At the height of the pandemic in 2020, I was incredibly vocal about the plight of those who cannot afford to stay home to keep the virus from spreading. They have two choices, to die of Covid-19 or die of hunger. Drown or burn. While I subscribe to the idea of the lock down, I felt the need to highlight that for many Filipinos, the privilege of staying at home does not exist. This is the truth a lot of us would rather ignore: that there is a lot to be done AND a lot we can do to help the Philippines get back on its feet.
“CHILL. Wala ka namang magagawa. Ang swerte mo na nga, nandiyan ka sa Europa. Why should you care, e umalis ka na nga?”
In the nearly two decades I have been living in Europe, I’ve heard the same rhetoric from people who do not think I have any right nor capacity to care nor dream of contributing, on the ground in the Philippines. I almost believed them.
Hero App: Born out of hope
The inspiration of Hero came one day on my way to the fresh market. While on a tram I came across an interview of a masseuse on one of those Filipino noon time shows who said that she gets Php100 commission for a Php600 massage session, she rarely makes minimum wage, approximately €9 per day.
The interview made such an impact on me that sleep came only in bouts that night.
The next day Hero App was born, from a simple wish to provide the opportunity for skilled workers (like that masseuse on TV) to work in an even playing field. A hope that they can provide for their families well and go beyond survival. As a working mother, I also know how outsourcing some of the things on my never ending to do list can provide me much needed time for myself. Something I know others would need too. Driving a thriving community of clients and service providers will enable each Filipino to help and be helped.
Hero app is an open market platform for a variety of skilled services for Filipinos, where the power of choice is in the hands of the client who serves him, when, where and how. Hero app also prioritizes fair labor and market practices, guarding our Heroes’ well-being and livelihood. The app currently has services for Delivery, Repair and Professionals (online and on-site). In the future, Hero will host services for Beauty, Care, Errands, Contractors, Home, even Volunteers.
Having three flexible base modules on the app means Hero can launch quickly and sustain facilitating multiple services well, regardless of their nuances. The more people join as Heroes or become clients, the more effective the model is.
Hero stands for the faith that Filipinos can be Heroes of each other
Hero App at its core has full faith that Filipinos can be heroes of each other. This is part of our DNA and is integrated in our values of excellence, professionalism, compassion, integrity, and service. Choosing the name Hero meant taking on a privilege and a responsibility to serve others. Unlike other organizations, the founding team took over a year to enlist our pioneers. We make sure our teammates acknowledge the profound change we can make for the country by creating a thriving ecosystem of Heroes: service providers, clients, partners, and affiliates supported by the Hero Services App.
Heroism in everyday lives
For us Filipinos, our cultural conditioning has prevented us from believing that we can activate the courage for heroism. Being colonized for hundreds of years, we have formed limiting beliefs about our self-worth and behaviors that do not serve us anymore in this age. This faith in what we can do for each other is the key to dramatically improve the quality of life of every Filipino.
As an expat Pinay who has been repeatedly told to live my “comfortable” life in Europe and disregard the opportunities and challenges of the Filipino people, this is a calling to be even more passionate about dreaming of a better Philippines. The founding team of Hero consists of individuals with the same heart and the same dream.
Currently, the Philippines has the highest all-time debt, more than 10 trillion pesos, a very high unemployment rate with 18 million Filipinos living below the poverty line.
With Hero, our goal is to cross the finish line together, with as many Filipinos as possible.
Learning to become heroes
Heroism is a capacity within us, but few dare to embrace it. But heroism is within us, and if we try hard enough, we can be heroes for others.
We need to believe with all our hearts, that we deserve better. Better leadership, better services, better products, better working conditions, better lives. We need to learn to demand for space, to demand to be heard.
We need to practice active compassion, favoring meaningful service over empty rhetoric. Active compassion can be overwhelming and arduous, but extremely worth it. Seeking international validation for the smallest things, praising each other for mediocre results will not change anything. Our passion is often misdirected towards empty discourse on social media or promises during election season. Meaningful service is about doing something in service of the good, no matter how small.
We need to learn that facing challenges head on does not have to compromise our ability for “good vibes”. Acknowledging and acting on the challenges in front of us head on, speaking up and making each other accountable for what we committed to, do not need to compromise our ability to live happy, stress-free lives. In fact, these will enrich our experiences, by expanding our ability to think critically and own our choices. With service, good vibes is instantaneous, though never the goal.