It’s What I Do: Pinoy Talent-on-the-Job

Arnold Bisda


Product Manager – Jahaanara

My Job I have lots of fun! I work as the Product Manager for a high-fashion brand called Jahaanara, I oversee every aspect in the product lifecycle – right from concept development to after-sales relationship with our clients. The scope is pretty vast and keeps me on my toes 24-7.

As with all creative industries, we have no hard and fast timings and while sometimes we have three day weekends, other times we go on for weeks without a day off. However, the nature of the job makes it so much fun that we are all happily slogging away!

I work with a production team in India, lots of make-up artists, stylists and photographers in the UAE, press agents in America and clients in Paris. So there’s a big deal of travelling and cultural exchange involved, as well as middle-of-the-night emails and calls! In fact even as I write this for Illustrado, I am in Paris as it is Fashion Week.

A typical working day for me

As mentioned, there’s no typical routine day. Since the international fashion industry works in two main seasons – Spring Summer and Autumn Winter, it depends which day of the year we are in to determine what I would be doing. I could be at our atelier in India or shooting our next marketing campaign in Dubai or attending Paris Fashion Week.

Career Advice I would ask my fellow Filipinos to work in the field that they are passionate about. This melts all desire to escape on the weekends, it changes your outlook in life and makes one appreciate the smaller more precious things in life. Stop and smell the flowers on a sunny day and always be grateful for what life has given you.  

Lee de Guzman


Copywriter – Tonic Communications    

My Job

Ever wondered where those words at the back of your toothpaste tube come from, or who thought everyone should “Just do it”? That’s the work of an advertising copywriter and that’s what I do. Together with a creative team that includes art directors and graphic designers, I come up with concepts and write anything, from print ads, TV and radio commercials to the washing instructions on product labels. I even had to write a sales brochure once for a property that was just one board meeting away from being imaginary.

A typical working day for me

The one thing I really enjoy about working in advertising is that no day is really “typical.” By now I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about the horrors of working in advertising – the long days, the lost weekends and holidays, clients from hell, client servicing people from hell, etc., so no day is exactly the same as the other. My work usually starts with a job brief, followed by brainstorming sessions that last from two hours to three days, depending on how much time the client has given, and ends with a (we think) brilliant presentation that wins the client over. Repeat step two as often as necessary until the latter is achieved. Just like any other job, advertising has its fun days and not so fun days. We once had absolutely no budget for a pitch and I had to sing a commercial jingle for the presentation. I’ve spent 36 hours straight at the office only to have the presentation boards left lying at the reception while we sped to the client. I’ve had to re-do entire campaigns at 2:00 AM for a presentation at 9:00AM. of the same day. But once you hear your work on the radio or see it on a 50-meter billboard, there’s a feeling of pride and accomplishment I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Career Advice

I’ve had to find my own voice in an industry populated by native speakers (complete with the Queen’s accent). If there’s anything I’ve learned as a copywriter, it’s that it’s not about where you’re from, it’s all about what you have to say.

Third Lumapas


Self-Employed Health Consultant/Marketer

My Job

I am a health consultant/marketer who guides people and provides information about natural therapies for chronic illnesses. I conduct seminars and speak to audiences; I train people for global expansion.

I travel often and this makes my work exciting and unique. It gives me the opportunity to meet different people. What makes my work different from just the regular job is that I control my own time and I am my own boss.  I work when I want to.  I also derive a great deal of fulfillment from my work.  At an event during my second trip to Nigeria, I was randomly approached by people who I’ve have never met in my life. They had big smiles and were saying thank you.  They said if it wasn’t for me their lives would have never been better and that I am their hero.  That was the first time I stood in front of 1,500 people and gave an inspirational message and people just yelled and cheered my name.

A typical working day for me

I usually conduct seminars in the morning while my afternoons are spent talking to people. In the evening I go to different places and meet even more people for potential projects.

We all went aboard to earn money and build a home back in our country and then retire. The real question is how many of us have succeeded? We need to realize that life is short, and that before we know it, years have gone by. So we need to maximize the time we have. Most of us live in a rat race, where life is all about waking up in the morning, going to work, and then going home. It’s the same thing every single day, and yet we have not accomplished our dreams. Then, we just say to ourselves – that’s life, and I have simple dreams. I have no choice. If you have one shot, why would you settle for small things? When we can dream big, and we all do have a choice to decide what it is that we really want to achieve, who we are today is based on what we think or do. Everyone wishes to be successful, but wishing is not enough. Actions are needed. So are we doing anything about it? We Pinoys are the most gifted people is this world but most have failed to realize that. We have everything in us to be successful and when I speak of success it’s not only about the money, it’s about living life – worry free and to have all the time in the world to enjoy with our loved ones.  Know what you really want, and why you need to accomplish it. Then set your goals and finally take action. The future depends on what we do in the present. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The only failure in life is the failure to try.”