Sunday, 29 September 2013

a brief trip to (smelly) Manila Zoo

Manila Zoo.

There was a time a long time ago when the mere mention of Manila Zoo made me feel giddy with excitement. I have committed to memory a childhood picture where I was happily posing in front of a peacock pheasant. Simple joy!

I hail from the province and a trip to Manila used to be so special. What I didn't realize until I had children is that I was lucky to have grown up a probinsyana - to have the fields, vast expanse of free space and hills as my playground. To have flowers to pluck, leaves to gather, dragonflies to catch, trees to climb, free fresh fruits to eat. My kids aren't as lucky. That's why a trip close to nature is a treat for our children.

We brought the kids to Manila Zoo yesterday, as reward to our pre-schooler for winning the Interbranch science quiz bee in school. He loves animals and was happy to see the elephant, the birds, the tigers and the crocodiles. He was indifferent to the smell and the dilapidated look of the zoo.

I don't know if Manila Zoo has been grossly neglected since I was a kid. But my memory of the place is that of something surreal and magical. Not smelly, dilapidated and poorly maintained. Umarte lang ba ako nang tumanda?

The Philippine/ Manila government can do better. The zoo is supposed to be a piece of paradise in the urban jungle. I hope it will be better taken cared of. Good thing the kids only care about the animals and are not yet conscious of aesthetics and what-not. They enjoyed the brief visit nonetheless.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

personal milestone: i got published!

I was required to write an article for the Taxwise or Otherwise column in Business World and got published this week.

Here's a link to my article entitled No Trespassing Please which tackles the Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 65-2012 issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue nearly a year ago, “Clarifying the Taxability of Association Dues, Membership Fees, and Other Assessments/Charges Collected by Condominium Corporations".

Here are husband's posts which I would like to save here for posterity. :)

Hopefully, by the time we move in to our condo, the VAT on association dues will already be lifted for good. ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

proud mom to our quiz bee champion!

Loooong Saturday but I am not complaining. ;)

I woke up from an evening nap and am now watching the Ms. World Pageant on TV. As a kid, I have fond memories of my family staying up to watch beauty contests. So somehow, this night gives me some feeling of excitement (we already know that Philippines won, of course). Although I'm alone and unless I give birth to a baby girl, the 'tradition' will mostly likely not live on with me.

photo grabbed from Inquirer

Today, our pre-schooler won the Interbranch Science quiz bee in school! He bested 14 other contestants and I am so proud for his efforts. We were afraid he would throw tantrums and won't be able to join the contest. But our prayers and bribes paid off.

results of the interbranch quiz bee competition

TL#1 has history of not wanting to join school presentations and contests. Although lately, he has also won Best in National Costume during Linggo ng Wika. Here's to hoping he gets over the phase totally.

The day his teachers gave out his reviewers, he voraciously consumed them with no prompting from us at all. He loves learning and hopefully, he will continue to do so. Within a week, he memorized all the materials!

The quiz bee was closed door so we were not able to watch but the teacher said his mistakes were in writing some words during the difficult mode. He is currently struggling to hold the pencil and we did not know the contest would require him to spell and write words like frog and pupa.

Good thing, a few days before the quiz bee, the husband has been helping him to improve his writing skills. The husband downloaded Leap Frog's Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil app on the iPad. We bought the pencil from Toy Kingdom, although he ended up using my stylus because Mr. Pencil is a bit too chubby. The app is very helpful and effective.

After memorizing the quiz bee reviewers, TL#1 announced he does not want to join the quiz bee anymore! Just what we were fearing! We ended up bribing him that we'd buy him a dinosaur book. He's a BIG dinosaur fan. Good thing, the husband found National Geographic's Dinopedia in National Bookstore.

This morning, right after the quiz bee (parents were asked to wait outside the room), he went straight to me and asked to see his book. I was just glad he survived the quiz bee without making a fuss that I did not ask him about the results. Then his yaya said he won, it was an icing on top of the cake! Sarap pala ng feeling. Haha!

I gave him a hug and told him I was proud of his efforts. He was a champion because he studied hard with his daddy. Yey! Galing din ni husband! Genes lang contribution ko. Hahaha!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 23 September 2013

bedtime goatime

The kids are playing in the room before bedtime...

Me: Look at Tobey's feet. It's so small.

TL#1: Why?

Me: Because he is still a baby.

TL#1: How about me?

Me: Yours are bigger.

TL#1: Why?

Me: Because you're already a kid.

TL#1: Huh? The young of a goat is a kid then you call me a kid. That must be silly!

Me: Meee-meeee!

He is currently reviewing for the upcoming science quiz bee in school and one of the topics is the young of animals. Smart kid!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 22 September 2013

bedtime joketime: we're going to London someday

TL#1 was playing with a London mini snowball.

Me: Bring that down to daddy. You might break it. Who knows someday we will go to London together.

TL#1: Someday? What kind of day is Someday? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday????

Me: Huh?

TL#1: What do you think? Mommy, what do you think? When is that someday? Is it on Monday? Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Friday?

Me: (speechless. LOL with matching whopping cough).

Both kids are now nursing a fever. Grabe, ang lala ng virus ko! That's 4 down, out of 6 in our household. We'll be fine as long as our ever-reliable head of the family does not get down with the flu, too.

The kids though does not seem to care much about their fever. They're playing hide and seek and won't go to sleep. I can't sing them a lullaby. Apart from the fact that I can't sing, I don't get to finish a word without coughing.

A-B-ubo-ubo-ubo-C-ubo-D-E-ubo-ubo-ubo-ubo-ubo-Y & Z.

TL#2 does not like it at all. He keeps hiding under my rack of clothes. So much for a restful Sunday night.

Ubo-ubo-ubo-ubo! Please go away.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 21 September 2013

status update (and complaints) on our compliance with Kasambahay Law

We have successfully registered as household employers in all government agencies - SSS, Philhealth and HDMF or Pag-ibig, our household helpers now have their SSS, Philhealth and HDMF numbers and we have paid our contributions for the months of July and August.

We are just lucky that the husband had time to line up in SSS and Philhealth and I asked a favor from someone who was going to HDMF. The husband told me the queue in HDMF was the worst. Someone said it was because payment of contributions are also coursed through the HDMF office and not through banks or other payment centers.

The government imposed an additional burden on us who employ household helpers. The least they can do is to make compliance less burdensome for us working class who don't have the luxury to take weekdays off. I think I have earned the right to complain. We hire helpers because we don't have the luxury of time. Every precious minute counts. It is the hard truth for parents like us whose days are filled to the brim with work to dos and family obligations. Not to mention that the very bad traffic we have to brave through every day eats a substantial amount of our time. The government does not have the right to enforce red tape on us on a monthly basis.

I haven't had the time and patience to call SSS to follow up on the status of the application for auto-debit arrangement I submitted to BPI last August 19. It has been a month since.

One tip to save on time (although this could affect budget and cash flows) is to make quarterly advance payments. Someone said this is doable. I did this for our Pag-ibig contributions. I already paid for July to September.

And still, there's no word on the Unified Registration System that was supposed to be rolled out two weeks from August 9.

Forgive the rants, I am not feeling well. Next to worry about are the quarterly postings. Nonetheless, compliance is compliance. For the love of our household helpers!

TL#1 with his yaya

Understanding the Kasambahay Law Part 1 - Implementing Rules and Regulations and QA released by DOLE, NSO birth certificate

Understanding the Kasambahay Law Part 2 - Guide to SSS Registration as a Household Employer and for the Household Helpers

Understanding the Kasambahay Law Part 3 - SSS Payment of Contributions and Submission of Contributions Collection List

Understanding the Kasambahay Law Part 4 - Philhealth or HDMF Registration as Employer

bout with flu not yet over

I woke up today with a splitting headache, aching muscles and whopping cough. Definitely not better than yesterday.

I'm envious of how our TL#1 bounced back to his usual active self after his bout with high fever last night. I wish I was still young.

He keeps saying, Mommy why are you not feeling better? Me, i'm okay now! And he's off playing ball with his daddy.

I kept having bad and weird dreams last night. I dreamt I was being wheeled into the operating room and I was protesting loudly because I just had surgery the past week and the week before that and the week before that. The doctor was arguing with me and I was pleading and crying with all my might.

Today, my cough takes a turn for the worst. The rain won't stop pouring. But nothing worst comes after worst, right? :)

A blessed Sunday to everyone. Please pray for us sickly ones, including all my colleagues who were afflicted with the same virus. Kailangan mahanap at masingil natin kung sino ang salarin. Charge natin ng hourly rates!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad