For Sun Life clients, the perks of being financially savvy are enjoyable experiences

Sun Life adds value to its relationship with clients by giving them memorable experiences like trips, concerts and theater shows.

You don’t think of perks when you think of insurance companies. That’s more the territory of banks to keep their credit card holders loyal. You certainly don’t think of free tickets to the hottest concert in the world, Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, either. But these are exactly the things that Sun Life Philippines wants its clients to experience and enjoy.

Last year, Sun Life gave away tickets to The Eras Tour including flights and accommodations for her Singapore stop in March this year. The Eras Tour tickets are the most difficult concert tickets to buy and Swifties who were lucky enough to have them spent thousands of dollars for their tickets, airfare and accommodations.  

Lucky Sun Life clients caught the Manila run of Miss Saigon at Theater at Solaire.
Sun Life Philippines representatives join the Red Lantern luncheon with their clients before Miss Saigon.

This year, Sun Life just concluded, “Summer to Remember” client promo, its first in a series of promos for 2024. In its recent raffle, it gave away a trip to Boracay for four as the grand prize, which included four roundtrip tickets and two rooms for three days and two nights at the Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay. It also gave away 14 tickets to seven winners to the Miss Saigon musical staged in Solaire which came with lunch at its highly rated Chinese restaurant, the Red Lantern.

All they had to do was sign up to receive Sun Life’s newsletter to stay updated on new products and promos. Thousands of Sun Life clients participated in the said promo.

The POST sat down with two of the seven winners of Miss Saigon tickets: 29-year-old Trinna Arrianne C. Manalili and 65-year-old Cecilia Santos. Their financial journeys could not be any more different, but what they have in common is love for their families. For Trinna, it’s her elderly parents that inspire her to work hard every day. For Cecilia, a single mom for most of her life, it was her children that kept her going through many hardships.

How investment-linked insurance plans can help in times of crisis

High school teacher Trinna Manalili, a musical theater enthusiast, got her first VUL at 22.

Trinna Manalili is the kind of daughter that any parent would be very lucky to have. Her father is a tricycle driver and her mom is a housewife. When she was growing up, she would mind their sari-sari store, which Trinna says taught her about handling money.

“We live in Makati, which was really fortunate because education for my sister and I was free until high school,” Trinna said.

Trinna took up Education major in Social Science at the state university Philippine Normal University (PNU), where she was a scholar and consistently placed at the top of her class. Her sister studied at the University of Makati. In terms of tuition fees, her parents had nothing to worry about, but of course there were struggles for their everyday needs along the way.

After she graduated, she first taught high school seniors at St. Stephen’s University, and this year transferred to De La Salle High School.

It gives you peace of mind that you have something when there’s an emergency. I didn’t touch the funds until my family really needed it.”

At St. Stephen’s, a fellow teacher offered Trinna a Sun Life insurance plan. “I didn’t know anything about insurance but then she explained the plans to me. I got an investment-linked insurance with my parents as beneficiaries; my plan covers death, accidental death and critical illness.”

Trinna was only 22 at the time, and she figured that at her age her monthly premium would be manageable.  She was right, of course, because her monthly payment was only P2,000.

During the pandemic, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, which required expensive medical treatment. “I was able to withdraw the plan’s investment funds amounting to P60,000 for my mom. That was very helpful to us, as my sister and my aunties pooled our resources to make sure my mom got the treatment she needed.”

The famous helicopter scene from Miss Saigon
Selfies before Saigon

Trinna says that it’s very important to start young. “It gives you peace of mind that you have something when there’s an emergency. I didn’t touch the funds until my family really needed it.”

She said that once she reaches 10 years with her current plan (that’s only two years away), she will get another. (Investment-linked insurance plans invests a portion of the premiums in mutual funds, bonds or stocks, depending on the risk appetite of the plan holder.)

Trinna said that she’s the type of person that is easily contented—and that comes when “all the bills that need to be paid are paid.” Then she can enjoy coffee-shop hopping with friends or eating out.

“When I heard about this promo, I signed up to the newsletter immediately. I was surprised to receive an email that I won but of course I had to check if it was legit,” she said with a laugh. “I really like musicals. Last year I bought a ticket to Hamilton and went to see it by myself. I feel so blessed to be experiencing Miss Saigon for free!”

A mother’s dream

Cecilia Santos had wanted to watch Miss Saigon since Lea Salonga was cast as the original Kim in the 1990s.

Another winner of Miss Saigon tickets is Cecilia Santos, who was accompanied to the lunch at Solaire by her daughter Joanna Santos, a Sun Life financial advisor.

Cecilia raised her four children by herself when her husband left the family in 2006. To make ends meet, she took on several jobs: she was a labandera, a seamstress, and a factory worker for several manufacturers.

There was no job security for her; every day was a struggle. Her children, of course, saw all her sacrifices, which fueled them to qualify for scholarships and work hard.

Cecilia Santos and her daughter Joanna Santos

Joanna said, “Dati ang pangarap niya magka-terrace.” She took her mom to live with after she got married. When she and her husband built their house, Cecilia finally got her terrace. “Kaya ngayon lagi siyang nasa terrace at may garden na rin siya. Naiiyak siya ‘pag naaalala niya ang pinagdaanan niya.”

Cecilia, who had always referred clients to her daughter, has always thought that at 65 years old, she was already too old to be insured. She got her very first investment-linked insurance policy just six months ago, and she is already reaping the benefits of being financially secured.  

A musical for the ages

Scene after the Fall of Saigon

Cecilia says she had always wanted to see Miss Saigon but never thought she would have the chance to experience it live. “Siyempre nakikita ko dati yung mga videos ni Lea Salonga,” she says.  

Miss Saigon premiered on the West End in 1989 with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. Two years later, it premiered on Broadway. For both the London and New York productions, Lea Salonga won the Olivier and Tony awards for her role as Kim.

The current production introduces a new cast and some changes to the original musical. Filipino-Australians Abigail Adriano as Kim, Seann Miley Moore as the Engineer; and Nigel Huckle as Chris lead the cast.

Miss Saigon is a classic tale of love and sacrifice.
A weekend of theater and fun

Set during the Vietnam War era, Miss Saigon tells the tragic love story between the Vietnamese bar girl Kim and American GI Chris. The plot revolves around their passionate but doomed romance amid the background of the Vietnam War.

Having one of the most powerful scores in musical history, Miss Saigon explores the themes of love, sacrifice, betrayal, race, identity, and culture clash.

One of the country’s top life insurance companies offering financial planning, investment options, insurance, retirement savings and other products, Sun Life aims to provide memorable experiences that clients can share with their loved ones. To know more about their products, visit

Editor in chief

The new lifestyle.