Recently our Client Relationship Manager, Nicola Hopkins returned to our offices in the Philippines with Sara Farrell from Brandbank. Each visit is an eye-opening experience and Nicola is always delighted to share with us her experiences out there…

Monday – First Day in Manila
On arrival to the office we received a very warm welcome and our names were displayed on the TV screens, Sara was very impressed with this, commenting… “finally my name is up in lights.”
This was Sara’s first time meeting the team and she noted how professional they were and how they presented themselves in a manner that gave her confidence that the team knew their job roles and what is expected of them. This was exemplified in a presentation that the team carried out on the projects we are currently managing on behalf of Brandbank.
Jerry Petilla, President and Ronald Belen, General Manager were present throughout the day and it was very apparent how passionate they are about their staff. They value their employees and this shone through on a number of occasions. Despite the vast number of agents operating there, Jerry knew the names of all the agents and their length of service. They were equally as familiar with him, in a very respectful manner, but you could see they were comfortable around him.
Brandbank is always happy to reward the agents for their services to the project. We had a small awards presentation for the top performing agents, who were all so proud of their achievements. It was heart-warming to see how happy this recognition made the staff.
Tuesday – Manila
Today we spent some time looking at other projects and demonstrating our wider capabilities. I was delighted to be able to display some of the new innovations we have implemented, this level of initiative really impressed Sara and she could see how this could work to Brandbank’s advantage. Throughout all of the projects, the one reoccurring observation was how passionate the agents are about their work.
We spent a lot of time with the agents capturing Brandbank products, this was great for Sara to see this happen first hand and get the chance to meet the people who actually do the capture bringing the whole process to life.
A key objective of this trip for Sara was to observe our operation in the Philippines and ensure that we had the capacity and capability to support their ever-growing business needs. Any expectations were exceeded and there are no concerns moving forwards should any opportunities arise.
Wednesday – Leyte
On Wednesday, we were over in Leyte, and what a great team we have there! The team are so happy, friendly and welcoming, they were delighted to see us. When we handed out the awards in Leyte, the agents were high fiving and cheering – it was more like the Oscars – it was amazing to witness.
The sense of community here is really apparent, accommodation is provided for agents to stay over if they live too far away. Every other Saturday night they host a DDC talent show so that the agents and their families can get together and deliver a variety of performances.
Later in the day we made an unplanned visit to a local school and the way the community reacted to Jerry was touching, the schoolchildren were so pleased to see him. We soon realised why, as his passion for the people is very strong and he endeavours to help them in the right way. He wants to provide the building blocks and the foundation for them to build on, and they take this chance eagerly.
This also gave Sara the belief that such an approach to the community, can only influence his business acumen in a positive way, and that belief was displayed throughout the week. The dedication of the workforce who clearly feel fortunate to work for Jerry is commendable.
Together we shared a special moment as we watched the video of the relief work DDC conducted after the Typhoon Haiyan – witnessing the impact this had on Leyte and how the people reacted to the disaster was eye opening. To then go out and meet these people who had lived through this disaster was very humbling.
Thursday – Leyte
On our final day, we visited the disaster recovery site which allows for all projects to be transferred immediately should disaster strike. A real bonus of this site is how its internet connection is used when it is not in business use or during quiet times, Jerry allows the local people to use the internet as well as the local school.
To top off the trip we spent some time out in the community observing the Leyte way, it was remarkable to think how much devastation they had lived through, yet they still maintained such a positive outlook.
The people of Leyte are very proud and so they should be!!
Sara’s closing comment was; “it’s been a seamless experience – a sleek operation.”
I asked Sara to describe her visit to the Philippines in one word – “Exceptional!!”

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