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. ;)

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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!

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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.

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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!

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am I weird or what?

I cannot sleep. I have a very stuffy nose, I couldn't breathe properly. And each time I try to close my eyes, my brain keeps conjuring up different images. And since I'm still awake to think about them, the sissy in me tries to shake away the images lest they suddenly turn into scary things like ghosts or monsters.

This is the reason why I shun away from horror movies. I think my subconscious has photographic memory. That or I have been born with a wild imagination. Or it may be because of the medications I have been on since Thursday.

I have not had proper sleep since I got sick. Thursday night was a torture. I kept waking up feeling physically sick and also mentally exhausted because I kept having the same dream of counting down until the pain is gone.

Friday night was better. There was lesser pain. But I had a fitful sleep because of the comfort room breaks from the water therapy.

Tonight, the clogged nose attacks even though the fever is gone. I hope to feel better tomorrow. My weekend is ruined because of this fever and flu. And now, TL#1 and TL#2's yaya are also sick. :(

And I hope the time and effort I took to write this post have put the 'ghosts' in my mind to rest so that I can take a much-needed rest too.


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Friday, 20 September 2013

question: how to raise an emotionally intelligent kid?

It's weird that after I was asked to write an article for work, I suddenly found myself unenthusiastic about writing. I probably did not like the pressure. I am still struggling to get back my writing momentum. Not to mention that I have been nursing fever and flu since Thursday.

One night two weeks ago, I got home at around 9 in the evening, a bit earlier than the usual. TL#1 was so happy to see me and wanted to hoard my time. He wouldn't let me brush my teeth, wash my face and read the Revenue Memorandum Circulars and Court Decision for the article I was pressed to write. He wanted me to sit beside him and watch Bloopers on AXN. I'm not sure if he should even be watching the show. I made peace by dutifully sitting beside him, laughing when he prompts me to while trying hard to understand what i'm reading.

Then I got an urgent call from upstairs. Apparently, TL#2 stirred from his sleep and was crying for mommy. TL#1 reluctantly let me go with this: "Don't take too long mommy."

By the time I got back down, TL#1 was throwing a full-blown tantrum:

I TOLD YOU NOT TO GO UPSTAIRS! I wanted to watch Bloopers with you! Did I not tell you not to take too long? Why did you have to go to Tobey!

The show ended and he was so upset that I was not able to watch the rest of the episode with him. He was crying so hard, he threw up. OA level.

I wanted to dismiss his outburst as something petty. But he was too indignant I had to validate his feelings. I told him he must be upset because mommy took too long. He eventually calmed down.

Today, I was supposed to meet TL#1's teachers and get his grades. But since I was still sick and the husband had a prior commitment, the yaya went to school instead. She reported that TL#1 ranked no. 2. The adviser said he could have easily ranked no. 1 if not for his pagiging sumpungin and being habitually late.

The adviser is also hoping he won't have tantrums during the science quiz bee. He had already memorized everything in the reviewers. We just have to make sure he is in a good mood on the day of the contest.

Which now brings me to researching on how to raise an emotionally intelligent kid.

How about you, what are your secrets? Please do share.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

financial freedom: let's aim for the moon!

"If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money." - Warren Buffet

The Problem

I am dangerous when i'm stressed or having issues with my self-esteem. I swipe my card and I slash my savings.

Good things those moments come few and far between.

But the main culprit that hinders me from attaining financial freedom is the 'upgrade' in lifestyle and that need (or more aptly - want) to 'reward' myself for a day's hard work in the form of food.

Kapag na-stress - kain tayo sa masarap! Kailangan masarap. Bawal magutom, marami pa akong gagawin.

I can't believe I have been spending more than 10% of my net pay on food! But my growing waistline is enough proof.

I feel the need to be up-to-date when it comes to gadgets which explains the recent impulsive purchase of Samsung Galaxy S4 even though I still have an iPhone 4s that works just fine. Ewan ko ba. Then the news of iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s came out. I wanted to trade-in my S4! And I still have hopeless moments pining over the macbook air. Hay, hopeless.

I also feel this constant need to buy myself a new bag, new pair of shoes, new set of clothes, etc.

You get the picture. I am an impulsive buyer. I know that. I just don't know what to do about it.

Is that even bad at all? Our previous conditioning (culture, upbringing) determine the way we look at spending and saving. We may admire a spend-thrifty person or look at her with pity for being a miser. We may be envious of people who flaunt their purchases or hate them for their extravagance.

The solution

They say, in our quest for financial freedom, it is very important to be able to differentiate a need from a want.

To quote from Entrepreneur Philippines' It's Your Money Spend It, Save It, Invest It and Lead a Debt-free Life:

The key to distinguishing needs from wants is being honest with yourself, your aspirations and what you can afford.

You must be fully aware of your:

1. existing funds
2. capacity to generate new funds
3. time horizon
4. personal values

before you can create life and financial goals that are attainable and can contribute to your well-being.

Take stock and track your expenses

Because I wanted to be fully aware of my existing funds and understand my spending ways, I resumed using the Home Budget App on iPad/iPhone. It is not free but I bought it 3 years ago to jumpstart my supposed quest for financial freedom. It's not too late to resume it now. Yup, convincing myself. ;)

home budget app from the app store

Am I worth anything?

First step was to account for my existing accounts (assets) and bills (payables) so that i'd know where I stand financially. As soon as I did this, I felt the urge to pay my credit card bills in full. I wanted the satisfaction of having zero liabilities.

Total Assets - Total Liabilities = Net Worth

Am I living within my means?

Second step was to set a budget for my monthly expenses and start tracking my every day spending. By the end of the month, I should be able to compare my expenses against budget and expenses against income.

The trick here is to strictly account for each and every spending, no matter how small or trivial. This way, I can honestly determine how much I really spend and on what items.

In case you want to track your own expenses, there are a lot of free money monitoring apps in the app store (for apple) and play store (for android).

App Advice has a list of budgeting apps you can choose from.

Lifehacker also has their own list here.

If you're not tech-savvy, you can use basic excel or the tried and tested jotting down of notes on pen and paper.

At the end of the month, if I determine that I am living beyond my means, then I will have to revisit my expenses and cut down on wants.

Total Income - Total Expenses = Cash Flow

The goal is to score a positive cash flow to have extra money for savings.

Action Plan

Create action plan on how to change money's role in your life so you can live happy and become content with what you have.
(Source: Entrepreneur Philippines' It's Your Money Spend It, Save It, Invest It and Lead a Debt-free Life)


Paradigm Shift.

Know yourself and what drives your spending. Then make a commitment to stick to the plan and have your eyes on the goal.

Reality check: You spend to feel good after a bad day or a stressful week. How about a walk in the park? Sing a song? Dance like no one's watching? Run? Exercise?

Downgrade. Cut down on expenses.

There are two ways to increase savings, increase income or decrease spending.

If you want an upgrade in lifestyle, continue to hone your technical skills and competence, get promoted, get a higher paying job, win the lotto, work harder, work more, sleep less.

Or you can cut down on unnecessary expenses.


Reality check: You may want it but you don't need it. Maybe, you just like the idea of having it. Or maybe you are pressured by peers or by this irrational need to feel loved or appreciated by owning material things.

Start saving NOW. Immediately. Today. ASAP.

Pay yourself first. Instead of saving what is left from your income after all of your expenses, do it the other way around.

I am a member of the cooperative in our office and my 10% savings is automatically deducted from my net pay. I can not spend what I do not have so it's safe.

If you start early, you can stick with 10% but as you grow older, try to save more Remember the time value of money? It is best to save early and consistently.

Reality check: Is it even possible to attain financial freedom? Really successful people aimed for the stars. Let's aim for the moon. ;)

Managing needs and wants, and striking a healthy balance between them, often spell a person's happiness and contentment.

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

When You Retire...

When you retire, how much money do you need to have saved?
If there is a million dollar question, or a $4 million, or $10 million, I guess this would be it.  In my personal finance class, a student asked how much money you will need to retire.  We started going through the time value of money equations -present value and future values of lump sums and annuities to calculate how much one would need; which started me thinking long and hard about this questions.  I told my students it was keeping me up at night and this is why it is such a hard question to answer:
1. It depends on when you want to retire.  I asked my class and it ranged from age 45 to never retiring.  The person who retires at age 45 will need a lot more money saved in retirement than the person who never wants to quit working.  I’ve always said, “If you can turn your passions into profit, you never have to work a day in your life.”  I also believe that meaningful work provides you with self worth and increased happiness. So if you love your job, maybe you won’t retire; you may just slow down a little.
2. It depends on your lifestyle when you retire.  Experts are saying that you will need 80%-100% of your current income in retirement.  BUT….do you want to cruise the seven seas and stay a five star resorts or do you want to work around the house and live off the land?  There are a lot of retirement calculators on the Internet where you can find out how much money you will need to replace your current income or a percentage of it.  Lately we have been trying to live off the land and it is amazing how much we have saved in groceries.  Even with a small garden and a few chickens, you can save big money, eat better and be closer to your food source.
3. What will Social Security and health care cost be in the future?  I don’t know what government plans will be around when I retire, so I’m planning on being self-sufficient.  I would rather have too much in retirement savings then not enough.
Just some figures so you can check to see where you stand with the average American.  According to Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, the average American expect to retire at age 61.  This is up from age 57 when the survey was conducted in 1991. However over fifty percent of the non-retirees age 58-64 expect to retire past the age of 65.  Gallup also found that 61% of Americans are worried or very worried about having enough money for retirement.  The highest percentage of Americans worried about retirement savings is ages 50-64.
This delay in retirement could be due to a change in values, lack of financial resources, uncertainty about future expenses, or decreased mandatory retirement age.  I hope that you find your passions and can turn it into profit. Let us know what you think. 
When do you plan on retiring and how do you envision your retirement lifestyle? 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Wonderful Life Presentations

Wonderful Life Presentations - Setting Personal and Financial Goals!

If you and your students have been working on my "Wonderful Life" assignment right about now you are probably putting the finishing touches on the assignment.

A few things I like to do before presentations include...

I ask my students to edit and practice their presentations so they go smoothly.
I give them the option of self-editing or editing with a friend.
Right before presentations I talk about how hard it can be to get up in front of a class and present - just because we don't do it a lot.
I remind them to support each other, and we talk about how they can do that.

I ask students to print 2 copies of presentation handouts - 4 slides on a page.
As each student goes before the class to present they give me a copy of their handouts and keep a copy for themselves.
I use my copy for grading purposes, and they use their handouts as they give their presentation.
I also mention how important it is to speak loudly and clearly so everyone can hear their presentation, and how eye contact helps to hold the audience's attention.
I ask a student from my class, usually the day before presentations, to run the computer that is hooked up to the presentation hardware and software.
I usually project the presentation on the wall behind the student that is presenting. They use their handout notes to set the pace, and the student running the presentation on the computer follows their lead.

Presentations for a class of 32 usually take about three or four days. The first day is usually the slowest, and then the kids pick up speed.

That's about it. Hope you have a great week!

personal finance: the state of my financial health

I am in a bad mood. I am sad, close to depressed. Drama queen is reporting for duty.

Eh kasi naman, I accounted for my assets, liabilities, income and expenses last night to put all those preaching about personal finance into action. And I was not happy with the result. 

visit Real Living magazine website
It did not help that we went to the RL Space exhibit today and learned how much like this and like this and like this will cost. The pressure to cut down on expenses is on. 

I need to be more prudent in my spending. I should avoid going to the mall (I almost bought a camera today despite of the current state of my financial health). 

I should also cut down on my food costs. Kain kasi ng kain ng kain ng kain. Walang katapusan. :)

I should continue to pray for good health for myself and my family. We have had financial setbacks from the previous years due to sickness in the family - from my laparascopic surgery to TL#1's bout with the kawasaki disease. I also gave birth to two kids in a span of 4 years. Major expenses. 

TL#1's first visit to Singapore Zoo in 2011
I used the dream calculator in the brighter life website to compute how much I should be saving in a month for a certain goal. For example, if I needed P100,000 for TL#1's Singapore Zoo (re)visit for his 5th birthday next year, I would have to save P8,244 per month in a savings account or P7,991 per month in a mutual fund account. That's on top of my required 10% savings of net pay per month. 

I'm trying hard not to think of or rely too much on the windfalls (variable bonus) that I may receive next year. A good portion of this year's bonus is already set aside for our future home furniture and fixtures. Kulang pa! I will most certainly have to exhaust my emergency funds as well. 

I. AM. AIRING. MY. DIRTY. LINEN. IN. PUBLIC. Shamelessly so if this will help me put my finances in order. I need to think out loud to hear my rational self. 

I remember buying my iPad online three years ago and having it engraved "this purchase marks the beginning of financial freedom".

living the good life
I have also blogged about it here - my very first post in my previous blog. Until now, it is a work in progress but I am trying to take steps to reach it (with emphasis on the word TRYING). 

I don't think I will ever embrace fully the "rich" mindset. I am more of an emotional person than a practical one. But I value my time and I know that the only way I can own more flexibility in how I spend my every waking day is to gain some degree of financial freedom. I don't want to grow old fully dependent on my monthly salary as a hardworking backbreaking employee. 

No more excuses. 

P.S If you are interested in investing in the stock market, you may wish to visit the husband's website You Become What You Think About. He's more nerdy and finance savvy than I am. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

vision board: off to Paris!

This weekend, the husband was looking at his vision board and pointed to a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Husband (with much conviction): I am going here!

TL#1: Oh, you're going to Paris, France. Mommy has been there.

Husband: Yes, I am.

Then the husband went downstairs.

While in the room, TL#1 and I read a story about teamwork from the 7 Habits of Happy Kids book. After we finished the story, we decided to go down...

TL#1 (very puzzled when he saw the husband): Daddy, you're here?!

Husband (looking up nonchalantly from his iPad): Yes.

TL#1: Huh, I thought you went to Paris. Why are you here?!?


Speaking of vision board, I would want to make my own, too. It has been a while since I set goals for myself. Through our example, we hope that our son will learn to practice the value of goal-setting at an early age.

If you want to make your own vision board, Martha Beck has guidelines here.

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self-knowledge: the first step

This week, I made another slightly major purchase of a 'want'. I feel giddy and guilty.

photo grabbed from Egandeula's Sari Sari's Facebook Page

So I'm sitting here on top of my uncomfortable high chair, in front of a borrowed laptop (my husband's), willing myself to start on my financial plan.

To be fair to myself, I am not starting with nothing. I have some savings. But to be realistic, I am an employee, part of the (hard) working middle class. I have two kids, one of school age (4 years old). The husband and I are bracing ourselves for a major borrowing commitment (his part of the commitment) and a major unavoidable expenditure (my commitment) in the next 3 to 4 months.

Now if I could just win the lotto. Not that thought again. :)

If you are like me, let's not despair. I have just read this article on on How an Employee Can Prepare for Retirement.

The article says if we, ordinary Juans (and Juanas), can save 20% of our net pay consistently from this day forward, there is hope that we can have savings for emergencies and a comfortable retirement fund by the time we retire at age 65.

Always practice the 3 important habits in financial planning:
1. Save as early as possible.
2. Save regularly.
3. Look for rates to compliment your need, both for short term (banks) and long term (insurance and investments)

- See more at

During the Personal Finance session that the husband and I attended last week (which I blogged about here), Randell Tiongson enumerated the following top 5 reasons for financial planning success: 

1. Honesty
2. Well-disciplined
3. Social skills 
4. Supportive spouse
5. Hard work

The list is for the self-employed but it is also applicable to employees, except maybe for item no. 3 on social skills and of course item no. 4 if you are not yet married. 

The issue on money is not simple because it stems from culture and upbringing. Many of us, especially the educated ones (lalo na siguro mga CPAs) know the time value of money and thus, the importance of saving up as early as possible. The problem with us Filipinos though is that our actual finances do not jive with our views on money. Sabi lang natin pero sa totoo lang, hinde naman natin sinusunod. 

So the first step to successful financial planning is honesty. Ano ba talaga ang tingin mo sa pera? Don't rationalize. Don't justify. If you have an issue with money, lay it down now. Analyze it, understand it, make peace with it. Until then, any attempt to financial freedom is doomed. Boom! Kinabog ako

Know yourself and your reason for spending. 

It's Your Money Spend It, Save It, Invest It and Lead a Debt-Free Life by Entrepreneur Philippines has this to say on the matter: 

In order for you, and not your spending, to dictate how you feel about yourself financially, recognize how you feel when spending, which in turn determines the kind of spender that you are. Once you do so, then you can adjust your financial habits toward financial well-being. Indeed, self-knowledge is self-control. 

Know yourself: What kind of spender are you?

Save but do not be a miser to avoid misery. We should learn to strike a balance between the need to save and the want for possessions. Avoid extremes. 

And for husbands out there, Randell Tiongson also shared this:

The secret to happy life is a happy wife. A major need of a woman is the feeling of security. The answer to this is financial planning. 

Now, if you would excuse me, I have some inventory taking to do. I need to account for my assets, liabilities, income and expenses and know where I am at currently. Self-knowledge is power. Let's all get a move on from point A to point B. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

daily boost: what is it that you live for?

This is the 2nd post in my daily boost series as inspired by the book 88 Super Practical Boosters To Get What You Want in Life

What is the thing that you live for, enabling you to endure all that happens in your life?

It took me a while to answer this because I am not exactly Mrs. Endurance.

I stuck it out for five years in my first job not necessarily because I was in love with it but because I did not know what I really wanted in my life and I was scared to get out of my comfort zone. Yes, I am a sissy but I am slowly finding my courage with age and experience.

I am an impulsive person and I make decisions based on my emotions. I've been taking 'leaps of faith' but I took one too many that they didn't feel like a leap anymore, more of a skip and maybe an escape.

I think there is wisdom in having a purpose, a why, a reason. It gives you an anchor and the strength to be resilient and enduring.

I used to work abroad but I had no concrete goals for going there. Should I have had a very important purpose, like my friends did, I would not have gone home after barely a year. I have a friend who wanted to earn this much money for her dream home and she made it come true. No matter how unhappy she was, she had her eyes on the goal. Even though it was hard, she endured knowing that it was merely a stepping stone in getting what she wanted in life.

That's one very valuable lesson learned for me. And maybe, I read Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist a little too late. It is a good read for people like me who are still trying to look for their true calling.

My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky." Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.

If there's one thing I know for sure now, it is that there is no easy job. Each has its own quirks, difficulties and challenges. When you are hard up, you may find the instinct and need to escape. But running away is a quick fix. If the real issue or problem is with your attitude, no change in job can cure you. Look within and aim to change the one thing that is within your control - you!

We all know of some people who endure the pains of running or going to the gym or going on a diet because they want to be fit and healthy and sexy. Now, that's a goal! I should aim for that, too.

For parents like me, we endure almost anything for our kids. Once we have them, they become a big reason for our living. We want to earn more to ensure their future. We want to become better people so that we can be effective role models for them.

Go ahead and write down the reasons why you do what you do. It might just help put your stress or your struggle in perspective.

He who has a 'why' to live can bear almost any 'how'.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

daily boost: get what you want in life

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

daily boost: get what you want in life

Why drive, when the husband can drive and you can blog? ;)

Do you find it hard to get out of bed every working day? Are you stuck in a rut and couldn't seem to get out? Are you looking for a motivation?

Well, I can not give you a solution. But I have this book 88 Super Practical Boosters To Get What You Want In Life by Yonit Werber sitting neglected in my Kindle App.

It's supposed to be a daily motivation snack so why don't I share the boosters one day (or night) at a time and we give it a try? It might just work.

Get what you want in Life

Remember: If you do not ask, you will not get it

"What is it that you want for yourself today?"

In your unbelievably hectic life, stop and take a moment to write what you want. They say there is power in writing down thoughts and goals. Own your goals. Believe that the powers of the universe will conspire to give you what you want.

letting our goals soar with the flying lantern

Do not edit your thoughts, be specific and write down all the things that seem to catch your fancy. Who knows how many you will able to cross out one day. :)

You don't even have to tote around a pen and notebook (I do!). You can use your smartphone's notes to jot down your thoughts right away like when you are stuck in traffic or in a queue for lunch. The long commute to and from the office is a good time like any to reflect and listen to your inner voice.

When I was younger and had simpler, concrete and specific goals, I found that it was easier to make dreams come true.

For example, I wanted to pass the board exams for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) so everyday, during review, I wake up and say this 15 times: I am going to be a CPA! I am going to be a CPA!

Of course, I studied hard to make it come true and alas! I even placed 13th! My lucky number.

Do not jot down whimsical things like I want to be happy. Find out what makes you happy and aim for it.

As we grow older, we get sidetracked and sometimes disillusioned by the difficulties and stress that we face on a daily basis, then we let go of our fancy dreams.

Take heart. Bring back that bounce in your steps. Our dreams can still come true. Start with writing them down. :)

If you do not ask, you do not get.
- Mahatma Gandhi

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

ang traffic parang instant noodles, just add water!

Ang traffic sa Pinas parang instant noodles, just add water!

I heard that joke some time ago from my husband and tonight (like any other rainy night), it proved to be true. When it rains, it pours and when it pours, brace yourself for traffic and long commute home.

I am on Kuripot Mode and it was difficult to hail a taxicab so I walked from Paseo de Roxas to SM Makati in my heels. I covered approximately 2 kms. in about 15 minutes.

Good thing I was wearing my relatively new Naturalizer sandals from Egandeula's Sari-Sari. I got it for P2,500 only. Best buy! :) Check out the authentic imported merchandise on the facebook account.

May patalastas pa :)

Anyway, my walk tonight reminded me of the long cold walks I used to take 5 years ago in gloomy Dublin. (I lived in Dublin, Ireland as an auditor for less than a year). I used to cover around 3.5 kms. on most days going to and from the office.

It was soooo expensive to ride a taxi so most people opt to walk. The Irish advocate walking as a very healthy alternative to riding the tram. They even discourage people to use the elevator and escalator. Wearing rubber shoes with your office suit was a fashion statement.

And most of all, there was no traffic.

But to be honest, I used to hate the long walks. I would hug my layers of winter clothes close and mutter softly under my breath, "Ano bang ginagawa ko dito?" Like it was the most pitiful thing in the world.

On hindsight, I now appreciate the value of walking. I must have been at my fittest when I lived in Dublin because of all the walking I had to do.

Now, shall we start a walking revolution? With the onset of Christmas, the traffic is sure to get worst. Maybe, I should just bring my rubber shoes and walk home instead of going to the gym... Feasible? Hmmm...

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Monday, 9 September 2013

kuripot day Monday and BPI treat

Fresh from the Personal Finance Session we attended last weekend, I tried to be thrifty today by spending not more than P200 on meals. Believe me, that's an accomplishment if you work in the Makati Central Business District!

With P168, I had a satisfying lunch at Wee Nam Kee. We used to avoid going inside the restaurant because it looked expensive. It turns out, they offer yummy dish at a reasonable price!

photo courtesy of Zomato

Check out their menu and prices here.

But the better part of the day is that our dinner of pizza, pasta and ice cream were free! Thanks to Bank of Philippine Islands' (BPI) SHOP ANYWHERE and get Pizza, Tacos and Ice Cream – FREE ! Promo

Promo period is from May 15 to July 31, 2013.

Redemption is until September 29, 2013.

To qualify, cardholder should use his BPI Express Credit Classic or BPI Express Credit MasterCard within the promo period for a minimum single purchase transaction of P2,000, P6,000, or P12,000 at any merchant. (Transaction should be approved through a Point-of-Sale terminal.)

Min. Spend
Choose from:
Pizza Hut
Dairy Queen
Taco Bell
• One (1) Personal Size Supreme Pan Pizza OR
• One (1) Single Spaghetti Bolognese (w/o Meatballs)
• Two (2) Dilly Bar OR
• Two (2) 5oz. Cones
• Two (2) Affordabells
• One (1) Regular Size Supreme Line Pan PizzaOR
• One (1) Regular Size Supreme Line Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza OR
• Two (2) Single Spaghetti Carbonara
• Five (5) Dilly Bar OR
• Five (5) 5oz. Cones
• Five (5) Affordabells OR
• Three (3) Soft Taco (Beef/Chicken/Steak)
• One (1) Family Size Supreme Line Pan PizzaOR
• One (1) Family Size Supreme Line Thin ‘N Crispy PizzaOR
• One (1) Family Size Spaghetti with Meatballs
• Five (5) 9oz. BlizzardOR • Ten (10) Dilly BarOR
• Ten (10) 5oz. Cones
• Three (3) Fiesta Platter (A, B, or C) OR
• Three (3) Grilled Stuft Burrito (Beef/Chicken/Steak)

Pizza Hut Pan Pizza Supreme Line/Thin 'N Crispy Supreme Line includes: Supreme, Bacon Supreme, Hawaiian Supreme, Bacon Cheeseburger, Veggie Supreme. 

Dairy Queen Blizzard includes: Oreo, Chocolate Chips, Strawberry Banana, Rocky Road

Taco Bell Affordabells includes: Pocket wrap, BBQ Potato Bites, Beef Taquito, ¼ lb Beef combo burrito, Pinacolada slush, Nachos, Fun size cheese quesadilla, Cheese roll up, Crispy potato soft taco

So easy to redeem!
  1. Visit any Pizza Hut Restaurant, Pizza Hut Bistro, Dairy Queen and Taco Bell branch
  2. Present your BPI Express Credit card used for the transaction.
  3. Surrender your original charge slip or cash advance slip (minimum single receipt purchase of P2,000 , P6,000 , or P12,000).

I don't encourage the use of credit card but if you will settle the amount due right away, it is wise to use the card to avail of promos like this and some points, too. I had a number of receipts amounting to P12,000 so we were able to avail of 1 family size supreme line pan pizza and 1 family size spaghetti with meatballs.

Husband had a number of P2,000 receipts so were able to get 4 free dilly bars from DQ. We were lucky they had dilly bars available tonight because in earlier redemptions we got sundae cones instead.

For August 1 receipts onwards...

Shop ANYWHERE and get Chowking Meals – FREE!
For minimum single receipt spend of P2,000, P6,000 and P12,000 from August 1 to October 24, 2013. 
Redemption period is from August 1 to December 23, 2013.

Simply use your BPI Express Credit Classic or BPI Express Credit MasterCard ANYWHERE for minimum single receipts of P2,000, P6,000 and P12,000.

Required Minimum Single Receipt Transaction
FREE Food Items
• One (1) order of 1-pc Chinese Style Fried Chicken with rice OR

• One (1) order of Halo-Halo Regular
• Two (2) orders of Fish & Tofu Bowl + Two (2) orders of 3-pc Beef Siomai OR

• Two (2) orders of Honey Garlic Chicken Bowl + Two (2) orders of 3-pc Beef Siomai
• One (1) order of Family Sweet & Sour Pork + One (1) order of Family Chopsuey + Three (3) orders of Halo-Halo Fun Size w/o Ice Cream OR

• One (1) order of Family Braised Beef + One (1) order of Family Dimsum Platter + Three (3) orders of Halo-Halo Fun Size w/o Ice Cream OR

• One (1) order of Family 6-pc Chinese Style Fried Chicken + Three (3) orders of Halo-Halo Fun Size w/o Ice Cream
*The Halo-Halo Fun Size w/o Ice Cream can be upgraded to Halo-Halo Fun Size w/ Ice Cream for an additional P10 per scoop to be shouldered by the Cardholder upon redemption.

For a full list of the other promos, click here.

Thanks again BPI for the free dinner this Kuripot Day Monday. :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

anxiety therapy: my personal to do list for the week

I am obsessing!

It's already 8 in the evening! Saan na napunta ang weekend ko? Ang dami ko pang kailangang gawin!

And I find the need to write them down here before I go insane.

Believe me I love my sons, but our eldest won't give me peace of mind. Laging nakabuntot at laging gusto kasama ako sa lahat ng gagawin nya. It is endearing and annoying at the same time!

Ewan ko ba, hinde ko rin alam bakit bigla na lang ang dami kong gustong gawin sa buhay ko. Tumatanda na kasi?!? Thank God for our kasambahays! I am really grateful to have them at home. They take a big load off me.

I know the next three hours (before I go to sleep won't be enough) for all the things that I want to accomplish today so I will just make a list as my guide for next weekend. I won't probably be able to do much other done concentrate on work these weekdays. I have to eat some serious frog* and I anticipate some stress coming in, realistically speaking.

*eat a frog - accomplish a not-so-desirable task

Anyway, on to my list...

1 - take stock of my finances

I have to apply what I learned this weekend in the Personal Finance session which I wrote about here and here.

Madali akong makalimot sa mga ganyan. Especially if we're talking of purging old habits and making new and better ones.

I have a lot of to do's with regards to my personal finance but for this week, I think I can manage to practice the 7-minute habit of tracking my expenditures everyday.

How can we develop a habit?

In order to get rid of bad habits, we just need to accustom our brains to new actions. Over time, these new actions will become new habits that will replace the old habits.

Perform the 7-minute habit over a course of two to four weeks.

Source: For Richer For Poorer by Chinkee Tan

2 - attend the Real Living Space exhibit this weekend

We're going to be homeowners hopefully soon so I am currently obsessed over interior design and worried about budget.

I'm forcing the husband to come with me to the exhibit in Trion Towers Bonifacio Global City to look at the interior design showcase.

print screen from my online subscription of Real Living Magazine September edition

If you're interested, you can find more details in

Does anybody of you know a good but cheap interior designer and contractor? Please let me know. ;)

In relation to this, I also need to start reading on loans. What a big word.

3 - finish our registration with Pag-ibig and pay our contributions for August

If you have been following my blog, you would know that I have been documenting our efforts to comply with the requirements of the Kasambahay Law. It has not been easy but it is well worth the efforts.

I still have to blog about the Pag-ibig online registration that I did for our household helpers. Will do soon! ;)

4 - blog about our Jurassic on ice experience in Star City and fix some blog glitch

5 - start reading the (work)book Personal Development all-in-one for Dummies

What can I say, I am obsessed! I bought the book at 50% off in National Book Store. It is still expensive though. The husband did not approve. The more that I bought it. Which brings me back to action item no. 1 on personal finance. Harhar!

This book is big and really thick - 581 pages to be exact. I'm giving myself until my 33rd birthday to finish it. A year-long project to enhance my life, why not? :)

6 - after checking budget, scout for schools for the kids

7 - resume writing in my one-sentence journal for mothers

How could I have forgotten about this? Tsk! Tsk! Ako na talaga si Mrs. Kalimot!

8 - think! think! think! of what to do with my waistline (the hardest part of them all)

I have to seriously consider going to the gym. O sexy chef kaya? Gastos uli. Hahaha!

There. I got it all I think. My action items don't seem too overwhelming now. Wag lang ako abutin ng forever bago matapos. Hehehe!

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Saturday, 7 September 2013

it's time for a brighter life!

The husband and I joined the Brighter Life session on Personal Finance last Saturday, September 7, at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) at Net Lima in Bonifacio Global City.

I blogged about my takeaways from the session here.

Since I found the session insightful, I am sharing with you the upcoming sessions in the Personal Financial Planning series being rolled out by Sun Life Financial Plan.

September 12 - Money & Career
7 pm - 9 pm, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Burgos Circle

September 21 - Money Matter for Mommies
10 am - 12 nn, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Net Lima

September 28 - Marriage & Money
10 am - 12 nn, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Net Lima

All sessions are held in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

You can register thru I think the registration opens on the week of the event.

The session itself is free and you will also be treated to a light breakfast and free coffee (in my case, hot chocolate).

Aside from the insights, we also took home a Sun Life Money Bank and CBTL gift certificate.

If you're interested, you can stay after the session to consult with Registered Financial Planners of Sun Life.

What we also liked about the event is that the financial planners of Sun Life did not make us feel that it was obligatory to avail of their financial services. Guests were free to go after the session.

You would have noticed the brighter life advertising series of Sun Life on TV which are meant to help educate the Filipinos to be financially literate. It's not a bad advocacy and we can all do our share by starting with ourselves.

If you can't make it to the sessions, you may want to go to the website which gives a wealth of references on how to achieve a brighter life.

May we all attain financial freedom. It all begins with a single step. ;)

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