These millennials are masters of adulting

by Vicky Marquez and Helene Enriquez
Art by Mano Gonzales

At a time when we’re still trying to figure out who we are, the last thing millennials need is to be defined by stereotypes. It’s not an easy feat — constantly proving to people (especially to our parents) that we are more than what meets the eye. Lucky for us, there are fellow millennials who are taking a stand and making their voices heard. Through PayMaya’s new campaign “Millennials Beyond the Selfie,” honest conversations about the youth today has become both humbling and empowering.

What is it that makes PayMaya a powerful tool for the ever-evolving millennial? PayMaya links millennials, especially students, young professionals, and credit card-averse users, to a wider digital market by providing a means to shop and pay online even without a credit card. Users can manage their funds and spend only what is in their wallet as it is prepaid. For added security, users can view the details of their transactions in-app and through real-time text notifications.

Most people use PayMaya to pay for their music and movie subscriptions, but its functions definitely go beyond that. Entrepreneurs find the service convenient in making payments, while parents can use this to send school allowance. Aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs can use PayMaya to pay for web hosting and social media sponsored posts. For everyday essentials, PayMaya allows for easy access to utilities such as Meralco, Globe, PLDT, Smart, Sun, Sunlife, Home Credit, and Maynilad, among others. Meanwhile, PayMaya’s Shop feature offers prepaid and data load with discounts from various telcos. You can even send phone credit (purchased in-app) to others as a gift.

Besides from getting a virtual card that you can use through the mobile app, PayMaya also has a physical card that can be linked to the mobile wallet. The card can be ordered online at paymaya.com/shop and used at any Bancnet ATM nationwide. Anywhere Visa and Mastercard are accepted, your PayMaya will be too.

Topping up your PayMaya is also easy. The card can be reloaded in over 15,000 top up stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores, 7-Eleven with CLiQQ kiosks, Ministop with Touchpay kiosks, Wellcome, Shopwise, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, UnionBank ATMs, Palawan Pawnshop, and online banking via BDO.

Most importantly, PayMaya has enabled so many to become the go-getters that they are, starting with the brand’s list of millennial ambassadors. From art, travel blogging, to farming, they come from different backgrounds but are united with their passion for change and pursuing dreams. Here’s a closer look at the faces of today’s multi-hyphenate generation.

For more information, visit paymaya.com. Join the conversation online by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @PayMayaOfficial. Get support at @PayMayaCares.

Jappy Agoncillo, 22 The Mural Master @jappylemon

Jappy Agoncillo is a man on a mission, and he’s ready to take us to the moon. The 22-year-old legal management major paints murals like urban mythologies. “I want to convey pop culture’s role in shaping who we are,” he explains. His murals draw elements from cartoons, comics, film and music, evoking an energetic nostalgia that leaves a soft buzzing at the back of your brain.

All-nighter? Late night out? A Dragon Ball binge-watch session that ran a little too long? Whatever it is, Jappy Agoncillo will get up early in the a.m. to breakfast and goal-set. By 10 he’s off to the gym, and then to lunch and coffee, and then it’s ticking off to-do’s for the rest of the day. “I don’t really stop until everything’s done,” he says. He caps off his long day with a healthy dose of cartoons — Family Guy, The Simpsons, or (you guessed it) Dragon Ball. “Watching relevant shows and documentaries from Netflix and listening to Spotify help in my inspiration process as an artist. But Netflix and Spotify Premium require a credit card before you can use it. I’m glad PayMaya provides an instant virtual Visa or Mastercard that I can easily reload and use to pay for my Netflix and Spotify Premium subscriptions,” he says.

Ambitious, competitive, tireless — Jappy is driven by a passion that engulfs him like a fire. “I love art, and I push myself every day to be better. I want to break through the barriers life has set up for me.” As someone who has been put down by teachers, bullies, and consequently, himself, he wants to prove that whatever it is, he can do it. In fact, he’s probably already done it. Jappy Agoncillo is not one to leave his dreams in the hands of fate. “I wish to achieve some sort of respect for my art. I want to bring pride to my generation and the country, push through the boundaries of local contemporary art and reach international recognition. To keep moving up in the world and improving on myself are what I wish to achieve.” — Helene Enriquez

Wiji Lacsamana, 32 The Online Jill of all trades @curiouswiji

Wiji, short for Luigi, is not to be confused with her lesser-known namesake — a certain mustachioed man who never gets tired of green. Although her name calls to mind a childhood video game, the life she lives is far from an 8-bit existence. As a tattoo artist, illustrator, natural perfume and makeup maker, plus a mom, Wiji Lacsamana is a freelance genius who always stays busy.

By 6 a.m., Wiji’s two-year-old son shakes her awake. While the sun adjusts itself in the sky, Wiji and her son water their plants and share a breakfast. Her work varies from day to day. Three to four times a week, she’s doing tattoos. If not, she’s concocting natural perfumes or makeup for her brand Radioactive Mushrooms in the Forst. On other days, she’s painting, or doing illustration work for local brands. At one point, she’s meditating or doing yoga. But her favorite thing to do is to catch up on her reading.

Contrary to what Instagram celebrities might have you believing, the freelance life isn’t glamorous. “It requires a lot of work — no weekends or holidays, really — if you really want to thrive. But the good thing about making a freelance career out of your passions is that it never really seems like work at all,” Wiji shares. “As a freelancer, PayMaya is the coolest app to receive payments from clients even overseas. I can immediately use my PayMaya credits to pay bills and transact online to promote my business so no need to rely on cash all the time,” she adds.

Despite her multi-hyphenated job description and the grind-or-die attitude of most millennials these days, her definition of success is a balanced life. “I never want to work so hard that I hardly have any real good quality time with my son. At the same time, I can’t ever stay away from my passions.” Through it all, Wiji Lacsamana stays connected with herself, her loved ones, and the world around her: “The world we live in inspires me so much.”  — HE

Gael Hilotin, 34 The Pinay Solo Backpacker @thepinaysolobackpacker

Sometimes, what pushes us to travel is the need to confront the past. That is how Gael Hilotin, the travel blogger behind The Pinay Solo Backpacker, started out. Gael did not do it for the ‘gram. Her first solo trip was to Baguio and Benguet, where her friend’s tomb was located. She wanted to visit and reconnect with her friend’s family, something she has not been able to do.

Traveling heals, and this painful experience transformed Gael. “I got hooked with solo travel,” she said in an e-mail interview. “I started exploring more places. Started with nearby places until I had the courage to go farther and out of the country,” she shares. She started her blog in 2010, just as the Philippines was on the verge of becoming the destination for young Filipinos. “With PayMaya, which is accepted here and abroad, you can book flights, seat sales, and accommodations like AirBnB even without having a credit card. When traveling and you suddenly need cash, you can easily withdraw through any partner ATM abroad using your PayMaya card.”

Gael quit her job in a BPO in 2012 and never looked back. She counts the trip that she took after as one of her travel highlights. “It was tough and there were days I felt lonely and broke, but I learned a lot from the people I met on the road, and they humbled me,” Gael said. The trip she took also made her realize that traveling and blogging is something that she wants to do, and build a career out of. With over 130,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, she proudly proclaims she’s “been to all 81 PH provinces.”

Because Gael started early, she knows what it’s like to go against the grain. For her, millennials get a bad rep “because we are misunderstood. They think we want the easy way, they think we feel (we) are self-obsessed and we are entitled.

“I am challenged whenever I hear the stereotypes about millennials, so I like to prove them wrong by working smart and working hard and welcoming new ideas and change,” Gael said. Her message to millennials? “Prove yourself. You can make your dreams come true because, at the end of the day, it’s your life, not theirs. So live it!” — Vicky Marquez

Louis Faure, 24 The Expat Community Builder @farmboylou

Louis Faure came to the Philippines in 2014 as an intern for Gawad Kalinga. Fast-forward two and a half years later, past the “romantic stage of volunteering” (his words): he has returned, remained, and has been in love ever since. “Filipinos taught me how to love,” he said during our call. Take that, Paris.

During the time he’s spent in the country, Louis has worked with GK’s Enchanted farm as an agribusiness development officer. “PayMaya is my partner in chicken farming as it is the best way to pay and get paid. PayMaya can also be used for rapid disbursement of financial assistance through PayMaya accounts with reloadable cards. These PayMaya cards can be used to pay for basic needs such as food and medicine from groceries and other physical stores that accept card payments.“

Over the phone I heard the voice of a sprightly young man, but also detected a guy with wisdom way beyond his years. “If you live in your comfort zone, you only live half a life.” After a turning point on a nine-day hike in Corsica, France, he learned something valuable. “Fear is what holds us back. It’s funny, because fear is something that we learn. We are born with this intuition, with this fearlessness, and that is something we must learn to keep.”

I asked him why millennials get such a bad reputation. “Our generation has a different set of challenges,” he said, “and for our parents, it was all about the pursuit of comfort. But we must choose our own path, we must make our own path.” He adds,  “Comfort is what kills us. It makes us soft. It makes us weak. You’re not fighting for something.

“If you’re comfortable, you won’t know what commitment means. Commitment has a lot of value. It pushes you to go the distance.” How do we even begin, I ask him? “You have to find your own inner excellence, what makes you a beautiful and unique human,” Louis said. “You have to be grateful, you have to see what has been given to you. Do not take it for granted, use it for good.”

Use it for good he has. Two students from one of the Gawad Kalinga communities are now attending the same school where Louis graduated. Because of him, a former troublemaker and a petty thief now study in one of the best business schools in the world. — VM

Ava Te-Zabat, 28 The Artsy Mom @artsyava

Most people think passion is something you find. What most don’t realize is that it’s actually hard work that creates passion. What you fight for, what you choose to spend time on — that transforms you. “If you really love something, you will make time for it no matter what,” says Ava Te-Zabat, lifestyle blogger, full-time mom and part-time art teacher.

Ava became a mom when she was 19. Instead of buckling under pressure, in 2010, she made the decision to continue blogging. It’s the perfect platform for someone like Ava, who always knew what her passion was. “I have always been passionate about art,” she shared to me over a phone call. So it was no question for her to keep doing it, despite everything. “I pay my bills using PayMaya. With a few taps on my fingertips at the comfort of my home, PayMaya saves me from the stress of traveling and falling in line just to settle my bills. It also helps me save a lot of time so I can do more as a mom and a blogger.”

“There was resistance when I started. My mother and my relatives did not understand what I was doing. They thought I was just wasting time, they thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I just try to prove them wrong little by little,” Ava said.

“We do things differently from the previous generations, and that’s why we get a bad reputation,” she adds. “The technology is available now, so we do things faster, and more efficiently.” But all these conveniences do not make being a full-time blogger while also a full-time mom any easier. She does not hire help. She is very hands-on with her kids. “I actually think our generation is more passionate. Just because we have the tools does not mean we work less hard.”

So what is the millennial artsy mom’s advice for us? “Work tirelessly for the things that you love. If you love something, something good will come out of it. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. You will reap what you sow, and eventually, it will lead to something. I didn’t expect to do blogging as my job, and it is has been amazing.” — VM

TNC pro team the Phillippine E-Sports Champions @TNCPROTEAMDOTA2

If you’re someone who’s ever teased your little brother for spending hours in front of a flickering game console, take note: World Electronic Sports Games 2016 Champions TNC Pro Team is about to teach you a thing or two about Dota 2 — mainly, that spending hours in front of a flickering game console could one day win you P40 million.

You might imagine every cool team has its own special HQ where they live and train together, and that’s just the kind of thing TNC’s got going on. When they’ve got an important event or tournament coming up, the team bunkers down in the TNC boot camp. After a morning of prepping for the day, they make sure to spend at least a few hours studying, discussing, strategizing, and loading up on gaming credits. “PayMaya is our preferred payment app and gaming ally as it allows us to buy 1:1 Steam credits (1 Steam Credit: 1 Peso).” And then, the games begin. For real.

“For us, gaming is really about competition and the need to be a better person than you were the day before,” a TNC rep says. That’s right: gaming is serious business, testing every player’s physical, mental and emotional limits. “There’s a misconception that gamers are unfocused and don’t know what to do with their lives.” But being a gamer is like being an athlete: it takes a lot of study, focus and training to play competitively. “Gaming is a serious field, and future aspiring gamers might want to make sure that their mindset towards improvement and hard work are honed, sometimes even before their actual gaming skills.” In this way, they explain, regardless of whether they continue to be gamers or not, “they (will) have the right tools to succeed.”

There’s real world value to virtual worlds, too. “We want to show everyone that becoming a professional gamer isn’t just about playing. We want to show aspiring gamers that being a pro is about being a professional — in attitude and in skills.” According to the team, even if they’re constantly battling other teams in the gaming arena, at the end of the day, “it’s still a battle between yourself and who you want to be.” — HE