The publishers: Dheza Marie Aguilar and Cris Sta Brigida/Photo by Goran Turnsek
MANILA – A group of young men and women are attempting to knit together what they call the vibrant Filipino expatriate community in Europe through a magazine.
The Filipino Expat Magazine, the first and only lifestyle and living magazine in Europe, was officially launched Saturday at the NH Carlton Hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
"Our target readers are Filipino expatriates all over Europe. We decided to focus on lifestyle and living because we want to offer stories on how the Filipinos in different parts of Europe are integrating in the European society," said Dheza Marie Aguilar, one of the magazine's publishers.
Aguilar collaborated with co-publisher Chris Sta Brigida in turning their idea into reality.
"The idea of working together had basically been set aside until March 2013. I realized that there are many people who want to read stories about our community in Europe. Initially, I wanted to start publication for the Filipinos in the Netherlands but Chris said that we should go for Europe," she said.
Like any other business ventures, the magazine's birth was a bit challenging—from selecting the best people to making sure that all stories are original, well-written and well-researched.
"It is very important for us to offer quality stories to our readers because we believe that the Filipinos deserve that," explained Aguilar.
Aguilar said that the people behind the magazine all have their own full-time jobs and businesses. But what binds them together is that one goal of wanting to "offer a fresh and inspiring publication to Filipinos in Europe".
Lahing Kayumanggi dance group from London presents the cover of the first issue of The Filipino Expat Magazine/Photo by Goran Turnsek
Meet the team
Aguilar is a graduate of broadcast communication from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. A correspondent of ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau, she has contributed articles for several newspapers and travel magazines in the Philippines and in the Netherlands.
She has been living in the Netherlands for four years now and works as an operations manager for a logistics company.
Co-publisher Sta Brigida has a master's degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of London. He lived in Britain for more than 10 years before moving to the Netherlands. Sta Brigida now owns a bed and breakfast called Tulip of Amsterdam together with his partner.
Editor-in-Chief Diana Uy is based in the Philippines and a graduate of journalism from the University of the Philippines. She has worked as writer and assistant editor for several local and international publications like the Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard and HongKong News. She has lived in Madrid, Spain for a year and currently works as a public relations officer of Megaworld.
Creative director Robin Kuijs is an IT professional and photographer. He lived in the Philippines for over two years. He has worked as freelance photographer and layout artist in the Philippines and in the Netherlands.
The magazine cover
The magazine is a bimonthly publication which offers stories on migration, integration, language and culture, business, social issues, health and wellness, travel, shopping, among others.
"Our first issue is about moving to Europe, challenges that a Filipino must expect and tips on how to overcome these difficulties. We featured four Filipino expats who shared their experiences on moving to Europe, as well as a Filipina and Dutch couple who shared their stories in maintaining a successful intercultural relationship," said Aguilar.
Aside from its printed version, the magazine is also available online through the website www.thefilipinoexpat.com.
"Here, we will be featuring articles on the same topics but on shorter, blog formats, as well as resources/directories of Filipino organizations, businesses, products, services, etc," Aguilar said.
What sets the magazine apart from other existing publications in Europe is its feature called "Giving Back".
"This will give a space to charity organizations that are helping the Philippines. In our first issue, we published a story written by Jomel Anthony Gutierrez about the lack of educational facilities in Tineg, Abra, the second poorest municipality in the Philippines," said Aguilar.