19 crisis, consider applying the Necktie Approach to uncover profound insights and doable tips to transform your marriage into a more vibrant, healthy relationship,” Amparo adds.
This guide book, which has been reviewed and recommended by Bo Sanchez and Dr. Alvin Ang, is available on Amazon and AcuteByDesign, a publishing business in the United States. It also includes real-life accounts of some Overseas Filipino Workers.
Challenges of a published author
The successful publishing of his three books did not come without challenges.
“Anyone can go to self-publishing but to be a traditional published author is a totally different story. The world of published author is very competitive and tough. You need to go through a very tiny needle’s eye to be in it,” Amparo claims.
Amparo says he approached so many agents and was rejected multiple times.
“I tried to approach and talk to so many literary agents and I cannot remember any more how many times I have been rejected, Amparo shares.
But Amparo’s motivation was the belief that the content of the book is very good and it deserves to be shared to the worldwide readership.
“I had to try and try despite rejections. I had to make it sure that the book has reached the publishers and took it from there,” says Amparo. “I have been rejected over a hundred times. It came to a point that rejection mails have become my daily meals,” he jokingly adds.
Jun Amparo’s persistence paid off and found a publishing company based in the United States. He said he couldn’t have done it without his family.
“My ultimate inspiration for writing is my family. They’re the wind beneath my wings and the ink to my writer’s pen. I have a son who is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He inspires me to never give up,” he shares.
Advise to fellow OFW
As an OFW financial advocate, Jun Amparo believes financial foundation is very important among OFWs not only in Thailand but all around the world especially during this time of pandemic.
“I remember I wrote in my book that we should set aside three months of our salary as emergency fund. But during this time, I think it is no longer applicable. We have to make sure that our finances are well-taken cared of, Amparo says.
Amparo also points out that all OFW should take good care of their mental health.
“We have heard stories of people committing suicide due to the impact of pandemic such as losing their jobs, encountered financial problems, isolation, social distancing and others. They have to make sure that they do something to enhance their mental health, Amparo claims.
He also emphasized to keep in touch with our family back in the Philippines as a way to keep our sanity intact. More importantly, he admonished his fellow OFWs to strengthen their faith in God.
“In the midst of this pandemic, let us not forget that God is our strength. He is our refuge and our ever present help in times of trouble,” Dr. Jun Amparo declares.