Skip to main content Skip to notification content

From struggles to triumph: Lives transformed as a financial advisor

July 4, 2024

Remarkable career journeys from humble beginnings 

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Many aspire to find a career that ensures financial stability while economically empowering others, but feel held back by humble backgrounds or previous struggles with money. 

However, Manulife financial advisors have realized that poverty is not a barrier to achieving the life you’ve always wanted. If you dream big and succeed, and you connect more deeply with people, the right opportunities will come along. Arlene Genove, a municipal councilor, Shirly Termulo, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), and Richard Dimaculangan, a former contractual hardware salesman, prove that your past does not limit your future. To improve their station in life, sheer willpower, passion, and hard work fueled them, and being a financial advisor is a transformational step to the right direction. 

From barangay to the world

With a monthly honorarium of ₱6,000 as a barangay councilor in Quezon Province back in 2010, Genove tried to make ends meet so she can provide for her family’s needs. At the time, she was forced to take on side hustles such as online selling to supplement her income. “My family was poor, and I really dreamed of a more comfortable life. However, it was not easy. No matter what I did, it seemed to be never enough.”

Having experienced a life marked by poverty, Genove found a clearer path towards achieving her dream as a financial advisor. More importantly, she saw the job as an extension of her public service, because she could help others by financially securing the present and future of her customers. 

After becoming a financial advisor at Manulife, Genove’s first personal accomplishment was being able to renovate her family’s house. “Our old house had no doors and kitchen. I am happy knowing that we now have a good place to live in,” shared Genove. Her Manulife career also allowed her to finish college, pursue a master’s degree, and travel around abroad. Her favorite destinations so far were Florence, Italy, Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan.

Amid all these changes in her life, Genove’s most important goal is to share her blessings with others. “I’m more inspired than ever because I know this path stops being all about me. As I succeed, I see others fulfill their dreams, too. Earning more from my work at Manulife means I can help more people. Nothing compares to that kind of fulfillment.”

A former OFW comes home for good

As a single mother and former overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Termulo struggled to achieve financial stability and peace of mind for herself and her three children after deciding to come back home. “As an OFW, leaving my children was very hard for me. I felt like they were essentially orphans.”

With her decision to be with family, Termulo pursued a freelancing career as a massage therapist in the country instead. However, the instability of her line of work made her realize that if she falls ill or gets into an accident, she would not know what would happen to her children. So, she decided to change careers.

As a Manulife financial advisor, Termulo can now take care of her children by providing them with quality education and a more comfortable life, without having to go abroad and be away from them. “I can now send my son to a private college, and my twin daughters to a reputable high school. Education is the best legacy I can leave them -- it is, after all, the great equalizer. I feel so blessed because with my chosen career path, I can fulfill my aspirations while enjoying our life together as a family.”

From minimum wage to the Million Dollar Round Table

Born in Batangas City, Richard Dimaculangan started working as a dishwasher at a fastfood chain to support his young family. At age 21, he welcomed his first child with his wife, which came with a lot of financial challenges, such as being unable to continue supporting his parents and siblings, and finding a home for his young family. As a breadwinner, Dimaculangan pursued hardware sales positions for 10 years on a project basis, making ends meet with a minimum wage of 8,000 pesos per month.

In 2020, the pandemic made it more challenging for Dimaculangan to fulfill the demands of his sales job since he had to relocate several cities away from his workplace. With the increasing cost of transportation and food expenses, he made the tough decision to resign. He did save a little to build a simple house for his family. However, he was anxious and distraught as he did not have a steady source of income. “How can I support my family now?” he thought. 

Determined to seek a new path that will let him live the life he envisioned, Dimaculangan approached a recruiter who had been in touch with him and applied for a position as a financial advisor at Manulife. After months of rigorous training, overcoming processes made more difficult by the pandemic, he earned his license and secured his first client despite lockdown restrictions. His journey as a beginner in the industry was not always smooth-sailing. He had rejections, one of which was quite memorable because when he got home one stormy night, he saw his wife and young child sweeping the floor and wading through floodwater that entered their house. It was an emotional moment for him because he was tired and filled with self-pity. He questioned, “Lord, para sa’kin ba talaga ito?” 

But after that unforgettable rejection came a lot of new customers, and he got even more motivated upon seeing his first paycheck. “When I got my initial salary as a financial advisor, nagulat talaga ako. I never imagined that I could earn that much since I had been living off minimum wage for a long time. Despite a rough start, I realized I wanted to pursue this career since finally, all of my hard work and diligence are rewarded.” In just his first year, Dimaculangan qualified to his first Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the global standard of excellence in the insurance and financial services business.

By taking part in Manulife’s training and development programs, while doing self-study and upskilling, Dimaculangan sustained his MDRT status throughout his three years as a financial advisor. He has also been promoted as a unit head in Manulife’s Batangas agency sales team, enabling him to hone other financial advisors to start a thriving career, while helping more Filipinos secure their future. After investing in three houses and a car, he aspires to become a billionaire in 20 years. “Ever since I was a child, nangangarap na ako ng malaki. Manulife helped me become confident that I can achieve whatever dreams and goals I set for myself. Also, whatever I have achieved now, I know I can always do and be better.”

“For me, a better life is creating a better future for my two kids and helping others dream big so they can share their own success stories. We can earn big and change our lives, and also pay it forward,” Dimaculangan added.

Manulife Philippines is dedicated to providing a meaningful and financially rewarding profession for its financial advisors, aiding them in achieving their individual, professional, and family aspirations. To join Manulife Philippines, one of the leading global financial services providers, as a financial advisor, visit about-us/joinmanulife or


About Manulife Philippines

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company opened its doors for business in the Philippines in 1907. Since then, Manulife’s Philippine Branch and later The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc. (Manulife Philippines) has grown to become one of the country’s leading life insurance companies. Manulife Philippines is a wholly owned domestic subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, among the world’s largest life insurance companies by market capitalization. Learn more about Manulife Philippines by visiting their website and following them on Facebook (, Twitter (@ManulifePH), and Instagram (@manulifeph).


About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider that helps people make their decisions easier and live better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our Global Wealth and Asset Management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2023, we had more than 38,000 employees, over 98,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 35 million customers. We trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges, and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.

Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit



Download PDF

Media Contacts:

John Robert Sion
Manulife Philippines                                                        


Shyla Reyes
M2.0 Communications
+63 9178475264