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Smart, MIAA give extraordinary homecoming to OFWs, balikbayans

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Christmas is the season of love and giving, and for Overseas Filipino Migrant Workers, a time to come home to family is part of their celebration.

This year, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has brought back its annual Grand Salubong at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to let them feel the extra warm Pinoy Christmas as soon as they arrive in the Philippines.

“This is one of the ways we celebrate our OFWs, our modern-day heroes, for their hard work. Being a former OFW myself, I understand the personal sacrifices we must make to provide for our families while away from home. The fact that OFW remittance inflows greatly contribute to the country’s GDP and stimulate trade exports from the Philippines to the host country is incidental to this. We also want our balikbayans to enjoy delightful, uniquely Filipino Christmas treats right when they arrive at the airport to make them feel that indeed, there’s no place like home. Balikbayans come home with a heightened sense of nostalgia, often cherishing reconnecting with home. We would like them to feel at home as soon as they step off the plane,” said John Y. Palanca, FVP and Consumer Sales Head at PLDT and Smart.  

With the partnership of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Smart had set up booths at the Arrivals area of Terminal 1 and welcomed OFWs with local treats such as bibingka and ready-to-drink coffee, and gift baskets that they took home as pasalubong to their families.

38-year-old Liz who has been working in Dammam for 15 years was all smiles when she received her gift from Smart. “I’m so happy and grateful for this surprise that greeted me on my return home,” she said. 

44-year-old Daniel who works in Riyadh as a service engineer, also received a surprise from the telco. “We truly appreciate whatever gift we receive, especially during Christmas. We’re very thankful,” he said.  

Aside from treats, they were also serenaded by a band to add to the holiday cheer.

“We are glad to be a part of Smart’s Grand Salubong for our OFWs, as part of our goal to make travelling more enjoyable for passengers arriving at NAIA. We hope that through this activity, we can help light their hearts with joy as they celebrate Christmas in the country,” said Arnel Atis, Terminal Manager of NAIA Terminal 1.

Apart from taking care of OFWs with Christmas treats, Smart also empowers them with fastest and best mobile network according to Ookla, during their stay in the country. They can post online their memorable Christmas vacation with loved ones using their Smart and TNT mobile numbers with a wide range of value-packed data offers suited for their digital needs.

Local and foreign tourists arriving at NAIA can also get their Smart SIMs or eSIMs at the Smart kiosk in any of the terminals. Alternatively, inbound tourists may also order it ahead of arrival from the Smart Online Store and get the QR code containing the eSIM right away. Smart has also made it easy and hassle-free for tourists who have 5G SIMs and 5G-capable devices to connect to Smart’s 5G network when they visit the country, especially during the Christmas holidays.

Smart’s initiatives to serve and honor overseas Filipinos, and to connect people and communities across the country are aligned with the Group’s commitment to the Government’s overall digitalization thrust and are also in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) particularly SDG No. 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. [END]

About Smart Communications 

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is a wholly owned wireless communications and digital services subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telecommunications company. Smart serves approximately 96% of the country’s cities and municipalities with its combined 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G network, providing mobile communications services, high-speed internet connectivity, and access to digital services and content to over 62.9 million Filipinos as of June 2023, supporting the country’s growing digital economy, and providing the best customer experience for an increasingly digital Filipino lifestyle.

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