OFW From Kalinga Makes It In France

OFW Jackie's home stay
Bangsoy kids enjoying their Paris vacation at Jackie's Home Stay Apartment.

She was a Civil Engineer from Tabuk, Kalinga. But like many Overseas Flipino Workers (OFW) before her, Jackie Agtina Chu-Van also left Philippine shores for a greener pasture and she landed beneath the Eiffel Tower. Little did she know that her greener pasture will be her own French-Filipino family, a job as head receptionist for a Paris hotel and now, her own home stay business just outside Paris DisneyLand even if her Philippine civil engineer diploma wasn’t recognized in the City of Lights.

After working for more than 20 years in the hotel industry, Jackie decided to call it quits while her French-Asian husband also retired from Paris Disney. Since their kids are now adults, they originally planned to set up a beach resort in Panglao, Bohol. However, their financial plans didn’t pull through so they just decided to utilize their penthouse condominium unit at Chessy, France as a home stay business. Chessy is a community which is right outside of Paris Disney and surrounded by shops, restaurants and the famous Val d’ Europe mall, touted as the longest in Europe. Jackie, now a very fluent French speaker and her husband opened their Jackie’s Home Stay Apartment through the online market in 2011.

Jackie Agtina Van-Chu
Jackie Agtina Chu-Van

Jackie, now a very fluent French speaker, and her husband opened their Jackie’s Home Stay Apartment through the online market in 2011. Initially, they enrolled it with online lodging dealer Home Away. Now, their Chessy penthouse could be rented out through AirBnb, TripAdvisor-holiday lettings and Flipkey. This way, their strategically located penthouse receives travellers from around the world and gets fully booked most times of the year. “It is working well more than I imagined,” Jackie said. “It entails less stress than managing a resort,” she added. Decorated simply with an unmistakable modern French theme, the penthouse makes for a good European base for families because of its walking distance access to a local and international train station near Disney where all trains from Europe converge and run. “The apartment is beautiful in a lovely area, walking distance from Paris Disneyland,” a Jackie’s Home Stay Apartment client said.

Their home stay apartment offers three bedrooms, two comfort rooms and bath, living room, dining area, a terrace on the eastern and western side of the property where one could view Mickey’s ears at nearby Disneyland. It also has a lift access, fast wifi, cable TV, an efficient, fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer. In the winter months when temperatures drop, their visitors are kept warm by state of the art room heaters inside the apartment. Outside, the apartment has a garden courtyard surrounded by a security fence. The penthouse sits on an exclusive enclave in a prime property at Chessy. “Staying humble despite your accomplishments and having a strong faith in God are the keys to success and happiness in life,” the Kalinga born, French speaking Igorot said.***Kristine Mae Gacer