April’s Off to Work Today at SM City in Iloilo


Friday. Today's the big day. After passing a "uniform inspection" on Wednesday,  which involved questions about whether my niece April was using a make-up foundation or not, my niece reports for work today, Friday, as a Sales Associate for SM Department Stores. She'll have an initial five month contract.  DSC

She had a scare last week when she reported to SM City in Iloilo to receive her first work schedule. One manager was worried that my niece's arms were too dark and recommended lightening them up with papaya. A recent trip to the beach in Guimaras had deepened her tan.

"SM's china porcelain dolls" is what my American expat friend, the "Tom Cat," would say about the female workforce in the SM Department Store section of the mall. And he's right. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone employed in the department store area itself that had any dark skin tones. 

I asked April when she had to report for work. "Before nine," she said. I asked her if that meant she could go in at 6 am or 7 am or what. I should have been more specific and asked her what hours she had to work. I did. The answer: "From nine to six." OK, I got that. 

I'm sure she'll be nervous that first day. Weren't all of us when we had to endure our initial day on the job? She will be making P265 a day, 6.30 US Dollars. And yes, that's per day. Approximately 160 US Dollars a month before the deductions. April will be working six days a week. 

But after her income tax and Social Security deductions are taken out, it will be interesting to see how much she will actually clear. But anything she earns is more than what she is earning now which is "zero."

Michelle, April's twin sister, had another job interview at SPI Global this past Monday, She passed another interview and an I.Q. test and was told she would be called in sometime for her final interview. And yes, she changed out of her purple slippers before her interview. 


Michelle would start out at 5,000 pesos per month working as a domestic call center agent. Once she gains more experience she has the opportunity to get promoted to the international side of the house and earn P14,000 a month, 285 USD, a substantial salary in the Philippines. 

I'm happy for both of my nieces who call me "Dad" and I'm extremely proud of them. They work around the house and do chores without being asked. I'm sure they both will be an assest to any company they work for. 

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

32 thoughts on “April’s Off to Work Today at SM City in Iloilo

  1. I wish both of them the best, they seem like they have very good guidance from you and your wife.

    As far as the skin lightening thing…I really hate it!!! But I guess everyone wants something they don’t have.

    In America BILLIONS are spent to get darker because the darker look is preferred. In the Philippines and other asian countries large amounts of money are spent to get lighter skin. No right or wrong…but I just like darker skin.

    It is interesting to note that I know many filipinas in America and they do NOT try to make their skin look lighter, in fact I know of many that want their skin to look darker and they actively tan.

    I think one of the issues filipinos have is that they think darker skin makes them less of a person. That is sad.

    1. Todd, years ago my asawa (being light skinned to begin with) would always worry about being in the sun because it made her dark. But after living in the USA and working, she learned that the level of her income was not related to the ‘darkness’ of her skin. Many of her white customers seem to spend tons of money on getting darker and will openly discuss their envy of her skin tone. It didn’t take long for her to lose that concern. I believe in the RP, skin darkness can make one feel relegated to a lower class of people, which is a bad perception and discrimination, pure and simple. But that is just the way it is.

      1. Randy, my own asawa was extremely light-skinned after working two straight years in Taiwan indoors without one day off. We married less than a month after her contract in Taiwan ended. Once she got to the States and started working outside (once her first spring in America hit) her skin became progressively darker. Now, after more than three years of living in the Philippines and spending a LOT of time tending to her “babies,” her plants and flowers, she has a tan that would be the envy of those that spend hours and hours in a tanning booth back in the States. Me? I think she’s just as beautiful, light-skinned or tanned. Makes not one bit of difference to me and don’t think it should matter to anyone, personally. Especially one’s employer.

    2. Had quite a discussion on the skin lightening topic back on this post, Todd. Here’s a comment that Roselyn made regarding this: “Just information from a Filipina-American about the issue of skin color. My father was also a Filipino-American of mixed race and fair-skinned. My older sister is very fair-skinned and I am medium-brown. Cousins refer to my sister as the โ€œAmerican Beautyโ€ and yours truly as the โ€œMexican Beautyโ€. I believe that this preference for the fair skin is associated with wealth. Fair-skinned Filipinos are descendants of Europeans who are usually associated with wealth. This is reinforced by fair skinned expats who settle in the Philippines and with them their assets. There is no excuse for discrimination however.”

      I think darker skin is attractive, too, Todd. I personally don’t get the fascination with the whole light-skinned concept.

  2. Dave, pass on my congratulations to April, and my best wishes to Michelle. I’m sure, as proud ‘parents’ both you and the SPW will strongly advise Michelle to stay out of the sun until she gets hired! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Randy, I’ll pass the word. With April now working six days a week, don’t know if she would be able to make the next trip to the beach scheduled in October anyway.

    1. Thanks, Gary, your prayers are appreciated. More than likely the call center job would be on the night shift, but Michelle is willing to do whatever it takes. Both the girls are good workers.

  3. Dave, wow great news!! This summer my wife took my advise and cast away the umbrella (for sun protection) she is darker than your nieces but has discovered that here it makes her more of an exotic beauty.

    I am glad April found work, I know job hunting is difficult there, so much competition for each job.

    1. Thanks, Lee. I’m with you, Lee, a darker tone does add to that whole exotic beauty concept. Job hunting is very difficult and the girls are very fortunate to have found employment.

  4. Dave,
    Congratulations to April. She will do just fine since she has an excellent work ethic. I think the darker skin is prettier, like my g/f’s. At least they will have some spending money and won’t have to bug dad for any. Have a nice day.

    1. Thanks, Papa Duck. April survived her first day on the job. Left the house at 7 am. Got home at 8:30 pm. She’s not complaining one bit. Once she gets that first “big” check, she’ll know all of her hard work was worth it.

  5. Dave: Congratulations to April on her first day on the job. Michelle should be following real soon, I’m sure. They will both be assets to their respective employers.

    A tradition in our family when one of our siblings received his first pay cheque was that he had to treat the family (Mom and the 5 borthers) to dinner out, usually ended up at Royal Burger or KFC, but their treat nonetheless! Is there any such tradition in the DeWall family?

  6. How exciting for her! The first day of the first job. I remember when I started my first job and how exciting and “grown up” I felt. It was working with the public so the excitement wore off pretty quickly. lol. I hope it goes well for her.

    1. I’m sure the excitement will soon wear off for April, also, Steve. Yesterday they had a lesson on the time clock and various company policies, the good ol’ orientation. Wonder what excitement will be in store for her today? My first job was pumping gas for my Dad at his FULL SERVICE gas station back in the late Sixties. Check the oil. Wash ALL the windshields. Check the air in all the tires and try to sell an air cleaner to boot. Anybody remember “full service?” ๐Ÿ˜›

        1. Never saw that, Randy. I’ll have to ask April about that. She’s worked two days in a row now. But she’s off today and Monday (they don’t want to pay her extra for the Monday holiday :() and will report back on Tuesday.

    1. Thanks, Fearless Frank. I’ll pass the word. You’ll be able to meet them upon your return. I have no doubt, that your good lucks and charm will completely dazzle them, however, but I want them to meet someone I consider one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met here. ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Plz tell you’re two niece Good luck. I don’t understand why being light skinned is so desired but I still think a dark skinned pinay is as beautiful as a ghost looking one.

    1. Thanks, Art, I’ll pass the word on to them. I don’t get it. All shades of Filipinas are beautiful in my books. I just don’t get the light-skinned obsession.

  8. That’s great that your niece is really doing well. Having a job in the Philippines is so important not only for the money but also for their self esteem. I’m sure her sister will follow suit soon.
    I don’t like how white the SM or most shop girls get. They end up looking like zombies some times. I convinced the asawa to stop using the skin lighteners because of the possible harmful side effects (ever read the ingredients?). I love her light or dark but prefer the dark, lol.

    1. My niece, April, is still quite dark, Mark G. I absolutely refuse for her to use any skin whitening products. If it means her losing her job, so be it. She can apply at a call center and make triple the wages. It’s just not worth the risks. Glad you got your asawa to stop. Here’s a piece that the Manila Bulletin ran (I’ve clipped it from Yahoo News):MANILA, Philippines — A consumer watchdog is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban supposed harmful skin whitening products sold in the Philippines after it found 13 of them containing excessive amounts of mercury.

      Ecowaste Coalition said 13 of the 14 skin whitening products it purchased in stores in Manila and Makati Cities contained excessive levels of mercury from 550 parts per million (ppm) to 60,800 ppm in violation of the 1 ppm allowable limit under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cosmetics Directive.

      It said mercury can damage the kidneys and nervous system, and adversely affect the normal development of the brain in fetuses and young children.

Leave a Reply