Moving Right Along…

Sherry Arroyo Sambo Powell
Sherry Arroyo Sambo Powell
Co-owner of Padyaks.com

Just as some folks have church nights, scout weekend outings or some other organizational event to attend, we come to Ohio every second weekend of each month. My husband, Jeff, and I have been making this trek from the Chicago area regularly since the summer of 2013.

Why?

Well, certainly, we get to see our Ohio family much more often. We also enjoy meeting people and have made many new friendships over the past several years.

But, more importantly, we got into this business of intermediary transport of Filipino balikbayan boxes because of what we were hearing from our friends and family. We listened as they complained of poor service from other agents or simply the lack of any such service for balikbayans in smaller Ohio communities.

We decided to test a unique “door-to-door” service, based on a regular route with a published monthly schedule here on our existing website, Padyaks.com. After all, how many of you want to heft 150-pound boxes into your vehicle and drive an hour or two to the nearest balikbayan box drop-off location? Then, we signed up as an agent for LIPS, a company with a proven track record in cargo container shipping – a company run by folks who are eager to prove they are the best shippers in the balikbayan cargo business.

Yet…we sometimes ask ourselves, “Are we crazy?”

Building this kind of business relies a lot on building relationships. We thrive on meeting and serving both our new and regular customers face-to-face. And, while traveling to each customer’s home at no extra charge is not the easiest or most cost-effective way to run things, we believe, in the long-run, it is the best way to maintain a solid reputation for good, reliable service.

There are some who tell us we need an office or someplace where Filipinos can drop off their boxes at times other than our scheduled trips. Yep. We get that…especially now, as we’ve been getting more calls from way up in the northeast corner of Ohio. How can we provide door-to-door service from our usual stops in the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati areas and expect to add Cleveland to the mix during a single weekend run?

Add to that another big challenge – getting that first box to a new customer. Not everyone just happens to have an empty balikbayan box lying around – certainly not one as sturdy as the Mighty Box from LIPS. But we’re working on these issues, and we hope to make improvements in the months ahead.

We’re still here.

There were some big hurdles thrown our way, just as we started out in 2013. First, it was Super Typhoon Yolanda, followed by the cargo container backup in Manila and, more recently, the increase in customs inspections of balikbayan boxes in both the Philippines and the U.S. These events all caused delivery times to soar to four months or more, affecting ALL shippers.

To those of you who understood and stayed with us, thank you! We’re still making our monthly trips, and, fortunately, shipping times have come back down a bit, recently.

Please tell your friends…and we hope to see you again, soon!

Regards,
Sherry

What is a Padyak?

Padyak in Tobaco City

First, for our American friends, there are two official languages in the Philippines: English and Filipino. Filipino is based primarily on Tagalog (pronounced tah-gah´-log), one of 171 native languages spoken throughout the island nation. English is the second national language and is the language in which you will find most official signage around the country.

On-the-go in Naga City.

 

 

 

In many Tagalog-to-English dictionaries, the noun “padyak”  (pronounced pahd´-yahk) is translated as the act of stamping one’s feet. Somewhere along the road of language evolution, the folks in the Bicol region on the island of Luzon began to apply the term to their local pedicabs – economical, human-powered transit. While similar to rikshaws and pedicabs in other Asian countries, the Filipino padyak is unique in that the rider is seated in a sidecar, beside the bicycle, rather than behind it.

And, as you can see, those sidecars can carry a lot of other things besides people.

With coconuts and more.

Hauling bamboo.

Padyak in Magarao.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, Why Is Padyaks Our Name?Padyak in Naga City.

Just as a padyak is a used for short-distance hauling, we have now become a short-to-medium distance carrier of balikbayan cargo destined for the Philippines.

Also, when our store renovation is completed, it will again “carry” a lot of items similar to what we have personally hauled on-board padyaks…in places like Naga City, Tobaco, Legaspi and others…we believed that naming our business “Padyaks” would be a fitting tribute to the many hard-working Filipinos who do their part to literally move their local economies.

Keep in mind, as we continue to seek products directly from local artisans, it’s very likely an item you purchase from our store will have made a small part of
its journey to you via one of these unique vehicles.

For that, we gladly stamp our feet!

With a load of coconuts.

    Our padyak.

Our padyak here in the U.S., custom-build in Tobaco City, Philippines.

Street Full of Padyaks

Here is what a typical morning looks like in the town of Magarao, near Naga City in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. These shots were all taken in less than an hour.  A couple tri-mobiles (motorbikes with sidecars) and a jeepney were thrown in for good measure.  Also, notice the freshly-harvested rice being dried on the blue tarps…right out on the street!  This is daily life on the streets of many small towns throughout the Philippines.